Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Phantom in the raft

For weeks, or maybe even months, I haven't dreamt of the ocean. I was missing my ocean dreams, and just like that, last night, it came back to me. The old familiar theme of the ocean. And me in it.

No colors this time, at least, no specific highlights around colors, even though it was a "color dream" not b&w.

This is the first of my ocean dreams you made an appearance in: you are floating on a rubber dingy, or a sort of rubber raft. Lying on your back with your legs dangling over the edge, into the water. Smiling up at me.

I am lying on top of you, face down, across the raft. I see all this as if I am not me, but a third-party observer: we form a kind of "X" if you picture us from above.

The waves are frolicking around, not aggressive, not threatening. We are floating about at random. Then suddenly we are at a pier, and you have climbed out of the raft on to the pier. I am bobbing up and down in the ocean, next to the raft, trying to keep it lined up next to the pier for you to jump in: but the raft moves annoyingly away! Each time I reach out, I only barely touch the raft with my fingertips, and this pushes it away further. You laugh and bring the raft closer. How? you are on the pier... but nevermind, it's a minor detail ;)

Then you are back on the pier, and you jump into the raft. I worry that you will overturn it, but you land neatly into it. I climb in from the water and sit at your head, with my legs around your shoulders. We are sitting up like this, and I am considerably high above the water. As we float, the raft speeds up, and it is suddenly going under a low bridge... like one of the canal bridges. I hold the edge of the bridge to brace myself and smoothly bend backwards to pass under the bridge.

And we float on... no destination, no agenda... but nice and lazy and together. Welcome to my ocean dream, Phantom!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)

So close no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

So close no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they say
Never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
And I know

So close no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
No nothing else matters

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Doors - L.A Woman

Chloe Traeger's words of wisdom

From one of my favorite chick-lits, "Head over heels" by Jill Shalvis:

  • If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried. [Heheh I should try to remember this one]
  • If things don't seem right, try going left. [Profound! I like this one.]
  • It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
  • Why was man created before woman? Because you always need a first draft before the final copy.
  • When you don't know what you're doing, fake it.
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. [How come she's talking about me??]
  • Always remember, you're unique. Just like everyone else.
  • A closed mouth gets no foot, though that's hard to remember in the moment.
  • Sisters. Love 'em or fight 'em, but no matter how hard you try, you can't ignore 'em.
  • Just when you think you've hit rock bottom, someone'll throw you a shovel.
  • I've always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.
  • A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
  • Smile. It's the second best thing you can do with your lips.
  • They say money talks, but all mine ever says is 'good-bye, sucker.'
  • Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.
  • Multitasking means screwing up several things at once.
  • Sure, good things come to those who wait - but they're the leftovers from those who got there first. [LOL, this's gotta be my favorite!]
  • Sex is like air; it's not important unless you aren't getting any. [Amen]
  • The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it. [LOL! Not sure which is the cause and which is the effect though]
  • You have the right to remain silent. Otherwise, anything you say might be misquoted and used against you. [hrrmp. If you can remember to keep shut...]
  • Anything worth taking seriously is also worth making fun of. [Totally agree]
  • Women might not like to admit their age, but men don't like to act theirs.
  • Just when you think you have a handle on life, it breaks.
  • If they don't have good adventures in heaven, I'm not going.
  • A closed mind is a good thing to lose. [Are you listening? :D]

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Secret race

The other evening riding on my bicycle, I had a race with a big bad bus - and won! Okay, the bus driver didn’t know we were having a race. And he was just crawling along the side of the road as if looking for a good spot to park… but still. I sneakily raced him for about 500 meters until the next red light (should I call it signal, you think?).

W00t! It was fun!!

PS: I miss the play on words. I miss the … ah nevermind.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Doesn't it seem an age ago...

... when i sent you these poems and you told me which one you liked best...

Round and Round

After a long and wretched flight
That stretched from daylight into night,
Where babies wept and tempers shattered
And the plane lurched and whiskey splattered
Over my plastic food, I came
To claim my bags from Baggage Claim

Around, the carousel went around
The anxious travelers sought and found
Their bags, intact or gently battered,
But to my foolish eyes what mattered
Was a brave suitcase, red and small,
That circled round, not mine at all.

I knew that bag. It must be hers.
We hadnt met in seven years!
And as the metal plates squealed and clattered
My happy memories chimed and chattered.
An old man pulled it off the Claim.
My bags appeared: I did the same.

Vikram Seth

...and now this one's for you...

At Evening

Let me now sleep, let me not think, let me
Not ache with inconsistent tenderness.
It was untenable delight; we are free--
Separate, equal--and if loverless,
Love consumes time which is more dear than love,
More unreplicable. With everything
Thus posited, the choice was clear enough
And daylight ratified our reckoning.

Now only movement marks the birds from the pines;
Now it's dark; the blinded stars appear;
I am alone, you cannot read these lines
Who are with me when no one else is here,
Who are with me and cannot hear my voice
And take my hand and abrogate the choice.

Vikram Seth

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dutch lessons...

... officially include this fun, peppy song titled "Kedeng kedeng" about this chap who is going on a train to meet his sweetheart:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dragon Breath

The dragon breathes...
his breath comes out in a white mist
that spreads low across Kasterleepark...
and makes a criss-cross pattern
of icy rime on the glass outside.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


A nice short video on the history of how the Dutch got their cycle paths:

Friday, December 2, 2011

november rain

november rain, a little delayed,
falls gently, not in searing drops of ice

shrouded in my red poncho i bike along
my usual route takes me through streets
of soggy fallen leaves,
once bright in autumn hues,
now a uniform, nondescript brown

the rain drums a rhythm on my poncho,
drenching my hands as they hold the handlebars;
my feet pedal a slow, easy rhythm
somehow it doesn't feel worth pedaling fast
even to get out of the rain quicker

my mind wanders to other times, other rains
hikes in the fierce downpours of tropical monsoons;
other talks of rain: do you like being out in it?
do you like to watch it from cozy, warm indoors?
it depends, you say, on what you are doing

i take strange comfort in thoughts of you,
in your distant warmth from a far away land.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wild again...!

