Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bella Ciao

What I love about Bella Ciao is that every time I visit, I feel transported to a land far away. It's as if the humdrum of the city life is a thing of the past, and that all that really remains is peace and tranquility. That's the effect the place has on me. Every single time. It's our go-to place. Open-air, thatched roof, excellent music, and good, good food.

I must have tried all the pizzas on the menu by now and not a single one has ever disappointed me (obviously if you order aubergines on your pizza, then God help you - actually they might do those well too, I have never tried. I can't.) They have nailed the authentic, thin-crust wood-fired pizza, and no pizza has tasted the same after the delight that is the Bella Ciao pizza. 

Unlike a lot of other places, they haven't placed a table in every empty square feet available, leaving you, thankfully, with room and privacy. The waiters are smart, they have never made a mistake in my order - and that's saying something given the crazy specifications we put on the table sometimes ('a quarter of the pizza should not have mushrooms, another quarter should have chunks of sausages, the rest of the pizza can include your standard, from-the-menu ingredients. Oh, except extra zucchini over everything. And NO aubergines!') Yup, they got it right! Their lasagne is good too - and they only had the authentic lamb lasagne last I checked. 

I love their desserts - the Nutella crepe is to die for, as is the Panna Cotta. The Grandma's apple pie was a 3 out of 5 - not crumbly enough. 


  • Caprese: Naples salad - tomatoes and Mozzarella slices, herbs and olive oil (3.5 / 5)
  • Bruschetta : Toasted bread, fresh tomatoes and herbs (4 / 5)
  • Verdure Fritte: Deep-fried, crispy veggies - bland and disappointing, also very 'out-of-place' (2 / 5)

Main Course:

  • Aglio, olio e peperoncino: Garlic, olive oil, chilli - finally aglio olio done well! (4 / 5)
  • Lasagne : Lamb. Little heavy, but done well (3.5 / 5)
  • Pizza, Al Salmone : Cheese, smoked salmon, basil - Good! (4 / 5)
  • Pizza, Verde : Cheese (yes, we like our cheese), olives, zucchini, broccoli, spinach (we also like our greens) - Excellent! (4.5 / 5)


  • Panna Cotta: Caramel, always caramel (4.5 / 5)
  • Crepe Nuttella: (4.5 / 5) 

Yay or nay?
Big, fat yay! Go if you have a couple of hours to sit, chill and have good conversations, and not if are on the eat-and-run mode. Orders take time, presumably because everything is made fresh. If there is one flaw in the otherwise perfect setup, it's the fact that Bella Ciao is not reeealllyy on the beach, and you don't have a view. You have to take the beach road to get there but then you turn in a little bit, and really can't hear the beautiful crashing of waves of the sea. Well, you can never really have everything, can you? Sigh!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Wharf - Radisson Blu Templebay

Birthdays are special - they are days you loosen those purse strings - they are days you treat yourself. This one was no different - and the moving finger made a stop at The Wharf when we were perusing the list. It promised of everything we were looking for - the open air, the sea breeze through the hair, the calm and the class.

So off we headed - an hour's drive away on ECR. Radisson Blu is just short of Mahabalipuram and the drive would lift your spirits as you cruise along the Bay of Bengal. I'd recommend you leave at 4 PM and get there while there is still light because the place is a beauty. You walk along their gorgeous pool (pools?) to get to The Wharf - nestled in one corner of the resort. We spent an hour just walking around, taking it all in and visiting The Deck (which has a stunning view of the sea), before we hit The Wharf. Getting there before 8 was a good idea, we got a table out in the open although they have seating in the wharf too.

It was everything we were hoping for, if not more - the sound of waves crashing on the shore, the gentle breeze over the sea, the sand running between our toes, and to top it all, good food!


  • Panko crumbled calamari - Topped with walnut and iceberg, and served with Romesco sauce, this was an absolute delight. After really bad Calamari at Moonrakers (yes, they were disappointing), I was a tad hesitant ordering Calamari, but the ones serves here were fresh and crispy, and just the right amount juicy.
  • Char grilled vegetables - Served with walnuts in a smoky red chilli dressing, we got this served cold although we were hoping for pre-heated and cooked well. This was the only disappointing part of the meal.
  • Potato wedges - Because we are suckers for potatoes. Fried. Potatoes.

Main Course:

  • Brochette of vegetables over Paella, with zesty barbecue sauce - the Paella wasn't the 100% authentic Spanish recipe it is supposed to be, but tasty nevertheless. The brochette was an interesting mix of zucchini, mushroom and bell peppers. I like! 
  • Aloo Potli Kebab - This dish was the highlight of the night. Crisp potatoes, stuffed with cottage cheese and cashews, Tandoor cooked to perfection and served with the yummiest Dal Makhani ever and Tandoori rotis - it'd be a meal in itself if you weren't hungry pigs like us. 
Overall, it was an extremely satisfying meal - made extra special with their top-notch service and attention to detail. It cost Rs 3,500 for all of it and was absolutely enough for three. There was no room for dessert - plus we had half a birthday cake lying at home!

Yay or Nay?
Yay! I would highly recommend this place if you are looking for a peaceful time, have half a day to spend and love sitting out in the sea breeze, letting your cares fly away with it.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Eat on, Chennai!

