Thanks Madhu Menon!

A bad case of spam injection, and me unleashed on the ftp meant that pretty much everything in the blog was lost for a little bit. I struggled, read up things, and couldn’t figure out the head or tail of anything. There’s nearly 7 years of posts, memories and stories on this blog. Much as I don’t bother updating it too often (even if I do keep telling myself that I should), the thought of losing everything here petrified me.

I am not a geek. I love technology, but that doesn’t mean that I understand how these things work. Sure, I can tweak a stylesheet, and know a tiny thing here and there. But Wordpr3ss has evolved way beyond my abilities. Looking around for solutions doesn’t really result in anything.

Madhu Menon came to the rescue having heard me whining about it on twitter. And the blog is back! So here’s a big thank-you to someone who really went out of the way, and from my point of view, is a genius. You’ve made this little bloggy very very happy.

Posted in Family and Friends | 3 Comments

Fiction Fragment games?

3 words anyone? A few stories perhaps… if nothing else.

PS – This is how it works. You give me three words that pop into your head – and I try and weave them into a very short story. 🙂

Posted in Random Links | 18 Comments

Small brain and big names

Viswanathan is not entirely easy to pronounce, but your inability to say it right, has more to do with your unwillingness to learn.

If Viswanathan was the name of a wine (Schwarzriesling), a region (Languedoc-Roussillon) or anything that belonged to a culture you aspire to (read West European mostly) – you would make the effort to learn it. Or if you were petrified of being seen as unrefined.

There’s (are?) enough White/ Black/ Brown people who can get the name quite easily – or at the very least – give it a shot. It’s when you stare at the characters, and claim you can’t even try – it makes me think of you as illiterate.

It’s Vish-vuh-na-than.

If you don’t get that – your brain is small, rather than the name being long. Thanks very much. /end rant.

PS – I don’t have a problem with mispronunciation, my issue is when a person refuses to even try. And this isn’t specific to an ethnicity or a people, those who encounter this, will come across it in any country, and across settings.

Posted in Rants and Rambles | 13 Comments


I’ve been a fan of Imitiaz Ali since Socha Na Tha, one of the sweetest films made in the last few years. But Love Aaj Kal was such a disappointment, that I wasn’t sure what to expect from Rockstar.

It’s impossible for me not to react warmly to the first half, fleeting scenes of Delhi University, and a departure from the usual way Indian film makers show ‘college life’. The scenes set in the university felt real, with all sorts of in-jokes about friends who linger around only for samosas, and the class wars on campus. It reminded me a bit of the adventures of lovely Miss Chamko in Chashme Badoor. (Look, all you have to do is make a film set in Delhi winters, half the battle is won already.)

Yet, this is a film with a very dark heart. In a lot of Imtiaz Ali’s films, the irony doesn’t come from unrequited love, but indecision. A character’s lack of self awareness in the exact moment that it will make all the difference. Put simply, the characters are in love with each other, but the love is asynchronous. In the moment that he loves her, she is indecisive. And vice versa.

Never mind the shifts in reality, an India where musicians have a massive following, and an existence independent of playback singing. All that is irrelevant, I don’t go to the cinema for realism. I go to the cinema for an amplified experience of a stray emotion in real life. The details help me identify with that emotion. So for all I care, Ranbir Kapoor a.k.a Janardhan a.k.a Jordan could have been a famous film star and not a rockstar.

THis is a film about Ranbir Kapoor’s character, Jordan. In the rare moments when Heer (Nargis’s character) shines, it’s because of her interaction with Jordan. She is ‘pretty’, in the way a lot of girls are pretty when they are in their early 20s, in fact, in some scenes she looks absolutely divine. But in the end she is the vanilla-flavoured girl, who wants a little bit of the risqué before she gets married, but is probably too afraid to do anything that really challenges the way the world operates. She is a passive actor in her own life. She is brought to life (and indeed to death) by her love for Jordan. She is the backdrop. (Made more obvious by how you never quite go inside her head – what does she really feel towards her husband? What is eating away her soul?)

In the beginning, Jordan talks about how he has no problems in life – everybody loves him, there’s no reason to be angsty. But actually, he’s never really a happy man who feels like he’s found his corner in the world. You realise later, that perhaps his family doesn’t really care for him, nobody understands his music, his friends don’t really seem to stand by him. He is lonely, spontaneous and impulsive.

I thought perhaps the departure for Imtiaz Ali was how the name of this film focuses on one person, rather than the overwhelming emotion in a relationship. (Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal etc.). But perhaps the real departure is the idea that the heartbreak is not caused by a ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘circumstances’. Sometimes, heartbreak is imminent, and will come because intensity is what Jordan has learned to thrive on. Jordan turns to Nargis to heal his own despair – but there’s no telling how happy he will be with that. It’s poignant because she’s on her deathbed. If she was attainable, he might well be bored.

The film meanders, and fails to hold itself together in the last 45 minutes. The plot device of skipping into different ‘eras’ is quite alright, but for a film that departs from the usual stuff, it then becomes formulaic. It’s a bit too long. And yet, I walked away feeling a knot of empathy, sadness and joy in my heart for the khanabadosh that Jordan is.

Posted in Music, Film and Art | 6 Comments

On bees

It’s in a country without summer,
That I perhaps learn to be gentle.

With things like insects and bees.
It’s not with annoyance or fear,
that I wave you away.

Little winged one. I do it to send.
You, away in the direction of the
your very last flower.

Posted in Photographs, Poetry and Fiction | 12 Comments

Parrot for Lali

In the three years since,
other birds have hatched.

But it’s in parrots,
beaks like red chillies,
that I suddenly see,
you take another flight.

Dear Lali,

3 years to the day. Really miss you, with my mind wandering to you everytime I make rasam, see a crossword, write a poem or listen to Rafi. Or see a parrot.

Chinna Ponnu (older by 3 years, but still…)

PS: Silly me. Forgot to send you a song. Here, you quite liked this one. Even translated the Telugu version for me.

Posted in Family and Friends | 1 Comment

Mausi, Bua etc.

One of the loveliest things about being my age (nearly 30) is how a number of close friends start having babies. And suddenly, just like that, your email inbox is full of pictures. Of babies that can call you Aunty without you breaking into a scowl.

When friends have children, it’s like being given a chance to love your own friend like they were a baby. In their children, I see them.

I now have nanna munna rahi-s all over the world. How lovely is that..

Posted in Family and Friends | 3 Comments