Friday, April 15, 2011


Life has hit a pause button
I know not where to go
I can’t turn back
To the life that was the past
wisps of memories reach out and
I watch them drift away…

I look ahead and see only a void
Nothing beckons
My hands reach out and touch emptiness
My feet are still yet restless
I hover in limboland

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My heart had broken into small pieces
and now those pieces have broken into smaller pieces
Each time a piece breaks away
the shards lacerate my soul
I long for the elusive numbness of feeling
of release from feelings

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

the six am adventure - catamaran ride

Sunny salutations on the sea

Every now and then, a surge of restlessness overcomes me; it’s rather unpredictable in frequency but the intensity follows the same trajectory. The build-up starts with a sense of ennui, setting off a simmering discontent until I just have to act fast and make a quick break for it or else let the volcano within explode.

One such time, along came an invitation to spend a weekend by the sea. We set off with unabashed alacrity and in a few hours we were at a fabulous resort just outside Chennai.

The simple act of kicking off your shoes and collapsing on a cushy mattress is enough to bring out one’s inner child. After the usual checking out the little luxe goodies in the bathroom, there was nothing to it but head down for a remarkable lunch replete with enormous seafood platters.

It was late evening by the time we made it to the beach. Kicking a ball around, building a sand castle – such are the simple acts that bind a family in fun and frolic. Not so far away, we espied little villages of fishing folk and a little while later, skipping along the foamy water edge, we fell into conversation with one of the villagers.

As we talked about fishing and boats, the tide and all that constitute a seaside life, he asked,” Do you people want to take a ride on a boat?”
“Sure, we would be thrilled”, we said.
“Well, are you up to something a little more daring?”
“Like what?”
“Like a catamaran ride”.
“What’s that?”
“It’s more fun than a boat”.

We made plans to meet the next morning at half past six.

The day dawned slightly dull; but Kannan, our fisherman friend, was waiting with a smile. “Where is the boat?” we asked.
“There”, he said, pointing to a few logs of wood.
We wondered if he was joking and when he insisted he wasn’t, wondered if he was sane.
“It’s perfectly safe, and here, you have to put these lifejackets on”, he said.

We belted up and then he told us our places on the raft, as that is all it was. We had to sit cross-legged and the line up was first me, then Aditya and behind us Allen, who looked extremely doubtful about his place. His arguments that he ought be in front as father/ protector ran off Kannan’s unheeding ears, who was suddenly all brisk action.

“Hold on to the rope and don’t let go. If you do, you’ll slide off the catamaran”

So there we were grimly holding on to the rope and nothing happened.

Kannan put a hand out to shush us, his eyes fixed firmly on the active waters.
“We have to wait until the waves lift the raft out, so stay seated and hold on tight”.

We waited and we waited, the wind whipped at our faces; the salty sting of the sea spray added to the tingle of tension and anticipation. A couple of times, as we found holding on to the rope painfully tough, we were almost tempted to call it off but we held on, grittily encouraging each other.

And along came a big one and off we went. A funny whoosh filled our stomach, it was like being airborne but of course in reality we were not; the catamaran surged ahead as we held our breath.

Almost imperceptibly, the rhythm changed and we seemed to be gliding along. The ride was so smooth, it was almost as if were still. As the little craft moved away from the shore, it was caught up in the gentle sway of the Bay of Bengal and we were in thrall of the incredible contrast it makes to the choppy excitement of the start of the ride.

As we exclaimed about the smoothness, Kannan got into romantic overdrive. “Let go of the rope”, he urged me. “Come here”, he said, tugging me to stand at the head of the raft. He set me standing and then beckoned Allen forward. Before we knew, the funny man had us in a pose a la Titanic! We played along and I must confess, I found Kannan’s gesture extremely cute.

Soon we reached a spot where he adjudged we could stop. “Jump off”, he said and followed his own advice. As we gawked at him, he had already got Aditya in the water and as I wondered how deep was the floor of the sea, Kannan hollered “It does not matter; the water here is silky, enjoy the swim. If you get tired, you have got your life jacket on, just lie on your back and float”.

So there we were, fooling around in the sea and after we tired of chasing each other around the catamaran, we flopped around and lay back, holding hands.

That’s when the sun broke through the light cloud cover. It was as if it had hid behind a curtain all along and now, wanted to come out and play with us. The light orange orb was a charming smile, lighting up the endless horizon; a happy day in harmony with the elements.

Catamaran is derived from the Tamil word “ kattu maran” which simply means wood that has been tied together, i.e., a raft.

