Below is what I had written yesterday when watching the last twenty minutes of the Ind vs. Aus 5th ODI in Hyderabad. It's been long since I'd engaged in such manic writing, scribbling while I was watching the match. Slightly over 600 words in about 30 minutes - that's a crazy feat for me given the length of time that's passed since the times I could sit down and write a story in one stretch. Anyway, this is hopefully a sign of times to come and more tales to tell!

"How long it’s been since I watched Sachin the God in action!! And today I watch as he bats in his fullest glory, crossing the 17,000 mark and at 170 at the moment, battling to help India reach the target of 351 to win against Australia. It’s a closely fought match – they need 43 from 33 balls to win – so close! It would be such a pity if… I shut my mind desperately to these negative thoughts, hoping they will make it. My heart beats fast, praying fervently that Sachin’s such-a-brilliant knock is not in vain. That will not be fair, oh, so not fair! 350 is a formidable total and the team has done well to score more than 300.
What’s going to happen? It’s been years since I watched such an interesting match closely fought, probably not since the 2007 20-20 Ind vs Pak final that India won after a nail-biting finish.
The tension is too much to handle – my stomach churns and my head hurts. I can’t stop frequently wondering how on earth Sachin is able to stand at the crease facing every ball, while the crowd waits with bated breath for some miracle to happen.
A four! From Jadeja. The crowd is jubilant. A miracle from just anyone will be highly praised about now.
33 in 26 balls.
My heats skips a beat every time somebody catches the ball – caught? I scream every time somebody throws the ball, praying it’s not a run out.
A wide. Four overs left.
Two fours!
23 from 22 balls.
The crowd is going mad, and so am I. Jadeja, the unlikely man.
Sachin on strike. 22 from 20. OH COME ON!!!!
I’m scared to move or inch anywhere from my seat for fear of disturbing some cosmic balance. This is getting too hard to bear. If I were Sachin, no, worse, Jadeja, my head would burst now.
The ads are annoying!
Dude, I can’ t believe you just hit that ball. YOU. That ball.
I sit in stunned silence and watch as Sachin walks out, raising his bat in acknowledgement for the crowd’s ovation. Thatha is thoroughly dejected. We were this close – it was one run for one ball.
It’s annoying to think how close we are and yet anything could happen.
Jadeja, standing yards away from the crease gazing at the ball nearly got run out now.
Damn, that idiot just got run out in the same fashion. B******, you’re not as old as the kid in Lagaan. Didn’t you learn??
I could just kill SRK in his stupid Airtel ad right now.
The Indian team is unbelievable. 180 from Sachin and we’re this close to losing.
17 from 14.
Thatha’s left the room having given me the responsibility of telling him how we lose.
We just nearly missed losing another wicket by a run-out. Gosh, don’t bowlers know these things? They’re the ones at the stumps so often trying to get the batsmen out!
Nehra just handed the Aussies his wicket on a platter. Halwa catch.
Sigh. What a waste of effort!
If I see the Itchmosol ad once more, I think I’ll cry.
10 from 10 balls.
God, God, good God.
Everyone is on the edge of their seats now.
Some guy in glasses just closed his eyes. To pray, I think.
I think tears are forming in my eyes.
Thatha can’t stop chanting ‘My God.’
7 from 5 balls.
Batsmen discussing.
5 from 3.
A six, God. PLEASE!
And I think he’s run out.
Australia wins by 3 runs.
How effing unfortunate!!!!
3!?!? THREE????
Ponting is clapping to his heart’s joy.
Yuvraj looks like he’s about to cry.

The 24th has begun... on a day of unimaginable fun and good food and dreams come true!

Resolutions for the year of the age that I can't believe I have already reached (Gosh, wasn't I 19 just recently?!?!):

- put even less tension
- write more
- sing more
- read more
- put the blessed d5000 to good, frequent use.

Thought it would make sense to put these down given I'm pretty sure Oct 2010 (AWK! A DECADE THAT I REMEMBER EVERY YEAR OF!!!) will come soon and I'll look back at 2009's post to see how things have changed...
It’s one of those nights when your computer decides to test your patience. I give in to its demands, watching patiently, watching the seconds go by in the iTunes player slider as it moves to the progress of my song.

My computer has chosen to behave today to make me reminisce about those days long ago when dialups ruled the roost. Days when you had to wait patiently while your computer tried to connect you to the World Wide Web. Days when you had to hear the ‘keeeee, cccchhhhhhhh (with the ‘ch’ being the noise you make before you want to kaari thuppify on someone) while it desperately made a connection to some invisible server through your telephone to launch you into the world of knowledge (that the internet was in those days).

