Friday, April 25, 2008

Devil's Advocate

Here I am, completing an incredibly stupid tag from an incredibly stupid person (who never got around to completing mine). And that too when I have exams. Now do you realize my magnanimity? Loser. It's another matter altogether we always wind up having free time.

Last Movie Seen in Theatre “Taare Zameen Par”. I had the good fortune of watching it with Mom and Dad. Both of them shed tears in copious quantities. I was a bit busy observing the reactions of the aunty sitting to my right. But definitely one of the better movies Bollywood has churned out. And it shall remain so for a long time to come. Oh did I forget to mention something? Amir Khan rocked, as always. If you don’t believe me, watch him in action in “Sarfarosh”.

Book Being Read Security Protocols. It’s not a book actually. Just a 50-something-page notebook filled with my handsome scrawl.

Favorite Board Game Err. Does Ludo count? Playing “these” games is definitely one of the childhood things I kind of missed out on. Though I do remember Dad teaching me how to play chess (when we were in Bhutan). But a budding talent was nipped in the bud when Didi decided to upturn the board every time she lost to me. Damn. Also, I remember buying a very expensive and overtly intellectual board game called Scotland Yard on one of my birthdays. Pity it turned out to be a little too abstract for me too. It now rusts atop one of the cupboards at home.

Favorite Magazine I used to pine for Playboy in my adolescent years (have they passed already?). Used to go to the magazine stand almost every week, wondering whether the vendor had been able to get a copy of the coveted journal. Only to be disappointed of course. When the realization dawned, I began to make do with the magazine’s less illustrious contemporaries.

Crap apart, favorite regular reads have to be National Geographic and Wisdom . Interest in both grew because Dad used to get them especially for me from his office (other members in the family were just too disinterested in intellectual preoccupations or environmental concerns of the world). Nat Geo was perused only because of the wow images their correspondents took. Wisdom was devoured because of my fascination with trivia.

While Nat Geo is still a staple, Wisden has long been lost in oblivion, both by the world (I wonder if it's still published) and by me. As a matter of fact, I thought about it only while completing the tag.

Favorite Smells Saundhi Mitti. Nothing beats it for me. Smell of my Mom in the clothes stored in the cupboard at home (I have never actually confessed this to her).

Favorite Sounds Burning of the guitar. Silence of the afternoons I spent in my terrace room at home. Coldplay. Gulzar. Couples kissing. Ok that was the most longed for sound.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up? “Fuck. I think I slept too long. Again. Shit.”

Worst feeling in the world Lots actually. And I am not mentioning any of them. Ok. I’ll just write one. Having money when someone is begging for it at the traffic signal. And yet not parting with any of it.

Favorite Fast Food Place It’s been only four years since I had my first McDonald’s burger. What more could you expect? Not a big fan of fast food anyway. Ok. Maybe fast food that you bring home and gorge on while watching the afternoon sleazy movie on HBO.

Future Child’s Name Siddhartha Junior. Can’t help it. I am too much in love with my name. Aren’t you enamoured by it too?

Finish this statement, “If I had a lot of money I’d…” Try to spend it all before the incredulity of it gets to me.

Do you drive fast? Suraksha se der bhali. Have never known myself exceeding 60kmph, even on the loneliest of roads. I think I am a bit scared of speeds. Or maybe the bike shakes a bit too much after those speeds. Either way, I am not a speed demon.

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? I sleep with my velvety blanket, tucked firmly under me (instead of spread over me). I have to make do with it because life sized dolls (you get what I am getting at?) are conspicuous by their absence in INDIA.

Storms - Cool or Scary? Depends. Cool if there is some girl who is scared shitless by the same. Otherwise just okay hi payega na?

Do you eat the stems on broccoli? What the heck is broccoli? Baah. I eat aloo-gobhi. And I love it.

If you could dye your hair any colour, what would be your choice? Blonde. Ha ha. I am not kidding of course. Ass.

All towns/cities you have lived in Let’s start from the beginning. Delhi (Was born there), Dimapur (Nagaland), Jaipur, Samtse (A village on the India-Bhutan border. The best place I have been to. And probably I’ll ever be to), Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Gandhinagar, Mysore, Noida, Gandhinagar, Period.

Favorite sports to watch Beach Volleyball. Of course.

One nice thing about the person who sent this to you Err. I think the hard drive just crashed. Our tech support will get back to you soon.

What’s under your bed? Not much. A strolley with no wheels. On top of that is a suitcase. A pair of shoes I haven’t used in 4 months. Oh, I just looked. Approximately 6 empty (of course) packets of Rasna JuiceUP.

Would you like to be born as yourself again? Yes. Albeit with more brains.

Morning person or night owl? Seriously. I want to know. Are you kidding me?

