Thursday, December 17, 2009


Met with a few friends today evening. This small bunch - a guy in his 50's, a girl (girl? woman I guess) in her late 30's and another couple of guys 25-35. And me. We drank, ate and talked. Talked about days younger, when all of us were upto comparatively more "no-good" in life. Swapping stories and experiences, travel anecdotes. With music running in the back-ground all the time. Somehow felt like I had my first ever grown-up evening.

And then on the way back, I was driving at my usual crazy speed, keeping up with the crowd when I saw some cops lights glowing in the distance. I didn't really want to slow down the others behind me. But didn't want to be speeding right next to the cop either. So came down to this speed which I thought was a moderate balance (still above the speed limit but not by much). Seconds later I realized I was no longer in a crowd - all the other drivers had slowed down much more leaving me all by myself! suddenly bare from the crowd I was surrounded by just moments ago. Of-course I didn't get a ticket but I did have a good laugh looking back into the rear-view mirror.

Nice evening. Wish I had pictures of it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bend in the Road

Going on the train from NJ to New York, NY you come across a curve in the track where you cross this building real close. Its the corner of the building and the first time I was sure we were very close, too close for my comfort. But ever since I am in the habit of looking forward for this turn. It gives you a good view of the tail end of the train and perhaps a peak into the building.

In life too most often its not until I arrive at a curve that I notice what a good stretch I've been having. I guess every change gives a good perspective of what has been and maybe a glimpse of what is to come. Just like how right at this moment after reading what I have already written I feel its soo preachy but hadn't thought so a moment ago while I was writing it down! :D

Anyhow, I will attribute this change in mood to the drawing to close of the year. Happy holidays everyone! Make merry and a ton of good memories.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Cadbury's Eclairs. Those were my favorite treats as a kid. We used to get some every so often and I used to relish every slurp of the toffee. And then came Nutties. What all I would have done for each crunchy bite of those! Nanna used to indulge us quite a bit and so I might have ended up trying most of the range of chocolates offered by Cadbury's. With Amma treats mostly translated to some sweet or dish she would make for us. My favourite is boorillu. Even to this day she makes them on my b'day if we happen to spend it together.

These days I get my treats from a very unexpected source - my colleague in the lab. His brother happens to be employed in a Hong Kong bakery (Kee Wah) and they make these really delicious buns/cookies. So when I happen to be working in the same lab as my colleague at coffee-break time, he graciously shares his stash for the day and once more the treat never fails to delight.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Simply love them; could waste hours reminiscing over pictures. Somehow they seem to capture the best of moments. And encapsulate a part of time, giving you back that fleeting moment once more everytime you look at the photo.
On all my trips back home, I never miss browsing through all those albums Amma stocks safely under lock and key. Albums filled with black and white photos which slowly progress to colour and now to digital format. Prefer the paper photos though. Somehow more tangible. The more the time elapsed since the photo the more valuable it becomes - I simply dote on all the black & whites!
Should remember to get some prints of my digital photos one of these days. And buy a camera. Surprisingly for one who loves browsing photos I don't own a camera currently!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sounding Board

As a child I never contemplated. As a teenager I had too many siblings and cousins; things happening to ever waste time sitting and brooding. During undergrad there were a handful of friends who I could turn to to talk my mind. And Akka. I'm very fortunate to have my sister (though my actions often contradict this statement, it is nevertheless very true). I spent grad years on countless phone conversations and long chat sessions with friends and family. Which continued on into the first couple of working years.

And then people started drifting. It had started early on; right after school but was gradual till now. Now I hardly trust anyone to understand or share my concerns. In a way I've become more reclusive too. Not that I'm trying to hide from others; just that I'm not over-boarding my thoughts on them. But still once in a while I miss those carefree conversations when I could thoughtlessly talk of what was bugging me the most. I miss my sounding boards.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Often on Saturdays I end up at the local farmers market looking for my hit - fresh fruit and yummy stall food. Most Saturdays on reaching the farmers market and realizing that I have forgotten to get my bags with me, I resolve to go home and stash a few bags in the car so I don't go indiscriminately using plastic covers the next time around.

Some days (especially now in winter) I end up at some local desi restaurant looking for some hot chai. The place I frequent the most serves it in Styrofoam cups. A few of the places I eat at serve food in Styrofoam plates. I was recently made aware of the effects of Styrofoam on the environment. Most times (actually make that every time) so far, I have been turning a blind eye towards this.

Since a conversation I had with a friend recently on how we follow the norm of the mass to justify our actions, I have been mulling over all of this and realized intentions are no longer good enough. I have to act to not make things worse; I'm nowhere close to making things better. I should atleast take the first steps in ensuring that I don't add to our environmental woes.

And while I'm at it, I shouldn't forget the VTA for my commute to work. It does stop right in front of my company.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


There was a talk which I attended recently. About a particular waste management project in India. This one municipality is employing people to collect/sort/recycle/compost waste from households and in the process generating employment and keeping the community clean and green.

They made it a point to mention that the group particularly employs underprivileged women (unemployed, abused, orphaned, wives of criminals, etc.). To them, this is acceptable employment and they are happy that they get the income they do from it.

After the whole talk though I was left with a vague uneasiness - it just didn't seem right to ask these "underprivileged" people to do something that I wouldn't consider doing myself. I strongly agree that waste management is a very necessary part of the whole existence process, but am unable to work my head around justifying people working in those conditions. Is there not a way to avoid having to process waste - by educating people in the proper disposal of the same; in not using non-recyclable items, etc?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Single Story

I'm an ardent fan of TED and on one of my recent browsing sprees on their website came across this: Single Story. I have to admit I'm very guilty of many a time getting carried away by the Single Story. Hoping that now that I'm conscious about it, I will not do it that often.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I've read of different kinds of times. Times of war, viral diseases, civil strife, drought. Times when survival becomes a fight. Something to be claimed from the jaws of death. When a slight of honor meant guns drawn at dawn. Gone are the grandiose days of the horse clicking its way down paved roads. Gone are the serene days of the bicycle hoards. Gone are the days when a motor vehicle is a novelty, a pride of ownership. When there were nooks and corners of the world still left to be discovered. The shape of the earth to be defined. Men were waiting to take flight.

Now seem to be the days of social networking. Online. Atleast that is what seems to be characterizing my days. For me its the days of connecting with family and friends over the net. And I guess its not too surprising I work for a company that helps make that network happen. My day seems to revolve around my laptop. From the moment I wake up and check my email to the time I turn off the light, eyes drooping playing the game on my phone that too gets there through the network. Its come to the stage where I have forgotten that I need to check my "snail" mail ever so often.

Do I like where I am? I don't not like it. Though I did feel a tug of longing when I was writing about the times that have gone by never to be seen again. But then again I like it that I'm just a ping away from everyone/everything that matters to me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hmmm So....

We had a product release party a few weeks ago. It was like any other release party, only this time I let someone take a photo of me. I didn't think much of it till this lady came to my cube a couple of days ago to get me to sign a release. It was the first time I signed a "model release" letter to allow the use of my picture. Didn't think much of it then either actually. And then yesterday they placed a poster in the lobby of my building with my picture right there on top. Alongside others of-course. And that's when I noticed. Or rather other people did. And suddenly random colleagues were coming upto me and asking if that is me on the poster downstairs!

My "5min of fame"?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rain and Me

Option 1: Stay in bed all day cuddled up in my cozy comforters with an interesting book and some warm drinks and hot bajjies. And listen to the lazy patter of the rain.

