Monday, 29 December 2008

i believe

I believe,

Santa did not forget us this year.

He’ll stop by soon, with his reindeer.

That truth hurts more than lies.

It’s easier to put them in disguise.

That the last year has been quite tough.

Many hoping 2009 brings the good stuff.

Battles fought, lives lost and games played,

Many living life in the dark now, afraid.

We all have a part to play, things to say,

There’s no point shutting up, continuing to pray.

I believe,

That love heals, but it can also hurt.

Remember the good stuff, not the dirt.

That the sunrise will warm your soul,

Twinkling, golden rays, filling in the black hole.

Friends lost are not gone forever,

You’ll let them go, forgive them if you’re clever.

Though forgiveness is the hardest thing to muster,

Especially when you know you can never trust her.

I believe,

That there is something watching from above.

Creating, destroying, and teaching us to love.

That things are never just or fair,

You just need to learn the art of warfare.

I believe,

Our children will destroy the sun, the world,

No more people, countries flags to be unfurled.


This maybe my last post for 2008, but I’m hoping not considering the negativity :). In any case, Happy New Year to everyone reading this. I hope the new year is better than the one gone by…

Sunday, 21 December 2008


*Couple standing at the top of a bridge over the subway around 2am*

“Are you sure?”

“Baby, I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

“Could you please tell me how this happened… we’ve been so careful!”

“Don’t know, really. It took me this long to even figure it out.”

“Even though you missed your period for what… four months?!”

“For god’s sake… I thought I was late!!”

“Geez… do you really think I’m going to believe that after you’ve been trying to get me to marry you for what, two years now.”

* long silence *

“History repeats itself… you did the same to her, now you’ll do it to me too.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Anyway, can’t you abort it?”

“Jesus Vikram, it’s too late, it’s been over four months now.”

Kismat huh. My kismat this is, to become an unwilling father…”

“Listen, fuck off. You don’t have to do anything for me or this baby.”

“My, my, what a sacrifice… you the virtuous single mother and me, the deserting, unwilling father of the baby.”

“No, I don’t want you and your fucking attitude around my child. Get out.”

“Oh, I see. Fine.”

“Please… Just leave me alone to live my life now. * crying * You’ve ruined it enough.”

“Quit being a drama queen. What if it’s a boy?”

“Right, and what difference is that going to make.”

“Since I’m an only child and my father is such a successful man… And I don’t have kids… He may find out someday and…”

“Trust me, he won’t find out. Nobody knows apart from the doc and you, and nobody else is ever going to find out.”

“Under the circumstances maybe you should let me give you some money at least.”

“Vikram what’s wrong with you… first you accuse me to trying to get you to marry me, then you offer me money? Fuck off.”

“What? What do you want from me?”

“X chromosome, Y chromosome… how does it even matter.”

“You don’t get it… If it’s a son he may get my father’s everything. I can’t risk that, so I’m offering you money to keep quiet. It’s not for the baby.”

“Zero, zilch, nothing. I don’t want anything, I’ll shut up anyway. Goodbye, Vikram.”

*turns around to go when Vikram pushes her over the side of the bridge. He checks to see if anyone has seen and then leaves, muttering about risks and gold-diggers*


This is an exercise thought up by a friend of mine, which involves telling a story in 26 sentences. The sentences begin with alphabets starting from A, B, C… and going up to Z.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Remembering him


When you climbed a tree

Pulled my mother’s pigtails.

When your mother defended

Your every misdeed.

When you made my mother cry,

When you bullied her.

Remember when you were happy.

Remember when you grew up.

Your father died, you took over.

Your first time with your wife.

Your first child, first pet.

Were you happy then?

Were you happy while

You sat in the seat of power?

I remember.

I remember your smile, your voice.

Your big hands and great, big laugh.

The way you taught me to pinch people.

I remember you rolling on the floor

With our dog.

He’s also gone now.

I remember you sharing chicken liver,

Laughing with Ma.

I hope you were happy then.

I remember the last time

I saw you alive.


You on a ventilator does not count.

You weren’t well.

Smoked too much.

Was it because you were unhappy?

Ma was scared.

So was I.

When my father died,

We did not cry.

When you died,

I could not stop.

Leaders wept.

Colour faded from the world

When you left it.

I’m sorry for our mistakes.

Mistakes you can see

From wherever you are.

But cannot mend.

The wind is blowing outside,

I hope it takes some

Of my words to you.

I hope you are happy now.

With my dog and yours,

And with your parents.

We miss you.

Remember II

Sudden death.

It’s not a game.

White coats,

Shoes clicking on

Cold, polished floors.

Your face was dark.

Dark with death.

Yellow with disease.

You did not see us.

You were already gone.

Visitors coming and going.

Your wife’s fits,

And her tears.

Your dog’s howling.

Our country’s tears.

Seven days and eight nights.

Then you were gone. Officially.

On a slab of ice.

Flies buzzing around it.

I could not see it.

Its face was covered.

But I know.

It was not you anymore.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Morning glory

I knew the instant I woke up it was going to be a bad day. After hitting the snooze button at least three times I had officially made my day worse by already being late. Sighing, I blearily opened my eyes, thankful not to see a total stranger occupying the other side of my bed. Not that it happens often. But that would have made me hopelessly late for work.

