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Showing posts from 2005

It was the night before Christmas

The Elf sat in the van, wrapping presents briskly. There were many more to go, she had just begun in fact. The radio was playing carols in a low volume. She dared not raise it . It would have woken up the children. She hummed along with the radio. Carols always made her feel warm inside.
The Children had hung up their stockings by the fire place. Put cookies in a plate for reindeers and glass of milk for Santa. The elder one made sure no one lit the firethat day as it would have scorched Santa's red pants as he came down the chimney.

As soon as the children were done waiting for Santa, and were put in their beds, her job had begun. She rushed through each present, wrapping it with her usual efficiency. Muttering to herself- hmmmm....the older one had been a good boy I guess...Nice raquet'. She was about to put a bow on the first present, and stopped. Should she ? may be she shouldn't. It might reveal her identity to people. She was an elf, who lived on earth as 'Aunt'…

"What ever happened to Boris?"

( This is a trinket from my Keepsake Box. )

"‘Have you heard from Boris?" I asked my big bro, trying to sound casual, knowing full well what the answer was going to be.
"Nope. Somewhere in the South America, last time anyone heard from him, which was four years ago".
My brother didn't seem too disturbed about it.
" I asked his brother once, but he doesn’t seem to know".
Now I was visibly agitated. "How can his brother not know where he is?" For me, who was virtually my big brother's shadow, and a constant companion, such a lack of family feeling was beyond comprehension.
"Oh, they are not very close, Boris and his brothers. And now they are scattered all over the globe. So meeting once every five years for a family Christmas is quite normal." Said Bro.
I stopped probing. Didn't want Big Brother to be suspicious, or worse still, amused.

I met Boris when I was fourteen. Big Bro was in IIT and would bring home friends every vacation.…

Vande Mataram

August 15th seems different this year. Something is missing. I had purchased my mandatory flags yesterday. No paper flags in market, all plastic. Shiny, bright, and indestructible. I wondered if they were made out of the required 50 micron recyclable plastic. The snotty nosed urchin pushing it in my hands couldn’t tell me the price. In fact, he looked barely old enough to walk –forget about talking. I looked around for his older sibling, a street savvy youngster with a gleam in his eyes. He recognized a sucker. Instead of handing back the change for my ten bucks he handed me five flags. His cheeky grin disarmed me completely.

So today I have five flags fluttering in my balcony. In my white kurta – chudidaar, draped with saffron and green dupatta, which I wear only twice every year, I felt ready to greet the day. My bro remarked rather unkindly that they should forget the flag and hang ME instead.

I sipped coffee, still trying to figure out what is missing. Then it suddenly occurred to m…

The Day Bombay went under water

The Terrible Tearful Tuesday

(Written Jointly with Hemant Suthar)

The Deluge

It was Tuesday morning. Of all the days on our calendar we had to pick THIS one to go shopping. JL was visiting Bombay from NY and had to visit new malls in the Mills. My heart was NOT in it. I kept thinking of rains and the possible inconveniences it can cause.

As we stepped out of the shop, we started having a feel for what was in store for us. The cab had a tough time getting out of the waterlogged compound. It got stalled on Parel Bridge and the cells were not working. I suddenly managed to get Hemant on cell, and barked out - "Get ready we gotta leave asap! The city is flooded."

Back in the office, all sane ones were gone. Insane ones like us were still there arguing "So what if the trains have stopped - But we have the car." We all have this weird notion that if we have a car, we will somehow manage it never realizing that there will be no road for that car to travel on.

We set out - the …

Critique Please !

I am learning that praise stagnates. I would rather have a harsh criticism than a friendly pat on the head. Recently I received a blistering critique for one of my poems from a person whose opinion I value tremendously. Others defended me, praised my work, refuted his charges. His charge was that with first half the poem raised expectations, which I had failed to fulfill in second half. A serious charge indeed. Friends advised me to ignore him, the poem was good, as a poet it was my right to stick to my words.