Hello everyone,

This is an update post - I have been spending (a lot of) time eating at some of my favorite places in Chennai and ECR. I'm moving all my reviews here, on this blog. Actually, I'm going to start over. So lookout for hot (and awesome) places to eat, drink and hang out at every week... I'll tell you where to go and what to order. Your suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Souvenirs of the Past

She touched the blade of the knife with the tip of her long, manicured finger. The titanium felt cold and smooth on her skin. She gently played with the knife, twisting it carefully between her fingers. Contemplating. It was a boning knife, part of a thirteen-piece set held in a block of maple wood. It had been a wedding gift from a distant uncle. They had laughed over it. The set of knives had stuck out like a sore thumb among the plethora of crystal vases and satin sheets that had been gifted to them. Ironically, the boxed set was all that remained of their wedding gifts over the years. The satin sheets had been ruined by fishmoths that had infested the wooden box where they lay unused for years. The crystal vases, most of them tacky, had been gifted, donated, broken or discarded. But the boxed set of knives lay on the mantle above the kitchen counter, untouched, but a reminder of the past. A reminder of the day it had all begun. A souvenir of their beautiful life, interwoven with love and dreams, and of a magical future together.

Until last week when her life had turned topsy-turvy. When he had walked out on her. It had been a bolt from the blue. Everything had been rosy- he had always been the perfect husband- caring and warm, with a contagious smile that never failed to throw her troubles out of the window and arms always ready for a warm hug. And she had been the lovely, dutiful wife. Or so she had believed. Over time, he had gotten busy with work, and reached home tired and weary. He worked on weekends and on holidays. She often found him sitting in solitude; preoccupied and deep in thought. Probably unaware that she was even around. And she had misconstrued his behaviour as a lack of interest in her. They had more than their fair share of fights, but the fights were never ugly. She vented out and he always said one thing- that he loved her. And then he would walk out. When he came back, he would be a gentle soul and she would cave. But the issues only bottled up. Until about a year back when he changed for good.

He had walked in with a bouquet of roses and a bottle of wine. They had driven off to the country-side for a magical weekend and everything became perfect after that. She should have known the change in him was a blanket for his guilt. A façade. But her simple, trusting nature grabbed on to the new life he had offered her and she held tight. Afraid to let go. Afraid to see beyond the four walls. And last week he brought the façade crashing down. He broke down and told her about the woman. The other ‘her’. It felt like someone had plunged a knife into her gut. A knife just like the one she was holding now.

She looked at it and then down at the soft, supple flesh she was going to plunge it into. She touched the flesh. It was warm. But she had made her decision. She would not live a life of misery and gloom. An entire week had been enough. Today, she was ending the sad, dependent life she had led. She held the knife with both hands, took a deep breath and brought it crashing down on the warm, brown flesh. The smell of butter tingled her nostrils and she smiled. She cut a big slice of the turkey and poured herself some wine.

Thanksgiving had to be special this year. She was celebrating her freedom.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Eleventh Hour

I feel like I have been transported back in time- six years to be precise. It’s the same feeling, the heavy heart and the desperate need to grab on to something and never let go. It’s the same feeling we had when we left school, the feeling of being in unfamiliar territory. Leaving school was tough; not too much for me since I have changed schools every two years. But I remember the atmosphere and it’s the same now.

As college is on the threshold of a wrap, the sense of desolation is palpable. Tangible. Tangible enough to be sliced with a butter knife. If I were not a muggle, I’d have blamed the gloom on dementors. But as much as we love to place blame, that is not how life works. Life happens. It falls in your lap one fine day, and you have to deal with it. Moments pass and you keep walking in a trance until life writhes and wriggles in your lap, crying for attention, and you have to go deal with it again.

This is that moment. Life is offering us another realm, another front, except that we are desperately trying to cling on to the old and familiar.

I will be honest- I have spent the last thirty months cribbing, crying and complaining about the place- the food, the insects, the weather and what not! But I think I speak for everyone when I say that we have grown tremendously attached to life here. We have had our share of problems. More than our share, rather – fights in class, differences in opinion, clashes with faculty, not to mention we’ve been kept superbusy with assignments, seminars, documentaries, cycle tests, clubs and associations. But there have been tons of fun times that’ll forever remain etched in our memories.

It all began with the mutual hostility against seniors in the first semester. Nothing brings people closer than standing up against someone. A particular incident that always comes in mind is our freshers’ test when we all marked the same answers! Then there was the super-fun trip to Kalanai dam in a truck, with the rain drenching us to our skins. The third sem was the most happening- the mutinies by our juniors, the conflicts in class, the pay-back time – some of us, of course, paid a lot more than others. But we stuck it out, and were back to having fun in no time. Fourth semester was riddled with preparatory tests, GDs and interviews and the fifth sem had enough causes for celebrations.