The catamaran is a traditional fishing craft and is made of sturdy Alposia wood from Kerala. While fisherfolk have taken to motorized boats for their livelihood, they also use the catamarans and in the left couple of decades, they have been game to taking along the adrenaline-junkie tourists. It’s a low risk activity and don’t expect the same feeling as riding the rapids.

It is exhilarating to ride the waves and gives you a great high when you master your natural fear and enjoy a communion with nature.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


i have been looking
through the grills of the closed gate
this is all you've let me see
So far you've let me be

I'm tiring though
perhaps I'll sit down and nap a bit
and waken to the sound
of the gate opening

( Rusty gates creak, don't they?)

28.020.2011, Goa

One by one the chapters are ending
with the finality of doors banging

why do i shut off the tears
that stem from deep reserves?
it would be better t have them burst out like a volcano
and bury the memories in the ashes of dreams

Monday, October 26, 2009

loss and longing

the nights are empty and all the emotions that i keep at bay during the day come howling out.

a shrieking banshee lives inside me; the whole day long, i feel her beating her hands against the cage.. i ignore her,
but at night she unlocks the cage and steps out .. she is a creature of the night and reigns until dawn when yet again i push her back down into her prison

another day that i dread to face but must do so. pin on a smile, get busy and manage to forget the utter horror that has overturned life.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the dance of democrazy

i marvel at the fervour that ordinary Indians exhibit in wanting to vote. while the comfortable classes have just now found it fashionable to espouse universal adult franchise, the common man and woman are uncommonly diligent. scene at ward no. 70, shantinagar. the very same place where i found myself in tears last year where despite brandishing my brand new voters ID card, i did not find my name on the list. i was surprised at the strength of my own feeling of deprivation. a couple of days ago, i heard that the list of voters was up at the ward office . the scene was as chaotic - a couple of mild people could not control anyone who snatched various sections of the list to eagerly scan for their names. housewives, old men, busy working people like me who have snatched a crucial half hour off in the morning hoping to avoid queues - the variety of people who want to vote with no urging is amazing.

my 18 year old son was keen to register himself too - gung ho about being a first time voter and we found ourselves redirected to Mayo hall. to save time, we downloaded the form, filled it and leaving him to study for his board exams, i set off to submit the form. reaching the booth, i was told to get a xerox of the filled -up form ( why was this not mentioned on the website? off i went to the other side of the building, and stood in line to hand it over. then i gingerly mentioned that my name was not in the list. the man guffawed and told me to check on the computer inside. if it was not on the list, i would have to register all over again." this time, come with the xerox copy" he he". 

two young guys sat cramped in an airless office, the old ceiling fan hung motionless from the high ceiling. while the rest of us lined up, a society dowager with ayah in tow, scorned the masses. she clutched a chair and kept repeating every few minutes, " please check for my name". i exercised strong self restraint and quelled the urge her to get outside and join the line. mercifully, my turn came quickly; the youth listened smilingly when i told hi my tale of woe. " my voters Id has my dad's name as my husband; puts me on a street that i do not know; but i don't mind - i just want to find my name". he clicks , finds nothing. senses my anxiety and smiles again . and presto - my name comes up. he scribbles on a piece of paper and says," madam, on election day, go with this paper and your voters ID card. don't worry this time you can vote". 

despite the bitter burden of our politicians, isn't it marvellous that so many of us still believe in our power to change? Jai Hind!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

premier book shop's last hurrah

the end of an era. good old premier book shop is closing down and it feels like the death of a good old friend. shopping for books will never be the same again; never mind if there are other book stores that are huger, have better displays and yes, even offer better bargains.

the quietly amused mr.shanbhag had a stranglehold on my heart - from cheeking me for picking up chicklit on wind-down weekends to saving the latest alexander mccall smith to stocking the latest harry potter- which i could pick up for my son and his friends without the angst of queueing up at dawn-, to keeping my selection hastily called out on the phone ready to pick up enroute to the airport - premier was the place which i loved for its sheer unpretentiousness.
it was like visiting a slice of the past - a golden opportunity to push aside the curtain and step back into mellow times 

its goodbye finally - for a while now , my friday evening/ saturday afternoon book buying binges at premier followed by a pint or two at the nightwatchman next door  - with the tastiest masala peanuts- had been winding down. can't help missing the haze of smoke in this good ol' pub as unfussy as the bookshop next door, with great music and v proper waiters who kept an eye out for you.

the times, they are a-changing....