When did we become so impatient? When did 6 mbps connections become so intolerably slow? Remember those days when we joyfully and proudly announced to our friends that we have 128 kbps connections in our computers?! And anyway, exactly how are 6/8/10/100 mbps connections making a difference to our lives? We didn’t die without these earlier. We aren’t doing anything exactly extremely productive with the time saved either (thought borrowed from Before Sunrise). But still, it’s totally similar to the ‘how on earth did we find people in a huge mall [substitute with marketplace depending on where you were those days] without cell phones!’ moment.

Anyway, I’m still waiting, watching the circle of dots in the firefox tab go round and round as the browser tries desperately, as it has been for the last seven minutes, trying to load the next Facebook page. No social networking for me tonight.
after Hong Kong
It was just another of those boring study sessions I had gotten into with my friends. With exams beginning six days later, we decided it was time we dusted the heavy books that we’d bought with much gusto at the beginning of the semester and flipped its pages. So I decided to bring down ‘A History of Communication Study’, while my friends decided to bring down ‘Advanced Calculus’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’. Off we set to the school, looking for a bench to park ourselves in for the next five to six hours.

Going to the school to study around the exams was a substantial experience in itself. As somebody who loves being organized, I’d packed three highlighters, at least two pens of different colours, lecture pads, the iPod, a jacket (if we happen to stay till late in the night and it starts getting cold), a novel (in case the text books get really boring), a punching machine to punch the notes and folders to file these notes in, and finally, a sachet or two of cereal, in case sustenance became an issue in those dead hours of the night. Each of my friends armed thus with his or her essentials (packing which would have taken at least an hour, with each waiting at the doorstep of the other), this was just like any other study session, and we were off at 10 30pm to the school.

Half an hour later, after walking the lengths of each and every floor till we reached the sixth and found a vacant bench, we threw our bags and settled down. Of course, walking to the school itself and then to find a place made us greatly exhausted – two of us set off to get something hot to drink.

It was not until an hour after we’d left our rooms that we actually settled down to study. I plugged my iPod earphones in earnest and opened the third chapter of ‘A History of Communication Study,’ and brought out my stationery and neatly ordered them about – highlighters on the left, pens and the notebook on the right, water on the left, etc. Choosing a song that would match my mood to study and excel in the subject – something on the lines of a Baar baar haan from Lagaan or Jana Gana Mana from Aitha Ezhuthu or Unnal Mudiyum Thambi (!) – I was encouraged and enthused to unprecedented levels.

Studying, highlighting, note-taking and hot-drink-drinking were going on at extraordinary levels. Pages were turned in no time and information was getting registered in my mind at record levels. This was further boosted by my shocking realization that I could still remember vividly what I had studied six pages back. Adrenalin was pumping all over and I was finding it hard to restrain myself from jumping on to the table and explaining to anyone who cared (and even those who didn’t) the diffusion of innovation.

Of course, all good things have to come to an end, and half an hour later, I found myself staring at the same line in the tenth page of the chapter, wondering what on earth I was reading and how it made no sense. I’d re-read the line for probably the seventieth time and I still had no clue what the devil it meant. Frustrated, I pulled the earphones of my iPod – now sarcastically commenting on my state of affairs with a ‘Yeh kya hua, kaise hua, kab hua, kyun hua..’ – and looked at my friends who were just reaching the euphoric state of everything being interesting and going into their porous heads with ease, the state I was in about thirty minutes back.

I took to staring intently at the crescent moon instead. I admired the milky clouds that swept by, and smiled to myself at the beauty of the thin piece of moon that had chosen to show. Anything, absolutely anything was more interesting than studying now.

Just when I was lost in admiration of the night sky did I hear those familiar notes first. My ears pricked up instantly, and soon enough I found myself humming the tune, desperately trying to remember what song was playing. Another few seconds later, ‘Oh!’ I gushed. It was ‘Andru Vandhadhum Adhey Nila!’ I grinned, and unable to help myself, said ‘cha, cha, cha!’ to the tune. I couldn’t remember how many years it was since I’d heard that song.

Happy, I went back to the book, but the situation was worse than earlier – now I couldn’t move past the same line that I’d read seventy times because my mind kept trying to listen to the song. Anyway, a couple of minutes later, the song stopped and given that my excuse to be distracted was gone, I returned to the line to read it another twenty times. My mind still kept humming the song and anticipating if there would be anything else coming up next.

Soon enough, another song started playing. This time it was the sax that gave it away – it was ‘Unnai Ondru Kaeppen’. I was thrilled beyond words. Another of my favourites I hadn’t listened to in years! I was thoroughly excited by now. I shut the book and hummed the tune lightly – not out of fear that I was disturbing my friends, for now there were slowly coming out of the euphoric state, but for fear of disturbing that delicate ease that hung about the whole place now, with all those songs coming as a blast from the past.