Wild again,
beguiled again!
By a touristy li'l isle again!

Just back from an awesome cool company trip to Cherso (Crete). A weekend of dancing through the night, swimming in a blue blue sea, getting more tanned than I need...... ;-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Rumors are confirmed that stinging nettle lurks below my balcony. And it stings.

... it ought to be made illegal for it to look such a lush green!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The here and now

it was a sunny afternoon, with a cool breeze blowing. i've been wanting to take photos along my bike route. finally today all the prerequisites fell in place and i did. as i was wheeling my bike from one photo spot towards another, an old lady wheeling her bike in the opposite direction stopped and initiated a conversation (in dutch) with me. she asked me where i was cycling from, because she wanted to show me a beautiful bike path with mooi bloemen (beautiful flowers) along the way. i nodded and smiled vigorously for this was exactly my next target.

on this beautiful path was parked a huge tractor-like vehicle which seemed to be a city vehicle equipped to trim tree branches, etc. a few guys in orange overalls were pottering near it. i parked my bike and dived into the undergrowth on the opposite side of the path, to shoot some red poppies. two of the guys attracted my attention by shouting something across: when i turned, they had their arms around each other's shoulders. and big grins on their faces, and were furiously indicating that i should take their photo! :-D which i did quite delightedly. i then asked one of them - in my halting dutch - whether he had an email id (so i could send the picture to them), but he did not.

i love this city for these small things. can't recall any other city that i've lived in where strangers strike up a fun conversation, for no motive other than sharing the moment. it happens a lot here. from tiny tots to the elderly, people are open and friendly.

my already elevated mood further heightened, i gave silent thanks for the circumstances that made me be here, now.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Spanish siesta

A relaxed lunch in an old Spanish restaurant with lovely ambience. A glass of red wine. Then a Spanish siesta on the couch brings on the best of dreams.

Yet again to my beloved blue green water space… this time Ak and to a smaller extent Ad, feature in it. We are in a sea-creatures viewing area, on dry land, but with open water in front of us without glass barriers - as can happen only in dreams. I am madly clicking away with my camera, only half aware of the children somewhere in the background clamoring for my attention.

Amongst the creatures of note, there is a baby sea-turtle, caught in a sort of bag at the side of a boat. On either side of the sea-turtle, there are two birds, each of them talking to the turtle, flapping their wings, trying to teach it how to jump out of the bag and escape into the ocean. I think incongruously, "Silly birds, don't they know a turtle can't fly?"

Now the children are both with me, holding hands, watching this drama, rooting for the escape of the sea-turtle. It tries and tries and finally with a huge effort, pushes itself out of the bag and into the water. Neatly dives in and disappears. I try to follow it into the sea, camera in hand, to try and photograph it.

Mysteriously, a cement platform, about 3 feet wide, and of unspecified length, appears for me to walk on, with sea water flowing ankle height over it. All around is the vast blue green ocean: gone is the sea-creature viewing area, gone are the background crowds of other people. Except for this cement platform, there is no man-made structure or boat in view.

There is a venerable old man with white hair and beard, broad and stocky of build, looking somewhat like how God is depicted in Michelangelo's Creation paintings. Ak runs behind me, and joins me in my search for the elusive turtle.

The water is so beautifully warm and tempting to get into. I express a wish to kayak in it, but the old man does not believe in my abilities - we are just beginning to argue about it when something else diverts us: there appears before us a speed boat with four tall well built strangers in it, wearing nothing but bathing costumes and colorful Rajasthani turbans. Accompanied by star-wars type music. Ak makes sounds to completes the last notes of the music. When I glare at him in admonition, he shrugs, says "Whaat? I was just completing the music - it is so suitable to the men in the boat!" I have to agree: "Yes... but. They are not friends, you must not mock them…"

As I say this, the men who have disembarked are striding towards us on the cement platform, somewhat menacingly. The venerable old man walks up to them and back-hands them across their faces, pushing them off the platform. Hmm, old man who seemed so gentle, is clearly territorial I think to myself in surprise. And try to pull Ak behind me.

I don’t want to wake up, I want to be in that warm blue-green water... but I wake up reluctantly into a gold-green world: a late afternoon sun filters into the room through the maple leaves at the window.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sheep with Guns

Found showcased in Weesperplein (a Metro station) in Amsterdam: A sheepish answer to Tom Lehrer's "Cows with guns" (see animated you-tube video below)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sswish, sswash

a cat in controlled fury:
cold green eyes, unblinking
tail in precise motion,
she bides her time
waiting, watching -
swish swash.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Completing the Suit

Was listening to "Shape of my heart" - Sting, and looked up its lyrics, part of which goes thus:

"I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war"

which I put up on my gmail status.

Surprisingly my nerd brother chose to comment on it, that too with self-composed poetry:

"I know that diamonds are the bait of a boy friend
and I know that hearts are the weapons of a lover"

Of course he claims he was only completing the suit. But still I'm impressed by the poetry from unexpected quarters... there's hope for him yet!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Pink and Purple Parade

The gay parade in Amsterdam is, like football, a public excuse to party and drink on the streets. People of all ages - literally from infants to octogenarians stream alongside the main canal, Princengracht, where the boats go in procession. Not only of all ages, but all ethnicities and sexual orientations too. Accompanied by peppy music, soap bubbles, confetti, and much gyrations, showing much skin, not bothering with little things like grey skies and rain.

