Thursday, November 28, 2013

Let us go then, you and I

The past few hours, I have been filled with a strange restless sort of energy, neither letting me work, nor letting me read in peace. I have opened and closed tabs, only half-focusing on the content I consume, I switch back to my twitterfeed, eyes only partially taking in the steady rhythm of  tidbits of news, randomly clicking on links, and parsing bits of some poetry I've started to read and back to my inbox calling out to me with its neat list of unfinished tasks and diligent reminders, and I alt tab ahain.

I'm doing all things badly, listlessly even, these few weeks, and my mind is approaching the kind of overwhelmed, blank state I find myself in more often than not.

There's an increasingly large list of unfinished promises I've been trying to keep and I;m doing them all badly. So, in honesty to myself, and after a lot of introspection about life, and how I should live it, I've decided to cut out on vague deadlines, impractical goals, a gazillion scribbles to do things better, grand visions of all of the things I am going to change. This next birthday year, I am going to hunker down and work smart and live smart and be as zenspaax as I can be, and do it well.

One of the things I am thus ending is bloggy. Its not a big deal, you know, been there, done that, and since Singapore, this bloggy has been barely there, but it too like everything else I'm putting away, is from a time ago and deserves love, respect and a kindly goodbye.

Goodbye world, goodbye bloggy. The shoes will remain, but I will go.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A year and a day

A year and a day ago, I came to Delhi, utterly sure that I could face everything the city could throw at me. I fancied myself worldly-wise, and a sophisticate, a gentle ball of joy and wisdom that would obliviate all negativity and coat itself with rose petals.

No such luck - Delhi won, I hate the city (as much as I want to love it, I hate hate hate hate hate hate Delhi and most of its disgustoid, honky, honky, honky, overtake-y, dub stepped inhabitants).

Surprisingly, (or maybe not), most people I knew in Delhi didn't share the sentiment; to them, Delhi was either home, or an adopted home with more pluses than minuses, and it suited their purposes just fine. I despaired of finding someone who would understand how soul-crushing and spirit-defeating Delhi could be - did no one hate it as much as I did? Did no one dream that they'd find satisfying careers elsewhere? Were people really comfortable making long-term plans about staying in Delhi - WHY?

I wondered if there was something wrong with me - did Delhi leave me out of its charm-spell? Why couldn't I enjoy the gol guppas and the lehengas and the meter-using autowallahs and be happy?

I don't know, and I wish I loved Delhi - I really do, because then life would be much simpler - but seven years (bloggy's birthday is sometime now) at idreamthedream should have warned you that I never get to do simple. Its always complex, and sometimes its even batshit insane, and I guess that's what gets a blog running. Who wants to read about a simple life anyway? (looks around warily)

What else - oh, professionally, I am a mess, but not really, I think. I don't know. Clarity is lacking sorely on this front, but I trudge ahead, brave warrior, spiky ball, less gentle than I used to be - wondering why I have to look out for myself as much - what a bloody waste of time it is.

I feel like so much has happened in the last year, but I can't articulate my ineffectual grasp of it all. I lived in Delhi, I tried being in academic / public policy, I slept more than I should have, I am rested now, and I'm ready to take on the world - but I worry that I am losing my gentle, flower-child, sense of self, and am instead morphing into a (even more) manipulative thick-skinned bitch. Will I cry if children die? That's rhetorical, calm down.

I can't say I'm impressed with the last year - it was a more a lesson in what-not-to-do, rather than the opposite. But learning happens in curious ways, and knowing the things that one shouldn't do isn't any less useful than knowing the things one should do - right? I feel so anyway - and that's my silver lining for Aug 2012 - Aug 2013.

