Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yuletide joy

The sun shone in the mellow way that it sometimes does. It was a cold morning and a little boy was excited. For this was the day Santa brought gifts! He had carefully hung out socks and an old muffler. They did not possess stockings and mittens, in fact,he actually had no idea what a mitten was. Since he was only eight, we excuse him for thinking it was some kind of a kitten. He just hoped that Santa would accept a sock and a muffler as a suitable receptacle for placing goodies.

Vimalambal woke early. It was margazhi, the holy month and it was said that getting up early would ensure a spot in Vaikuntha. She was getting old and did not want to take any chances. Savitri, her arch rival had most conveniently expired on a holy day and if savitri was in heaven, then by hell (pun unintended) she was going there too.Plus It was Vaikuntha Ekadasi. After her bath, she mumbled prayers and fiddled for the light switch in the hall and her hand hit something.

"Aiyyo" . Her screams woke the entire household. Appa thought she had fallen and broken her hip. Amma chastised appa for thinking that way and guessed (rightly) that some blasphemy had occurred. "I have touched socks..Which fool has placed them here? all impure now! fie fie*"

A few strong cups of coffee later the mystery was cleared. I was reading to many Enid Blyton's and in all my naivete had believed Santa mama to come bearing gifts. Also I have never seen my parents laugh so hard. Ever. The events also sparked off a series of cheap jokes on me and socks. To this day it rankles. Most children rejoice at the thought of Christmas. I cower in fear of lame jokes and people dangling socks under my nose (smelly ones at that).

To be fair to Vimalambal (name changed to protect identity) and the others, I shall narrate this too. Later in the day she called her grandson and gave him a 100 rupee note. for Christmas, from Santa mama. His parents also got him gifts. Awww..happy family moment. His parents also later discreetly cautioned him against getting such ideas during Easter. He was expressly forbidden to get eggs of any sort, lest Viamlambal throw a royal, purple fit.

*replaced. This is a family-friendly place. And words uttered by old ladies sometimes put the most reprobate to shame, notwithstanding holy months or days.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Need To Know!!

A person without thoughts is not a possibility. The thoughts may be redundant, silly, stimulating, destructive..anything but, thoughts they are! We think about multifarious things in a day. Thoughts triggered by different events, with a varied essence and of varying magnitudes.
According to me Maslow's Pyramid of needs helps in answering a lot of questions which are physiological and psychological in nature. It can help each of us identify the pattern of our thoughts.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs consists of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as being associated with Physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are satisfied. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level.

So when we actually reach the stage of self-actualization we are apparently materially and emotionally satisfied individuals.

Of the last few months I can visualize myself as an animated stick figure trekking up the learning curve of my organization, Maslow's hierarchy and life on the whole. After a lot of analysis I figured I think I'm in the "Need to Know and Understand" segment.

So where do you think you figure in the hierarchy of needs??

P.S: Cross posted from my other blog, Life is above it all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sheer brilliance

We have been tagged. By a veteran blogger, close friend and a humourous-psychotic-cranberry eating-song sending maniac. So we have no choice but to accept it. After all in the scheme of things that is the blogosphere we are but an insignificant blimp (as opposed to him, a minor celebrity). So we accept graciously.

But whats more pleasing than something to blog about is the reception of an award. Its not everyday that one gets to boast about being called most brilliant.

We is happy :) :D and slightly delusional.

The rules of the tag are: Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

Family: They're crazy. They're a hoot and are mostly inadvertently so.I really haven't even begun to write about all the stuff that goes on, but all of them make for posts tagged as humour, satire, and such many varying platitudes. This is an example of things they usually do. This, however was written after much anguish. A rare time no family should have to go through.

Friend: A category that's suddenly expanded to include lot more people. More craziness. Most of my blogroll.The beginning of it all. A rare breed of inspiring friends here.

Yourself: Not much here. Or then, my entire blog. My posts are a very good indicator of what I'm feeling currently and whats eating my mind most. So there.

Your love: No talking here. Simply

Anything you like: I suspect this category has been included for the express purpose of shameless self publicity. But then that's what the whole tag manages to do. Oh well. Here go. What I call parent-friendly swearing. And one of my personal favourates.