Option2: Drive around in my car with the best rain songs and let loose my repressed vocal chords.

Option 3: Make some comfort food, call friends home and spend the whole day playing board games and lazing around chit-chatting.

Option 4: Get into that pouring rain and soak till the skin wrinkles and the shivers start only to get beck to a hot hot shower and hot chocolate. And bajjies. And blaring music.

What I did end up doing:

Drove to work wishing I could turn around. Eyes popped when I got there around 10am to a full parking lot (it was terrible weather) and realized people have started losing all sense of a bad weather day! Went for that yum Indian buffet lunch (which did have bajjies and hot tea btw) and met friends, one by pleasant chance. Looked up all songs good for a rainy day. Did some work somewhere along the way. And drove back home with the volume punched up high and windows rolled down, the occasional spatter of rain a refreshing bonus. Went shopping with my roomie (my iPhone finally has a cover!!) and ended with some TV and tasty leftovers.

Not exactly what I would have planned but a lovely day nevertheless. Love Monsoon. Wish we had it here in the US.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Old Friends

Lying in the sun, with the wooden deck warming her back, she felt it couldn't get better this. One of her friends was busy clicking photos for posterity's sake. The other three were lazing too in various degrees of relaxation, one leaning against the post and dangling her feet in the clear water under the deck.

Meeting up after long, and still sharing the old comfort with each other. Friends and Sun and lazy Banter and breathtaking Views. Life is Good.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Experiences Beyond

When an idea is personified by an image of a big bubble surfacing to the top of a conical head with viscous brains,
When a tired shoulder is an image of an opaque and heavy limb slumping along the spine,
When happy is a state with no reason,
When the happiness turns into a full blown clutching your stomach with pain attack of laughs,
When no amount of food can quench your stomach's hunger,
When sleep is a thick blanket your eyes are overcome with suddenly...

... then my friend you have had a brownie at a music concert in SFO.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Perpetual Nomad

That's what I seem to be... this is my 4th move in two years... am getting quite good at packing and unpacking and carting things around. Compare this to my childhood spent all at the same house (almost) and school. Looks like I'm trying to balance out across the years :) But as they say, Change is the essence of life and I'm more than happy making that my mantra.

The Zen Room. Thats what I'm calling my room right now. Its got the best balance of light and the serenading sound of the fountain close by just soothes the spirit. Its... picture perfect! And then I stumbled upon the dark thread of ants running across the room the other day. Now I'm trying to co-exist with them. Telling myself they are not bothering me as long as they don't bite. All part of the Zen living. Time to bring my plants home and imbibe them into the ecosystem that is my room.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Times

New experiences, anticipation and excitement go hand in hand for me. I look forward to the event/experience from the day I know I will be a part of it. Like the first time I went for a grand slam final. The first music concert I attended. The first time I went white water rafting. First time I visited New York, London. First time I went on that crazy ride in a theme park, first time skiing.

For the most part First Times turn out to be fun. But sometimes, they don't live up to the expectations. Its probably cos all that anticipation builds up the expectations sky high. The experiences though have always been worth having. And even though at the end of the day on some occasions it might seem anticlimactic, I've never regretted any of them so far.

I'm about to go on another First Time. A trip to Las Vegas! In all the time I've been here, which is quite considerable BTW, I've never been yet. As usual the anticipation and expectations are high. I know how they say expectations are not a good thing. But alas I am but a base human being and could never separate the two. And so Las Vegas here I come, looking forward to a dazzling experience!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Board Games

Its a kind of family pass time which has been around for as long as I can remember. Since the first pin ball board long ago to the dozen or so I cart along with me to every new place I move to. Summers past wasted away pursuing a marathon run of monopoly, caroms, etc. Its almost a tradition now with the cousins and us playing board games late into the night whenever we happen to meet up. The monotony of the game never gets to us, we can keep going at it forever and not get tired. Can keep at it till more urgent and unrelenting needs like hunger pangs and droopy eyes finally drive us to pursue deeds beyond the board.

Last week the games were revived again... my sister and cousin visited and old habits it seems die hard. Had fun playing game after game of monopoly, like we used to all those summers. With a game of scrabble thrown in here and there. Over the years spent in the US, I have collected close to a dozen board games thanks to the multitude of friends who introduced me to new games and the inner addict in me.

This is probably one of the few pursuits my whole family involves in at various times. I still remember the long ludo games played with my Grandmother; chess which our father introduced to us; chinese checkers... and the list goes on. And even though I never remember my Grand-dad ever playing with us, I still do have memories associated with him and board games - like the time he threw all the jackpot cards (resembling in shape and size to playing cards) away cos he didn't want us getting addicted to gambling. In retrospect I realize he didn't want us getting addicted to games which waste time either, but unfortunately that lesson was never learnt. And a new tradition was born.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stuck in Traffic

Beautiful evenings these days. In a hurry to reach destinations (though I don't know why I hurry) there have been one too many opportunities lost where I could have rolled down the window, slowed down and enjoyed the ambiance.

This weekend I got a chance to do just that - am happy the choice wasn't mine to make. Was a beautiful evening with a serene sunset.. one of those sedately darkening nights. And earlier on winding country roads. Had the windows rolled down, with me in the backseat sleeping on and off for most part of the day. Was heavenly!

Slowing down and enjoying the moment -that seems to be the path to bliss..

Friday, August 14, 2009

Remember when....

The dark hours of the day. The kids all settled in & sleeping.. or so they were supposed to be. The wooden gate would open and in would walk a gaggle of friends out to collect their Aunt, on the way of their ritual walk. The two little tots couldn't contain their curiosity and followed them where they led. On the road they romped along on all day but looked not the least bit familiar at this mysterious hour. Careful to keep their distance lest they be discovered.

The words among the friends were flowing - whispered, sounding like a wash of sound rather than anything meaningful. They reached the open fields. And the last remnants of light the lonely streetlamp was shedding vanished. The kids could see nothing beyond. And their Aunt had disappeared into the darkness, engulfed by the unknown. Their tiny hearts beat hard pondering the dark void in front of them. They wanted to be brave, but the sound of the night creatures drove their thoughts and steps around. Running for their lives back to the known comfort of the cool white sheets under the starlit skies. The sheets that would protect them against the spirits of the night until their eyes shuttered and they slipped into blissful sleep.

The unsolved mysteries.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Best Wheels

Changing seasons. The wait for sunny weather. The cursing of cold days and nights; especially when you happen to leave that jacket behind at home. The joy in gliding down bare white slopes. The Earth pining for those long awaited showers; the heart for the splendor of the skies - lightning and thunder. The anticipation of new blooms. Love everything about changing seasons that finally lead to a Summer!

A bright afternoon. Shiny new wheels. The rush of leaves as the wind blows though your hair and into the trees. The crunch of gravel under the slender tires. California summers! Especially while on a bicycle in the woods, with a blanket in tow for that nap under a tree.

Used to take sunny weather for granted. But now that I've been away from India, I yearn for and am grateful when sunny days happen and I have the chance to be out on such days. And only a fellow Indian would probably understand why a "changing" goes in front of seasons when it is so obvious. Nice to have a bike again!!


PS: Thanks Madhav, Anshu for making it happen :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Love how words work together. Love how writers get creative with their choice of words - a string of random words does not a book make, but the right combination makes a story worth reading. How they can riddle you up with laughter making people around you wonder whats wrong with you or how they make you clear off that tear trickling down your cheek before anyone notices. How one word makes up for all the hurt. And another fills you up with joy. How put to music you can hear them over and over again. They have the capacity to mean everything and sometimes nothing. And how you feel miffed and confused when you don't find the right word. Phrases you remember forever and end up making yours. How what you read and write and say eventually speak for what you are.