I find myself part of the celebrations, this time because I have company – Ig is a recent addition to the developers’ apartment where I’m temporarily put up. Like me, he is new to Amsterdam, and happy to have company to wander about with. We set out in the morning, see the science museum and the central library and then head for the parade. We walk a lot before we finally find a spot by the canal side from where we can peek through the front row of people and catch some of the action.

The action consists mainly of boat-loads of people dressed in varying degrees of skimpiness, many cross-dressed too, and all united in a pro-gay theme. Variations include boats for the aid of cancer research, boats collecting money in “fishing nets” for the fight against AIDS… a boat full of NL postal workers, Japanese gays, the police, an exclusive boat of 50+’s…! The party bug has bitten all, whether on the boat or cheering from the sides. The canal is lined with stationary boats, which are the closest by-standers to the parade. These boats are blasting upbeat music of their own, and somehow this blends with the music from each passing parade boat and manages to sound pleasant. For a change, I have not had any form of alcohol, and still the music sounds good. Not to mention the whiffs of pot you catch on the breeze once in a while.

My dad would no doubt dismiss the whole thing as “ding-chak” music of the masses, and a crass celebration of the base, primitive, almost animal nature of man. But what to do, despite having grown up with such ideas foisted upon me (or perhaps because of it!), I now find myself appreciating and supporting those very things.

It never fails to amaze me how the locals take their children (from 0-17!) everywhere – to “coffee shops”, to walk along the red-light district, to gay parades… On the face of it, it seems quite open and “nice to have”, but I do wonder what questions arise and how they are handled. I appreciatively watch mommies dancing with their little 6 yr old sons, or dads carrying their little ones on their shoulders and both swaying gently to the music. It doesn’t matter that a gentle rain keeps falling off and on – umbrellas come out during the more persistent spells, and are put away unobtrusively during the breaks in the weather.

We spend a good couple of hours there, snapping away with cell phones, and finally extract ourselves from the crowds and walk along towards home. Takes another half an hour for the music to finally fade away behind us, as we enter the quieter streets and join the flow of normal life… people catching trams, returning home from grocery shopping…

As I write this, the sky has cleared, fluffy gold-tinged clouds are floating about, and it seems like a different day, different place already.

Here’s a news item about the same parade

My cell phone pics of the parade put up on FB

PS: Do you read my blog anymore? Thought of you today - where, what, how are you now I wonder...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Oranje Crowd

Oranje is de kleur van gekte -- Van Gogh
Oranje is de kleur van gekte -- Van Gogh

fifa finals sunday. the dutch are in the finals after 30 years... the city’s mood is euphoric.

never have i dreamt of being in the middle of football madness voluntarily... it's only that my interest most recently got fueled by akash's. and of course being in amsterdam, you cannot ignore the raging fever.

clad in my best orange t-shirt in a show of solidarity, i set out towards museumplein - where i am told there will be huge screens showing the match live. i naively think i could visit rijksmuseum first, and then saunter out into the square and watch the game. reach there at around 3:30pm, and immediately my delusions of a museum visit are set right - the square is already filling up fast, there's no way i can wade through to the museum entrance - i suspect it would have been closed anyway - holland in the finals is not an everyday event after all!

the place has a thiruvizha atmosphere, people have started drinking in the afternoon, and have arrived with huge supplies for the rest of the day. the already bohemian city has gone more berserk - if that is possible! i don't think i have been in a crowd of this many drunk people ever before - i am told today's crowd is going to be easily 100,000 people at museumplein.

I find a spot and plonk down on the grass, wondering how i shall pass the 5 hours till the match starts. though I have my book, the atmosphere does not quite lend itself to reading. on an impulse i have brought along a sketching pad and pens/pencils. and it strikes me as the ideal pastime - to doodle! as my page fills up, some people stop to watch over my shoulder, i get a few appreciative nods, thumbs up... i feel a part of the crowd even though i am here by myself. by and by i wrap up my doodling and just let the atmosphere soak in.

suddenly the local fm radio channel is on the air. the dj is playing a peppy and hilarious mix of dutch songs. ranging from the patriotic to what sounds like dutch nursery rhymes, to sound of music (dutch lyrics), to queen with dutch as well as english lyrics! the whole crowd is lustily singing along and dancing. i am quite happy to dance... a beautiful sunny evening, dancing with a million people in a meadow... strewn with empty beer bottles and plastic wrappers. how romantic!

then this cute italian chap starts flirting with me – he is visiting amsterdam, at museumplein with a dutch crowd of 3 guys and 3 girls. introductions all around, then he happily offers me their beer. our friendship is blossoming nicely, when he goes off for a bio break and alas, is never seen again - presumed lost in the crowds. ah well, such is life. however, his dutch friends adopt me as part of their group, ply me with more beer, and a joint (which i politely decline), and gallantly offer for me to stand on their beer crate to see the match... seeing as i am vertically challenged!

a couple of the girls in this group are not much taller than me - and they are having trouble viewing the screens as well. by half time there are two of us standing on the 16"X10" crate... then in the middle of the second half, a third girl joins us: we watch the rest of the match jostling each other, friendly like.

a few fist fights break out here and there, for whom the rest of the crowd clears some space and watches, not overly concerned.

at half-time, there's this exuberant air show of helicopters circling museumplein, and dropping lots of.... orange gerberas! everyone is waving to the 'copters, and catching the falling flowers. the dutch are certainly not bashful about their romantic streak! i pick up one of the flowers fallen near my beer crate, and tuck it into my hair band.

