Sunday, January 31, 2016

The End

The end caught me by surprise; I didn’t realize we were reaching the end already.

Am I relieved that we ended?

I am not sure if you can call this ‘relief’. I have to look for an appropriate word. A word that understands that the end is not the end. I would miss the time we spent together.

It was nice to tell you things that I was thinking about or doing or planning to do. I liked coming to you after a gruesome day at work or life (you know how a day starts when there is no breakfast in the morning!). But I pushed those thoughts away, and made fun of them instead. I love laughing with you.

This blogathon shifted my focus in the middle of chaos. It also helped me structure my thoughts. To make sense of things.

So, well, it is not with relief that I am ending this. I am ending this with the painful realization that I will miss you. And so I will be back soon. No, not tomorrow. But soon.

See you later, alligator.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

TV Marathon vs. Blogathon

Only one more day left for this blogathon to end!

I had the entire day to write a post today, but I didn't.

Since yesterday evening I have been watching season one of How to get away with murder on a marathon. Now I am done and have to get my hands on the second season.

Today TV marathon won over blogathon, and I have nothing much to say. So see you tomorrow! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Digging into old cupboards

I had nothing to post today so I dug into my computer and went through old folders. This was written a few years ago. I am not sure what my state of mind was that time, but today when I read it again, it felt like a fading smell of an old favourite scarf. Word of caution - lot of rambling ahead.

Here it goes-

I feel inadequate. Like I have so much to give but I am not able to. I feel insufficient. I feel powerless. Feelings. I want to feel the strong gush of emotions that would overwhelm me and break me into a million pieces. I want the maddening thrust of feelings and to really know what that feels like. I feel like a piece of rock, not capable of feeling anything. Pain, happiness, love, hate- I don’t feel anything. Nothing drives me, nothing pushes me to my deepest darkest core of senses. I can’t feel anything in its brute force. Every feeling fizzles out. I want to hold it tight sometimes, but its flimsy bubble like skin, dissolves in a blink.

As a baby when I would be taken for injections, I never cried. The place would be a noisy hell with wailing howling babies and I would take in the needle piercing through my fragile skin with a soft subdued tick. Did I not feel anything? Is there something really wrong with me? When I was a toddler my mom would ask me- “Hey do you want this thing (e.g. something to eat)?” and very nonchalantly, I would say- “Sure, if you want to give, or not. . .up to you.” How could I be so indifferent?

I don’t feel passionate about anything. There are moments when I feel moved. But it’s just that. Moments. I come back to senses very soon, I don’t dwell on those feelings. I wipe my tears and wonder what I look like when I’m crying. Feeling so shallow about having that thought.

Everything in life is so mediocre. There are highs and lows, and I feel so balanced in between all of this. This feeling of serenity is good only when it is momentary. Otherwise it is a mundane empty canvas of peace. I want insanity. I want to feel the low like it is the lowest, I want to feel the high like it is the highest. It is never as good or as bad as it seems, I have always believed. It is the words that make a moment beautiful or miserable. And things that are REALLY beautiful or miserable cannot be expressed into words. That is why I feel inadequate.

Can you ever really explain what it means to be understood, each of your words, each of your thoughts understood in exactly the same contours and colours that they are in your mind? Can you ever express what that moment feels like when you hold your baby for the very first time? Can you ever completely describe the view of the Himalayas standing at the top of a mountain after hours of climbing? Can you even begin to explain what it feels like to bury your father?

I think I am not capable of feeling intensity. I am too balanced for my own liking. I do not fight for what I want. I would try to make do without it, may not be happily so. But I would settle. I don’t remember the last time I wanted something like crazy that I couldn’t live without. I don’t know if it is a good thing. Being balanced has helped me in my life, I have not driven myself and others nuts (ok perhaps sometimes I have) and been level headed. Or maybe I cannot deal with intense feelings and I give in. I get worked up and try to find a middle ground. All my life I have yearned for perfection- that right blend of things. The golden mean path. The best of both worlds. And in that longing, I have never fully completely totally immersed in an all consuming feeling of anything. The feeling of being completely drenched and soaked in the pouring rain of any sensation.

I want to feel. I want to devour. And be consumed. But nothing feels good enough. Or perhaps everything is only just good enough.

Edited to add: I looked back to think where this may have emerged from. This is from all the soul-searching when I couldn't figure what my passion in life was. 'Passion' is such an overused term. People seem to be passionate about everything these days. But I am not sure if people understand the intensity behind that word. I think I am still trying to find my passion, the thing that drives me everyday to wake up with enthusiasm and gives me a good sleep at night. I have found it in bits and pieces in my life, but nothing that I can't stop running after.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I feel like a celebrity

No, no I have not got published yet. Ugh even blogadda does not acknowledge my presence in the blog world.