Was a time when I couldn't turn a book down before I was done reading it. Now the book from the library languishes on the bed till I'm beyond the allowed renewals and at a stage of trying to avoid fines. I hate that I'm addicted to the online games and plead sore eyes when friends suggest online books. I hate how I rant but don't do anything about it! But I have hope. And that is my favorite word these days.

Words are powerful.

Girl Time

A very good weekend. With just the girl friends and fun. And realized how much I enjoy "girl time". I've been into girlish stuff recently - pruning the hair fashionably; experimenting with clothes; painting nails; pumping up the heels.. you get the picture. And loving it. This just might be one of those phases.. till I start believing again that its all superficial and over-rated. But I intend to enjoy the time till it lasts. Oh and scarves! love them.

Friday, July 31, 2009

When your Mind Breaks the Spirit of Your Soul

My resolution for this year: Try avoiding that from happening.

Was listening to 21 guns and these words just struck a chord...

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Dose of Reality and Hope

Saw this movie 500 Days of Summer. First time a movie has inspired me to write about it (since I've started blogging). Very well made, with a good story (lots of humor mixed in too), good acting from the protagonists, and a nice music score to tie it all together.

Would love to see it again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Bug

Marathons. Since I've come to the US I have know many who have run marathons. The crazy kind - barely any training; with determination seeing them through. The die hards - somehow manage the whole 26mi in spite of an injury. The level heads with an aim - go regularly for training and wind their way to the finish line in glory.

Somehow its an occupation which seems to have missed India. Never heard of anybody there doing a marathon. Except for the Naval run which occurs Dec 4th every year. All the dashing young officers and cadets would run by our house (which was en route back then) and people would hang out at the gates passing them water and such.

I have long since lost touch with the die hards; and the crazies seem to have retired to married bliss. But a bunch of friends and colleagues are once again training. Recently I've come to appreciate jogging, though a marathon is something I would never contemplate; you see I'm immune to this particular bug. That's how I initially started jogging - running along with a colleague when he was training; and then he got to distances beyond a couple of miles and I decided biking is much better. Things seem to lose their attraction once they step beyond the line of fun into the zone of exercise.

In all of this my involvement has been in cheering when friends were running. Or donating to whichever cause they choose to run for. Thats the fringe benefit of the summer bug - some causes get recognition; get championed. But recently lethargy seems to have creeped in some more and all I do is give a nod when I see an email from a friend who is running. And wonder what kind of a runner he is.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sleepless in Santa Clara

On a whim went for a walk late today, has to be yesterday now I guess. It had been a sunny and hot day; but a pleasant evening. The best night to be out for a walk. I enjoyed it very much. Its been that stage recently where I'm trying out things by myself, and surprisingly liking it. Am I turning into a loner? Hmmm..... don't think so... still enjoy friends company too much :D

A run would have knocked me out towards a good nights sleep. But the walk just woke me up looks like! I hate online movies & games *#&)($^*)#@! They are eating away all my free time!!! I could have been reading that book I've been loaning from the library since.. far too long. The good part of the internet that gets me these games and movies is that it gets me songs too. Been listening to U2 non stop for a while now. Love some of their songs. And Green Day.

A packed day ahead. I should get some sleep. And stop rambling so randomly. Maybe I am sleepy.. considering the scattered thoughts. Happy Friday!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Is Four Years Enough?

I have been doing this thing I do for more than four years.. And still don't seem to be close to liking it.. Is it time to call it quits and move on, or should I persist some more to find out if perchance things might change? Four years seems like a long time; long enough to know if one will/wont like something..

Time for change?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ponder This

She was busy. Evaluating things. Thinking them over. Thoughts flying all around the place. Stopping her from acting on her instincts. Thinking what if.. what next.. where next.. Thinking. Asking. Her mind was busy, busy as a thousand ants crawling around.

He was watching her all the time. Smiling to himself. Knowing. Knowing all the time how futile it was.

She couldn't rest without her answers. Couldn't move ahead. Wondering all the time.. And then one day her mind stood still. And he laughed out loud. He knew he would win every time; and steal them of their thoughts one day. It was fun watching the mortals fry their brains. Always.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Squeaky Fan

The steady sound of keyboards clicking away. The conference room abuzz with people discussing. The swish of clothes as colleagues pass by in the aisle. The far off ringing of the phone in someone's cube. Ruffling sound of paper being waived about as some tries to explain something. The satisfied rumbling of gastric juices in the stomach.

These are the sounds that have replaced the squeaky fan in a class room these days. Only wish it were the sound of a fly buzzing around looking for the remnants of that mango it can smell (but has long since been devoured) on the lazy breeze of an Indian summer afternoon.

Just another afternoon with me trying desperately to stay awake.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My First Swimming Lesson

A marginally cold night it was and the warm pool water seemed to be the best place to be in. And so it was that the bunch of us jumped in with some pizza and drinks on the pool side.. a pool party.. my very first. It was less than 4 feet of water on this end and there was no threat of drowning.. I was still sticking to the edges..

She didn't know how to swim either. Watching the others push off the wall of the pool and streamline, she tried to imitate the motions. Pretty soon she was spanning the breadth of the pool this way.. Got me wondering why I was being so timid; why I wasn't being more adventurous.. So it happened that I took that first deep breath and pushed off the wall and let myself float.. and gradually to flap my legs and get that first halfway across the pool. Eventually I made it the whole way across and later on parred the same backwards - facing the starry sky.

My first swimming lesson - try, don't be afraid to move beyond your comfort zone. This wasn't the first time she showed me that. I'm sure it wont be the last. I'm just glad she was around.

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bridges and Stone Paved Roads and Turtles on Cars

Some Happenings

Was listening to the radio on the way to work and they had this discussion going - "what would you do if your spouse called his/her parents over to live with you?". The hosts comment - "the only thing I can think of is to move out"!?! That's when I realized how lucky I am in my origins. I wouldn't change a thing even if I could.


Was at this restaurant for brunch today; with very little appetite and feeling under the weather. Asked for coffee and it was served in the old style - a small steel cup in a wider steel saucer. Brought back memories of watching my Granddad and his ritual with coffee drinking - he would pour a small amount of sizzling hot coffee into the saucer, swirl it around till it cooled a bit before drinking it up from the saucer :). I did the same with my coffee today and somehow felt much better for the experience.


Has it ever happened with you that you turn on the radio and this song you like just starts playing? It has with me. A number of times. And everytime I always end up thinking it was played just for me and I end up enjoying it all the more for it! I know its juvenile but just makes me happy when that happens :) :) :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Social Consciousness or... OCD??

I was making my usual morning drink in the break room today and suddenly I realized - I am obsessive compulsive when I clean the espresso machine as instructed. I'm most particular about it. And then there is my colleague who cares enough for the environment to turn off all the superfluous lights around; he even bikes to work every day! He saw me cleaning the espresso machine one day and commended my "conscientious" act.

I care enough for my community to do the token "spare the air" acts once in a while; plant a tree; manage without a plastic bag; etc.. But then
eventually I forget to keep up the good work. Most people I know are the same. Every person probably tries, in the times his consciousness is awake to help with causes he believes in. At some point though his vigilance would drop and he reverts to his old ways.

