Sunday, December 14, 2003


Tired Saddam stroking his beard, US rhetoric screaming on the channels - "final resolution", " caught like a rat in a hole" - has shaken me out of my apathy to write something about it. Why didn't he kill himself? The US soldiers would have given him plenty of opportunity to do so? Has he decided he would die only in his terms, after revealing the hypocrisy of the west and exposing their sham of self-righteousness? Or is this one of those wag the dog setup right in time for christmas, new year and the reelection?

That said, from the human rights perspective, I think it is good news indeed.

Monday, November 10, 2003


So I am filling up an application form and I come across the question I always see - Father's name. Not mother's name - it is always the father's name. I sigh and try to continue. The next - Husband's name. Not spouse's name, mind you. I pass on to the next question thinking of the injustice - a man who is filling up this form doesn't have to answer question three. I hand it off to the guy and he asks me "are you married?". I wonder momentarily if I should snap at him "Why are you going to propose?". I tell him mildly instead "Why do you want to know?". He gives me a sheepish smile and says, "you have put Ms, that's why". I tell him the option was there so I put it. "But madam", he insists " are you Miss or Mrs.?" I tiredly pull the form back from him, change it and give it to him, not having the enrgy to give a lecture.

Monday, October 13, 2003


Had a nice leisurely lunch this past saturday. eggplant moussaka and veggie cannelloni. The cafe at the top floor of Max Muller bhavan has great food. Carrots and beetroots and fresh salad on the side was mouth watering. We sat sipping our iced tea and tasting the hot, delicious lunch. Gentle breeze lulled and a slight drizzle tattooed. Sitting under the very Indian coconut leaves roof - pundal - I thought I was closer to heaven. Until some more folks joined us, pulled out cigarettes and decided to have a puff, that is. Why can't they make restaurants non-smoking zones. Why, oh why do they have to puff and ruin my afternoon, my health.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


My car driver is a very religious man. He insisted on a prayer ceremony this past dusshera for our car. Not wanting to let anything disturb him while driving on our construction-sites ridden bangalore roads, I nodded my head absentmindedly, gave him some money and thought that would be the end of it. I wasn't prepared for the crowd of people in front of our car when he invited me to witness the puja.
Two plantains were tied to either side. A huge garland adorned the front window. All the other windows had bright hindu religious symbols drawn on them. Fellow drivers, other folks working in various capacities in the apartment complex were milling about. Sweets and sundry paraphernalia sat waiting and I stayed in the back, terribly embarrassed about associating myself with the racket. I needn't have been embarrassed. All other cars in the apartment had similar things on them. I wondered uncharitably if it was the opportunity of showmanship that drove my driver and not the gods.
He went around he car with incense, went around with a lighted lamp and then with much gusto broke a coconut to pieces. A pumpkin followed. A lemon was crushed under the wheels. The red water from the vermilion splattered on the ground. I gazed at the broken pieces and the red liquid, sighed at what it symbolized and with a heavy heart declined the professed sweat.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003


A beauty parlour is the best place to ponder about feminism. All kinds of aroma assaults my nose, the TV blares in the background, I sit there watching women of various ages, sizes and skin conditions walk in, get stressed out about looking good. The peacock has the feathers not the peahen, the lion has the mane, not the lioness, I wonder why in our species women work so hard to look good. Culprit must be some gene in the X chromosome. My thoughts face must have been transparent on my much scrubbed face. The woman there hastens to assure me it is not about looking beautiful, it is about being well groomed, it is about self image. I agree fervently.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Have been following all the news with Galileo. Arent the moon names very interesting? Understandably, some are the children of the greek god the planet is named after. Some like those of the Uranus moons are offbeat. Shakespearean characters. Must be the British astronomers. But the Jovian moons are the best of the lot. After all there were enough characters the colourful Zeus pursued. There he is still holding them in orbit.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Car guilt

As my big, foreign made, four door sedan car along with other redirected traffic glides through the small street - lined with single room houses, open drainage, littered with garbage - men and women there go about their usual work without paying the least attention to the incongruity and I am embarrassed about not feeling guilty.

Monday, September 08, 2003


We were talking about the amazing works of Anand Patwardhan , about how he is single handedly making his stunning documentaries amidst controversies. When the speaker stumbled for an appropriate word to describe his sheer drive, someone next to me said dedication while I said passion.

I liked my description better, yes it involves dedication, still, what else but an intense, emotional, overwhelming conviction can drive him to be at it, against all odds. Hats off to him.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003


After ages I saw someone using snuff. Sniffing tobacco was a fashionable thing long ago with the likes of kings and queens being regular sniffers, it seems. Though as habits go, it looks quite disgusting, at the least with snuff I dont have to worry about passive inhaling. My grandfather used to sniff. He would buy only this special brand of snuff that used to come rolled up in a small piece of bark. The bark would be folded with a label on top of it and I remember watching him come back, sit on the platform in the front of the house, unfold and adroitly pour it into the little cylindrical box. A very cute little silver box, made just for this. All hell would break loose if he misplaced it somewhere. I would often find him sit back, tap his box gently a couple of times, take a pinch and sniff it delicately. It is so vivid in my mind that I can almost smell it now. Who knows, as they start banning smoking in more and more places, the tobacco fixated populace might resort to snuff again. God help us.

Monday, June 23, 2003


My grandmother passed away few weeks ago. I want to write so much about how sweet, smart, close and miraculous she was to me. I find myself very much inarticulate, inadequate. When I sat stroking her cold forehead, all those imags of her floating in my mind, I felt so insignificant at the face of the power and finality of death.

Monday, April 07, 2003


The more I read about the war - "Operation Iraq freedom" - got to be the mother of all euphemisms, the more I feel sick. Though the pacifist in me shudders with horror, there is a little part of me that is proud of the defiance Baghdad is showing. The lines have blurred now. With talks of post war construction contracts already, while hundreds of Iraqis are dying, US has completely exposed itself as to what a greedy bully it is. If the stock market is an indicator, the US economy might improve and then they will all go back to talk about the ill gotten Nazi money and how to get it back from the Swiss banks.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


Was in chennai last weekend. Pre dawn arrival, yet I could feel the heat. As the car went through the silent, dark streets, briefly illuminated by the headlights, I could see sleeping forms of men, women and children huddled along the pavement precariously close to the main road. Probably a common sight in many slums, but very heart wrenching and poignant especially when the harsh light framed a sleepy mother patting her small child sitting up and crying, perhaps just woken up from a night mare.

Makes one wonder of politics, philosophy and even religion.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003


Talking of Aishwarya Rai posters, it seems to be an unwritten code for all Auto drivers to paste a picture of her eyes right in the front, where their rear-view mirror would be. Wonder what thats all about.


You are inside the car, listening to FM radio. There is a traffic report about the accident in hudson circle and someone calls in and talks about his desire to get back with his girlfriend with whom he broke up a year ago (their names - Robert and Michelle). There is a momentary uncertainty as to where you are. And then there is the look on the young balloon peddler's face as he watches a man, his lady and their toddler arrive in their scooter to stop in the traffic light.