But what else are moms for? :D I am feeling sick like I told you before. Still I have to go to office because I am an adult, you know. I was sulking after coming back and we watched a movie on my laptop (I love the concept of evening snacks by the way! But only if they are mom-made). Then I was lying inside my blanket sulking some more and whining – “Now I have to write a blog post also!" Instantly my mom said – “Forget the blog, you are sick, you don’t have to do it. Missing it once in a while is okay.” But I decided to honor my commitment to the Blogathon. That is when I felt like a celebrity. Haven’t you read those tabloid stories where they say how an actor worked for so many hours despite high fever or completed the dance show despite the ankle injury? It felt something like that. So here I am giving my sweat, blood, tears and farts to the Blogathon. In sickness and in health, I shall continue blogging. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Did you ever have a wish list, the things you will do or things you will buy once you start earning? I had a list like that. And today, after five years of earning money, I finally bought the item that used to be on top of that wish list but never on top of priority list.

Contact lenses.

My first memory of contact lenses is from the movie Baazigar :D where Shah Rukh Khan changes identity by changing the color of his eyes. It didn’t make much sense to me – he still looked the same only.

Now I am free from scratch and smudge prone spectacles. I got my glasses when I was ten years old. I was very proud when I got them. It was a valuable asset. I remember taking very good care of it in the beginning. But that didn’t last for too long. I kept breaking my glasses every other year. I have stuck to my current style of chashmas since 2008. Actually my hairstyle (bob with fringes) and my specs (black rims, long before the nerdy look was in vogue) have stayed almost the same since then. I look quite different without my glasses; I look very oriental thanks to my tiny eyes and tiny nose. It will take some time for me to get used to this. For now I am just happy about not worrying about fogging up or smudging the glasses.

Arey but wearing these lenses is quite a pain, huh. I was struggling. It is not easy to stick your finger into your eyeballs without blinking or touching your eyelashes.

Next thing I am excited to buy is shades. I always envied people acting cool with aviators and wayfarers. Now my time has come. Main bhee cool banungi :D 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


What happens when your stomach does not keep up with all the fun that your taste buds are having? Your body refuses to digest all the fish and chaat and sweets and mother’s love and father’s pampering. And you fall sick. But you know what is the best part of falling sick at home? More love. I hate falling sick when I am all by myself in Gurgaon. I have to take care of myself, make soup, buy medicines, see the doctor, keep warm – it makes me sicker. I want to be smothered with love when I am sick. That is a luxury I get only when I am at home with mom, and I love it! My dad’s way of showing affection is by giving medicines and my mom’s way of showing affection is by making me eat and keeping me cozy – if this is not heaven then what is :D 

And in this way my long weekend has come to an end. I am glad this is going to be a short week for me. I have BIG plans to sleep all through the weekend!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Television meh!

I don’t like watching television. I don’t have a television at my place. While growing up, my sister and I always fought for the remote control. My sister won most of the times. She liked watching English movies, Bournvita Quiz Contest, Rendezvous with Simi Garewal or some Hindi soap opera. . . while I wanted to watch cartoons or music videos. Very seldom we could agree on our choice of entertainment. She was undoubtedly the reigning queen. I slowly gave up and found better things (read mischiefs) to do at home. Even after my sister left for college and I had the television and our bedroom all for myself, I never got addicted to television.

Now I don’t understand why people watch television when they can watch anything they want on the internet. I am from the Netflix generation in that I can’t wait for episodes week after week. I want all my episodes together so that I can binge watch them in a marathon. Whenever I watch television I rarely find anything of interest. And I hate it when people watch two three things at the same time on different channels by switching back and forth. I would much rather read, listen to or watch things on the internet as per my convenience.

When I come home I am forced to watch some television. Soap operas to be specific. These days even my dad has become an ardent follower of some serials. He asks my mom for updates if he happens to miss an episode. Both of them have quite intense conversations about the characters in the serial, as if they are talking about someone they know so well. It’s funny. “She is trying to frame you, don’t listen to her!” “Oh now he is going to do that!” “Look at her. So vicious. How can you trust anyone these days!” are some of the things I have overheard my parents say.

All these serials are the same I have realized. Loud make-up, long internal monologues, melodramatic dialogues, tears, facial expressions, slow motion, eye movements, bright colours, lot of gold, sensational background score. The storylines are hyper dramatized to add some masala in the uneventful daily lives of Indian middle class people who watch these serials and thank God that they are better off. These serials keep playing in the background while the mother is busy in a household chore. The dramatic sound effect is the cue for her to turn and look at the television to see what is happening.

I miss watching music videos of the 90s. Remember Silk route dooba dooba video? Falguni Pathak’s videos. . . Piya basanti re. . . Maairi . . . Shaan’s music videos. . . Colonel Cousins. . . Sonu Nigam’s videos. I may cringe while watching some of them today but they were my super favourite at that time and still bring a smile of warm innocent nostalgia whenever I am in the mood to watch them on Youtube.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


I have been trying to write for last one hour and all I have done is cursed myself for starting this blogathon. I came home for the weekend, and with so much happening around me, I don’t know what to write. So it’s going to be another one of those meandering posts. Better than a no-show at least.