So what goes into the making of a true activist?
To be conscious at every moment to follow in a chosen path, does one need to be obsessive compulsive? Are all super fighters for causes obsessive compulsive to some extent?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crystal Ball

Turmoil. That's what best described her current state of affairs. It was a long time since she last had a restful night, undisturbed by her thoughts in those long wakeful moments before the secrets of the night took over and threw her out into a new day. She was at her wits end and today had been the breaking point. She was on her knees now, with her eyes shut tight, praying with all her might. Hoping for a ray of insight. A glimpse of the future.

She slept for a long time that night. A kaleidoscope of events running through her dreams. Dreams she surprisingly remembered the next day. She felt more relaxed now. More in control of her fortunes. She had made up her mind somewhere in the night about what she wanted to do next. She finally found peace. She changed jobs and felt better at the new place. It was the same work; only better hours. Left her with more time for herself. Time even to hang out with friends in the evenings. She found she was much better at making decisions these days. More relaxed about it. Like the time when she knew exactly which restaurant she wanted them to go to that night. Where she met her long lost friend. It was almost like she knew she would.

Her days were more mellow now. No more uncertainty; which was surprising. Before she never knew what she wanted to do next; nor could she make decisions as easily as she did now. It felt good. This lack of agonizing over details and what ifs. Her days were more constructed; more ordered. Life was sailing smooth. A little too smooth.

She soon realized she missed the anticipation which went hand in hand with the guessing. The dreams of possibilities. She wanted the charm of the unknown and the novelty of chance. She soon got to thinking how much fun she used to have mulling over the future and building castles even if they were sometimes on thin air. She started fretting over the dull monotony of life, the lack of ripples. Fretting against the calm with the dearth of winds. That night found her back on her knees. Her eyes shut tight and praying...

Thursday, June 11, 2009


How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
- Henry David Thoreau


How my actions mock me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Treasure

Its been a while since I last wrote and have been wondering what to write about next... Wanted to try out writing a story. A short one but none the less longer than anything I've penned, no typed, lately. I started on something. But then am not comfortable publishing it.. So have kept it archived till the moment I feel I can show it to the world or finally send it to its resting place in the trash.

And so I have been looking for something to write about. And at some point side-tracked and started wondering what material possession has been with me the longest. And got a surprising answer - a small stick of sandalwood. It has had a very interesting and long journey.

My uncle used to work in the construction business. At one time they were building somewhere close to sandalwood forests in Karnataka. There was something about smugglers trying to get away with a truck load of sandalwood and getting caught and my uncle somehow landing up with a few chunks of the sandalwood. My mother being my uncle's sister obviously ended up getting some of it. And me being my Mom's precious younger one got the benefit of it.

I have always loved the smell of sandalwood -- not the overpowering perfumes or soaps; but the real deal - ground out fresh sandalwood paste. It smells divine. Its probably the only thing that I ever had the patience to sit and grind. And so every once in a long while I end up pulling out this small marble slab I have and the sandalwood stick and grind out some paste and apply it to my face. And sometimes I end up sleeping with it still on my face. The smell sticks on the pillow and I keep getting whiffs of it for long after.

It happens that I have had these two pieces, the sandalwood stick and the little slab of marble with me from when I first left home for my undergrad studies. They have traveled with me since, crossing seas and ended up on the continent of N America. From the grungy apartment in New Brunswick, NJ to the fancy locations in Bay Area, CA. In all that time almost forgotten but packed away safely while moving. I rarely use them; but for the few times I do remember and pull it out, its worth all the extra care I assign for it.

Lost in the cares of the present, it has been more than a year since I last pulled out the piece of sandalwood and smelled it. My sandalwood has a long long journey left to travel before it finally gets ground down to nothing and rests in peace.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Way Back Home

A decade. That was how long it was since she had been back. But now she was there to stay. The one place she always considered her haven, her safe place. Everywhere she turned to looked the same. Yet different. The familiarity was there, yet everything was new.

The kids she had roamed the streets with were away. Far far away. Living the life she had left behind. On a whim. A longing. She had no idea how she intended to fill her days. But she knew she had to find work again. Hopefully make new friends. Would she be able to settle in and adjust to the new settings, the old life? She had loved it at one time, thrived in it. The place she had known as a kid, but was unknown territory to her now as a grown up. The changes were daunting. She had heard stories about how things worked here. Stories which were far from encouraging.

The unknowns. They had held her back. Her adventurous streak that took her away originally had gone missing. Buried in the life she had gotten used to, in uncertainties, in cares and domesticity, in the foreign she had made familiar grounds. It had taken forces outside her control to uproot her once again. To take up that which she once sought. Change. Challenge.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Racing with the Storm

Returning Home

Flowers and Mist

Scars... and their Stories

I was sitting down and twaddling the other day and chanced to spot the scar on my knee and broke out smiling at the memory associated with it. On the way back home from school I was shoved by a bull from behind and fell flat onto my nose! I have since strongly believed bulls get enraged on seeing red, even though the only red on me that day was on my buckle - to represent my house colour.

I have a ton load of scars, some from before I could do harm to myself. Like my pierced ears. Apparently my brother threw a fit, scattered a bag of husk all around, and cried his eyes out when they were getting them pierced! Every scar has a story and however stupid the story, it is somehow a fond memory. Whats with scars and the pride associated with them? Like right now -- I love telling the stories about my scars :D Even though some of them are far from being battle scars - like the ones on my fingers from having cut myself while cooking. Or the one on my leg from when I was stupid enough to stand it right next to the muffler of a bike just after we got back from a ride on it. Is it pride or just fondness? for the memories associated with it. Whichever it is, the slightest thing seems to be getting me into flashback mode these days :D

So I'll sign off here, with a smile that's just that little bit straighter thanks to the knock I got on my head when I was tall enough for my front tooth to get chipped off and lose its crookedness on the wall around our home :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Enchantress

The night was dark as soot, save for the solitary candle burning inside the house. The balmy evening buzzing with night life. The kids looking for avenues to burn their last vestiges of energy. For mischief to brew before they tucked in for the night. They would gather around her like moths turning to light.

The roads were less traveled - outdoors were peaceful, private. The skies were clear and the stars could still be counted. Sitting in the verandah, the cool air lulling, her flowing words stilled young limbs and held them captive around her. Drawn into the intricacies being unraveled, they forgot all else. Caught up in the magic she wove.

The sudden glaring lights as the power came on were unwelcome and protests flew wild when the words stopped. But there were more nights to come. And a story to complete.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Down Memory Lane

Dawn, the birds shaking out of their stupor, ruffling their feathers before chirping away to let the new day in. The gate being rattled - the milk man was here. Impatient to show that his bowl was empty and to get on with milking. The brush of coconut leaf spines against the damp verandah - our maid getting along with her work, arguing with my mother about why she was late again.

The pressure cooker squealing to glory, grinning that we would be getting idlies for breakfast again! That's what we woke up to most days. Then would follow a medley of groans and dragging feet. A mild chaos ensued while seven kids got ready for school. Shuffling feet, running water, gurgling throats, suffering knocks on bathroom doors, pleading for just five more minutes of sleep. The fan whirring a steady rhythm. Timmy barking away to glory - it had to either be the gas cylinder guy rolling one in or the neighbouring kid. Wonder what the kid had done; Timmy was always especially expressive when he came around.

Scraping chairs as everyone settled down for breakfast. Hurrying patter of footsteps while everyone got their shoes/keds on. The lucky ones got keds - PT in the time-table for that day! The rickshaw wallah would call out, let known his presence and whisk away the little ones while the older ones trudged to the bus stop. The house would settle down. Suddenly deprived of activity. In waiting for the familiar sounds which would herald the return of the batallion.