the match result is such a let-down. the whole crowd goes subdued... i bid adieu to my new friends and head home.

exiting that square with that crowd is claustrophobic and slow. the roads are overflowing with sad, drunk, oranjes... by now it is 11:20pm. tram service erratic and unreliable now. i join the walking crowd, and start walking in a direction i believe is towards home. i have a map of amsterdam, but where i live is outside of that map! and it doesn't help that i cannot remember or pronounce intermediate place names. it seems almost anyone i try asking for directions are themselves outsiders.

after panic calls to my local guardian angel i reach a tram stop where i can theoretically get a direct tram – the operative word here being “theoretically”… by now it is 12:20 pm.... the crowds on the street are thinning. i am hungry and dehydrated, pounding headache starting.

two other girls and i decide to share a cab up to a common point. it starts raining now. finally we manage to flag down a taxi, and gratefully fall in. walking the final 15 min stretch, i reach home at 1:10am, exhausted but quite chuffed.

it seems i cannot call a city "home" unless i have walked home in the middle of the night!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The oranje graffiti cupboard

Can't get away from corny love quotes where ever I go. They are follofink meeee! Eet's a conspiraceee...

The cupboard in my furnished room, which I had no hand in purchasing, has a lot of "love" quote graffiti on it. Ok, be pedantic, call it "open shelves", not a cupboard.

Here's how the damn thing looks anyway:

And here are some of the quotes:

When I saw you I fell in love, you smiled because you knew

"When I saw you I fell in love, you smiled because you knew"

"They do not love that do not show their love"

They do not love that do not show their love

And a bonus one:

If music be the food of love, play on

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No time for regrets

Quote from Shel Silverstein, I believe, passed on to me by a friend:

“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' In The Sun,
Talkin' 'Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done...
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away And Hid
From One Little Did.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The petrified millipede

the petrified millipede

millipede, O millipede!
look at his tiny little feet
where do they take him?
don't ask - he'll freeze!

i have not a shoe,
i have not a soul
i'll walk beside you where you go
just don't ask me how that is so.

question him and he will curl
into a little foetal whorl
it's best to let his million little legs
chart his steady plodding course.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gracias a la Viva!

Woke up high and happy today.

After what seems like a long time, my dream took me to that ocean - cove to be exact - once again...

To get there, there were a lot of unnecessary logistics in excruciating detail (yes, inside the dream!), which I will not record here. But there I am, walking on the sand, barefoot, and you beside me. Holding me to your side with your left arm flung around my waist casually but firmly. Can't recall what mundane logistics we talk about but it doesn't matter. It's a long walk to my cove, there are lots of people all around on the beach where we walk. But nothing matters...

Mysteriously and suddenly you vanish [like that fleeting, abbreviated smile]. Strangely for me, I don't wonder why or feel sad. I am headed to the water...

I am in the water, out of my depth even before I register seeing the water. After a moment of mild panic, I notice things in the familiar cove. Today the water is not light aquamarine like I remember it. It is a deep Prussian blue... but not quite black or ominous. This is the only cove I've "seen" where there is a high sand bank, forming a natural barrier against the open ocean. For the record, I've never seen a cove like this in real-life. In the shallow water on top of this sand bank, is a happy, sunny scene - some little girls in bright stripey swim suits, laughing and playing "mud".

As I watch in horror and fascination, a huge Prussian blue wave looms above the sand bank. I think, I should be facing it, not away... and with that thought as I try to turn myself around in the water, the wave washes over me. I come up gasping for air, take in huge gulps. I feel so co-ordinated with the waves - a few more waves wash over me, I float about inside my safe little cove, without fear of being washed out to sea...

The dream meanders along, there are other snippets of half-conversations, a long dimly lit passage with a cubicle to one side - some strangers gathered in the cubicle, just in from the cove. Someone pulls me in to join in the conversation... a noisy, cozy, comfortable, friendly place.

But my mind is full of that midnight blue, I float in it, with all other thoughts wiped clean from my mind. I love this place, am so happy to be back there in my dream.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Random funnies

Not new, these funnies, but a couple I particularly like...

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.

~ Caryn Leschen ~

If you can't be a good example ~ then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The danger of a single story

Here's an excellent video of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, speaking about her experiences, and how a "single story" of a people does no justice to them - flattens them, and is usually used to stereotype and dis-empower. How the many different stories of a person or people must be told to get a true understanding of them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pink Brain, Blue Brain

Here's an interesting book on gender stereotyping that starts from a young age.

An example of the research carried out says it all.
“In one of the eye-opening studies cited in Lise Eliot's masterful new book on gender and the brain, mothers brought their 11-month-olds to a lab so the babies could crawl down a carpeted slope. The moms pushed a button to change the slope's angle based on what they thought their children could handle. And then the babies were tested to see how steep a slope they could navigate.

The results?

Girls and boys proved equally adept at crawling and risk-taking: On their own, they tried and conquered the same slopes. But the mothers of the girls -- unlike the mothers of the boys -- underestimated their daughters' aptitude by a significant margin.”

Forgive the stereo typing, but this is my blog and right now I feel entitled to some irrational generalization.

Blue brains don't have the patience to read through the review. They assume it's just a "women's lib" sort of rant against gender differences.

One such response from an obviously blue brain triggered me to write some doggerel:

blue brain, blue brain!
too much thought gives it a sprain.
keep it safe away from rain
lest it melt and go down the drain!

a friend's addition to it on FaceBook:

... and has to be hoisted with a crane?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Sign of the Seahorse

I had found this piece of poetry on a bookmark long ago in England. I love the fishy illustration as well as the poem, quoted below with permission from Graeme Base's publishers. Check out his website and other references below.

