Friday, October 31, 2014


I spent five years and about a few hundred blogposts all within a little campus by the lake.
I'm now going back. For only a day, but still.
202 and 209 - here I come.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Self-destruct sequence

I feel like I should be doing more than drinking sweet tea and eating khakras as the occasional tear pools in the rims of my large retro glasses.

I may also be the only one who remembers, well, me and bloggy. I just realised that of all the constants in my life, the only one that has remained through all of the good times and the bad, is the image of me sitting in front of a computer and tapping out on the familiar white and orange interface. Sometimes there are tears and sometimes there are such wonderful incredible highs and often times there is a wry smile and some CAPS LOVING. I love this image of me, and I should carry it around more and feed it well.

Five years since the first October 28.

I'm alone and angry and calm and melancholy, but not so much so that I can't laugh at myself and shake my head sadly.

My post after Diwali was to  be a fabulous one, filled with happiness and colour and light and the bliss of finding new family that is so so easy. But this is what procrastination does, gentle reader, and instead of bubbling over with mirth and eating homemade sweets and narrating jokes in broken Telugu, I am now sad-raging.

Appreciate, if you can, the understated tone of this post, for it is an expression of my heart's waxing and waning. I'm old enough to know nothing is fair and young enough to hate the unfairness of it anyway. Such maturity comes at a price - and that price I think is restraint, which should be the politeness of princes (not punctuality, because of course a prince(ss) is never late, the rest are merely early).

I think its time for more tea. And without sugar, I think, for the old masochistic joke about one lump or two comes to mind and we can all do without that, don't you think? xx

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Rota-Quota (thoughts on complexity) + Misc

Every few weeks I meet a litigator friend and we try to talk about politics and TV shows (Borgen - anyone? or Hatufim even!) and food and family, but ultimately, eventually, like dusk follows noon and the stars follow the moon (this is technically not true, but poetic license etc), we end up talking the 'LAW.

Now - as gentle readers are aware, my knowledge of the LAW is barely passable. I know nothing of procedure, except where to look for it, and very little of evidence and littler of court-custom-and-craft. I'm not certain I'm good for anything more than some jurisprudence, some legal history, bits of financial law, some public law, and a thimble of international law.

I.e. _nothing_ that is really useful for practicing law as a litigator.

But I can talk, and talk well, and ask questions, and my friend is patient and funny and filled with amusing and intelligent anecdotes about the fripperies and frailties of the legal system and its actors, so we have much fun and I leave the evening highly enlightened.

Be that as it may - the previous time we met, we discussed the American Supreme Court (and how RBG is kinda awesome) and how we enjoyed reading Nine - by Jeffrey Toobin about SCOTUS and our very own desi Supreme Court's woes in comparison.

At this point, said friend made an interesting observation: Keeping aside the fact that SCOTUS adjudicated very few cases per term, he said, they'd probably go mad if they had to judge a rota-quota case the way the SC of India does.


Everyone at the table perked up, and me especially, since rota-quota is both alliterative and enchanting as markers for cases go.

Said friend explained what 'rota-quota' meant,- and its wonderful example of legal complexity - a tangled ball of yarn that the SC patiently has to unravel - exciting in its messiness. It took us over an hour at dinner to talk through the finer points of the rota-quota caselaw, including a sideways discussion about feminism and quotas for women. It's been a long time since a piece of the law has fascinated me thusly, so some sharing is in order, wouldn't you agree?

So -  The Indian state has a variety of quotas that exist to serve reserved categories, particularly in filling up of posts for employment. In the filling of such quotas (which can be horizontal and vertical), a rather peculiar system of hierarchy exists, based upon 'seniority' - i.e. the date of appointment to the post.

Now, given that quotas must be filled, and newer quotas are created and assimilated, there is often a certain tension between recruits who are quota-less, and those who are quota-ed and among the qupta-ed themselves. Further more, there is also an inherent tension between the application of such quota benefits upon promotions.

Note therefore, that the point of challenge of application of quota can arise:

1) At the point of application of quota between various quota-eligible pools of people;
2) At the point of  application between direct-recruitment and promotees; and
3) At the point of promotion between various quota-eligible pools of people.

Let me give you an example:

Facts + Contentions: During the selection for a particular post, Mr. R and Mr. M claimed that women candidates were selected in excess of their reservation quota, contrary to the Rules.

They contended that though the Rules provided for horizontal reservation of 20% for women categorywise, the authorities preparing the selection list, had wrongly applied the principles of vertical reservation and had selected women in excess of the quota, thereby denying selection of the appellants and other male candidates. 