Life is Heard.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Wastrel I Shall Be

That I have decided is the direction for me this week!

Having somehow managed to catch up with work (I think), I've decided I shall squander away this break with nary a care. I'm one of those scant few in my company who are happy about the shut down. Yes, we have a shut down at work this week and I'm happy about it. Having taken a two month break end of last year, I had no hopes of getting time off anytime soon. So this is a fortunate landfall.

Florida here I come!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just One of Those Things

I am thinking about - things to do
I said - to myself "get a life"
I want to - get to Florida sooooon!
I wish - I were at home
I miss - my extended family
I hear - music
I wonder - "But nothing ever happens and I wonder"
I regret - blank
I am - wandering
I dance - in the rain (or want to)
I sing - besur
I cry - silently
I am not always - doing what I should
I make with my hands - nothing useful
I write - nonsense
I confuse - left and right
I need - sunshine
I should try - swimming
I finish -first :P


As I sit in front of my computer slogging away, or making believe that I am slogging away, it struck me that I would be happier if I was working at something that requires physical labour versus what I do currently. At work, I have to really use my brains about less than half the time. The rest of the time I somehow end up wandering around - on the net or in my head. And you know what they say about empty vessels...

As kids, us siblings were expected to tend to the garden. Plough out all the weeds, air the soil, and generally get the garden ready for the new batch of plants/seeds my mom was interested in at the time. A spring cleaning of the grounds of sorts. It was such fun! And our parents used to actually treat us after, which totally added to the whole experience. That is probably the only significant experience I have with the all brawn and no brainer activities.

I'm sure I will not like labouring away for a profession, knowing it can get tiring and that the returns are not all that enticing. But the few times I did have to toil, I found it surprisingly very satisfying. Then again there is physical labour and domestic labour (the working around the home kinds). I know for a fact I definitely don't enjoy the latter; especially when I take a look around my place and realize all the work that needs to go into it.

Are sports my form of physical labour? Probably. There is something very satisfying in just sweating it out that is surprisingly missing in other experiences. The good sleep that follows definitely adds to the list of pros!

- From the Diaries of a Rested Being.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unexpected Pleasures

She was jogging down the street. A slow cadence. Listening to the song playing in her ears.

There she was just walkin down the street
Singing "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"

Her pace picked up. Enjoying the music. Taking in the sights. The fading day blanketing around. The moon and stars fighting the stronghold of the Sun and shining brighter. The bicyclists plodding home. The lady all dressed up, her partner holding a sunny bunch of daisies in his hand. The ending of the day. The beginning of the evening.

She never expected to like jogging when she first took it up. It wasn't a group activity. And connecting with people was what she liked best. But it was growing on her. She started missing it on those long weeks when inertia kept her from stretching her legs. The time spent jogging was all hers. To contemplate or to just enjoy the outdoors. To listen to her favourite songs or to sweat out the cares. It kept her feeling alive.

And taught her to enjoy solitude.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Another Day

She was gazing at her screen. Her thoughts drifting in the hiatus from chatting. Not really seeing what her eyes were looking at. Instead picturing with her minds eye a replay of the night her thoughts were sauntering through. Reliving the moment.

They were all happy to have their friend amongst them. Happy that the fates had spared him. He looked drawn. The events of the day taking a toll on him. No one wanted to think beyond the moment. Think of the others who were suffering right now. Of the senseless happenings. Of the gruesome sights.
They ordered a round of drinks. Toasting to his health and long life. It was her first drink. Ever. She didn't know him well. But was happy nevertheless that he was safe. The images from TV reports still resonating in her head. The drink was helping. Helping dull her mind and keep the thoughts at bay. A day of firsts. And lasts for many. She sent out a silent prayer for them.

A ping from her friend recalled her to the present. The mundane. The everyday. The dullness. To the lack of events. And she sent out a silent thanks for the routine-ness of the day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Journey

The self made farmer. Toiling away on his piece of earth, his fields everyday. Never knowing weekend from a weekday. Festivals probably being the only deviants forced on him by his wife. He granted his selfless companion that much indulgence. Never knew any vagaries of life. Born without privileges, living for a better future for his children. They never wanted for anything. Though his kids, especially his daughter could have done with more variety in life. In her daily garb which tended almost to be a uniform. In the plain food they ate everyday. They never complained. They appreciated what they had. There were days when in frustration the wife vented and silently cried herself alright. But they had a good life. A happy life. Fates had been kind to them. Their children grew to have more experiences, opportunities than they had ever dreamed of. They were alright.

The privileged wanderer. Born with all the comforts one could want. Or learn to want. Never spoiled but never checked either. The fancy schools and foreign experiences. The far off lands; the run of home. The finer things of life. Arts, theater, love. He indulged. Almost content. Till the emptiness hit him again. Till the tendrils of happiness slipped past him. The electronic waste lands at his disposal never satisfying. Searching. Maybe he was missing out on something? Maybe he hadn't found his true calling yet? Guided by his fancy. He was forever thirsty. For the liquid that would quench his soul. Root his soul. What had his grandfather found that was eluding him?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Outside the Self

A little girl in her pretty pretty frock. Cheeks glowing, epitome of health. Sharing the bag of goodies she just got with her friends. Before indulging herself. Mmm, she loved sugar candy.

The kid toddled upto her. He had been busy in some corner of the room earlier. He looked at her candy coated fingers and cheeks and held out his hand. Never for a moment doubting. Her bag of candy was empty. She didn't hesitate before plucking out the candy from between her teeth and plopping it down on his chubby little outstretched palm.

To think, I'd assumed the story of the hare on the moon was made up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Bucket List

"I wish I had hugged her"
"I wish I had held onto her hand a little longer"
"I wish we had shared one more of those ice creams she loves"
"I wish I had talked with her some more"
"I wish I had visited her on the way back"
"I wish...."


Why do people have a list of things they would like to do before dying? I mean who would regret it if that list didn't get done?
Isn't it better to have a list of things to do for anyday; not for the days before death...
I have decided to re-evaluate and form a list of things I would do by people I care for, a list which would ensure I have no regrets at any point of time. And hope I get through that list.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


People were moving. Chaos everywhere. Sounds all around. Days filled with activities. It was the season for changes. Of new experiences. Of beginnings. Endings.
She was in the midst of it all. She was detached from it all. Nothing touched her heart. The smallest tug got her tearing.
The phone was ringing. Again. Why did it always have to be the phone? There was a time when she dreaded calls.
She should be devastated. But could hardly react. Cursed herself for her clinical thoughts. Why was she thinking and not feeling?? The cold fingers of her thoughts reached out for the answers... The answers she wasn't sure she would get.
Was this all that it came down to? All those years; all those moments, memories...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Days of "No" s

Trying to stand. One klutzy step at a time. She falls. There she goes at it again. Try try till..
Swishing down the white slopes, without a care. She takes a tumble? She rises like a spring. The lesson not learnt. She does it right away. Again.
Zooming past on her bike. Her brakes don't work properly. No matter - she can always get off the bike on the run. Scraped knee? It'll mend soon enough.
Her first crush. Shes ecstatic. Her face an open book. Heartbreak? That hurts.. not for long. The young heart.
The work just got monotonous. Time to move companies. Opportunities abound..
She's actually dabbling in trading. There goes that stock price, trickling like grain from a sack with a hole! Better luck next time. Its just numbers moving around anyway..
Sky diving! Here's her chance. Mmm, maybe next time... She had other plans this weekend?
Streaking past on her car. Takes that turn as fast as she can. The car goes into a spin. Whoa! Slow down girl.. Never again.
Bored at work? Better keep at it though.. Not the time to go about risking your job!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

He Knows What I Like

The goal was to groom him - to educate him in ways to predict what would please a person. Any person. To align with their taste. It was a tough task. And there were hundreds of people he was expected to meet with. Thousands even. He had to be better than the others.