That's all my news for you - save one. Over seven years, across themes and fonts and templates, and laundry struggles, and chemo rants, and heartbreaking sadness, and loves, and crushes, and work and play and food, at places, with varying conceptions of privacy, and sense of self, this blog has been a constant in my life, and I love it dearly, and I love you dearly, gentle reader, but you probably know that there is another very special constant in my life - DF, with whom I have an arduous, complex and mostly bewildering relationship,

I've hated him, and loved him, and wanted him, and then not, but its taken nine years and then some to figure out that he isn't going anywhere. And that's fine by me. :) We're going to make this work - and as commitment phobic as I am, that's a huge step to take, isn't it? Well, unless you count the fact that we're getting married as a step - which we are, in the form of a somewhat large madras wedding hoopla, and I'm going to write about it here, but anonymously, because DF is somewhat private.

Goodbye, and Happy Independence Day, gentle reader. I leave to board a flight to Madras, to home, where I shall continue to mend a once-broken, but slowly salvaged relationship with my father. We are both survivors of such tragedies, great and small, real and perceived, some suffered jointly, some separated by 40 years of lives lived apart and before, but there is such peace in my heart these days, and I wish for him to have it too and for us to have it together.

And I wish for you to have it too - so hugs. Don't forget to watch the parade, ok?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I am a fever paapa ... ta nana ta nanana

 I'm unwell, super grumpy and I love that we have a working temperature wand (thermometer). Everytime I diagnose myself and it displays a reading of 38.0 deg C or so, I sing to myself "I am a fever paapa" to the tune of "I am a disco dancer".

Annoying DF thusly makes me feel a WHOLE LOT better.


Monday, July 01, 2013

Morning Blues

It is now 6:21 am, and I have been here since 5:59, my feet resting against the railings in the balcony space, steadily observing the early-morning activities of my neighbours and smelling the delicious quiet of the Delhi morning. No-one has honked yet, and I even heard a few non-pigeon birds.

The rainy coolness of the early morning is being peeled away, and I can feel (though not see) a sun coming up somewhere. Likely, it is the sun on this planet, and soon it will be so unbearably humid that I will feel the need to walk into my living room and stand under the fan as I observe the geometric-like patterns that dust makes on fan blades. (This is of no consequence to you, gentle reader, and I wish you climate controlled environs in which you read this.)

At 6:30, my alarm aptly titled 'Waist to hip ratio' will go off, and I will hopefully throw on some shoes and take the skipping rope and head to the park nearby. First, I will have to throw on a bra, which ranks highly in the list of unpleasant things I have to do in the mornings.

I haven't woken up unaided as early as 6 without some kind of prodding. Usually, it is an irate parent, or a screechy alarm telling me about an exam, or some impending disaster that requires my early morning attention. Today, it is a nightmare, rather, a dream that figuratively makes me want to feel physical pain so that I may focus on the blood and gore and distract myself from the spectacle of my subconscious masochism.  This dream wasn't brutal, it was just a window into the alternate univii of everything to do with everything that I wish to not talk about or feel anymore - for god's sake, it is 2013. You would think three years and nine-months would do the trick, right? Or atleast I would get a universe where the scenario takes a turn for the better than the fucking reality on earth? Is that too much to ask for Physics and Subconscious?

Cute old Sikh uncles with cloth facelifts to hold their gigantic turbans + beards in place, have started their morning walks. Neighbour old man from the house diagonally opposite has woken up, watered his plants, and is now clad in sweats and a fun T-shirt; he leaves his house with a surprisingly jaunty step in his stride. The cars parked in front of the house have been cleaned, by two different cleaner men - one for each car, not two for each - excuse my poor sentence phrasing.

Early on, at  6:07, I saw a classmate of mine from college, who now lives in the street somewhere, walk by on his way to a jog. I tried calling out to him, but my voice cracked, and whether it was from the reality of the stuff of dreams, or the a/c running all night, we'll never know.

My alarm went off 6 minutes ago, and it says 'Swimming'. The 'Waist to hip ratio' alarm that is meant to motivate me to do, well, cardio is set for 6:45, when I must needs cease writing, but I have some time yet. The sun is definitely out, I can feel a distinct drop in coolness. I have had my glass of lemon water, a new habit I am trying to pick up, and I should really get out of this chair, move my feet away from the railings and drown all of my sorrow in endorphins, but for just a few minutes more, I am going to be weak and pathetic and sad and I am going to let my lower lip tremble. The eyes filling with tears is a good thing though, it sort of self-washes away eye-gunk from the night.