This forms the basis of the case Rajesh Kumar Daria v. State of Rajasthan. I'm still at para 6, but there's a wonderfully dense piece of text that was begging to be quoted: 

The proper and correct course is to first fill up the Open Competition quota (50%) on the basis of merit; then fill up each of the social reservation quotas, i.e., S.C., S.T. and B.C; the third step would be to find out how many candidates belonging to special reservations have been selected on the above basis. If the quota fixed for horizontal reservations is already satisfied - in case it is an overall horizontal reservation - no further question arises. But if it is not so satisfied, the requisite number of special reservation candidates shall have to be taken and adjusted/accommodated against their respective social reservation categories by deleting the corresponding number of candidates therefrom. (If, however, it is a case of compartmentalized horizontal reservation, then the process of verification and adjustment/accommodation as stated above should be applied separately to each of the vertical reservations. In such a case, the reservation of fifteen percent in favour of special categories, overall, may be satisfied or may not be satisfied.

Fun no?


I saw Haidar and liked it. That little one-act, one-man, play-speech was one of the best I've seen in a while. I then watched Maqbool, and found it pointless and not very charming, but I suppose it was a good movie after all.

I also saw Iruvar and was spellbound. Rekindled an interest in Dravidian politics (that, and an argument with a Delhi karan about his desire for the end of the DMK/ADMK and the rise of national parties in TN. Yeah right.).

Said friend kindly loaned me Bala Jayaram and Srikanth Veeravalli's books on Periyar, Kamraj and MGR - slim volumes with biographical and anecdotal narratives. I'm enjoying them immensely.

Next on the list is Subramaniapuram and Gangs of Wasseypur. If I can tear myself away from GoT, that is.


Speaking of Dravidian politics, something sad comes to mind. A few years ago, I came across this Subramania Bharathi song called "Aasai mugam marandhu poche" which is a poem where Bharathi laments that he has forgotten the face of his dead mother.

Even further before, from when I can remember, me and my cousin have searched in vain for a photo of my paternal grandmother. She died when my aunt was ten and my uncle was seven and my dad was five. None of them remember her face. There is apparently a photograph - but one that is lost somewhere deep in the bowels of the attics of Peggy-oor and all we have to remember her by are some jewels, her splendid brass utensils and two pieces of art that are framed and hang in the living room.

I still hope we'll find a picture one day, but otherwise...we'll have to be content with imagining what she would have been like and looked like.

Much like the song, I wonder if my dad feels as painfully stirred that he has forgotten.

BTW, speaking of forgotten, this year my dad forgot his wedding anniversary. I didn't know if I should be relieved or sad, but it was a bit of a sucker punch all the same.


Serious obsession with the Song of Ice and Fire forum has kicked in. The last month or so has been devoted to scouring the pages looking for new foreshadowing and following Dany v Jon discussions.
Spent much time thinking about whether GRRM's writings are feminist, and I'm not certain I have the answer. 

Also, while we're on the Dany v. Jon theme, I'm afraid I fall in the Dany rox camp. But though I didn't dislike Jon (SPOILERS)..

...I somehow find it nauseating that his parentage should involve a certain prince and a certain lady, so he can be...purified/restored to glory/act as the saviour? I'm not a fan of the most popular fan theory (you either know or don't! :) ) but I can't find a credible source of opposition to the theory - after all ... + .... = .... is on its 107th iteration.

I am still lost, though I don't wander so much. Or is it the other way around? :)

Monday, September 22, 2014


Ugh - blog hiatus, and its only getting worse. :X

So many creative projects started and lying in the dust, but I'm getting better at saying yes and no to ideas, so that's a start?

Some thoughts from the past few months:

1) I am feeling awful about being srongly disinclined re writing anything important on paper. I wanted to buy a small book to jot down ideas but the lack of proper indexing + search put me off. Yuck. So annoyed with myself.

2) I spent a good part of today learning about all the quotas available on IRCTC. Truly mind-boggling. (PQWL, RWL, RQWL, GQWL, CKWL, Ladies Quota, HP, DP, DF, HO, FT) SO MUCH INFO.

3) After many years I thought of the word Gulbarga. And Jolarpet and Renigunta. Ah, Renigunta

4) I have had YET another fabulous haircut. Bliss.

5) Life is pleasantly filled with nothingness and it has been a struggle to learn to enjoy. But I am trying :) and failing less.

6) Stuff is hard - stuff like coding, and reading new things. Statistics is hard.

7)  To thine own self, be true. THIS IS HARD. I have been trying, especially in my quest for meaningful _____ whatever (it used to be employment, but now is a blank) to be true to my interests and motivations but there is so much white noise where I should find faith.

Ah well.