They held an open competition to improve him. Open to the whole world. With a million dollars prize money to lure. They could afford it; were sure to reap tenfold from it. He was good already, but they intended to make him better at what he was meant to do. It was all done in a different world. The layman wasn't aware of it. Even if he heard of it, he wouldn't have made note. It all looked mundane on the outside. But there was this small world of select people where it created a furor. Set them rolling.

He was getting better. Enough to earn high praise. It was working. Every day he was making people happy with his work. People were agreeing that he was very good at knowing what they liked, loved even. But the prize is yet to be won. When it is, oh how I want to meet him!


For the lay(wo)man like me, here's more about it. Netflix's suggestions algorithm rocks!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Animal of Habit

For four years she followed a pattern. Finish last exam. Throw clothes into a bag, any bag. Catch that bus, hapofully the fastest one. Rush home. She missed home. She never could figure out what she had found interesting about being away at hostel in all those story books she was given to reading.

Eventually around came the last finals. This time she wasn't in a rush to leave. She had made many friends over the years. She was going to miss them. Dearly. But mixed with the sadness was the anticipation. Of new experiences. Of seas to cross. Of a new way of life.

She fell into a routine again. But the exams were not to be left behind. There she was slogging(?) away. Finally the tests were done. Her heart was soaring! The semester was over!! Suddenly she realized - she was continents away. She couldn't catch that bus back home.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What's Your Vice?

I love shoes. Not because of the extra inches they add - I could never tolerate heels for long so hardly ever try them. Though one of the three pairs I bought today does take me closer to heaven. I don't know what it is about them. I returned a T shirt cos I thought it was way over priced and then went and bought a pair of shoes four times as expensive!

Its just one of those things. Like chocolate cake. Or butterscotch ice-cream. You can never have enough of it. Will there come a day when I get too sick of the sweetness and give up shoe shopping? I hope so. I can't keep splurging on them like I did today! Now don't get me wrong -- I'm not one of those shoezillas who has a couple hundred of them. But I could do shoe shopping any day.

Some people love purses; for me its just an inconvenience - why can't they make decent wallets for girls too? Keeps your hands free. I tried Googling (notice the use of capitals). Why do people obsess with the things they do. The materialistic things. Without much luck.

I'd like to think I will be as happy without. But for now I indulge.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


A voiceless being he is. But powerful enough to catch and hold the attention of people - the vociferous and non-stop doing people. All bending backwards to do his bidding. Pandering to his slightest whim. Embarrassing themselves trying. But hell, who was caring.

What riches did he have to bestow on them? Why were they going gaga trying to please him? Getting on their knees and waiting on him hand and foot. Forgetting their own needs. All for such fleeting acknowledgment; he was sure to forget them the moment they stepped out of sight!

A new born. For one smile, one chuckle on that angelic face.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Enduring Love

Her flirtation with it started when she first got her own wheels - her bicycle. Her freedom. She would pedal, as fast as her short legs could pump. Breezing against the winds to reach the oceans from where the winds came. Carrying the salty taste and smell of fish on them. The oceans which had the power to calm her soul, soothe her thoughts with the gentle splashing of her waves. And wet her legs. She loved getting wet.

Hot summer afternoons spent watering the assorted plants her Mom was in the habit of collecting and planting in their garden. Making rainbows. Filling up those balloons her Dad got for them and splashing her siblings and cousins and getting splashed in retaliation. Dunking in the water tank and stirring up the sediments. Settling in the bucket of warm water she was supposed to be bathing with.. until someone knocked on the door and pulled her out of her reverie.

Daring her cousins into letting her down in the well holding onto a rope; taking a tumble and almost drowning while meandering on a tube in the pool. She was always testing her love. Tugging on the bindings. Embracing it wherever she could. Cooling off at a garden sprinkler on the way back home from a jog. Getting drenched in a downpour. Dipping her legs and soaking in the sauna while on the phone with her friends. Indulging in long showers even when she had to rush for that early morning meeting. Her love for water lasted through the myriad of experiences that was life. Never faltering.

It was time she learned to move with it, loose herself in it. Time for those swimming lessons she'd been planning on forever.

The Observer

The wind. That's what kept the sultry evening sane. It helped too that the sun formed a spectacular background on its path into the night. Kept her thoughts from being inwards. Brought her attention to her surroundings.
It was a posh plaza -- a few upscale restaurants and some tasty options for desserts. The people all looked happy. Not bothered by the economy and its woes. The lucky ones. A kid walked by leading his father, whose hand he held. With an uncommon expression on his face. A wondering, quizzical expression. As if everything he was looking at was new; being filed away in his tiny brain. His first glimpses of life.
Sitting at one of the tables set outside, her thoughts were for once outside of herself. On how good the simple food tasted. How nice the breeze felt. Spring almost past, summer setting in. Watching people pass by. Each engrossed in their own world. Bustling of a mundane evening.
Life everywhere was brightening up again.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Slaves

They walked on and on, almost aimless; their destination no where in sight; just following their noses. Following the strict discipline imposed. Discriminated for their size - made to work like slaves; without rewards. The stronger ones got to be the "soldiers". Fates had smiled on them. And the queens. The drones had it good too.. eat the juiciest morsels, rub noses with the queens and live life to the fullest before going out in a blaze! Short and sweet. The queens - the blessed ones, with their wings of freedom distinguishing them from the others; with the whole kingdom (or should it be queendom) pandering to them.

If they were lucky, they got promoted - got to even have their own brood one day. That was a privilege. That's how the situation was. If they were lucky. But the fates had shown some mercy - their plight was not long lived. The queens outlived them ten fold.

They lived their days out expanding their territory; braving the wild and foraging for food. They were good trackers -- their sense of smell enhanced. They were clever; could optimize their work - find the shortest routes. But to what end? To make time for more work? They were undaunted though. And used their gifts. Selflessly. Even in death warning the others of dangers ahead.


If I were a slave ant I'd probably lead a revolt and overthrow the caste system the very next day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mind n Body

A bright new day! Have to get out and do something..
The luxury of lying in bed late into the day! wish I could stay this way forever..

maybe I should finish watching that movie from yesterday night..
the sheets are so comfortable.. mmm....

nice movie, bit preachy in the end.. what next?
done already? whats that crick in the neck... need to adjust the pillows.

call the junta, see if we can set up something, volleyball maybe? gotta get out..
the stomach sure is feeling it.. maybe time to go get some grub.. or maybe not..

the lazy bugger, move out of the bed!
hmm,,... have to get up.. stomach calls! one last stretch..

and so meet Mind and Body and move on with the day attending to each other...

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Engineer and The..

She woke up with a smile on her face. Sunlight diffusing through the blinds, reflecting off of the glass and metal jewelry lying around on the dresser. She pulled the sheets a little closer, her toes sticking out. Watching the shadows change form in the light wind; getting her bearings.


She woke up with a smile on her face. Morning rays of a summer sun escaping through the blinds, playing tricks with the trinkets lying on the dresser. She snuggled in the blankets, her toes peeping out. Watching the morning breeze play with the light - shifting shadows; gathering her thoughts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Now Then

I once had a pen friend. A memory almost lost in the depths. Every letter from her was long awaited and anticipated. Flitting to the gate on spying the mailman. Exchanging pleasantries with him. The joy on receiving a letter savored for a fortnight. Each sheet was read and reread. Almost memorized. Post cards from exotic places. With stamps on them to collect.