Life here has been good, especially in hindsight. And I know, no matter what we say, and even if we put on the bravest of faces, the kinship we have developed is going to be hard to replace. Part of our souls will always be at MCA, NIT Trichy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Way It Is

You walk in
With your idiosyncrasies
You make a decision
And you know it is right

While I waited outside
With bated breath
Two years of toil
A disoriented mind

This is all I'd wanted
And it is in your hand
The beacon of my life
A grasp and a half away

Then you tighten your fist
Decide it's not for me
Good luck for the next, you say
And the pain is all mine

Your eccentricities
Your burdened decision
My life, my dreams,
Snatched in a jiffy

It was just not your day
People say
I walk away numb
That doesn't make sense

It's an abyss of hurt
Of fear and rejection
I feel it's the end
As I lay motionless

But then the birds chirp,
I see the silver sky
I dust myself off
Brace myself for a new day

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moving On

The house is all packed up. I say house because everywhere I look I see plain white walls, glass windows and the cold, hard floor. The warm carpets and rugs are rolled up and covered with plastic sheets; the beautiful curtains are washed, ironed and neatly folded into piles and the colourful paintings that adorned the walls are covered in brown paper, tied with bits of string. The home - 'my' home, has been reduced to a stack of cardboard boxes strewn about the floor, with nothing to show for the four years of fun, warmth and love that nestled between its walls. It seems cold and distant, angry that I'm leaving it never to return, pleading me to not go. Or is it indifference? I wish I could talk to the walls, and I wish they'd talk back to me. Tell me I'll be missed or that I'll be welcomed back. Tell me that the plethora of memories that they witnessed would forever remain ensconced in the space I'd once called my own.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Suave Snippets

My new tech blog:

Find snippets for iPhone and Java App Development!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When the world somersaulted.

(Following India's triumph over Sri Lanka, ICC World Cup 2011)

A zillion thoughts are buzzing around my head like restless bees and I want to pen them down before they shoot right out. So here goes:
  1. Starting, albeit a tad selfishly, with myself - one of the happiest days of my life! I don’t remember being happier or prouder or screaming louder in years! A day worth putting in a box and saving for life.
  2. I realized that nothing, nothing at all, brings people closer than cricket. Here we were, a hundred girls, most of us unknown to the other, rooting for one common cause. Screaming ourselves hoarse, applauding every boundary, cheering every save, every wicket. And at the end of it all, laughing, crying, hugging. Bonding.
  3. Learn. Learn humility. Humility in victory. Humility in defeat. An instant respect for Kumar Sangakara for being the brave soldier in defeat, for saying that India was the better team, for lauding his team yet accepting the lost battle gracefully.
  4. Respect for the one man who deserved it the most. Fighting for the one piece of silverware holding him back from his otherwise impeccable record. For his twenty-one years long career, for his unwavering loyalty to the country. For Sachin Tendulkar.
  5. The closeness of the team. The warm, tender kinship they share. Their hugs together; and their tears. One tightly-knit family. And now bound together for their lives.
  6. The sheer enthusiasm of the youngsters; their respect for the senior players. Kohli’s words still ringing, “He carried the nation’s burdens on his shoulders for twenty one years. It was time we carried him on our shoulders.” What commendable gratitude.
  7. Candid, outspoken honesty. Dhoni’s lack of diplomacy at the presentation ceremony came as a whiff of fresh air. The fact that he acknowledged what questions would have been shot at him if India had lost, the eye brows that would have risen, just goes to show what he probably goes through after every lost match. We all owe a deep apology to the team for all the umpteen times we bad mouthed them for making one small mistake, for taking one wrong decision; for being human?!
  8. We walk into history today. With the end of a twenty eight years old wait, with a cup in our hands. But more importantly, with so many lessons learnt. A salute to the men who taught us so much in one day. A salute to the Indian cricket team.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I hung back after school that day. The serenity of the long, empty corridors crashed upon me like a wave of cool breeze on a sunny afternoon. It invigorated me; I felt free. Free of the metal chains that bound me every morning as I headed to school.

Free of the contemptuous expressions.

Free of the angry glares, and of the scared faces.

Free of the constant buzzing in my head, and of the occasional screaming.

There is nothing wrong with me! I’m a normal, sane, twelve year old girl.

I remember sobbing and screaming through the night of the big storm, years back. The clapping thunder sent shudders down my spine, and I thought my head would burst at its invisible seams. I wish it had.

Mother, scared to her wits, had rushed me to the hospital to get my screaming to a halt. I was heavily sedated but the words of the doctor reached me, and I remember them as if they were spoken yesterday.

Ligyrophobia. Fear of loud noises. Maybe even hyperacusis.

Seeing the horrified expression on mother’s face, he continued, “Just think of it this way- a pen falling sounds like a gunshot to her. There is nothing wrong with your daughter, Ma’am. She just needs you to not think that she’s a freak.”

Mother has called me a freak so many times after that, that I have lost count.

I have mastered the art of shutting out my auditory senses when I need to. It has been difficult, but I have been persistent. Save a few incidents; like today. In geography class. I’d sat agitated as I realized the constant murmuring in class was gradually gaining momentum. I looked at Sister Augustine as she furiously scribbled away, silently begging her to ask the class to settle down. But she didn’t. The voices grew like a rising inferno around me; surrounding me, smothering me; till they grew to a level beyond my endurance.

The next thing I knew, I was sprawled across the floor, my hands clamped against my ears, screaming uncontrollably. I knew Sister Augustine and the students had encircled me; I knew they were whispering. I could sense the scared faces, and I heard sobbing too. I didn’t care. They were indistinct, shapeless forms to me. Blurred and insignificant.

