Women’s day specials

FM channel 1 – Man congratulating his lady colleagues ‘cos they are going to achieve a supposedly ‘unheard’ feat of cleansing the sea by scuba diving to celebrate womanhood.

FM channel 2 – Lady in high pitched voice irritatingly saying thanks incessantly to all women in her life, in her office, in the city, in the country for being women, for being successful and followed by another list of superlatives I can’t recollect for the life of me!

FM channel 3 – Tamil song which LITERALLY translates as the following..

Male vocals: “You are a Mango, A Malgoa Mango from Salem..I am going to pluck you and eat you whole..
Female vocals: “Yes I am Mango, how are you going to savour me?
Male: I am going to bite you here and there..
Female: Devour me and say where all I taste good..”

No more channel change. Next stop: The power OFF button.

Because, I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough with all this pseudo enthusiasm and jumping-up-with-joy over Women’s day, and enough with the peppy fun events to celebrate womanhood ! ‘Cos you look around and all you see is women being objectified in every way possible way; men, women, celebs, advertisements, movies, songs and everything and everyone under the sun equally applauding and endorsing it. Don’t people realise this is the crux of is what is terribly wrong with our society. This is what ultimately leads to women being preyed upon at every place she goes to. There is not a single safe haven for women – not school, college, office, buses, public places, her own home or even in her mother’s womb. Because a woman is just an ‘object’– for religious extremists, for moral polices, for movie heroes, for family members and for men in general. There is no escaping it, even if you are a glitzy glam girl who goes on screen all dolled up and is overwhelmed by the claps of millions! Hope no one still wonders why in this great nation a woman gets molested every 2 hours and raped every 4 hours! (And that’s real stats!)

If media is actually genuinely bothered about women’s welfare, they should start by creating a better milieu for women to dwell in. They should stop promoting anything that objectifies women and vehemently oppose it. They should start channelizing their energies towards educating people on why women too deserve respect, towards bringing awareness among the lower strata of society to treat and value women as equals, and to make every man recognize the fact that women are not mere soulless ‘objects’.

P.S.: Forgive me all my friends who wished me and whom I didn’t wish back. Forgive me for not able to overlook the glaring eczema our society wears with pride, and join in the ‘pretend-that-ALL-women-are-happy’ events to celebrate womanhood.

And it’d never be the same…

It was the Spring of 1996. I was 12, and he was 2. He was running about in the verandah of the house. And me chasing him shouting “Don’t run too fast!” I picked him up and carried him back inside, though he was actually a little heavy for the scrawny skeletal frame that I was. He fussed for a 4th helping of his favourite ‘Fuut Salad’, I turned down his plea and gave him a peck on the cheek instead. In return he gave me his own version of kisses – a lick on the cheek.

Year 1998. I was 13 and he was 3. It was the year I learnt to ride a scooty and he was in his Karate Kid phase. I was exhausted the whole time getting punched incessantly, though it didn’t stop him from throwing tantrums to go riding in the scooty. He would stand in the front, wailing and screaming in a happy hysteria when the wind kissed his soft, round, chubby face.

Onam, 1999. Me 14, and him 4. All cousins were gathered together at one place to celebrate the festival. He was the centre of attraction of course, being his nonchalant self. Singing (rather howling) through the mike non-stop, and dancing (rather bouncing) in all directions were few of his antics which he wooed the crowd with. It was also the Onam when we would watch Juhi Chawla’s only Malayalam movie till date, and he would make me repeatedly sing his favourite song from it, over and over till he slept off by my side.

Year 2005. Me 21 and he was 11. We were teaching him how to play Rummy. He sucked at it so bad that he left it halfway through and went to play cricket. It was also around the time when mobile phones made their grand entrance, or should I say barged into our lives. And one night he took my phone, read all the SMS in my inbox and then started blackmailing me in return for chocolates.

2007. I was 24, and he was 14. It was the year I started earning ample money to afford buying branded clothes for him and to have dinners at star hotels. Who gets to sit in the front seat was our constant point of contention every time we got out into the car and agreeing to put Rahman songs in repeat-mode was our common point of reconciliation. Those were also the days I would fake sick leaves and extend the weekend just to sit and watch cricket with him, eat and drink in the same bed the whole day and finally doze off gazing at the TV hugging each other.

Year 2012. Me 28, and he was 18. It was the year he stripped open his wallet of secrets and regrets to me. Girlfriends of distant past, present and even future; friends he loathed and enemies who were friends; the scars they left, along with the lessons; of his realisations that family comes before anybody and stands by you in front of anybody, of how much he started to crave being with family, being at home, than anything else in the world; of his introspections, and even of his glimpses into spirituality!  Those were the days he held a mirror across his heart and asked me to peek in. And the image which ricocheted made me realise that the toddler I had come to love about 2 decades ago had almost completed his transmogrification to an adult – and a decent, beautiful one at that. I couldn’t be gladder and prouder.