Now I get emails. A dozen a day. I interact with the web page. I monitor the page all day long. Anticipated but never for long; it just takes a couple of seconds for it to reach me. Never memorized; they're just a login away. And links to uploaded photos from trips to foreign lands. (wonder what people did before picasaweb & flickr & etc., tea parties?)

Chance encounters were longed for - now they're just a ping and maybe continents away. Wonder if a friend was thinking about you - whats to wonder, monitor the tracker on your blog. Meet up at coffee shops - rendezvous on IM. Family time with board games was fun - log into yahoo games to play with the world.

Would I exchange the now for the then? In a jiffy. Never in a lifetime.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

As days go..

We set out for a trip to Big Sur with some bbq and bon fire in the agenda. All decided just the day before and hence obviously with no reservations or pre-planning. We were supposed to have set out by 12pm. But as seems a norm for us it was about 2:30pm by the time we finally got on the road.

A bright sunny day; we had high spirits and good old music -- nostalgic music. Stopped at a couple of places on the way to enjoy the views and the beaches. Lovely day. Blue skies and bluer waters. Sand like warm massaging beads under the feet, Love walking on the beach. Shades making for some really cool 3-D effects on the crashing waters. Finally reached out destination. Only to encounter a big board at the entrance to the park - "Campsite full". We had intended to barbeque, drink and warm up around the campsite fire before setting off to the beaches - being CA, there weren't many other options for a pit-fire. Undaunted, we drove up to the checkpoint where this guy on foot beat us to the window and exchanged cash with the lady at the counter. We were quite mad at him for having cut in before us... only to later realize he had actually just cancelled and got a refund. We got the last camp site through cancellation!! Drove out to the parking lot waving to the n cars patiently waiting in q behind us at the checkpoint.

After a crazy hour of freezing - wading through thigh high water and cutting through chilly breezes to a nearby beach and an aborted attempt at playing volleyball, we beat a hasty retreat back to the campsite and set about building our fire. Had a lovely dinner and complimented it with marshmallows and chocolate. And some nice wine. Just in time to be accosted by the park Ranger. The site was meant for 4 and we were 14! She was a very nice lady though and helped us get our stuff back to the cars which were a good hike away -- with us originay having no idea on how to get back in the dark star studded night.

Stopped at a beach we had scoped out earlier in the day. Just as a couple of faceless strangers, who'd built a fire there, decided to leave. It was a nice and warm fire, exactly what we needed. Laid down for some time and listened to the waves gently crashing on the shore. The fire a warm blanket all the time. Was the perfect moment to just feel, not think.

Pehla Nasha. Thats been my favourite song for hazy rides at night. Ever since we belted it out one night long ago after a friends bachelor party. Never loses its charm. was just our day. And night.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Acknowledgement

I've always been happiest while playing something. Anything. Ping-pong, volleyball, badminton, scrabble, pictionary, cranium... and all the n things I dig up. Or my friends dig up.

I meant to write about how "play" is what I like best. But while writing I got to thinking -- is it really that? Do I ever go out there by myself and have as much fun as I do when I hang out with friends? Doing whatever it is we end up doing.

Hanging around the house doing nothing but just relaxing and watching a movie together. Going hiking on the coldest of days. Driving all the way to the city for a music gig just to get turned away at the door due to a sell out. Testing each others reflexes with ping-pong. Going for real long and drunken lunches and topping it off with a crazy drive -- all on working days. With girlfriends -- dressing up just for the sake of it. Going shopping; window shopping. Restaurant hopping -- picking up fav foods from fav places and making a meal of it. Exchanging favourite song links. Freezing your butt on a powdery evening having a snowball fight and burying each other in the stuff. Going to those dance clubs you're sure to come out of totally deaf. Get high on excitement, enuf to run into ice-cold beaches just for the fun of it. Foray into beaches at restricted hours and ending up on the most breathtaking setting ever (I'll never forget that night in Big Sur). Decide at 3am to make it a night out and catch the sunrise! Getting drunk on a camping trip and bellowing out all the picnic songs you learn at school. Walking to downtown on a cloudy night to get some hot-chocolate and ending up walking through murky canal water in a downpour :D

Its definitely friends that make life exciting. So here's to all my friends -- you are the best!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Destined for Another Day

There's one highlight on the road home that I really enjoy in my car -- a circular ramp off the highway 101 onto Montague Expressway. I am always trying to see if I can beat my old speed on it. Ignoring the suggested mph. And then before that there is the lesser interesting ramp onto 101 highway. Hardly worth talking of.

It was a lovely day yesterday -- the lightest of drizzle keeping the trees and air fresh. Green. With gray & white clouds. I think its my current fav combination -- fresh green and gray. Not enough rain to get soaked or worry that I had open sandals on. Almost so less, one would forget it was raining. Had a lovely dinner with a friend who decided to ditch her husband for the night in favour of some nice hot mirapkai bajji and gobi manchurian and my very entertaining company.

Was in high spirits on the way home. As usual. Music blasting. As usual. And then it happened. At the ramp onto 101. My FWD decided to hydroplane and went into a skid. All of 360 degrees. Lucky that there wasn't anyone driving right behind and that I have a very small car -- not big enough to hit the wall right next to the ramp (why's there a wall there again?). Lucky to have the lesser ramp.

My car is destined to be my wheels for another day. Atleast. Unscathed. I've decided to name her.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Sense" our way out of a funk

Did anyone ever try that? and I'm not talking about dimming your senses by getting drunk and forgetting your worries :P But about using your five senses -- smell, hearing, taste, touch & sight to get to a happier state.

I still remember how I used to wait to "smell" home after any long trip away. I think that first whiff of "home" is what settles me back to a sense of belonging and relaxation. The smell of earth after the first shower, the rainbow, the smell of wild roses, a vase arrangement (my sis is soo good at making a bunch of ordinary looking leaves and some flowers look beautiful), a beautiful sunset, stars in the silvery night sky (thanks BK for reminding me they twinkle), the moon on gently crashing waves, lavender, the songs I like to hear again & again, someone practicing an instrument in the background, the touch of satin, silk, or plain cotton for comfort (I need everything touching me to be cotton to really fall into a deep sleep!), a kiss, a hug, that yummy chocolate chocolate cake at Prolific Oven, rasam with ghee, pappu with pickle, a ton of other stuff I can think of which can send me to my happy place! Do I use them to make myself feel better? Not sure I do...

Or there's plain old shopping to take care of it anytime! Its surprising how that gets me out of a bad mood real quick -- wonder how they explain it off scientifically.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Defunct Nose?

Recently I was on the hunt for a new perfume and I enlisted (or was it forced?) my friends to help me pick one. My nose hasn't been of much use to me since the time I was in an accident a few years back and I was solely depending on their senses to pick the right scent. Despite of a few grumps & some dragging steps, they were game and we ended up at a mall one day and after a lot of sprays & sniffs decided the "Notorious" from Ralph Lauren was the best of the lot.

Since I had four friends helping me pick, I was sure I had made the correct choice and didn't hesitate in going home, ripping off the packaging and putting it to use right away. I have since been strutting around all content with the knowledge that I was smelling good. I might have even done a few of the scenes from the deo ad where the girl goes waving her hand high up in the air just to show off my new perfume and solicit compliments.