There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m sane; I wanted to shout at them. Hold each one by the shoulders, and shake and rattle them till it became engraved in them.

The empty corridors after school, however, were cathartic. I walked around in a trance, savouring the quiet solitude. And then I heard the whispering.

She’s crazy, you should have seen her on the floor today. I think she does it intentionally, to get everybody’s attention.

Jamie. The closest friend I had.

There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m sane. I thought you knew.

I walked around looking for the school cat. Kitty, come to me. Kitty. The big, black cat followed me all the way to the fourth floor. Meowing.

Yes, I know, you probably think I’m crazy too. But I’m not. Come, kitty. Keep close.

Class 9A. In one fluid motion, I picked up the teacher’s desk and brought it crashing down on the cat’s head. I didn’t give her a chance to react. Stupid cat. I looked at her mangled body, her green eyes still open.

A shocked look.

Frozen forever.

I grabbed her by her tail and dragged it around with me as I roamed about the dark, empty school corridors.

There's nothing wrong with me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Green Sun

“Papa, look.”
“That is pretty, but why is the sun coloured green?” Maya’s father handed the painting back to her from across the desk and got back to his paperwork.
“I just thought it would be different and nice.”
Maya was just like the painting with the green sun- weirdly imaginative, unconventional, yet beautiful. Her twelve-year old self could not fathom the ways of the world, but when it came to nature, she could capture beautiful sunrises on her drawing pad or, like she once did, follow a bee for hours until it stung her and sent her crying back into mummy’s arms.
“Papa, I find your office boring. It’s so confined and there are no beautiful paintings on the walls. Can I go outside? Please?”
“You know I won’t allow that, Maya, it’s not safe.”
“Why did we have to shift here, I liked it in Jabalpur.”
Maya and her parents had shifted to Uri following the transfer order of her father, an officer in the Indian Army. Nestled in the mountains, and with the pristine Jhelum flowing through its bosom, Uri was a beautiful little town. But like every other town in Kashmir, it was scarred by terrorism. A long convoy of six to seven jeeps with armed men in uniforms accompanied them for a visit to the market just to buy groceries. The only solace was the unwavering faith that the local people had on the army. Little boys trudging along the hilly slopes smiled and saluted whenever a convoy passed. Maya made it a point to always wave back.
The door of the barrack that was her father’s office, opened.
“Jai Hind, sa’ab.” A crisp salute.
“Jai Hind.”
“Sir, he’s outside. The men got him, sir.” There was a note of pride in his voice.
“What all has been recovered?” her father asked him.
“The ammunition he was carrying is in the other room. This is what we found from his pockets.” He deposited a plastic bag on the desk.
“All right, I’ll be there in two minutes.” Maya’s father stood up. “Maya, stay here,” he said, grabbing her by her shoulders. “I do not want you to go running out, understood?” There was a hint of urgency in his voice.
“I won’t, papa. I promise.”
He looked deep into her eyes as if wordlessly conveying how much she meant to him. With a pat on her head, he left the room.
Maya walked up to the window and drew open the dark curtains that hung limply from steel rods. A cool breeze hit her face. She saw her father walk up to a crowd of about ten people and speak to some officers. Three soldiers firmly held a blindfolded man in place as he furiously writhed and struggled. After a few attempts, he gave up. One of the soldiers untied the cloth that covered his eyes and Maya got a full glimpse of the man as he shifted- his robust frame, the scarred face and the matted hair. His bloodshot eyes were brimming with hatred. She watched as he muttered something and spat on the soldier’s feet. The air reverberated with the echo of the slap that the soldier placed on the man’s face. Maya let out a gasp. Almost as if he had heard her, his piercing blue eyes met hers. And his expression changed. It was not the same expression of fury or vehemence but an inexplicable one. Sad? Pleading? Beseeching? She couldn’t tell. His eyes moistened.
Maya shut the drapes; her heart thumping wildly. She could not imagine what this man must have done to deserve the anguish he was going through. She made her way to the chair, her knees shaking uncontrollably, and her eyes fell on the plastic bag on the desk. A little hesitant, Maya nonetheless peered into it. Her hand instantly reached out to a small leather purse. She pulled it out and opened it. A few coins formed most of the content. But from a niche in the front, she pulled out an old piece of paper frayed at the edges. It turned out to be a photograph of a young girl with piercing blue eyes. She had her father’s face, only softer. Maya flipped the photo. In a tiny, scrawling handwriting, was etched ‘Abba, please be back soon.’Maya pocketed the photograph. She didn’t think anybody would miss it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Breaking the Barrier