I re read the poem, understood exactly what he meant, re wrote the second part- which totally improved the poem. It added a closure that the poem badly needed. When I mailed the revised poem to him, he loved the new version but what he admired even more was my ability and willingness to self critique. When we write it shouldn’t be for a pat on the back, or even instant adulation. We must learn to assess our work dispassionately, comparing it only with the best. If I want to write…

My Keepsake Box

My friend's elderly aunt had, what she called, a Keepsake Box filled with vague, unrelated things. Only she knew the significance of things treasured in there. When questioned about any pieces in it , she used to gently take that thing out of my hands, put it tenderly back in the box and give a mysterious smile.’ Just something a friend gave me”she would murmur. We all thought her a bit crazy but I was in love with that box. It stored such exquisite junk . I still remember the faint smell of old 'Attar' which wafted out every time she opened it.I have seen a lot of ‘Keepsake Boxes ‘since then, filled with of truly fascinating and weird stuff. Old letters, notebooks of poems, diaries, photographs yellowed with age, dried roses, handkerchiefs, are easy enough. But I really get curious about a bit of pencil, a button, a bit of ribbon (wrapped around a present I suppose), a sea shell, shiny wrappers of chocolates, only ONE earring, truly useless stuff- precious only for the me…

Tito and the Call girls.

"See, one more girl has gone in" Tito whispered to me urgently. I tried to take a look over my shoulder, but couldn’t. As the nature hadn't designed my neck to turn in 180 degrees, I had to depend entirely on the faint reflections in the glass door opposite me and Tito’s dramatic narration.

We were sitting in a fancy downtown restaurant. as we were meeting after a long time there was a lot of catching up to do. Right in the middle of ‘what happened to ...’ Tito broke off to exclaim in a shocked tone .."I say- these girls look like hook- I mean... call girls. Is this THAT kind of a joint?"

I was a little surprised to find this puritanical streak in Tito. I wasn't sure if I entirely approved.
In this metro city of ours I have stopped worrying about who does what for a living. From Barrister to Bar girl, each has to battle on the same turf every single day.

"Hmmmm ….May be they are" I mumbled into my wine. Having wine for lunch made me feel deliciously …

A New pair Of Glasses

I went to purchase a new pair of glasses. Alone.
Normally having friends along for selection of frame is a given. My friends-superior beings with creative temperament- have very exact and rather fixed ideas about what my face should look like. Don’t blame them really- after all, They are the ones who have to do the ‘looking’ where as I am safely Behind it- looking Out-so to speak.

The moment some one screams - Go get a hair cut, you are looking pathetic- I head out to the stylist,of THEIR choice of course.

So I went to purchase a new pair of glasses. Alone-as it was a working day.
I felt abandoned.
I entered the fancy showroom where I had been ‘Requested' to go.
I cleared my throat and mumbled-‘ I want new glasses’.

A guy- terribly smart in a jazzy pair of glasses- looking suave like the heroes of bygone era smiled kindly at me and reached for the glasses perched on my nose. I couldn’t have been more shocked or surprised if he had reached for the top buttons of my shirt.

I backed off – ‘…

A Battle Won

My friend’s mom was diagnosed positive for the cancer of breast.I could relate with the trauma the woman must have gone through.The dreaded ‘C’ word-Countless stories about the dread of chemotherapy. Loss of hair, more than that, the loss of a breast .

My friend, a male, was confiding in me about his mother’s condition. Both he & his father were distraught at the thought of the operation, & the subsequent loss of a woman’s prized part of anatomy- her sign of ‘womanliness’- The Breast ‘!!! He wanted to know about the operation- how much damage will it do to her breast, will they carve carefully & remove only the malignant cells or cut it off completely?
Do they have to ??? Isn’t there some way The Breast can be saved?
To me, this was a prime indicator of universal male attachment & preoccupation with The Breast.

I answered patiently, as well as I could. It seemed to me that the fear was more within these two males in the family, the lady was fairly composed. I told him tha…

The Tao of Windows.

( This is an entry from my old Blog. It is carried over in this one because my hopeless Inaptitude about all things windows still remains unshaken. )

Creating this blog was not an easy task. You may not believe me- but after creation this blog was lost....twice……Geeta will vouch for that.

Let me get one thing off my chest, I am just not a computer savvy person.
I went to the shop to buy a book to learn how to work with the windows. There were big – colorful books , Some were illustrated with pretty cartoons & what not. I admired the pictures, liked the glossy pages of the books – even managed Not to flinch when I read some of the prices …… but the problem came when I had to choose between ‘Windows for Idiots’ & ‘Windows for Dummies’.
I thought for a long time .. but couldn’t make up my mind where I fit in- Idiots or dummies. I even thought about taking a poll with my friends on this matter – but the names THEY usually call me by– nobody has written any books about Them yet !!!! At…