The place I stay at currently -- we have a cleaning lady coming in once in a month to help out with things. She was here this Sunday and very diligently went about her work moving things around and dusting under the various creams, sprays, boxes, clips, bands, perfumes and the odd jewelry I have lying around the restroom. I was so happy to have a clean shower to go into again this morning and generally felt good that the whole place was back to a spic & span state. In the misty haze after an hour long shower I reached out for the perfume, which was turned in a different angle from normal, just right to be able to read "Ralph Lauren Romance, Always Yours"!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I once got a book with an inscription - "Hope this brings the smile back to your face when you are down". A good friend of mine saw this and said "I hope you never have to use that book". That's when I started wondering why I was touched by the note before!

Does that mean I have accepted "bad times" as part and parcel of things? Does that reflect on how optimistic I am?! Hmm, now there is a thought... Or does it just mean I am realistic?

Come to think of it I do do a lot of second guessing -- always mapping out the possibilities and playing it "safe". There have been times when I get carried away and do crazy stuff; when thought is blocked and I live for the moment; when I throw caution to the wind and dive right in. But. When in my saner moments I think and think again and think some more and sometimes (or is it most times?) let things lie in the interest of self preservation.

Am I holding out on experiencing? Am I missing opportunities? When in the process of growing up did I start learning to be cautious -- expecting bad as one of the possibilities?

I should try throwing caution to the wind one day! (and make sure all the risky factors are out of the way on that day) -- is the thought that came to head right after!! :D

I hope.

Friday, April 3, 2009


No its not about the creepy crawlies which get lodged in your ear in a swimming pool! Actually happened to my brother once :P

This is about "morning raaga" -- not about the movie though(its a nice one btw and you should watch it if you haven't already). Its the phrase I've borrowed for the song which catches your attention in the morning and you end up hearing it again and again and again over the day. Till you get tired of it! :D

You might wake up with this song stuck in your head; hear it on the radio on the way to work; someone humming it while you chanced to pass by -- wherever it comes from, it refuses to leave!

Apparently people have been researching it! Check this out.

And here is my morning raaga for today. Whats yours?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


For the longest time, traveling was synonymous with a train journey for me. The very first memory I have of being on a train is from the day Indira Gandhi was assassinated. I remember there being a lot of commotion and discussions. At the time it had no significance for me.

I don't know why I should have remembered that now - I had intended this post to be a homeage of sorts to my love for train journeys! But atleast it sets a time-line to how long I've been travelling by trains! Let me try and capture my intentions here on :)

We'd mostly go and visit my Grandparents over vacations and this entailed about 13hrs of traveling by train. All those innumerous trips with family must have paved the path for this love of train journeys. The thrill of holding your face to the window; standing at the door of the compartments; feeling the rhythm of the engine (I had to add this -- to me the beat in O Saya captures the rythm to a perfection). Singing songs; eating the yummy yummy ullipai samosas (onion samosas) the vendors keep hawking; poories with kobbari podi (coconut powder all spiced up) Amma makes that are a must for such trips :); jostling for the window seat; falling asleep to the gentle sway of the berths. Meeting new people. Betting with siblings on the next station to come. Watching out for our uncles as our destination approached; being the first to spot them; the joy in meeting up again. I even have a hangover from travelling by trains! a sort of rocking feeling for a couple of hours after.

Even to this day I always prefer to travel by train if I have the time on my hands -- in the non ac compartments; you can't open the windows in the ac ones!

I've been told the Coast Starlight between LA and Seattle is a breathtaking journey. Looking forward to making this trip sometime soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I was on my way back to the US via Chennai. I didn't have a printout of my airline ticket confirmation -- in Chennai you need that as a minimum to step into the airport. Even to get to the ticket counter. We were already out of the house and resorted to asking a friend (not mine) who lives on the way if we could stop by and print it out. Being short on time (hey I was wayyy ahead of time by US standards) I was asked to give my email password to this friend so he could have the printout ready for us!! It was like the ultimate sacrifice for me. I tried to reason out that it wasn't necessary but eventually had to pass on the information.

My email -- to someone to whom I'm a stranger there's probably nothing interesting in there. I would probably not even end up meeting this person ever again in my whole life. So even if he did take a peek, would it have mattered much? Probably not.

But for the whole duration of the flight back, there was only one thing on my head -- I need to change my password ASAP! And boy was I relieved when I reached my brothers place and finally got a chance to do just that.

What is with humans and hiding their personal thoughts & actions? Why are we embarrassed in public of what we are bold with in private?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This poem on Leisure is one of my fave.

There was a time when I could just lie down under a tree on a sunny day, thinking of nothing but just experiencing the wind blowing, hearing the birds chirping and the leaves rustling, watching a fly droning by and eventually gliding into a dreamless slumber in the gentle breeze.

Now I stay awake doing stuff at ungodly hours until I just drop down with exhaustion. The sleep is equally undisturbed but for the wrong reasons and inevitably not enough (work does not wait). I've been rushing to fill up my waking hours with things to do and keep myself occupied. Is it to avoid thinking and to cover the lack of purpose that is life currently? Maybe. Most likely.

I do have the time to stand and stare but do not indulge. Why is that? Maybe cos the moment I stop doing things I start thinking about what I'm doing or more aptly -- about what I'm not doing. Why can't I just live life one day at a time without worrying about the future? About what next? Wish I could get back to "stand and stare"! Though I definitely prefer "lying and staring".

Monday, March 30, 2009


Whats the first thing that comes to mind when you think windows? For me its sunlight. I love the stuff. The second thought would probably be fresh air. I guess that tells you loud and clear I'm no geek -- I'm sure they would have thought XP or maybe Vista these days :P
Maybe the optimists & seekers would have thought opportunity and the idle gazing. The nosy peeking. The artist & shop owners display. And the spender shopping. The housekeeper dust. The guys in security risk. The gully cricketers cracked panes. The hungry to go.

Am I a little of all of those? ... that I could come up with them? What do you think of when you hear "Windows"?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Delhi 6

Happened to get up early today and have been listening to Delhi 6 songs since. And I love them! Considering how short lived my music obsessions usually are, I just felt I had to leave enduring footprints of my love for these songs -- in the hopes that I stumble on this post and enjoy them one time more. Am being optimistic here that I will stick to this blog for a while and not abandon it anytime soon.

All ye pirates out there, this isn't meant to provide you with free songs!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Head Over Heels

Had used the expression recently and somehow got me thinking why it should mean "excited", "completely", "too far gone"... your head is always over your heels right? so why should it mean something beyond the normal?

Turns out (thank you Google God) the original expression is "heels over head" symbolizing a cartwheel and dating back to sometime in the 14th century. Apparently it got jumbled to "head over heels" sometime in the 17th century.

I've always wished I could do cartwheels so I could go heels over head when I'm really happy! Don't you?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Drive home

The best part of a work day is the drive back home -- happy with the work that got done; content that the rest can wait; looking forward to a nice dinner and maybe meeting some friends. Driving the car I love; music blasting, singing along with full freedom to my vocal chords :P

Maybe the happiness is what makes me more open to my surroundings on the way back home.. Here's a few pics I clicked away with my phone on different such occasions..

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Of all the formats, I like the short stories the best --to me they are the most entertaining. Just recently a friend reminded me of one of my fave (if you are reading this Kavi -- thank's again!). Its hard for a good author to lose creativity over the span of a short story and inevitably they are the most "can't put 'em down till you're done". There are some which ramble but still end up being an absolute "story to retell". The unexpected in the ending of short stories is what appeals to me most -- I love surprises!