Over easy or sunny side up? Sorry. ArrayOutOfBoundsException. Total over head transmission.

Favorite Place to Relax Under a mango tree. If you want the exact place, look for the one in the primary school in a village named Kandikhal. Also, Lucknow home’s parent’s bedroom (with mum sleeping beside me so that she can wake me up whenever I ask her to) is a close second.

Favorite Pie What angrezi shit? Hindi mein batao pie ka matlab. Humph.

Favorite Ice Cream Just ice cream has to be orange bar. I once vomited 13 times in a single night because I ate an equal number of cheap orange bars during the day. Favorite flavor has to be butter scotch.

And now comes the best part. In order to continue the vicious circle, I tag Piper, Pinky, and Shaktimaan (if she ever reads this).

Monday, April 21, 2008


There are times when things seem to be going okay-ish. It’s somewhat similar to riding a bike to school. You know that it’s not something you like doing. But it’s not killing you either. So you pedal along, half expecting that someday the school will turn out to be nearer than it really is. And you could have waited for that day, knowing very well that it would never happen. You believe in your dream. Your bohemia. Your palace of cards.

But then, somewhere down the line, the ice cream vendor very slyly gives you a piece of his wisdom, free of cost, along with that cone of vanilla flavoured delight you have just bought. He, of course, tells you the truth, shattering the long nurtured dream. It’s then that you break down, feeling decimated and blinded by the realization. You had loved him. Hadn’t you? Each time he had served his delectable delicacy. But now, all you see is the palace of cards crashing down, demolished by a friendly gale. It’s then you realize that it wasn’t the bully you should have been frightened of all this while. It’s the friendly neighbourhood candy man. The one who gave you bonus dollops of utopia every time you smiled just a little bit more.

Then you wonder. Just a little bit. Every time you are left alone to your devices. Was it worth it? The little moments of joy you shared with him. Were they worth the pain you were now destined to endure? The knowledge that your fleeting glimpses of bliss had caused you your lingering uneasiness. Would it prove to be your undoing? The realization that your happiness had come to be inextricably intertwined with that perpetual fear of misery. Would you be able to shrug it off with a humph and continue seeking your bohemia?


Sunday, April 20, 2008


She looked so beautiful tonight. Almost full I think. But it doesn't matter. Even if she were half of herself, she would have still paled everything else in comparison. White. The best shade possible. Small. As if teasing from far away. Gorgeous. Way more sensual than my wildest dreams. Pockmarked. She seemed to personify perfection in flaws. I smile in awed surrender.

Fuck. Oh fuck!

I have followed her trail, all through the night, across my yellow window of light. I still can not get enough of her. Gosh.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How To Save a Life

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it's just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

- How To Save a Life, The Fray

Thursday, April 10, 2008



She sways on her feet, shifting her petite frame from one side to another. The nose ring looked singularly sensual. The mole on her exposed shoulder even more so. The lips had quivered before speaking, as if weighed down by the enormity of the words. Inclined on teasing her, the tresses were tenaciously unruly. His hand gone to them mechanically. Then he had drawn it back, apologizing profusely. Ah. A tear glistened in the large brown eyes, his reflection in them suddenly becoming crystal clear. But only for a moment. Or so it seemed. Was it symbolic? Only if……

He twitches his nose and jiggles the toes. The hair had been flattened to the point of making him look absurd. He knew she hated that. Yet. Why? His beady brown eyes conveyed no emotion. They were blank and deep. She had been enamored by them once. But no longer. She steals a glance at him again, hoping against hope that the tide of emotions wouldn’t overwhelm her. The look in her eyes drives him crazy, but he stays quiet, speculating whether words would do more harm than silence. Again? He had become habituated to weighing pros and cones. The urge to act on impulse had subsided some time back. She had not failed to notice that. Like every other thing. However, despite all odds, she had persevered. Even he knew that. Even he respected that. That’s why he had come. All the way…….

Limited by his underscores, he looks away and mumbles something about how fascinating she appeared. She brushes him off, blushing all the same. The color in her cheeks is one of shame and apathy. Why couldn’t he stop? The incessant politeness had shattered her more than once. She wished he would lash out at her once. So that bitterness ended things with conclusiveness. So that both could live to see the light at the end of the day. But his contours don’t give anything away, like on so many other occasions. Deadpan. One such occasion had ignited the sparks……

Yet again, he had looked at things the wrong way, worried about the inconsequential, and driven himself paranoid. She had witnessed the downfall like a mute spectator, wishing he would learn, at least once. But he had been on a quest of his own, an effort doomed from the very beginning, for it aimed at perfection. He had been his haughty self, too proud to accept mediocrity, and too tragic to let go of it. She had lived with it for sometime. But then the dam had given away. “You have to understand”, she had pleaded. He had simply assumed an indifferent demeanor. Smarting with the lack of words, she knew the thread between them had been burnt. What if………