I have a week ahead that I am not prepared to face mentally, more so with what I have woken up to today, Can I really stay in Delhi for a couple of years more? Can I really find it in me to embrace this harsh, aggressive and thoroughly distasteful clump of overgrown villages? I don't know - for once, I truly do not want to live here anymore, but opportunities and circumstance are forcing my hand.

It is 6:43 - I must depart, but I hope your day is going better than mine. If you have a dog of some kimd, can I borrow it for an hour or two? I need some unconditional love, and even that, I'm afraid, isn't going to save me from my signature mix of self-hate, sadness and delhi-hate.

Have a productive week gentle reader, I leave in search of breathlessness and endorphins.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I love you prime

Sometimes, when I am ill, (like the last couple of days), or when I screw up a lot, or when I am generally unsure of my place in the world, its nice to say ""I love you"with a puppy face to DF.

DF usually engrossed in a book, or cake, or in cutting fruit (like totally a weirdo hobby if there ever was one) is conditioned enough to say "I love you too!" in a puppy voice with a straight face.

Sometimes, things get a little out of hand, and move from cute-puppy-romantic to hmm-let-me-google-that, like below:

Today I tell DF - " I hurt all over, and I'm, so tired and I feel so ill."
DF says ":( Hug - why don't you sleep and let me do some work. "
I say: "Ok, I love you."
DF says: "I love you too. "
I say: "I love you three. "
DF says: "I love you seventeen."
I say: "I love you seventy-nine."
DF says: "Is that a prime? We can only love each other prime."
I say: "Yeah, it probably is. Anyway, I definitely love you nineteen."


So, we being to make a list of all the primes we know, and it became very difficult once we reached 113. (FYI: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19,  23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101, 103, 107, 109, 113... INFINITY)

Now its time to eat dinner, but remember gentle reader, if you love someone, do it prime.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Price of Admission

Its summer. In Delhi. 46 degree Celcius. FORTY-SIX. Stuff melts at this temperature. I may be heatsick. Better than heartsick, yak yak.
My brain has probably melted.


I just watched DF cut a watermelon into small perfectly shaped pieces. Eugh.
If only watermelon skins were like mango skins and you could just sink your teeth into them and release your inner savage.

I grumbled that DF had cut all of the watermelon before I could make my pitch for eating them slice-wise as opposed to piece-wise, but DF merely waved a large knife and said that "That's the price of admission.

We're a riot - please visit, in winter.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cloud Atlas

Today was one of those days when I just couldn't be bothered to go to work. As I said to DF in the morning, "Here I am (hand at chin level), when I know what I am doing, here I am (hand at stomach level), most days of my life, and today, I am the floor."

I pushed myself to get out of bed though, and I dressed and I dutifully ate my breakfast (perspiring gently in the Delhi summer and wondering if I should start wearing sunglasses at home) while looking around for something to read on the way to work.

Usually, my breakfast read is the newspaper, but ever since we had a chik installed, we're lucky if we get the paper 3 days a week. Anyway! I figured I may as well start on Cloud Atlas because I had begun reading it the previous night, and it was getting unputdownable.

I sat on the ratty broken sofa for five hours at a stretch, prolonging my breakfast and reading Cloud Atlas and thinking to myself, "who needs to go to work when I can learn from this book right here!"
I got up when the battery on my phone died, and ventured inside to lie on the bed and finish the book, and I did.

And wow.

And because I am inarticulate and now faced with the consequences of unintended bunking, I haven't the time to review it, but I wanted to point you to this:

At the Cloud Atlas press conference, Lana Wachowski said, “We all felt the book affects your brain. You read it and your brain no longer splits it up into six stories. Your brain begins making connections itself.” The directors line up the climaxes of the many stories like mountaintops in a row so that the viewer can see the same struggle for freedom over the great expanse of time. And in each era, authority figures — whether slave traders or futuristic city cops — say “There is a natural order to the world.”