I have lived away from my parents since I was fifteen. And coming home is always a big celebration. When I was in college I would miss all the festivals being away from home – Diwali, Holi, Durga Puja, birthdays, anniversary – but everything would be compensated when I went home for summer vacation. That month and half would be filled with plans – right from what I was going to eat and where I was going to go and what I was going to buy (lots of shopping!). Since my parents moved around so many cities, almost every other summer vacation was at a new destination.

Right now my parents live in a small town, about 5 hours away from Delhi, and I have the opportunity to visit them often. When I was in Pune and Bangalore, I didn’t have the luxury to pack my bags on a whim and give my parents a surprise visit on a weekend.

My mom has made all the preparation of things I love to eat –things that I don’t get to eat outside or can’t cook well enough. Today I spent the whole day shopping. Tomorrow would be a little lazier with more basking in the sun and chit-chatting with mom. I love the old quilt at home. And the swing in our balcony. I always wanted to have a jhoola in our house, but we never had one since we changed so many houses. In this house my parents finally got one, and every time I come home I make sure I have a cup of coffee while swinging in it. Right now I am typing on my old laptop that was repaired (changed battery and display) for my parents. The laptop is kept on top of a note pad (a hard board that I took to my 10th board exams). And I can hear my parents snore.

I love coming home and seeing things unchanged. I am reminded of a past that I am closely linked to - roots that sometimes feel unfamiliar and faded in the life that I am living away from home. And then I see changes that I could have never expected and imagined while growing up.

Coming home is not just a celebration anymore, it is also a pitstop in the journey of life to refuel, repair and make note of how far I have come. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Borrowing some words today

Not that one
By Meena Kandasamy

Find me another word
that is not so ready. I want
a word that waits and weeps
and hesitates, that knows
of other words I kill, and
grows afraid to take its place.
Find me a word that has heard
of a woman afraid of losing a man
she does not have, find me a word
that flinches at the thought of being
trapped, a word that shows me
stealing time, not men.
Find me a word that is not safe.
A word for a woman in a forest
to wake up with, a woman who
knows heat and long silences
and sleepless nights, a woman
who works with only words.
Not love, dear poet.
Find me another word. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favorite authors. In the backdrop of West Bengal with the tiny details that bring alive the characters (and all the associations and memories I have attached to being a Bengali), she makes me fall in love with a place where I have my roots, even though I don’t belong there. She has never belonged there either. Her father moved to the US when she was very young, and the only connection she had with India was through vacations and memories of her parents.

Around 3 years ago, she moved to Italy and started learning the Italian language. And now she has got a book published in Italian, called In Other Words. In one of her interviews she said that she borrowed experiences and journeys of her parents, her family and poured them into the stories that she wrote in English. Most of the stories she has written so far (2 books of short stories and 2 novels) are characterized by Indian diaspora, their struggles and relationships. Now as she indulges in Italian language, learns it from scratch, she feels that for the first time she is writing something for herself, looking at herself, NOT through someone else’s eyes.

I feel very close to Jhumpa Lahiri in that I don’t feel I belong anywhere. Nothing feels like home. Living in a foreign country must be a disorienting experience. While there are luxuries and comforts that make your life and lifestyle better, the experience of not living in your own country must be isolating. I am not a patriotic person per se, but I have felt moments of despair (despite all the fun) when I have travelled to other countries. At one point of time I was yearning to leave India and get a job abroad (perhaps it was the residual feeling from working in Shanghai for a bit). But over time while growing up, moving through so many cities, I have realised now that home is just where I am. I will never find it if I keep running behind it, looking for it in different places. Given a chance, I would still take up an opportunity to work abroad, but I am not hoping to find myself, or create myself, there.

Language is such a rich entity that frames your experiences and behaviour. I have come in close contact with an assortment of Indian languages like Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Marwari, Malayalam, and of course, Bangla, my mother tongue. Language is directly correlated to your behaviour and how you see the world around you. That is why it must have felt like an experience of renaissance for Jhumpa to study Italian and emote in that language.

Language is a dividing as well as a uniting factor. I come across a Bengali and instantly develop a rapport based on our shared systems. It is also very easy to alienate someone and make them feel left out through language. I see people who continue talking in their mother tongue even if they are in company of a few who don’t understand the language. It is very rude and I despise it, but there are certain things that can be expressed only in a certain language. As soon as you translate it, the joy or the beauty of it vanishes. And it is present in each language; they are like the inside jokes that nobody else will understand.

When I visit Kolkata and people on the streets, the rickshawallah or the shopkeepers, start talking to me in Bangla, I feel uneasy. My mother tongue is very sacred to me; I speak in Bangla only with my family and really close ones. And when a stranger starts conversing in the same language, it feels like they are trespassing my space, it feels too intimate a space to share with someone I don’t know. This happens because I have not grown up hearing Bangla around me, it was always like using secret code words in public. Nobody understands what you are talking about. And when I am in Kolkata I sense that my liberty to express has been snatched away. It feels like I am in a crowded auditorium and some hidden microphone has caught my voice.

I wonder how it might be for couples who don’t share the same native language. I have experienced that before, and it didn’t feel weird, but what do you guys think? Does it matter if your partner shares your language, or comes from somewhere else?

P.S: The title of the post says 'Bangla' in Bangla script.