The goodbyes were never said, for both of them didn’t mean to say them. Why the staged act of moving on then? Why the pretended nonchalance? Maybe he had realized he had to let go in order to learn. Maybe she had known he would forever be the tragic flaw in her character, her hamartia. Maybe each had realized it would not be possible to live without the other. As they parted ways, one final time, both could not help but think. Where did we go wrong………

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Word of Caution – This write turned out to be way lengthier than expected. So please bear with it. You are most welcome to grab a cup of coffee in case it’s too boring. The expense is sincerely regretted. And yes, in case the vocabulary sounds TOO galactic, don’t bother reading. Spare yourself the torture.

It’s not often that you get to see people, who are closed like clam shells, sharing their most zealously guarded secrets. It’s probably even rarer that they don’t regret doing so. Such moments, whether better or worse, end up being so vital to us that they define the way we perceive life and its nuances. One such lazy summer afternoon, Kekda Man chanced to meet Chirkut Lady. It’s not pertinent how they met and why they did. What followed is of consequence. So let’s digress.

The place was slightly conducive to the chain of thoughts, if not remarkably apt. They had decided to stop by one of the coffee joints that seemed to have sprung up all over the cluster like monsoon potholes. The view from the sheltered patio was refreshingly lazy. The small round tables were evenly spaced out in three concentric circles, respecting the privacy of the patrons. Busy people hurried past the cozy oasis, lost in either telephonic murmurs or ill-suppressed suspicions. They never failed to steal a cursory glance, often mystified, as if uncertain whether their expression should be one of contempt or craving.

The weather was unlike itself. It had rained last night. The monsoons had finally made their presence known, after months of eager anticipation. The earth still smelt of the rain drops. The aroma was ethereal. A gentle breeze caused Chirkut’s skirt to sashay elegantly. Had she dressed for the occasion? Kekda hoped not. He looked his casual self, too informal for anyone’s taste but her. Maybe. The sun, who had been teasing some rag-like clouds for quite some time, had decided to finally surrender to them. It was dusk at dawn. Picture perfect. Well almost. The shadows flitting past the skies had managed to prompt an erratic thought process. Somewhere. God forbid.

Kekda had been doodling on the napkin, trying to give a face to his musings. The sandwich had turned out to be too bland for his taste. He knew he shouldn’t have ordered. Baah. Sometimes, only sometimes, he wished he had listened to her. Meanwhile, Chirkut had been ranting about her publisher. The lack of interest (and attention) had gone unnoticed for sometime. Then comprehension dawns, and silence soon prevails. He smiles in a condescending fashion and sighs as if his life depended on it. She could tell some disaster was afoot. Kekda was not in the mood to disappoint his escort. He starts off by becoming totally oblivious to any humane presence in his vicinity and then proceeds to engage an invisible entity in a dramatic monologue. We say invisible because it did not seem like he was conversing with Chirkut at all. It might as well have been a dog sitting next to him, enjoying its afternoon siesta while pretending to comprehend the rhetoric.

“You know there was a time when I had a major crush on this girl called Lewd Langurni. I even thought I was in love with her. She seemed nothing like me, a class apart I tell you. Lived on a faraway planet in Boomerang, totally inaccessible. I was just starting out as a Gila Fighter, hardly raking in any moolah. I started saving money so that one day I could get to meet her. I might still be able to dig up my collection box. Her boyfriends made me jealous (laughs). It was a very interesting episode in my life. Sometimes I think I might be even ashamed of it. But only in a good way.”

Chirkut looks as if someone had just slapped her for breathing too loudly. Then she opens and closes her mouth a few times. Finally, she manages to utter something weirdly trivial.

“Certainly sounds like one. Do you get to talk to her now?”

“It’s not a question of whether I get to or not. I just grew out of her. It’s a pity she still sends a polite hello sometimes. I just try to wriggle my way out of the awkward situation. Imagine liking someone you’ve not even met. Baah. Not that I regret anything. That time was fun. Although, a wiser person might term it all as immaturity. I remember spending hours talking to her and eagerly looking towards engaging her in some interesting conversation. I often end up smiling, if not laughing, whenever I think about it.”

“Do you think it was just some sort of infatuation that you grew out of or was it something more serious? Eww. This is turning into some kind of an interview. You know you don’t have to answer any of my questions.”

Kekda is not one to be flummoxed by such diplomatic statements. He looks at Chirkut for one long moment, searching for something he had lost long ago. He smiles to himself, as if a cherished memory lost in some forlorn corner of the past had suddenly revealed itself to him. An instant later he is his usual self again, careless, insecure, haughty, and tragic. As ironical as the recollections he kept only to himself.