Beyond the
ken of mortal men,
beneath the wind and waves,
There lies a land
of shells and sand,
of chasms, crags and caves,
Where coral castles
climb and soar, where
swaying seaweeds grow,
And all around
without a sound
the ocean currents flow...

From "The Sign of the Seahorse"
by Graeme Base

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mind Game or Footwork?

SB is very good at badminton - for the amateur level we play at, he is one of the best in our group, if not the best. And today I beat him 26 - 24. You know how much of a historic (histrionic?) moment it is for me to be so thrilled and blog about it!!!

We were just fooling around, tossing the shuttle back and forth for the first 15 mins. Then he said "Shall we?" I nodded, and started love-all. Game of 21. I scored the first point. Now usually when I play singles against any of my badminton buddies, I expect to lose. Being the only woman gives me the license to expect this - but naturally ;-)

Today I said to myself, even if I lose, I'll at least get to 15 points. My target was humble. But the first few points we seemed evenly matched. His unspoken rule of chivalry is he will not play smashes against me, but even given that I usually lose. But today my game was charmed. Everything I was placing was going just where I wanted it to, I even played a couple of satisfying smashes. He was making mistakes, and for once, I had enough control to take advantage of them. He was never more than 2 points ahead of me - 2-4, 5-7... and once briefly he was 3 points ahead - 10-13.

Something clicked in my brain when I crossed 15. I realized I don't have to assume I will lose... I have a fair chance of winning! I was ahead 17-15, then he was ahead 19-18, then 20-19.... and then I evened the score at 20-all. Not being in the best of shape, we were both tired by now. I played without any prejudice about the outcome, and surprised myself by getting the advantage at 24-23. Then he scored a point to get us to 24-all.. then like a dream, I scored 2 points in a row and the game was mine.

This adrenalin high is something I'm enjoying after a long time - yesss!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Murphy's Day

there was no water in the house this morning. empty tank, some problem with the new fangled (old mangled??) hydro pneumatic pumping system.

"so what", i say to myself, "i shall convert this setback into an opportunity and go swim in the gym!"

i set out earlier than usual, in a crumpled wrap-around skirt and sleeveless top (which are inappropriate for work).

a slight snag is, last night, i left my gym things and swimsuit at the office. i have to pass the office on the way to the gym, so it's no big detour... except that chatushringi mandir, next to my office, is a bee-hive of activity in these days of navratri leading upto dusshera.

so the usual right turn to my office lane is barricaded, meaning i have to go ahead half a kilometer and make a u-turn. and worse, i have to actually pass the gym building to get to office now. oh well.

i am expecting all of this, so none of it is too much of a big deal - yet.

i hope to nip in and out of office before anyone sees me. as i am about to slink out with the clunky gym bag, i bump into two bright and chirpy chaps. muttering about a swim, i quickly get out. i walk along senapati bapat marg, drinking in the humanity, wondering why i usually dislike crowds, and why i'm not minding them so much of late.

there's a festive atmosphere. people from villages around pune dressed in their fineries have come to worship the goddess of chatushringi. and cops are standing around looking important in crisply ironed khaki and whites.

i longingly eye the pale lavender lotuses that are being sold out of buckets all along the roadside. goddess or not, they will make a wonderful bouquet....

the roadside is abuzz with fruit and flower and toy vendors - green and yellow guavas, children selling strings of jasmine, a woman on the pavement nursing her infant, toy helicopters which i vaguely wonder if i should buy for aditi and akash... and bizarrely comical toy hens on wheels.

some may say it's too early in the morning for sweets... but the poisonous looking mounds of glazed pumpkin sweets, coconut barfis, and other sinful unknowns make my mouth water.

i resist the toys, the sweets, and the lotuses, and resolutely trudge on, cursing my wrap-around skirt as it flaps open with each step. yes, yes, i know, it *is* my fault for wearing that, as well as the not-quite appropriate platform heels to walk the half kilometer to the gym. a qualis takes a left turn, and i have to paste myself on another parked car to let it pass without scraping me.

as i pass a gate guarded by a bunch of smartly uniformed security guards, one of them throws the plastic wrapper of something he just popped in his mouth. unable to stop myself, i tell him "aisa mat phenko" with a smile to soften the admonition. i am pleased and surprised that without any complaint, he just picks up the wrapper!! "wow!", i think to myself.... telling *does* help sometimes... or perhaps it was the skirt factor telling :-]

i am smiling to myself as I walk on, and without warning, lose my balance and fall down - as i step off the pavement - scraping my right knee. i know i'm falling and there's nothing i can do to stop it. what's worse, my cold-war enemy, the female security guard at icc towers has seen, and is solicitously enquiring about how my foot slipped, as she checks my bag... shit shit shit.

i gather my bag and what's left of my dignity and carry on - up the lift to the top floor where my gym is - only to see a sign pasted on at the entrance: "there is no water today, sorry for the inconvenience"

aaarrrgh. i can't believe my eyes. i ask the staff in the vain hope that the notice was not taken down from, maybe yesterday. no such luck. tail tucked, i change into work clothes and walk back the half kilometer to office.

it's only 9:45 am, and it has not been my day so far.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eyes Wide Shut

Love's Secret

William Blake

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she did depart!

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveler came by,
Silently, invisibly
He took her with a sigh.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Copper Sulphate Blue

And another...