Then came 2013. Me 29, Him 19. It was the year when I finally taught him how to play Rummy during a family trip to Munnar and boy, was he proud! The year when on and off he would ask me out of the blue, “29 Chechi? Really?? 29 !?” And I’d smile and nod, “Yes Kanne, I’m 29.” And he would chuckle revealing the cute one-of-a-kind dimple – which was not on his cheeks but on its fold, under his left eye – and reply, “But you sure don’t look a day older than 15 !” It was also the year which had the night I wailed in horror, staring at a TV screen. The year he disappeared into oblivion without hinting even a word. The year I wish I could erase off of memories, off of my life.

Throughout the year I thought of how I would ever cope with this loss. Time flowed by and I gradually came to realise… from that night in May, that night onwards, my life would NEVER be the same. Life as I knew it had irrevocably changed on that night he left without even a wave of hand. No matter what an incredible holiday I get to take, I’d always think, “if only he was also here with me on this trip”. No matter how huge the leaps of success I make are, I’d always think, “if only he was here to celebrate this with me”. No matter how blissful a moment I get to savour, it would always be marred by the shadow of what transpired on that dreadful night in May. No matter how beautiful a moment I have, a second later it would diminish in quality, and lose its sheen just by the thought of not having him in my life anymore, or ever again.

2016. Me 32, Him still 19. That’s what death does. It changes lives; while keeping the person intact, frozen in our memories.

Published in : http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/And-it%E2%80%99ll-never-be-the-same-again/article16946754.ece

Defining taste.

Sometimes you chance upon something that it makes you stop. Go back. And take a look again. Today I stumbled upon something like that at my friend’s office deck. It was a model tree made from cut stones of white, red, blue and green colors. Just glancing at it while passing by sparked some flickers in my mind. Flashes of a life so long past. Of my childhood. Of wearing necklace made of exactly same colorful cut stones; cut, yet polished and smooth. Of feeling beautiful just wearing them, though I was just a skinny 8 year old. Of me fiddling with the stones all the while. Of licking the stones often, to see what they tasted like. Of mom chiding me for being filthy like that. And me thinking, “It’s not filthy. Its tasty.” I guess I thought tasty also meant liking something when you put it in your mouth. In that logic, it wasn’t tasteless. ‘Cause I liked their coolness and their shape. I loved the way the stones felt against my tongue, for reasons unknown.

Or who knows, maybe I loved them because deep down I wanted to be like them – irregular, uneven, but with a finesse. And yes tasteful too.



Isola di’ Burano in Italian – Island of Burano… Island of colours, it should rather be named. Every building joined on its side with another. Every building having an upbeat colour and none having the same shade as its Siamese twin. I wonder if the islanders get together and decide which colour they should paint their walls every year, so that they don’t end up having the same colour as their neighbour’s house.

I just couldn’t stop clicking pics of the buildings. They were so bright and vivid. The whole island was full of almost identical tenements. Each sporting a different colour, and yet the melange managed to be so well blended. Numerous disparate colours in one place, yet so perfect with each other, so perfect together.

I kept gazing at them wonder-eyed. May be because they were so unlike us humans. We too are of the same species, but of different colours – having different cultures, languages, vibes, thoughts and feelings, and so imperfect when together. So imperfect together as a race.

Humans, the biggest let-down of nature.


A Slice of heaven

That tiny piece of heaven,
Tucked away in the heart of a gem called Cherrapunji..
Where you can lie down listening to the waterfalls,
That seem like the music of infinite pearls dropping into oblivion..
Where you can fall asleep staring at a sea of stars,
And you can wake up to the smell of fresh blades of grass..
Where you can peep open your eyes,
To shining diamonds seeping through the gap between trees,
And they draw graffiti on your face,
That look like buds and blossoms..
Then you murmur to yourself;
Nothing the concrete jungle which I call home gives,
Nothing at all can beat the bliss..
Nothing, can make me feel at home like this.


For me, the saddest part about Trump’s win is not immigration reforms or tax code overhaul or anything political like that..

It is the fact that someone can run on a platform of racism, xenophobia & misogyny, and still have hordes of actual ‘human beings with brains’, literally hand him on a platter the most powerful position on the face of the earth!

Does this say volumes about Americans or humanity in general ?!

It doesn’t matter.

There she is; again,

Feeling like a stray dog with an open wound.

Any dirt or fly can self-invite to sit on,

Or even settle down.

The same fly that indulged in faeces a while ago.

The only thing she is able,

Is to stare and shoo,

And in vain.

For who is to bother,

What a woman feels.

‘Cause the ‘beasts’ of this world,

Can do things as they please,

All a woman can, is feel vulnerable,

And shoo them; again.