We are also supposed to tag few more. Basically make them link around their blog (yawn!). We are also giving out to the award to the same people (so that we dont have to choose and be accused of favouratism later). I call brilliant swatimala, elusive, liberal and chocoliciousgal. Newcomer fat-gujju can just do the tag and feel happy.

PS: I am most peeved. humourous and favourates are underlined in red by blogger.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


The earphones fit perfectly for a change, snugly, warm and comforting in my ears.

I reached into my pocket and turned up the volume of my iPod. Dido began to sing a little louder than one second ago.

'no white flag, above my door'
oh no baby, I thought, no white flag.

'...go down with the ship...'
indeed you will, and so will I.

Walking through the aisle, I looked at the passengers on both sides. They stared back mat me scared, faces pale and it struck me a little funny. I positioned myself and began my performance, I'd rehearsed my lines well and knew I would kill it. I realised though, that I was talking a bit too loudly, like headphon'ed' people normally do.

Same can be said true for people with 2 Kg RDX trapped on their bodies. One of my two brothers was done with the praying and he tapped me on the shoulder saying that it was my turn.

I walked into the pilot's cabin and sat in the co-pilot's chair. I smiled at the pilot's blood streaked face which radiated hate at me like a brilliant heater, the kinds we could ony dream of back home on cold winter nights. I sat there looking at the clouds, Strato Cumuls the passanger next to me had called them and the cities standing tall and far far away.

Not for long though.

I did not pray, just skipped to my next favorite song. The clock at my belt slowly ticked to blasting point.

Just enough time to squeeze in Floyd.....'Time'.

Friday, December 5, 2008


She sat in front of the dressing table and unscrewed the concealer, the same brand that she had been using for the last 5 years.She poured out the the ususal copious amounts of concealer and began to carefully apply the liquid on her face.

Remembering back to the day of her wedding when she, who had always been envied for her beauty and her flawless complexion, didn't require any of this unsavoury stuff. She now sat with intense concentration to hide that very skin behind a clayey concealer. She remembered her wedding day nearly 5 years back - the beautician was amazed to see a bride so beautiful without the bridal paraphanelia.It was her face that had captured the attention and consequently the heart of her future husband.

This beauty which she was once so proud of was today the bane of her life. The challenge to hide her pain and still measure up to the standards of the world had become a matter of routine for her.Touching up the makeup she realized this careful regimen for her had now become a sad necessity.

Just as she finished and turned, the pallu of her sari caught on the bottle and it crashed to the ground. She saw the mess caused by the gooey liquid which was for her; not a whim, but a necessity. Suddenly she found herself crying, the broken pieces of glass reflecting her state of mind and something in her snapped and she thought, "Till when will I paint away the streaks of pain??"

She walked into the bathroom and washed away all her makeup to expose her peaches and cream marred by black and purple bruises. Purposefully, she picked up her handbag and strode out of her home into the world without her concealer!

This was the first step in the fight to get her life back!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brilliant Tutorials

Professor R.V. Rangachary Vedanthakrishnan: “Is a gun madi*?”

Kameshwari Devi Suryanarayanan: “Nope, it isn’t”

“It is…stupid Kamu, your elder sister Abithakujalambal went to IIT Mumbai (Indian Institute of Terrorism), your elder brother Venkatasubbu is an ISO 9001 certified terrorist and you…such a waste!”

Kamu looks decidedly embarrassed and slightly peeved. The professor softens; after all she is his favourate student.

“Listen now, since it is madi you have to wash it, bullets et al before you take it up. And needless to say, you must be bathed”

“Now tell me how to throw a genade?”

Kami rattles off stuff she has learnt by-heart, staying up all night long.

“No no no…You will touch the gun with your left hand? Aiyyo! Right hand ma, left is impure…have I taught you nothing?”

“And no biting the grenade off, its yechal** (abacharam! These kids were getting too influenced by western media now-a-days). You must take the pin off with the middle finger and thumb of your right hand, circle the grenade round your head thrice and then throw it”

“What about clothing? No Versace, Gucci and Prada. Wear stuff that’s soaking wet, untouched by anyone. Get it class?”

"Guys..remember Panchapakesa Iyer..brilliant student, IIT topper the idiot was foolish enough to let his gun get stuck in his poonal; tch tch..."