Of the ocean. This time a beautiful muted copper sulphate blue. A quick dream, where I just walk towards the ocean and step seamlessly from the clean, bleached, pale, sand into the copper sulphate blue, without intending to. The bank is deceptively steep, and I don't understand (in my dream) how I did not notice the change in color - from the sand to the blue of the water... The part where I've fallen in has a swimming pool feel to it, but I distinctly see the rest of the ocean just beyond. Anyway I quickly bob up and climb out of the water, my jeans dripping, and salty wet hair sticking to my face... the waves and froth are now licking at my feet as I walk along the shore towards the hotel where I'm going to stay - by the water's edge.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dreams of Rock

It is one more recurring theme in my dreams - where I climb down rock faces, dangerous rock formations natural or man-made, gripping the rock with my finger tips, sometimes gaining foot hold, sometimes swinging by my hand holds. Much braver than reality, for in reality I have never climbed rocks. The only climbing I've ever done is a 6 rated climb on an artificial wall in a climbing gym in San Jose. Being belayed by a competent climber. On whom I had at the time a serious crush.

Now to my dream. I seem to have ridden through cobbled streets of an unrecognized town in a three wheeler - a man-powered rickshaw. The rickshaw is going down the steep rock cut steps sideways. With us still sitting in it - there's three of us, though I don't recall who the other two women with me are.

A few steps down, it occurs to us to get out of the rickshaw and climb down ourselves. The other two women magically evaporate, leaving me to climb my rock wall in solitary splendor. I feel light and monkey-esque, but there's no recollection of a tail ;-) But I'm scared. In the dream too, scared. Heart in my throat. I can even now feel the black granite rock beneath the flimsy hold of my fingers. I do a tricky step down, with my hands holding on to an overhang, and my feet flailing for purchase on the under side of that rock. One step done and about 20 feet to go. Yes, I know. Sometimes my dreams are modest.

Suddenly I realize a friend is waiting below, giving me directions as to where my next foot hold is. And simultaneously it occurs to us that he can simply reach up, pick me off the rock and get me down to terra firma, without my having to negotiate another step. A happy (if tame) ending, and my heart settles back in its place. And no, the man is not the competent climber I used to know, and alas he does not set my heart rate soaring either.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Praise for "The Reader"

watched "the reader" on a sunday a couple of months ago. a bit late to post the review, but just felt like it now.

brilliant movie. although as indians we don't have the emotional baggage that europeans have over the nazi, anti-semetic subject, it still had a powerful impact.

... not to mention the steamy scenes with kate winslet and david krosby :)

a friend wanted to see the movie, and we talked about it saturday night. he said something about WW-2 backdrop, anti-semetic, from the point of view of a perpetrator, etc. - sounded morbid to me, and i was not too inclined. (considering that this is the same friend who took me to maqbool a week before my son was born, and then to omkara more recently! both were brilliant films, but one must admit they are violent as well as morbid).

then he mentioned ralph fienes. drool drool drool, my interest level went up. i was intrigued (over and above just ralph fienes) after this friend read out a review from "rotten tomatoes" about the movie.

but i must say david krosby stole the movie away from ralph fienes. besides the good looks, excellent acting too. and of course ms. winslet won the best actress for it.

great treatment of the subject, no unnecessary explanations, excuses, etc.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ujale Baaz

Oil Pastel on Paper, 21 June 2009. Copied from an old notebook cover page, not my original.

Ok, the bird in the painting is not, by any stretch of imagination, a "Glowing Eagle" (which is what Ujale Baaz means)... but somehow in my mind, the song "Ujale Baaz" seems very apt for this painting. Ujale Baaz is by a Pune rock band Agnee, the singer is Mohan. Don't you just looove his voice?! Have heard a live concert of Agnee at Soul in ABC Farms, Pune - am totally फ़िदा over his voice...

Here's a video of the song on YouTube:

And here are the lyrics in Hindi:

उजले बाज़ के सपनों से क्यों यारी हो गयी रे

पिंजरे में थे बंद, उधने की तैय्यारी हो गयी रे

मेरी, मैं एक शिकरा यार बनाया

एक उदारी ऐसी मारी

लौट के फिर न आया

इधर उडे कभी उधर उडे हम थके पंख के संग रे

कैद हुए थे हम, कैद से यारी हो गयी रे

उजाले बाज़ के सपनों से क्यों यारी हो गयी रे

गर फिरदौस बरू-इ-ज़मीन असता

हमीं असता, हमीं असता, हमीं असता…

The last line translated by Mohan: "If paradise were to exist on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here".

Agnee's / Mohan's blogs:,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No Place To Hide

I rustle along among the leaves,
Trying to hide from you
Confused - should I hide,
Or should I let you see my thoughts?
I am the snake with two minds,
With no place to hide....

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Orange Skier

The orange headed one
Goes skiing,
A whizz of color,
He starts off lazily downhill,
Gathering speed as he goes,
Lithe and graceful,
Zooming down the slope,
A blur of orange and purple,
Warms my heart on a cold snowy day.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I had written this a looong time ago.. seems like a different lifetime now. Finally got around to posting it here.

You touched my life in a unique way without realizing it. It was a magical afternoon in an ancient temple courtyard… A few moments of perfect understanding between two human beings. The romance of life lies in such connections. A casual glance, a casual touch. Nothing casual about the smile in our eyes as they meet. It does not matter that our languages are so different. It does not matter what we talked about.

You write out your email id in my notebook. I write you our email ids, on my business card placed on your knee.

The world around us moves sluggishly in the afternoon heat. I don't want to move from the spot, I am intensely happy in the moment. And so you seem to be. Reveling in the proximity, but not quite touching.

You get a glimpse into my life, as I got into yours. Does it make sense to you? Would you remember it a few weeks from now? I'll never know… but I know what we shared is as real for you as it is for me.