“I am telling you all this not because YOU are here. But just because I had to. Anyway, I would hate to label it as infatuation or love. It was something that I enjoyed and that should be about it. Why should we seek to categorize it and then dissect its remains with some kind of surgical finesse? It could have been my loneliness, my inability to interact with my environment. It could have been my paranoia. The question is - does it even matter anymore?”

“No it doesn’t. Not now at least. This is really weird coming from you. You DO realize that. Don’t you? I am realizing there is a whole side of you I have no clue about. And yet I thought I knew you. Knew you well enough to like you once.”

“Yeah. But what’s wrong with that? I find it so irritating when people try to confine others to moulds that they have sculpted for them. It’s like they’ll freak out if one does anything which does not confirm to their notions. Life needs to be a bit more unpredictable than that. It should be a game of dice, rather than chess.”

Chirkut smiles fondly, more because she did not know what to say than anything else. Maybe that was why she had liked him. Would she care to ponder over it again? She hoped not. For her own good. For a brief moment she looked inane, like the several bimbettes whom Kekda had come to loathe vehemently. But the very next instant, he realized SHE would never fit THAT mould. Realizing so, he laughed aloud, his laughter ringing out, like a shrill whistle, scaring a few unsuspecting couples who were enjoying close proximity. Chirkut is not perturbed. She just clucks her tongue in disapproval. After all, she had come to expect such behavior from him, and adore him for the very same reasons.

“I did not mean to say that. But you seem to be in a weird mood today. So I won’t take umbrage.”

“Ah, the lady that you are. That word was pathetically British though. Somewhat like preposterous.”


Silence showed signs of filling the space between the unlikely couple. So Kekda engages himself by observing the table to his right. A graceful lady occupied it. She was alone and wore a green dupatta (we still had those weird contraptions in the galaxy) around her head in order to escape the heat. A cup of cappuccino had probably turned cold due to neglect. A maverick curl had wriggled free of the fetters and seemed to be inclined on teasing her. She looked akin to a portrait of wait, eternal wait. Like someone who, by the constant telling of a lie, had begun to believe that it was the truth itself. As if reading his thoughts, she blushed, got up suddenly and left the joint, her perfume lingering on as she passed their table. Kekda gathers his incoherent thoughts once again.

“She was wearing chappals.”

“Yes she was. And it’s not a crime to sport them. Not yet. Maybe you’ll ban them once you’re done with all the Gila Monsters in the galaxy.”

“Hogwash. I remember going to my monster fighting lectures wearing chappals. I knew it was weird but I think I hardly bothered. I guess it had something to do with an image of myself that others had tricked me into believing. But given that, I would love to be as carefree about everything else in my life.”

“My guess is that you think way too much about everything in life. You can probably get philosophical about a door knob twisted the wrong way. You should be trying to have a lot more fun than you do. Why can’t you be a bit more, let’s say, like me?”

“Ah! The bane of vanity. I wish I could though. I agree that my mind is one screwed up place. But its mine all the same. And it’s dear to me.”

“I think you have a sadistic attachment to everything that went wrong in your life. It’s pathetic and amusing at the same time. I am trying to be sarcastic. And witty.”

“Sarcasm and Irony are wasted on me.”

“Ha. We’ll see Keeks. You know I am not one to give up so easy.”

“And I wouldn’t even try. I have decided to stop retaliating. After all, I want to be the tragic hero of my story. They are meant to be these morose, witty, philosophical, pathetic guys. I wonder why they are called heroes anyway. But who cares. Suits me fine. Ha.”

Chirkut gives up arguing with a disgusted humph. She tried speaking. But her words failed her. All imperative alphabets seemed to have been replaced by underscores. What was left behind looked like a brain teaser somebody had tried solving, and failed at gloriously. She shifted her weight from one corner of the chair to another, fidgeting over her charming dress. Kekda seemed startlingly nonchalant to the discomfiture. With a start, he gets up.

“I am leaving.”


“This time for good. I need my tragedy to unfold. The world seems to be waiting. Don’t fret. I won’t forget you. You have helped me evolve in more ways than one. I’ll make sure you have first row seats to the show.”

Kekda smiles one last toothy grin and without as much as a glance back, he leaves. Never turning back. Was it a custom to leave without proper goodbyes? Was it again some reflection of himself he was trying to keep alive? Chirkut stays back for a few minutes, wondering whether their association had been more good than bad. Then she too smiles, recognizing the futility of it all. Being with him had taught her that. At least. They had both somehow unconsciously effected changes in the other. Where they for better or the worse? Would it help if one knew?

We think we saw her walking in the opposite direction. We can’t be too sure. We didn’t think it was important to know. It was the end of the saga of Kekda and Chirkut as we knew it.

So long, and thanks for all the patience.