Although the last one year has been all about meeting new people, learning new things and being at the hub of all activity, as I sat down today doing absolutely nothing, I realized that the one thing I didn’t do was connect with myself. Sure, I learnt a lot in a year - completed projects, met unbelievable deadlines, even pushed myself to the extremes to get a job done. Yet there was something lacking, and I had no inkling what it was. When in Delhi, I remember having a lot of fun, being at peace with myself, satisfied with the way everything was shaping up even though all I did was focus on the present, live for the moment, caring two hoots about the future. And now, it feels like my mind is waging a constant battle with itself. I’m doing something that I’m sure is good for me but I do not like it. Not right now. I’m probably doing it for the future but that’s not me! There are so many other things I’d rather be doing. I love expressing through writing, but did I pursue it? Nay! There was a time when I could not sleep without reading a novel, and now my attention span is close to negligible. I start reading but no book holds my interest. Six months back I took up editing. It was a venture I enjoyed working on, and although I embarked upon it with initial trepidation, I grew more confident when my work was appreciated. I felt great doing something constructive at such a level. I was fixated on doing it well, finishing it on time and I kept trying to convince myself that I had the time for it, even though I didn’t, only because it was something close to my heart. But it didn’t work out. So today, finally, I decided to pull up my socks and get down to business; do everything I want to, not have to. Unclutter the desk that had become my schedule. I pulled out an old Wodehouse novel from the shelf (Uncle Dynamite) and read for more than an hour. I enjoyed myself so much that I ordered another book online (Uncle Fred in the springtime). I then decided to write something and when I could come up with nothing else, well, this is what I penned down. My resolution, henceforth, is to do one thing everyday that I absolutely enjoy doing, no matter how lame or juvenile it is (who needs the approach of a new year to make resolutions, anyway!) Let’s hope I can force myself to get up on time tomorrow morning to go for a long nature walk – something I’ve wanted to do for months!

We all often want to do something radically unusual, try out a new look or quit a job and pursue what our hearts desire but we don’t because it’s a norm to conform to the society, and not be seen as rebels. That’s because we love being loved. And we want to be accepted. But I believe that if it’s a call from deep within you, stick to it. It’s all about breaking that one barrier.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Abso-freakin’-lutely Every-damn-where!

Have swear words become an indispensible part of our language?

I lost count of the number of times the F-word was spoken when I was watching a movie last night. What was disconcerting was that…well, that didn’t disconcert me! We have probably become so attuned to hearing swear words everywhere around us that they barely count as offensive anymore. I realized that when my dear little brother unabashedly uttered a few expletives in my dad’s presence without probably knowing what they actually mean. That only made me go red in embarrassment and dad go red with anger whilst he sat shamelessly staring at us.

I always believed that the reason people used profanity was probably because it was an easy substitution for nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs alike! Don’t know how to best describe a new car? Say it’s damn awesome! Better still... use the F-word! No, but how about ‘Wow, the car is classy!’ Or powerful, or elegant, or chic, or exquisite, or even gorgeous? Do we resort to the filthy word because we cannot think of the right adjective at the moment? Or is it because they have an uncanny tendency of cosily snuggling right next to a noun and making perfect sense? I had an animated discussion with a friend on the topic yesterday, and trust me, he is extremely generous with his use of expletives. I rephrased his sentences, replacing the swear words with the most suitable adjectives I could think of. I thought I’d made my point until he made me realize that the emphasis was not quite the same. The same sentences when spoken with the expletives somehow seemed to make a stronger statement. And while he has full liberty to use as many bad words as he can, if I did, I would be ‘un-ladylike’ or even loose! So while most women manage to put their points across with suitable adjectives, why can’t men? It’s a question that they can answer best.

Meanwhile, I read an article about a few profanities becoming so commonplace that they are being considered for addition to the dictionary. Darn, I hope that doesn’t freakin’ happen soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Really Random

She stopped abruptly at the door, her hand on its edge; surprised. She hadn’t realized it was almost dark outside. Not because it was late, but because of the thundering black clouds that blanketed the sky above. It hit her, the way every little thing hit her, these past few days. Any slight change, a word, a tone, a touch. Anything different from the routine. She felt like a sponge, taking in so much. Saturated. Brimming.

And then he had called the night before. Because he felt like talking to her, not because he had a favour to ask. That surprised her; he was always slightly selfish, expecting people to be there for him according to his whims and fancies. Nevertheless, she had always been a good friend to him. But yesterday when he joked, she cried. Her usually calm, composed self, wept. It scared him.

“But I am always pulling your leg!”

“I know…”

“So why are you crying today?”

“I don’t know!”

“The reason I like you is because you are usually such a sport!”

She felt like hanging up on him. So she did.

And now she was on her way to meet two beautiful people.

One was her best friend, her confidante, her soul sister – an abyss, incessantly absorbing all that she had to offer- advice, laments, gossip, words of care, of joy, of apprehension, of anger, and of desperation. And giving, in return, exactly all that, in the right amount, to the right degree, at just the right time.

The other one had been a source of inspiration until time and one particular incident had created an infrangible and unassailable wall between them. Today, she meant to scale it. And she did. Their parting hug was genuine. She had meant every touch of it.

She was surprisingly upbeat for the rest of the day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Locked Diary

As I put my book down,
The French windows beckon
And I divert my gaze outside…
Its getting darker,
You are going further away
But I want to take in everything
Every detail, every nuance
I want to.

The mountains rise high
Covered in Evergreens
Laden clouds, gently
Caressing their peaks
I want to be that mountain –
Touching the sky, reaching the limit,
Yet, warm and safe in your arms
Oh, I want to.

Maybe all there is to this
Is that I wanna be perfect for thee
I am a locked diary
And you’re my only key
I’m not perfect but I am still me
And that’s just the best that I can be.

The cascade makes its way below
Bouncing freely off rocks
Its pristine, white water
Smoothening the cold, hard stone
I want to be that waterfall –
Touching and changing lives,
Yet, never scared of a fall
Oh, I want to.