And in each climax there is a hero, male or female, who knows this to be a lie. The effect on the audience in seeing such vastly different societies from the 19th century’s racial slavery to the genetic clone slavery of the 22nd century is the realization that no natural order exists. Every society is a web of power and ideology woven together that ensnares the bodies of those living in them. What is natural is the desire to embody the repressed truth and live it. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

This Thursday

My plants are dying and its HOT HOT DUSTY DUSTY.

Plus, I am very close to broke.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Its a NEW ME. Do you love me still.

Suffice to say I have done a whole lot of nothingness. Isn't it surprising, I read and wrote and ate and ate and ran and met many *different* people and bought groceries and baked and cooked and did housework and laundrylaundrylaundry and a million other things when I was justanothercorporatelawyerdrone.

I made the switch to whateverthisisnow (new style of replacing hyphens (like so -) with non-spaces (likeso)) to have more time (and specifically to quote myself (because god damn, how much history do I have to deal with)) :

This, this now and here, it doesn’t feel right. There’s always this sense of deprivation, no?
I want to roam streets if I feel like it at 3 pm. I want to be non-corporate. I don’t want to do timesheets. I want to read with the luxury of a lot of time. I want to make and drink a lot of tea. I want to wear orange clothes to work, shut down my computer at 6:00 pm and go out and learn a language or swim or bake or read a judgment or write!  If it rains, I want to go out and splash. I want to be wrapped up completely in my thoughts. 
I want to think.
I want to not sit at a computer all day. I want to be a veryusefulperson. I want to create and contribute.  I’d really like to set a goal and achieve it on my own. A big huge difficult goal. Not atention to detail – that is NOT my goal. NO NO NO NO NO.
I want to wake up and feel like there is a very definite reason why I am doing what I do. If I don’ t have that reason, I want to stop doing it – just like that – poof.  

There is now no definite reason I am doing this. I haven't thought or read a judgment or become more intelligent. I have baked and gone swimming and playing in the rains. Also wore orange and pink. 

I must needs cease this folly, it would seem. 


I WAS JUST GETTING STARTED. DID I ever really ask for such restlessness? I think I need a big difficult goal. Yes. 

Also, the bloggy must awaken from its slumber. Rooooooooar.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Delhi 1.0

(FYI: I wrote this quite a while before recent events sharpened my hatred of Delhi; await more nuanced perspectives.)

This blog has taken a while to come into being, as have I, in my Delhi (new) avatar. Moving cities (countries!) and moving jobs is exciting, but having to, alongside the move, shift well-established life-function templates is not only exhausting, its also demoralising.

For example, I miss pavements and comfortable, safe access to public transport. I miss microwaevable 1-minute rice and I deeply and truly miss Microsoft Outlook and its excellent anality-optimising filing functions. I miss grabbing a cappucino on my way to work, egalitarianism dripping off my satisfying goods-services exchange and at a deeper level, I miss swiping in my access card early so I can grab my free copy of the FT.  I miss the honest sanctity of RSVPs, the easy availability of tampons, the creamy smoothness of avocados, the happy zings of bellini-nights and the affordability of Lush products. I miss being enveloped in a cocoon of safe.
Truly, I miss my shallow materialistic self, and I miss my frivolous biglaw life, and I feel a sharp strong hatred for Delhi - my currentus situs.