More later and await news on the professional front, which I promise you will be interesting!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

My thoughts on having it all

DF and I have an email chain where we send each other one incredible article a day to read; the chain is titled " If you read only one thing today, let it be this".

Over the months that we've had this chain, we've sent each other articles on sport, politics, science and feel-good advice. I once sent an Oatmeal comic to DF because we were both going through some puppy-longing - and he immediately shot back with "Oatmeal doesn't count: stop polluting the thread!".

So you see - we apparently have standards, and those standards demand >Oatmeal level of awesomeness. 

Anyway and onwards DF today was at home between meetings and I heard him chortle while he read an article in the loo, and then he sent it to me - NOT as a regular email, but as part of the thread, so obviously I immediately clicked on the link ignoring all my open tabs re GoT conspiracy theories on who Jon Snow really is!


A few seconds into the article, I was wrinkling my brow and as I reached the end, I was very deeply disappointed. It was an article about Indira Nooyi and her mum and her husband and her Nintendo loving child and having it all.


I turned on DF with righteous fury as he emerged - demanding to know what he meant by sending me an article so obviously disguised as 'empowering and practical' but is all too likely YET ANOTHER piece of writing that firmly defines success as also excelling at childcare for women?

DF backtracked after a bit of yelling back and forth, claiming, with little success that:

1) The headline is misleading - its obviously meant to grab eyeballs
2) Don't read that bit about her mum asking her to get milk- that's not why I sent it
3) Don't read that bit about how she says she can't have it all - that's not why I sent it
4) Don't read that bit about her child and how she feels guilty - that's not why I sent it
5) Yes, that bit RIGHT AT THE END - about her priorities - it was funny and refreshing - that's why I sent it.

Really? I asked DF? You sent me an article on this thread about how her career is her top priority as some kind of MAJOR AWESOMENESS that I should read?
(Lingering Oatmeal-burn hate remained).

 He shot back some rationale and I out-screamed him, with good reason: I make excellent feminist rants and plugged in my earphones to shut him out (worked too - he apologised loudly, patted me on the shoulder and went away to his meeting - chastened and a little confused but probably unsure of where exactly he screwed up and thinking to himself that he really did not, but apologising was the quickest way to exit stage-left).

But this is where he screwed up: He sent me an article with these words "I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all."
Says who missy?

I asked DF if he'd ever read an article or followed an internet debate about men and whether they can have it all? Did the head of GE make such a statement? KKR? Google? What about Goldman? Or Linklaters? Surely they're parents too? Surely they strive for balance in the same way every human does?

SO what's this fuss about having it all, then? Is it about the invisibility of childcare as a metric for success - which only women are graded on? Why's that? Is it questioning the metric? No - its using the metric to claim limited success by one gender in playing off that metric against a more conventional success index that pits women as having to achieve awesomeness in all spheres while not even having a conversation about the conventional success index for men. 
Try it yourself: Do a quick google search for "can men have it all". The articles that pop up - read them carefully not for words re men and women, but men only -  NOT ONE will say only that men can't have it all. NOT one article will explicitly state that 1) only men are faced with a choice,  and 2) only men can have one or the other, NEVER BOTH and 3) men should stop kidding themselves.

NOPE. They'll all be variations along the lines of is full of trade-offs.... not possible to "have it all." ...never was.... women or for men...both...equally....

All of which is of course true, but nothing I can throw back in DF's face to say ha - here you go - "Mr. XXX thinks YOU can't have it all - go suffocate in the implausible fumes of your burning dreams" - which made me sad/grumpy.
:(  Can you send me a link to one such if it exists?

Maybe that's my problem - I've grown up with such unusually STRONG female influences and such unusually WEAK masculine influences that its impossible for me to think that someone can't have it all merely because she's a woman and she has kids and she has to compromise on one for the other constantly. I think being poor is more likely to make you 'not' have it all. But tons of Americans clearly think otherwise?  (Don't even bring up SCOTUS).

I think people who have some money and freedom choose how to live their lives and in that choice-making, priorities help inform that decision - so to the extent priorities are different, choices will be too. Priorities are all too often determined by primary socialisation - but surely if one wants to step outside these boundaries, it shouldn't be too hard? This is a way of saying trade-offs etc.  But no one seems to be questioning primary socialisation that is so dificult to shake-off, esp for women in terms of maternal guilt and children - no one is outraging that the debate is hijackd by the choices that socialisation makes you believe you have. Amirite?

Unless - red pill? (Not a pun guys, I swear).

Maybe the reason why the article hurt was because DF and I scheduled a lunch-talk to discuss some important life issues that I felt I had the disproportionate burden of having to shoulder. As in football commentary, or life in general, context is everything. 

The article hurt. Finger in wound.