The silence is deafening
Almost tangibly present
Bringing with it peace
And a deep sense of contentment
I want to be the silence
Never interfering…
Yet, solidly, dependably there for you
Yeah, I want to


Monday, June 1, 2009

A True Hero, if There Ever Was One.

I have never really been an over-the-top fan of Mr. Bachchan although I have always admired him for the person he is. There is a yawning difference, I believe. To be a fan would be to appreciate his acting skills, which, I believe, are just fine by-the-way. But not as great as Aamir Khan, maybe, or Johnny Depp, or Woody Allen, or Irrfan Khan – people who are complete naturals in front of the camera, people with whom acting just flows. So side-stepping on the acting front and coming to what is most important, I am suddenly completely enamoured by the suave gentleman’s humane qualities, his immense capability for hard-work, his thoughts and his life-style.

When he lashed out at Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, the entire world criticized him. People called him annoying, arrogant, even sour! Like somebody of the likes of Mr. Bachchan would ever be sour at somebody else’s success. Here’s what he had to say:


"if SM projects India as [a] third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations."


I think his views on the over-hyped movie were spot on! All Boyle did was pick up every little defect that India has – from slums, prostitution, traffic congestions, poverty to begging, corruption, misappropriation, robbing tourists and kidnapping – put it through the grinder and serve it to the world on a platter. There have been umpteen movies that have worked on these issues before but at least they have worked on one issue at a time! The underflowing current throughout the movie suggested that that is all India is – a nest of dirt and grime where people behave like animals and thrive on bribes. And really, would the movie have created such a furor had it been directed by an Indian director? Did a movie like Rang De Basanti not deserve a chance when it is one of the best-edited movies of the recent past, with a near-perfect storyline, great acting and music, and the perfect amounts of fun, romance and action? Or maybe a movie like Taare Zameen Par that had an underlying message loud and screaming?

Coming back to Mr. Bachchan, the reason I am writing about him today is because he portrayed another example of his love and loyalty to the country by declining to accept an honorary doctorate from an Australian University following an attack on an Indian student in Australia. His reply was a polite but firm, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. He claims that his conscience does not allow him to accept a decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity on our fellow countrymen.

One would think that reaching the pinnacle of success is, in itself, a job and a half, but staying put is what is harder, is what separates success from reigning success, mediocrity from greatness. And that is what this great man has constantly proved over time, and keeps doing still.

Monster House

Just a little something I wrote a month and a half back when college was still on and this aimless feeling of not being associated with any institution was not.

After a much-needed and much-deserved three-day break from college (good things do come in threes, after all) I dug at the pile of clothes hanging on a nail at the back of my door for my pair of jeans. Much to my consternation though, a big brown spider had made the crotch of my denims his abode. I marveled at the intricate web for a while, staring stupidly at it and wondering how to demolish it, if at all I should. I mean, I’m sure Mr. Spidey worked really hard on it. Heck, I thought, I have to reach class on time for once. “Dude, get out, those are my Live-ins, not yours!” I muttered, vigorously shaking the pair. Obviously startled, Mr Spidey dove for the ground, scuttled away, and lo! joined another spider at the back of my dresser. Wow, some reunion, I thought and then it struck me just how frequent my trysts with the insect inhabitants of my room had gotten. And then there was Martha (the bathroom lizard) lying squat in the middle of the bath tub. That really was the last straw. And it was also the moment I realized I detest summers. Not because of the heat, or because it is sweaty. Not because I look fat in summer clothes. Not even because it reeks when the metro is crowded. But because of the insects and reptiles that seize my house with no scruples whatsoever; those hopping, gliding, climbing, slithering MONSTERS. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lucky Ducks!

Kids are darn lucky! Their biggest concern in this world is whether or not they would get another slice of that amazing chocolate cake. Any post that they ever receive is always good news - a letter from a friend, a greeting card, an invitation to a birthday party! They can run across the garden in their underwear, caring two hoots about what the neighbours might think of their chubby thighs. When kids are unwell, everything comes to a virtual halt except for mum and daytime television. They can find a coin on the pavement and feel rich; they can find a bone on the road and feel like Indiana Jones. The reason why kids are always so happy is because they put their heart and soul into everything they do. They live in the moment without any repentance of the past or worry for the future. In a sense, they are right- if we play, eat, cry and love the way kids do, time and money no longer hold any meaning.

Experienced, overheard, observed. Highly amused, slightly alarmed.

Our neighbour’s five-year old loves playing doctor. Maybe she is just intrigued by them, maybe all kids are, thinking they have supernatural powers – the way they just know when kids are faking a bad tummy-ache to get out of school. Or maybe they are just bad actors! But either way, I got to witness how kids try imitating older people around them and just how observant they are, when I was sitting over at their place a few days back. She sat behind a desk, looking sternly across the room, as if daring people to confront her with their health problems. The setup was complete – little chits of white paper uneven at the edges, thick glasses on her nose that kept slipping off at the drop of a hat, or a turn of the head, rather. A white dupatta on her shoulders probably compensated for not owning a white lab coat. Her first patient was her dad, who probably thought he’d humour her for a while.
 ‘I have a problem, Doc,’ he started.
 ‘Of course, why else would you be here,’ said the polite little brat.
 ‘Yes, please, I have other customers waiting.’
 ‘My right arm has been hurting since yesterday.’
 ‘Oh, that’s all?’ She grabbed a pen. ‘Take amoxee … amockcy… err, four apples a day for two days. That will be Rs 50. And next time onwards, please come to me with a real problem, like cancer or heart attack or something, so that I make more money.’
 ‘Sure, my little well-wisher…’ I thought I heard him mutter.