 However, I do this in moments of pique and not armed with the benefit of forethought. Peruse (if only you could) bloggy avatar 1.3 (2005-2012) and you will realise that for every anguished "Why can I not find a FLUFFY bathrobe in Delhi?" question I could ask now, you will read about a deeply pained "Where can I get jalebis at 2140 while I wait for my evil client to tell me to send out the document?" post or a "Why aren't there enough vegetarian options in the champagne brunch buffet?!" post.
Life in cities across the world comes with inconveniences, I know. In some, you can't pay people enough to get them to fix you up an internet connection in two days, while in others, there isn't a true democracy, and in some others, people fight vigorously over parking spots. Families live in some cities, while others are rent-unattractive, or temperature-unattractive, or simply unattractive. Some have only great sushi, some have mediocre vegetarian sushi, and some have no sushi at all. Some have jalebis many metro stops away, but no monuments that are give or take 800 years old. Some only have public transport, some force you to rely on private, and others offer a colourful but expensive mix. Some are clean and scarily ultra-efficient, but they effectively take away all bacterial immunity that growing up in India has lovingly bestowed upon you. In some, you are the ugly, the unsexual, the un-dateable, the other. In others, the others are the un-dateables, and you are still the other. In a few, you are not the other, but you don't like the one. In most, your cleaner will not tell you how strong your 'curry' smells, leaving you with a curious undeterminable sense of shame; in one, your maid will take exceptional pride in her flavourful spicy cooking. In some, you will be saved from having to speak freely to a bewilderingly large number of people everyday about deeply personal matters, but in others, you needs must justify your english-speaking skills and your knowledge of european culture. Threading is cheaper in some and unheard of in others, but they use hair-nets to streak your hair in the a few.  In some, men will stand in queues for you, and insist on dropping you home, in others, they will open doors. In some you will have a spot of tea, in some, tea is chai and you will be encouraged to dip most things into it, and in others, its a choice between a soy chai latte or green tea with red beans. Some days only filter coffee will do and then what will you do? In some, everyone will be your brother or sister unhesitatingly; in others, you must jump through many hoops before you become a friend. In some, you are a size ten, and your hips and arches are compatible with the forms of desirable female bodies laid out numerically on racks. In some, you are large and your chest is too big and they have nothing pretty for you to wear, while in others, your tailor will ask matter-of-factly, if you want "padding". Your freedom in each is determined by different entities, in some, it is a travel pass and a work permit, in others, it is a car.

Cities reflect values, and identities borrow from the same values that a city allows itself to be shaped by, so there is, in some sense, a limitation on whom you can be, and how far you can take that whom until it ends in ugly consequences. Most cities have some common values and I gladly bask in their safe anonymity, collecting labels to define my space; new-to-delhi, madrasi, girl, heterosexual, modern, vakil, english-speaking, wine-drinker - and for the most part, they work, but I am greedy and I am pushy and I have a maid, and a whole lot of time on my hands and I want MORE. Sometimes, I sit on my ratty broken sofa and think about the fact that nothing occupies the hole in my life that laundry and work used to fill. Jalebis, besan bondas, shiny jewellery and culturally similar companions can only take you that far ahead. Blogging is a sketchy replacement, but its the best I can come up with, and so, here I am.

I'm trying to have a good time in Delhi, but cultural baggage weighs me down. Expectation slaughters my timid explorations into the unknown and I worry that I am all delhi-ed out, that the city is not, to me, a shehron ka sheher, a riot of colour and humour or a capital city that is joyously contrary but merely a crumbling, dusty edifice that is bursting its seams, crime-ridden and is polluted and gender-biased. Regardless, I am here for a while yet, and we shall have to see how this story ends. :)

Like always, welcome, gentle reader.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


In the few days since the beginning of this new year (a year, btw, that has wholly different digits, something that didn't happen since 1987) I've come across some excellent statement material. One is particular, stayed with me, and I wanted to share - not merely because it is ironifunny (ironically funny)

Now, you see, statement material is very different from pithy, sarcastic material, though good statement material is both pithy and sarcastic. Its not merely that. Its more than the sum of pithy and sarcastic words. Like Golpalott's Third Law. (I re-read all of Harry Potter during the holidays, along with every depressing article I could lay my hands on about the Delhi rape).

(On a separate note, look how bad my sentence structuring becomes when I don't blog for a few months...sheesh).

Anyway, I thought'd I share that statement, and let you enjoy your gentle introduction to bloggy verision 1.4, I think.

  "You might as well just put "If you're white, male, first-world and straight, it's your fault in some way" on the front page every day and be done with it."