Professor R.V. Rangachary Vedanthakrishnan shuddered as he remembered that ghastly moment.

"Always be careful. Constant vigilance"

“And bonus points if you get any one on the abishtu list***. Poitu vaango kozhandel”

*madi: An eccentric South Indian concept, requiring the person in question to wear wet clothes, touch only similar wet (pure) things and generally be a public nuisance.

**yechal: jhootha, hindi. Something that has had saliva on it.

***abishtu list: An array of names, populated as far back as 2008. Boasts prominent personalities who played a vital role in the rape of Mumbai (caste, age, sex, nationality no bar).


If you want to take offence, feel free to do so. I find no other way to react. For now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I way

495, 81, 90 he knows them all
290 and 93
ribbons over her unforgiving landscape
moving rainbows of yellow and red
at 80mph her far screams shatter his dreams

PS: I-495, I-81, I-90, I-290, I-93 all American freeways
Image photographed by yours truly, I-93, New Hampshire, 2000ft

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I crack bad jokes. Really bad ones, and then I get responses berating me.

Thoo he says, haak thu another one spits, thu she says delicately reminiscent of her mellifluous voice, aiye thu another one pings.

Naturally it got me thinking. So many variations just in a spit, whod’ve thought! But then my online friends are like that. Varied in their means to a similar end (essentially expressing opinions about me). I learn. Constantly from them, the delicate art of this chatting. I have been a diligent student and incorporate all their small mannerisms in my own language. Hey, wassup, sup, hi, kanna, doood, *****,****** all greetings. I take them in good spirit, after all the words we use online must make up for the lack of flesh and blood, and the voice. This talking online transcends barriers of sorts, language for instance, gender too. All busily twisting available resources to express opinions.

Talk of chatting and I must mention the ubiquitous emoticon. I used the limited ones available in gtalk, but my resourceful friends come up with more. She taught me the :|. Something without which I wonder how I ever chatted in the past. Whether to counter an opinion, or to endorse it. To scold, encourage or just fill in the gap between two timestamps. He, a most recent friend, said :O. I loved it. The piggy eyes over an open mouth. I express surprise similarly now. Most handy it is, the :O. Another one uses :) naturally making me smile. :-/ to express his stymied status after his girl is through with him.

“Khoop milega rang jab mil baithenge teen yaar, aap main aur youtube” It’s true. I spend all the time pasting links into that little blue box, and so does my friend. Talk a lot we may but our secret vice is in doing this. No video is spared, his extensive talents also include digging up little known lost videos, so chatting with him always leaves me like :)

And then there is the other half of this blog, the formidable vitruvian. We have chats that no one can understand, least of all us. On glimpsing the green dot near our names, both of us start typing inordinately large amounts of information, burdening the little chat box, not caring in the least of the other listens or not. Then we backtrack and read. Then we crack silly jokes. And just when we are having fun she decides to promptly log off. So they end, on a note of hopeless confusion, and assumed future clarifications.

The :O friend also says lol to my supposed attempts at humour. LOL if it is particularly rib-tickling. ROTFL’s, LMAO’s and heehaws follow. They do make me laugh. I am becoming slowly, an extension of my online self. Sadly a friend of mine once mistook my muhahahaha as muuah. I was confounded. Like this :| or perhaps a better sequence of alphabets and symbols was wanting. But I am neither as imaginative nor as resourceful. So I just rely on words to do the needful. Call me old fashioned if you will.

Chatting with people of high office is a challenge. Mainly cuz u cant do this. Or evn hav tyops. So 1 must be clareful. Most high office people however stick to stiff emails, Leaving the dominion of chatting to us lesser peoples. So we do as we please, laugh, cry :’( :(( and as she does , x-( and go through the motions of life all in the little blue box. Orange always was associated with the Indian flag (for those not subtle enough to appreciate the delicate hue of saffron), sanyasis and a political party. Now orange means someone has graced you with their ping and it hangs there, unanswered. Orange dots mean the person at the other end is on the phone. And try however I may, I am unable to get my status to be orange at my will. It is upto the great algorithm inside google. Most sensitive it is, the mere shadow of my finger makes it green, unless I am red. Which has no effect on the pingers, or the pingee. And then there are those who like to have the first and last word. Like him and her. Always invisible, pulling strings, watching you be green, orange and green again, quietly smirking at your futile machinations. They greet, talk and before you know it they are gone. Or maybe they just like to play with me. Anyways, that is no mere power they wield.