My right leg, folded under me, has gone to sleep. I am sort of surprised that I could stretch out my legs behind you, without breaking the spell.

Slowly, by mutual consent, we deliberately break the spell and walk away to continue the day as normal… but the inner glow continues within me all day.

Will we stay in touch? I guess not – staying in touch can only take away from that perfect afternoon. As a friend once said, "Let passing ships pass… and move on".

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Hero's (or could be Fool's) Journey

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

- Robert Hunter

Thursday, April 30, 2009

the joys of married life...

Blogger's Note:
A friend forwarded this piece of clarification to me a while ago, saying it was forwarded to him by a woman (meaning that, it neutralizes the political incorrectness because it was forwarded by a woman!).

Anyways, I think it's hilarious, here it is..


We've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you really know the difference between them?
In an effort to keep you informed, the definition for each is listed below...

GUTS - is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being met by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask: "Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?"

BALLS - is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and having the balls to say: "You're next, vetgat."

I hope this clears up any confusion on the subject.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Mark of Indelible Ink

This election year somehow it has become a personal milestone for me to vote. Several weeks before the election date, R finds our names registered to vote in the area of residence of the old place we used to live in five years ago. I can almost not believe that some online pdf document having our names would actually mean that in reality our names *are* registered.

Driving to work each day in the weeks leading to the election, I see a couple of women holding up banners calling for citizens to exercise their right to vote. A very committed NGO this, spending so much time and energy urging people to exercise *their own* rights! Much needed in the current state of affairs in this large democracy of ours. Hats off to the commitment and positive attitude of the women holding the banners. As I drive slowly past them in the morning hour traffic, I wave to them and give them a thumbs up signal on a couple of occasions, which they acknowledge with a gracious bow and smile. Being most skeptical about our names actually being in the voters' list, I wonder whether I will personally be able to make their work worthwhile by actually voting...

Election day. We are up and ready bright and early. A friend has come over from Mumbai to vote - his constituency is across town from where we live, so he leaves early on my bike. I am heartened to see his dedication to voting, actually taking time off from his busy life to come down to Pune to vote. We too drive to the polling booth in our old area of residence. As we park and walk along the side walk, I wonder if it was finally going to be a reality - at 37, am I going to fulfill my right as a citizen of India, or am I going to go back disappointed and bitterly complaining of the terrible system that does not recognize semi-nomadic people like me?

Magically (or so it seems to me) our names are on the voters' list in the booth identified in the online pdf document, at the specified serial numbers! It is almost anti-climactically smooth, the whole process taking less than 15 minutes from walking into the building to stepping out, triumphant with the mark of indelible ink on the middle finger of my left hand. I quickly call to tell my parents that I VOTED!! They are so proud of me :-)

The next day's paper shows that Pune's voter turn out has been the poorest in recent years at 40% or so. When we show such apathy, we have no right to complain about the system that we are silently endorsing - apathetic and pathetic in equal measures. Where are all the paper-tigers who rise up against our politicians and police force when there is a terrorist attack against India? Ought not the righteous talk translate to exercising one's right to vote? Okay, apart from the semi-nomads that fell through the gaps and never found their names in the voters' list. That still doesn't account for the 60% no-shows... the personal high is replaced with a sorrow at the macro level. If the terror attacks and bombs don't awaken us, what will? Jaago re!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To sparkling stones and winged horses

I want to celebrate with you,
To share the moment,
To celebrate you,
To thank you, and to... oh well.

I wonder if you ever come wandering here anymore,
But if you did you'll know -
You were in my thoughts,
I bet the stone turned to sparkling ruby :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I love Mark Twain...

A quote I love with my comments within [...]

Life is short, [okkkaaaay....]
break the rules, [yess!]
forgive quickly, [hwhy???]
kiss slowly, [ummmm, yesss...!!]
love truly, [yeah sure!]
laugh uncontrollably, [is there any other way..?]
and never regret anything that made you smile. [keep saying it over and over to internalize]

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

~ Mark Twain ~

I searched all over the web (well ok, for 3 mins on google) for who said these words... and found this site that says this is by Mark Twain.

It's sad though that Mark Twain himself died bitter and poor and cynical... wonder what things happen in life to change someone who was so positive and alive to bitter and negative...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Yes, it's a post-script, when there's nothing to say before the 'PS', except that these lines are not mine, I stole them from a friend.

where names have faces...
symbols have meanings...
words evoke feelings...
and silences play fantasies...


it's a mad crush of things


Thursday, October 30, 2008


"Haroun and the Sea of Stories" - I love this book, the only one of S.Rushdie I have read. Here's a short passage from the book that just caught my eye today...

'Khattam-Shud,' Haroun frowned. 'What was that story you used to tell...?'

Rashid spoke as if he were remembering an old, old dream.

'Khattam-Shud,' he said slowly, 'is the Arch-Enemy of all Stories, even of Language itself. He is the Prince of Silence and the Foe of Speech. And because everything ends, because dreams end, stories end, life ends, at the finish of everything, we use his name. "It's finished," we tell one another, "it's over. Khattam-Shud: The End."'

Wah-wah Mr.Rushdie... what a beautiful eloquent way you have of putting things! I couldn't have said it better if I tried...
and I have tried... :-( ...or should I be smiling... :-)


Did you know...

I can be bitterly, scathingly, sarcastically negative at times... well ok, most of the time... (as all those unfortunate enough to get close enough to me have found out). However, I also have a misplaced streak of optimism. Think of it as the silver lining in my thunder-cloud like countenance, if you will.

I always surprise myself - in retrospect, how the heck did I manage to be optimistic about *that*???? Now I know, from the Dilbert strip below, the official term for it is "un-warranted optimism".

Thanks Scott!