The instant I looked at my reflection in the mirror I knew my thoughts were confirmed. Bad day, bad hair day, bad face day… I sighed again. You know those movies where people’s reflections in the mirror get a mind of their own? I half expected mine to get evil as well. But it didn’t happen. The person staring back at me was no monster. It was me.

My cell phone buzzed. Text messages annoyed me. I ignored it but the buzzing continued. Not a text message. My mother, for sure. I picked up.

“Yes Ma.”

“As much as I’d love to bring up a dreary little brat like you, I’m not your mother.”

“Morning, sunshine.”

“Morning, Tara, Good morning in fact!” chirped my best friend of three and a half years.

“It’s not good. And you’re practically my mother. Now what’s the story, morning glory. I’m already late.”

“Nothing. Wanted to check on you. You were pretty moody last night.”

“You hesitated a brief millisecond before opting for the word ‘moody’. More later. Gotta run.”

“Yes, well.” Sigh. “You were something. Moody maybe. Be happy, love. Ta.”

Sigh. Moody monster me.

Forty five minutes later my car refused to start. Forty five minutes because none of my clothes were back from the dry-cleaners and I had to iron one of my dreary white shirts myself. Pristine white shirts look awful if they’re not ironed perfectly. And I decided since it was going to be a bad day, I might as well try to look slightly less monstrous. Closed black pumps, my nicest black trousers, pristine white shirt and tons of make-up (I was going for a subtle look) and I thought I was there.

After freezing my pumps off in the Delhi winter for a while my hardy little car finally started. A sigh again, but this time it was relief.

I got to work, got yelled at by my boss and settled into my chair with my first cup of coffee for the day. There were going to be several more.

About an hour of Facebook-ing later I began getting the calls. Are you ok, is everyone ok? Er, yes, why wouldn’t I be. I didn’t bother asking. People were weird sometimes. News began trickling in though. And even though I’m not in the news industry it’s only so long before you find out your city is being targeted by er, what’s the word... yes, terrorists.

I didn’t believe it for quite a while. Then someone switched on the news and boss didn’t seem to mind. He was glued to it himself in his own cabin. Man, these 24-hour news channels sure knew how to do their job, I thought. Or not. Frown. Weren’t they over-dramatising things just a wee bit?

Well Delhi’s been through a lot, I thought. This was nothing. And I returned to work.

“What if this is my last day on Earth?” shrieked a particularly annoying colleague.

Well annoying she was, but… what if she was right? Hmm. I wish I didn’t look my worst and I certainly wish I had been in a better mood that day. If it were my last, I mean. Then the best friend called.

“Yes, I’m alive. Fine. Kicking. Rather hard, mind you. What about you?”

“Marry me? I don’t want to die alone!”

“It’s illegal in this country for people of the same sex to marry, sweetie.”

And so it went on. She was freaking out along with half the people in my area. So what if a teensy bomb went off in some random dustbin in La La land. It’s not like the nation’s capital would collapse or politicians would care. The world wouldn’t even blink if a few more Indians died. They’d probably think, good, there’s too many people in this world anyway.

A couple of hours later things got worse actually. Much to my surprise. And pleasure actually. It was going to be an exciting day after all.

Police started scouring our industrial area since terrorists apparently claimed they were aiming for the business people now. Another reason not to join my sector. Go figure.

A couple of hours later they had sealed our building off. God knows why. And they planned to evacuate 560 odd people using a rooftop. Erm. Ohkayy… Luckily since I was two floors below the roof, I was only the 100th or so person out. Or not.

As I walked to the roof I heard gunfire. And that's when I finally began to hyperventilate. My life flashed before my eyes. If only I’d married one of my one night stands. And had a kid. Or been happy. Or made my mother happy. Maybe I should have just married my best friend. You’re too young to die, what are you thinking, screamed my rational inner voice. Which was quickly suffocated by more panic and adrenaline.

A suited, booted army looking guy stuck his hand in and yelled at me to follow him. We were at the entrace to the rooftop now. And I was at the head of the line it seemed. I blindly shook my head. People were pushing me from behind, he was yelling… But I could only hear the helicopter and more gunfire. I was finally pushed into his arms and he dragged me to where there were about five other employees standing.

Then I heard something fall and hit the ground with a metallic chink. Slow motion. The army looking guy yelled at some others who resembled him, they all rushed for the metallic looking thing and… it blew up. Oops. It really was a bad day. But who would notice a couple more dead Indians? Certainly not George Bush, Condoleeza Rice or diplomats of other countries, for all their sympathy and big talk. Or our very own Prime Minister for that matter. And that was the last thing I remember thinking before my senses were rocked by a huge explosion.

Monday, 8 December 2008

South Indian tradition

Bells ringing as Paati does her morning chants.

Anklets chiming, as the dancer next door warms up.

The neighbour with freshly washed hair circles her tulsi plants,

The bride entering her new home, tipping over the traditional rice cup.

Ma teaching my sister how to tie a sari,

As Hindustani music lessons begin downstairs.

The new bride fingering her almost sacred thaali,

Wondering if it’s the answer to her prayers.

22 and never been kissed,

Waiting for her husband to look her way.

Unsuspecting about his midnight tryst,

Believing every word her in-laws say.

Culture, music, dance, prayer,

Freshly brewed coffee, the smell of jasmine.

There are some things beautiful about South Indian tradition.

But not the 22-year-old with a 35-year-old-womanising husband.