Days of chatting have left my fingers longing for evermore. I treasure these online meetings and the friendship that logging in brings. Foulweather or fine, Orange, Red, Green or naught, they are there for me, talking, teaching me, and being there for me. Always.

PS: More than half my blogroll chats, and I credit them as a major inspiration for this post. Yes it is you I am talking about, you know who you are.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The kebabs we had for lunch were awesome. Tender, crispy, just perfect. Finished off with Cabernet Sauvignon and another perfect meal was thus ended. Later braving the irregular Boston streets and making use of the great American feature that is the expressway, we were out in the suburbs heading home, when I suddenly decided to take a detour. Just on a whim, I took the exit onto temple street and proceeded to the Ashland Laxmi temple. None of my companions said anything, but the question hung there, like juicy kebabs just about to drop from the skewer. I had just slaughtered a few innocent animals, washed them off with alcohol, and I hadn’t even showered. And here I was, at the temple, in all my non-vegetarian, unwashed glory. As I parked, one of the company announced his intentions to stay outside owing to his having consumed a goat. As I removed my shoes, I felt guilt finally stab. ”You uncouth creature…at least you could have bathed”.

Was I wrong? I personally felt that I failed, not because of my perceived sins, but because I felt guilty. I did not have any reason to, I hadn’t done anything wrong. Or had I? Was non-vegetarian consumption a sin? Surely then scores of people on the world couldn’t worship, even most Hindus. Didn’t Shiva himself live in a cemetery? Did not the ancients sacrifice goats and loll about in jars of soma? And then I thought of my people, all pious, washed, sinless and vegetatively fed. I went to the temple because I felt like it. That’s all. No moon positions influenced me. Nor did any sins ask for absolution, and for once I had no favours to ask. The temple itself is in an exceedingly beautiful area, with several small streams and woods and that drive alone is divinity. At least it is to me.

Nevertheless onward I pushed. It is not in me to reach a destination and deny myself entry to it. So I went and did whatever I do usually. I prayed, I sat quietly, I asked for stuff, I watched people affirm their faiths. And all the while I was thinking. Furiously. And I was frustrated that I was unable to reach an answer. Essentially whether I was wrong would depend on whom I asked. Like India itself there were several variations, but everyone absolutely seemed to agree on the depravity of my unwashedness. And I realize that this is a conundrum that I myself have to solve. Does a bath wash the turkey off me, like the Ganges? Does alcohol dissolve into righteousness under the cover of night, to be replaced with piousness when the sun rises? Can I eat and drink after I visit the temple?

There are no rules. There are actually, but they too are shifting, allaying themselves to the times, to popular opinion. Its’ my life, my Gods, my sins, my blessings, my dharma, my karma. Or is it? Isn’t my family linked to my karma? Why is it so complicated? Wouldn’t it be just easier to confirm, not just to appease the ubiquitous others, but to also silence the beast within? And from clarity emerges chaos again and I am drawn into a whirlpool of questions. I see all my friends clearly, meat eaters and unalike, all clear in where they stand religiously. Firm and faithful or equally firm in their faithlessness.

My road it is to drive, and I have a lifetime to explore it. Laying the Questions aside, I accept the Prasad noting that the priest has a leather jacket on to protect him from the biting cold.

I smile.

PS: idlichutney celebrates it's 50th post. Thanks to all you readers. We love you for reading us. :) And the writings shall continue.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Of Music, Food and LOve

Scene 1: Independence Cafe, Hill Road, Bandra

A flyer...
HOPE 08 is a programme to promote love, peace harmony, forgiveness amongst all walks of society and to encourage people in distress going through various negative situations and emotions in life which could lead them to take drastic steps like suicide , nervous breakdowns, etc.We invite citizens from all walks of life for the HOPE 08 to come , participate, relax and unwind through the music of the famous Indian Jazz Fussion Band- CONVERSATION., which is a 8 piece Band with instruments like the Violin, Tabla, Drums, Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Mirdumgam, Saxophone and the Sitar.
When : Saturday 1st November 2008

Time : 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Where : Carter road Promenade

"Guys you want to check this out! We're not doing anything else yet anyway...AND its free!"