Friday, September 19, 2008


You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The glassy greens and angry whites

I dream of the waves again. I had almost forgotten that place in my dream, it had stopped for a long time. But yesterday I went to the same place in my dream. It is a beautiful beach, wild and green water, and light brown sand. There are various sections of this coast that I go to in my dreams. One of them is a steep sandy slope sloping away from a curved road which is lined with palm trees. The road is usually deserted. The sea is calm here, I can usually hear the waves as I run down the sandy slope towards the ocean. It is a beautiful dream when I go to this beach. Nothing bad happens.

Then there is another part of the coast. It is wilder, there is a kind of man-made curving pier extending partly into the ocean here, with rusty hand-rails. This beach is accessible from a restaurant through some posh french windows, as well as from the outside. I have kayaked off this beach, been in this water for hours. In and on this water. Only in my dreams. Usually the dream has a recurring theme: the waves crash violently against the pier. A confusion of green water and white foam, the colors accentuated as can happen only in a dream. The glassy green is difficult to capture in a painting, let alone words. Usually there are people on the beach, and the waves always take them unawares - coming in quickly and violently and sweeping off everyone. More than once, I have been in this water, helplessly swept off. But strangely, never fearing for my life. Never imagining that this could kill me. Always a sort of comfortably numb feeling when I am inside the water. Also strangely, the water is never cold.

Yesterday though my dream had Akash in it. We were on the beach, and as usual the water came rushing at us. I hold onto Akash, and we're both holding some railings. Not the pier though today (where did it go, I wonder). Akash is sure he can hold on without my help, but I keep a firm grip on his little arm nevertheless. The water washes over us, and we are dunked and emerge as the water pleases. Akash is not crying (he hates even the shower directly over his head, but somehow my brave little boy is not minding this at all). And the swirling green... all around us. And the hiss and roar of the water... There are other people vaguely in the periphery... but nobody I know. I barely notice them. How do I keep my eyes open with all that salty water on my face?? But I do. I distinctly remember the water flowing down my face, but can't remember the sting of salt. Good thing that!

Glad to be back in that place... I wake up disoriented to be dry, but happy.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My book reviews on Amazon

Facebook tells me I have read '0' (zero) books (presumptious little twit of an application!) However, I wish to record here that I don't spend all my time blogging, I do read, y'know!

Read my recent reviews on Amazon.

The Sea-Gull

Here's one of my all-time favourites by Ogden Nash.... happy to have found an old friend on the internet!

Hark to the whimper of the sea-gull;
He weeps because he's not an ea-gull.
Suppose you were, you silly sea-gull.
Could you explain it to your she-gull?

-Ogden Nash

Do I know you?

Do I know you? I seem to know how your thoughts flow, how your eyes look for mine among a bunch of others. Making that connection with you seems so natural. It seems impossible that you feel the same way too… and yet equally impossible that you don't. I am lost in your smile, in your eyes, and how that smile reaches your eyes.

I watch a vein in your neck stand out as you turn your head. I turn away... but perhaps I can never hide, perhaps I don't want to either.

You know what would be a dead giveaway? I am not going to tell you.. it's a give away :)

It's all about letting go, and graciously at that... something I am yet to learn.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here She Comes Again - New Maxine

A friend forwarded me these on a poxie day when I was in need of some humor.. these may not exactly be "funny", but more like humor in real life. Depends.. if you're feeling hysterical, it can suit that mood too, or home truths mood, or "ROTFL" funny mood.. whatever you want her to be, Maxine will be!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The deadly smile

Shot while saying "cheese" 
Posted by Picasa

My deadly smile frozen for eternity as I died in a photo shoot...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fire or Ice...?

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.

-Robert Frost

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Not my original, but food for thought

My (female) boss had sent this to the development team once, and I thought it good enough to save and put up..

Maybe God created Woman first!
One day in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God.
"Lord, I have a problem!"
"What's the problem, Eve?"
"Lord, I know you created me and provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals and that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm just not happy."
"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.
"Lord, I am lonely, and I'm sick to death of apples."
"Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."
"What's a man, Lord?"
"This man will be a flawed creature, with many bad traits. He'll lie,cheat, and be vain; all in all, he'll give you a hard time. But he'll be bigger, faster, and will like to hunt and kill things. I'll create him in such a way that he will satisfy your physical needs. He will be witless and will revel in childish things like fighting and kicking a ball about. He won't be too smart, so he'll also need your advice to think properly."
"Sounds great." says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow. What's the catch, Lord?"
"Well ... you can have him on one condition."
"What's that, Lord?"
"As I said, he'll be proud, arrogant, and self-admiring ... So you'll have to let him believe that I made him first. Just remember, it's our little secret... You know, woman to woman."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

1000 Watts

Turn off the thousand watts.
Pack up the moon and stars,
Roll out the thunder clouds,
And let it rip!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


My hair still wet from the shower
I let it dry in the afternoon sun as I sit out on the back porch,
sipping lukewarm pearl tea.
I love the chunky feel of the ceramic mug in my hands.
The sky is such a brilliant blue
that it hurts the eye to look up.
A coppersmith calls, its high pitched note stands apart
among the low drone of insect noises.
It takes me off to a faraway day
another sunny winter afternoon like this one…
when your arms were around me,
your low-rumbling laughter in my ear...
We listened desultorily to another coppersmith…
I can still almost hear the sound of your heartbeat
and just as distinctly
that old coppersmith which is probably dead by now
(how long do they live anyway?)

The warm afternoon sun makes my eyelids and limbs
heavy with sleep
My hair is almost dry
My coppersmith chirps for a while…
waking out of my reverie
I realize
I don't
hear it