So let me make it clear.  I've never had anyone tell me I can''t have it all - if I want to, I will. And I'll define what 'all' (cake + abs anyone?) means to me and that definition will likey change everyday and that's totally ok - primary socialisation be damned.

Better a simplistic belief than a complex despondency/life devoid of cake. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gory details (or How I become a better person when DF is away)

So gentle reader, as you may  know, DF (being a usefully employed person with a fun job) went away on a work trip to London (I made him promise he would buy me toothpaste pumps).

Now, I don't know why, but Delhi makes me the kind of person who has things done for her. For example, I have a maid who cleans and cooks and does most household chores. I have a husband who runs errands, bakes a mean lemon pound cake and generally drives me around ( bless him) and in-laws who send packets of home-made goodies and podis frequently.

Plus, living with someone in a relationship (and not just as a roommate) means that you get very used to having conversations about daily habits (poop), bodily parts and fluids - none of which are easily had with other whataspp contacts. You also get used to the companionship, the soothing away of irrational panic and the always-readiness for cuddles. In sum, you become an accepter, more than a doer. Well, I do anyway, and I look at DF with puzzled naivete when he says the same, but its time for the truth - because the truth leads us to today's story.

Stardate whatever, Day 2 of period, which, many years down the line, I have made my peace with as a monthly occurance. During course of day, tampons are used. All well so far.

At around 5 pm, I decide to step out to run an errand ALL BY MYSELF (DF will thank me, I'm sure and I like surprising him by being un-lazy). I make a list of things to buy (slippers, coffee powder, new pillow covers and yoga mat), take a quick shower, change, get interrupted by phone call, throw on thinnest possible clothes and leave house before next bout of laziness takes over.

I run errands successfully - except the slippers and the yoga mat. But I bought fruits.  (WIN).

I trudge home, dripping with sweat and telling myself DF better be grateful for tomorrow's coffee. Because it is so hot and gross in Delhi, I decide to take another shower before dinner.

Moment of truth. I can't find a tampon inside of me.


I totally freak out - and realise there is no one to project my panic upon, thus requiring that I tone it down and BE RATIONAL AND CALM omg I am going to die. Sit on bathroom floor looking wretched for few mins.

Make list of possible scenarios:
1) I was time-napped, so that a few years have passed me by and I went away through a portal and came back but the adjustment wasn't fine enough so I came back during period time but obviously the tampon was gone.
(Too many flaws).
2) I forgot to wear one.
3) Its stuck inside me aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


Quick rummage through bin and matching of discarded wrappers and used tampons confirms my suspicions - that I forgot to wear one - but niggling HYPOCHONDRIAC DISASTER BRAIN DEATH AND GORE feelings don't go away.

HOW, I ask myself, is it possible that I _forgot_ to wear one? It simply seems ridiculous! I panic again. Must check if its stuck inside - BUT HOW.

Internet confirms only one way (other than going to OB/GYN and having him/her check). And most instructions begin with word 'relax'. Yeah right.

I follow instructions - except the 'relax' part and I can't find it - but now I can't remember what anything is supposed to feel like anymore. Life has become Kafkaesque. I feel light-headed. I require a list.

1) I find a corner and sit in it.
2) Take deep breaths.
3) Decided to await DF's arrival for coffee and have TRAUMATIC CONVERSATION ABOUT MY LADYPARTS and ADVICE.
4) Make plan to go to Ob/Gyn and waster her time and earn her wrath for false alarm.
5) Pat myself on back for handling this so calmly.
6) PROMISE myself to not google 'if tampon stuck will i die'
7) Blog about it
8) Shower.

There you go - moment of growth all recorded in gory details for posterity. You may now feel much better about your well-organised life.


Tampons should come with gps bio-devices stuck on them. #jussaying#million$idea

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Hobby

I alluded to this earlier on, but My Hobby these days is reading most things in a Toby Ziegler voice.

My reading all of today (neglecting what I was actually to read) was about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Boredom + DF in London + summer vacation mood = TV shows from Israel, Sweden and Canada.

Hatufim, the Israeli series upon which Homeland is loosely based (I say loosely because I am in Season 2 of Hatufim) is a complex and finely-tuned drama about 3 Israeli POWs who return home. It has none of the raciness and the sexiness of the US drama - and is all about characters and detail  - Im enjoying the pace so far, though I definitely mute the dialogues sometimes (there's only so much blood and gore I can take - usually about a teaspoon or so).

The necessary corrolary is of course a neglect of co-ordinate geometry and an obsession with Middle-East history and conflict.

My googling also yielded some excellent Persian food blogs, so that's a plus. ( Though this is more what I'd expect Leo to say).