"Hey guys..Conversations is soooo great..The I've herad the drummer Vinayak and their vilonist jam! I'm so definitely going. Anyone interested??"

Scene 2: Carter Road Promenade, Bandra (west), Mumbai
The salty sea breeze carried the taste of anticipation through the crowd. A diverse pack of mottled rockers, high class socialites letting their hair down and the random people who had accidentally strayed into the awaiting mass thronged amongst the few who actually knew why they were there.
HE was lost absolutely new grounds for him...What Jazz?? Who Conversations?? He was just there to check out the chicks...with his buddies of course!!
"Ooooo...Hot one at 10 o clock..seems all trippy about the music though..Hmmm!"

This was her thing the entrancing trippy music, the serenity of a sitar combining with a six piece drum set!! She was loving the beauty of it all.. the evening...the music..She was lost in a world all her own!
"Buttt...A guy different from the ones you usually meet at these things...Hmmm...Hot in a geeky kinda way! Cute!"

Scene 3: Brownie Cottage, Off Carter Road, Bandra

"Can I have the Snicker Brownie Please!?!"
"Can I have the Snicker Brownie Please!?!"

"Sorry.. thats the last one I've got!"

They exchange glances and he gathers the guts to ask..."How would you like to split it??"
She gives him a lopsided girn. He hasn't seen anything as beautiful in the whole wide world.
After a cataclysimic pause, she said, "Okay, but only if you share a Guliyaan with me after this one!"

Damn!! He HATED Guliyaan!!
"Nah..I'm running late..Boss..Madam ke liye ek Snickers!! Bye! Enjoy your brownie!"

"What did I do NOW!! Well awesome evening! I got a date with Vinayak to top it all!!" ;)

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O! it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour.
(Twelfth Night, 1.1.1-7)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tangy tribulations

She came on her Honda, vrooming neatly into the parking lot. Hair check. Makeup check. Dress check. Confidently she strode into the hotel.

He arrived moments later in his car. Parked and wondered which kind of idiot parked bikes in a lot clearly meant for cars. He disheveled his hair, smacked his lips and walked into the hotel.

“What would you like to drink?”

“I’ll have a panagam, please”

“One neer mor for me”

The ass is starting with mor? Sigh…So this was it Pushpavalli thought. Her parents had set her up with this random guy. Hell it was exactly a setup, but they preferred to call it a meeting. Whatever. She couldn’t refuse, might as well see what happens.

“So what do you do?”

“I’m an actuary” …Or at least that’s what I’m supposed to tell outsiders.

“I’m…err…a banker” Like I’m telling you what I really do.

“Appetizers?” The waiter, a really good impression of SPB appeared as if from nowhere.

“Fried lentil puffs with the green coconut sauce please”

“I’ll just have some thattai with ricotta cheese and north Indian date sauce”

The waiter quietly disappeared.

Such was their conversation. Trivial things and the weather. Time, as it does, passed.

“Can I take your order?”

“Err Ill have the Shallots in tamarind sauce, over a bed of fragrant thanjavur rice”

“I err wanna have the eleven vegetables in coconut sauce over raw red rice”

-eh? Foreign cuisine aa? Hmph!

May I tempt you Sir? And Madam? We have a fine cellar. A Yercaud 1927 for the shallots? Vintage year it was. The Nellai ’51 is good too, but it goes better with drumsticks, would to care to sample it?

“Yercaud ’27 it is”

“And for you?”

“Just a toddy”

-what a Philistine!

And the meal continued amidst lies and half-truths.

“And we come to dessert the waiter smiled as he cleared the plates.”

“Roasted vermicelli in milk for me”

“I’m good”

“I insist you end with a sweet” she smiled and said.

“Ok then the rice marinade in jaggery, please”

Gastronomic successes often translate into other spheres. Later that night she shyed and smiled as they ate peanuts on the beach, holding hands. He let her drive the bike, enjoying the humid sea breeze as they sped past Samudra Avenue. 3796 rupees well spent.