Friday, April 24, 2009


For over two years I held back from creating a blog because I always thought that there was no point having one when I did not have enough time for it. There was always so much going on and I thought I’d never be able to do justice to it. Then one fine day, I just realized that there is never a good time anyway. Its either now or never. And so I just went ahead with it. And am I glad I did! Just knowing that I have a blog out there pushes me to write. Every ten days my fingers start to itch, the otherwise passive writing pad seems to be calling out to me from my bedside table. Its almost an illness with real symptoms. They should have a name for it - blogphemia, may be. So no matter how much I need to study or how tough my exam the next day is, I just take out some time to write about some random thing. My next post is actually going to be about insects! I have three other incomplete articles too that I need to finish and put up. And I soon will.

Meanwhile I am also watching a lot of old English movies (when I say old, I really mean the nineties) and trying to compile a list of the top ten romantic comedies of all time. I know my Number 1 is going to be Love Actually, but not really sure about the rest (Can’t promise you Notting Hill, Swap ;)) Because I want to play fair and because Hugh Grant has a knack of messing with my head and jinxing me into believing that only his movies are good, any suggestions are happily invited. So long!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I didn’t realize just how much we missed the sense of belonging that that one usually associates with a regiment until we had the dinner party at home, last Friday. Mum and I call it ‘the unit-like feeling’ – it is like having an extended family minus the fights, plus loads of jokes, snacks and drinks (hard, of course). Papa was in one of those moods of his, where he cracks one joke after another and we all laugh till our sides ache. Defence humour is so clichéd, yet so endearing. And then there are the myriad anecdotes that nobody seems to be ever running out of.

My favorite one is of mum’s academy experience at MCTE, Mhow. She tells me about how a hundred officers and ladies sat on long wooden tables for dinner. Newly-married and from a non-defence background, mum sat tensed and rigid, surrounded on both sides by high-profile, senior officers and stealing nervous, surreptitious glances at papa. He gave her encouraging nods and got back to his plate, deftly using the fork and the knife, like they were nothing but extensions of his fingers, perfectly oblivious of mum’s consternation. Despite the training papa imparted to her on their use, she nevertheless shied away from taking a helping of chicken lest it rolled off her plate, or worse still, flew off and hit somebody smack on the face. And then there was the problem of speed, and how you had to take the tiniest of helpings of a dish and finish it before the next course was passed along to you (which was a few seconds later), or you didn’t get any of that! So after her fake, put-on dinner on such nights in the mess, mum had her real one of bread and soup back at home. Twenty-two years down the line, and as competent as papa, my mum claims that army life just grows on people, and that she has loved every single moment of it.

Another incident that I can probably never forget dates back to June, 2000 when papa was posted in Baramulla, fifty kilometers ahead of Srinagar. We were devoid of entertainment of any kind, except radios, perhaps, that had cheesy songs playing 24X7, often interpolated with mutterings in Urdu which were, like one uncle claimed, talks of terrorists caught on radio. Whether he was just joking to freak us out, or was being blatantly honest, I’d never know. Anyway, to outsmart the ringing silence of the valley, or the heavy stillness in the air, we often engaged in a little harmless, after-dinner, card-playing. By ‘we’ I mean six officers and their wives, while us kids sat in a corner of the room- reading, playing or just dozing off as our parents’ entertainment night extended to beyond just ‘night’, or as we thought then, normal, humane timings.

Well, it was one such night that our nocturnal gathering was interrupted by gunshots, and the electricity going off. Some uncle, with huge hands (I vividly remember that part because ‘they’ pushed us kids off the bed), commanded in a booming voice that we all ought to lie down on the floor. Our dads, meanwhile, were ready in their uniforms in a trice, and were marching out as we heard the steady resound of gunshots somewhere frightfully close. We were locked in, and I know for a fact that the little kid next to me peed in his pants.

After fifteen horrifying minutes of lying on the cold stone in pitch-blackness, the heart beating so wildly, almost threatening to break through my rib cage and flying out, did our dads walk in. The lights came on too, and we were told that the big stir was a practice session. Just that. Plain, simple, that.

That day, horrifying as it was, was also a reality check. I know it was something they knowingly signed-in for, but we didn’t! For those fifteen minutes that seemed like an eon, we had no inkling if we would ever see our dads again. Their ‘devil-may-care’ and ‘bring-them-on-and-we’ll-show-them’ attitude, their tremendous grit, and their total disregard for their own safety as they calmly walked out of the secure barrack was disturbingly crazy. And that feeling, and ironically enough, that pitch-black night will forever remain etched in my memory.

Friday, March 20, 2009


A hint of sadness

A touch of misfortune

A scintilla of desperation

But then days of laughter


A shadow of grief

An iota of desolation

A dash of emptiness

But then days of love


A smidgen of melancholy

A tinge of darkness

A shred of suffering

But then days of sunshine


A pinch of agony

A spot of longing

A trace of gloom

But then days of contentment


An age of endurance

Months of anguish

An eon of misery

And then days of… nothing?