For him, they are ‘innocent’ pleasures.

But for her, she feels violated, desecrated.

He thinks it’s his prerogative,

To tickle; To tease; To touch;

To do whatsoever he deems right, or even wrong.

As if she is a fallen withered flower,

Even when the flower could actually voice the 2-lettered word,

It doesn’t matter, does it?

For, does a woman have feelings at all !?

Or even a soul, for that matter?

To him, she is some food left open,

To taste at least, if not devour.

He may brush his body past hers; deliberately.

Lay his hands on her skin; repulsively.

Anywhere; Any place; Anytime.

The Bus; The College; The Office.

Even when she says NO,

It doesn’t matter, does it?

He can still touch her,


It’s not a rape. It’s just a grope;

It doesn’t matter.


8 am, Umroi Army Station Guest House, Shillong

I find myself perched on the verandah of this right-out-of-a-painting cottage,
Listening to my favourite slow tracks,
And the rustling of leaves when the wind comes kissing them..
They seem like they are hushing secrets of some distant past,
And I can’t help but wonder how they have an uncanny semblance,
To the racing waves of the sea.
May be, just may be, if we listen closely,
The whole universe talks the same language,
And we just never listen enough,
Or with all our heart, to know that.

I gaze beyond the narrow white stone paved paths,
The tiny green shrubs and the fresh grass sprouting from the manicured lawns,
Through the window between two pine trees in the distance,
To the lovely long array of the same ones.
I find myself wondering,
Isn’t nature and music the perfect usherers of creativity,
And I realise they are the mentors of the pen that I wield, and none other.
They are the ones who always came whispering tales in my ears,
And to my heart.
In this moment all I want is to just be here,
And never leave.
Just feel this high that I’m climbing,
When the flow of thoughts come hit me,
As I inhale every gush of this pristine air..
And all I can do is breathe them out,
As beautiful strings of letters.


My Superhero

Sometimes I turn around..

And gaze at the paths I have tread,
The stones that pained my feet,
The thorns that bled my flesh,
The currents I swam across,
The mountains I crawled over,

And I realize..

The only hero I ever had,
The face I kept searching in the crowds for,
The forever invisible, invincible super hero,
Who swooped down and saved me at every turn,
That red and yellow cape..

It was always, me.

Politics in the land of hypocrites

The thing I have noticed about BJP supporters these days is that, they come in 3 kinds:

1. The optimist – One who was fed up with years of UPA rule and the scams that ensued. The one who was optimistic of BJP and Modi being the change that India vehemently needs that he vowed his allegiance to BJP trusting the Utopian picture they painted as our future.

2. The fan – One who is an ardent fan of Modi, who bought into the whole ‘Gujarat model’ a marketing gimmick trumped up by his portfolio consultant, Mr.Prashant Kishor (who later became the strategy consultant of  Nitish Kumar in Bihar and scripted his success as well). The sad soul who fell for “Modi ke chakkar” – apt usage by one of the poor tour guides I met in North India, who now regrets having voted for BJP.

3. The believer – One who supports BJP because he is a hardcore temple goer, Hindu propagandist and believes in Hindu supremacy. If not superficially, but at least deep down, below the surface he believes that India is Hindustan and not Bharat. (Also that all Muslims should go to Pakistan.. and may be even that all Christians should go to Jerusalem, Buddhists to Tibet, Atheists to China, may be 😉 )

While most people, including 1 & 2 would agree that 3 is the most dangerous kind around, there are some similarities I could draw up among these three in these trying times of political hypocrisies.

All three,

  • Get extremely offended if we say anything against their beloved ‘Modiji’ or his work so far.
  • Get very defensive of anything and everything BJP does; when it incites communalism or even when it is just ridiculously preposterous. They go to the ends of the earth to support Modi and his blunders.
  • Rarely have any valid and factual responses to genuinely critical questions we ask about the Modi regime. It is always beating around the bush when we expect a rationale, which is extremely frustrating.
  • When questioned about the Modi’s or BJP leaders’ hypocritical statements that they made previously as opposed to their actions now, or when presented with solid facts and figures that shows Modi’s rule as highly questionable, they realise they are cornered and end up either attacking us personally with silly inanities, or deleting our comments and sometimes even the post altogether.
  • And some stoops down to the level of completely blocking us or deleting us from their Facebook even. (I guess following the modus operandi of their demigod Modi – or do I daresay despot 😐 –  by shutting out anyone who raises voice against him)

Time and again, I find this a very curious case only among many BJP and Modi proponents, which I haven’t seen in Communist, Congress or AAP supporters.  The symptoms and characteristics are so very similar in each case. Especially the last 2. 😀

And hence the sudden urge to write this.
Sorry if any ‘Sanghis’ or ‘Bhakths’ got offended. I know  the delete and block button isn’t very far for you. Please feel free. 😉