Monday, March 9, 2009


It felt like I was transported to an entirely different world today- I saw the most beautiful place ever- a war memorial, with rows after rows of graves; all set in white marble, and of British soldiers who died way back in the forties. Yet there was something so breathtakingly beautiful and calm about that place, complete with well-manicured lawns and white archways with pink Bougainvillaea creepers, that it was almost surreal. A haven set in the midst of nowhere. The serenity of the place was numbing. You could hear a leaf let go of its hold to a tree, wind its way down in a spiral course and hit the soft earth below. If it were not for the top of a hillock from where half of Delhi was visible, I'd have bet my I-pod that I was back in Goa. 
It is actually a tad unsettling that one minute, here you are, sitting at home, reading 'Introduction to Graphics' and cursing your luck; and ten minutes later it seems like you have travelled miles to a distant land, to a different time, leaving the humdrum of Delhi far, far behind.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beyond Words

As Serene Woods is on the threshold of being launched, it feels like the curtains are falling on a drama that was being unfolded over the past few months… except that it has all really just started. The last couple of months have been nothing but a circle of obstacles, ideas, solutions, implementations and finally… results! And how! More so for the founder, than for anybody else but because he so graciously made me a part of it all, I’m certain I feel as close to the project as he does. In entirety, it was a learning experience of an inexplicable degree, and much as I enjoyed every little part of it, I can barely wait to see what comes next. It’s the final act of the drama now, the real test… and together we’ll make sure it comes out with flying colours. Thanks for making me a part of this, and from my side, I hope I can be of as much help as you could ever possibly need.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Serene Woods ...

The rustle of the leaves,

the crackle of the twig,

the chirp of the mynah,

the monkey and its jig.


The wind in the trees,

their swaying to and fro.

And across the green lush,

the peeping eyes of the doe.


A rivulet in its womb,

its surface clear and calm,

meandering across the length,

like veins on a palm.


The tang of honeysuckle,

the whiff of fresh air,

the aura of gentleness

akin to a mother's care.


The woods are like words

with meanings manifold.

Deep, dark, mysterious

with myriad secrets untold.


The woods are like words-

They bring out the best in you.

Earthy brown, dark green.

Calm, beautiful…serene.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A woman's world - online !

My mum claims that try as she might, she cannot comprehend why 'we kids' are totally hooked on to orkut. I try to see her point and more often than not, I don't. Orkut did let me get in touch with a hundred and ninety-eight long-lost friends – of varying degrees of closeness, I accept, but friends nevertheless. And when was it not fun to find out how the last couple of years took a toll on their lives? Or that the girl you detest so much got a bad haircut? Or that the guy you had a crush on five years back is oh-so-single!

And although any girl would vehemently deny it, it still is a great morale booster to receive compliments from a guy who apparently landed on your profile because it was 'divine intervention' or 'the Gods wanted it'. And while he continues to thank his lucky stars, you visit his profile, check out his communities, judge his taste and go, 'He's not my kind, anyway'. And you'd probably say that of every damn guy. No sophisticated guy would ever send random requests to girls because they 'couldn't take their eyes off my photograph', I reflected. Flattering, I know, but lame. Oh, we do whine, and grumble. And complain. But that doesn't ever discourage us from logging on twice a day (three times on weekends) – sometimes only to decline requests. It is almost sadistic. We revel in the glory. Bask in the sunshine. Feel smug. And then click on the little 'No' sitting in the corner. Aah, it IS a woman's world. It is our world; our time. And it always will be.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Year That Was...

2008 was a year of sorts...
Here's what i learnt :

1.      Ignorance IS bliss. Everyone is so much happier when they don’t know so much. And yet we are oh-so-inquisitive.

2.      Your best friend is never judgmental. If she is, she’s not your best friend.

3.      Sometimes, when you are indecisive and decide to flip for it, don’t. Coins only buy gum; they do not make important decisions.

4.      Even a closest friend can lose it and do something totally unexpected. So while others tell you to shout at her, you do what you think is right, because nobody else is wearing your shoes. Only you can see your entire spectrum. People make mistakes. It is so much easier to just forgive.

5.      Whenever you do something nice, at least one person is watching you. And they can then offer you a gold ring for just giving away five bucks to a beggar.

6.      Whisky and beet root soup go well together.

7.      Sometimes you genuinely want to help, but can’t.

8.      Your correspondence can make someone’s day.

9.      Purple is always soothing.

10.  Receiving an unexpected compliment can make you smile for hours.

11.  The actual magnificence of a mountain hits you only when you start trying to climb it. And that’s when you know God is saying ‘Ha-ha!’

12.  Sometimes when you are deeply hurt, even the cold does not bother you.

13.  Nobody can make you shop like dad.

14.  There are some people you always take for granted. There are others you don’t. And you always tend to call the former when you are down and depressed. For the simple reason that they are always there.

15.  Younger brothers never cease to irritate.

16.  The reason people break-up is because they know they have that option.

17. Sometimes you don't know just how much you have learnt in a year, until you start to make a list.

Happy New Year!