I was fully tuned in now, grinning from ear to ear, as the mystery computer played ‘Kadhalin Deepam Ondru’ and then ‘Pudhu Vellai Mazhai’ and ‘En Mael Vizhunda Mazhai Thuliye’, and better still, Jayachandran’s version of ‘Deivam Thanda Poove’. I was reveling in ecstasy. Who was this unknown person, playing songs as if lifted from the top of my head or from my favourited playlist?

As more and more lilting melodies (‘Karpoora Bommai Ondru’, ‘Oliyile Therivadhu Devadhaiya’ and ‘Yedhedho Ennam’), quintessentially Ilaiyaraja’s (‘Koo Koo Endru Kuyil Koovadho’, ‘Vanitha Mani’ and ‘Rum Bum Bum’) and the lesser-known yet incredibly favourite Rahman’s (‘Pyaar Yeh’, ‘Dheemi Dheemi’ and ‘Kollaiyile Thennai Vetthu’) started playing, my excitement rose to feverish levels. I couldn’t believe my ears, and couldn’t stop wondering who this was.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to look for this person anymore. This person, who seemed to be made of the stuff of my dreams. The man God had probably made for me to discover in such unusual circumstances.
‘I’m going to look for the person playing these songs,’ I announced to my friends.

‘What songs?’ my friend asked, puzzled.

‘Can’t you hear them?’ I asked, equally nonplussed. Couldn’t they hear a thing? Or worse, had I peaked at levels of boredom and started imagining things?

‘Those Indian songs… Tamil…’I muttered incoherently.

‘Oh, those buggers playing those random songs?’ my friend said. ‘Senseless people. Can’t they see others are studying?’

I half opened my mouth to defend my unknown prince, but knew better and decided to keep quiet. ‘I’m going to look for him.’

‘Him?’ my friend asked, amused, an eyebrow raised. ‘And how do you know it’s a he?’

I hmph-ed and walked off, and took the stairs to the fifth floor. The songs were definitely clearer now, but still far. It was ‘Sambo Sambo’ playing now.

I went down again, as the song changed to the disco theme in Punnagai Mannan, followed by the love theme. My mind was abuzz with possibilities. Maybe a post-grad guy from India, with a brilliant ear for music. My kind of music. Or a senior who, till then, I had rudely dismissed as a dolt. Or a batchmate who I had unceremoniously chosen to ignore and keep away from my busy mind. Somebody I had possibly known and avoided, or someone new to know, befriend, and… I checked my mind, trying to be practical, and walked down to the third floor, the fourth floor disappointing me.

The third floor was buzzing with activity – there seemed to be the entire cohort of some discipline sitting down for some mass studying. The song was definitely louder, but I couldn’t stop an Indian face. Frustrated, I moved on.

I stopped short at the end of the stairs. It was here. The person playing the songs was here. The song now playing was ‘Nee Our Kadhal Sangeetham’. I walked on as if in a trance, ignoring the angry mutterings of the students around, cursing the weirdo playing these songs in an unknown (to them) language without any consideration at such a loud volume.

I walked along the innumerable rows of benches, and found that he was probably sitting in the area to the left of the long path I had walked. I turned left, as if drawn by some invisible hand. I took a deep breath as I walked towards the last bench, partly hidden from my view because of the giant vending machine.

I walked straight there, and stopped. The song had changed to something fast-paced – by now I could hardly realize what was happening – and my heart was hammering against my chest. I had no idea why I was this tense, or who I expected to find there. I walked the few steps left to see the person’s face.
‘Hi, Meera!’

Unable to control myself, I gasped. I felt weak at my knees, and could have slumped to the ground.

Of course, I composed myself, and said ‘Hey, Gayathri,’ to the girl in my team in my Marketing elective, and walked back, utterly defeated, and seething with rage thinking of the studying of ‘A History of Communication Study’ that I had to get back to.
Just finished watching Before Sunrise. My first time watching it and I'm quite sure there will be a number of repeats on this one.

Watching this made me think about how long it has been since I had any intellectual conversation with someone who I could keep pace with and who could provide me enough fodder for thought. AGES! I had quite a few of these till a couple of years back, conversations that were not about anyone but treading on spirituality, philosophy, music and many, many other things.

And now... common drudgery is simply ruling my life, with my waking thoughts dominated by work, the weekend that's either about to come or the way the weekend is flying, Monday mornings, client expectations, the need to sleep so that I'm alert at work the next day.. since when did life start to be so full of working?

I know it's all my making. It's not that I'm a workaholic. I'm sane enough to know that work is, after all, only work, and not life. Why, then, is it occupying such a huge slice of current life? A lot of things revolve around work, that relaxation is only like some magic potion that I desperately hope takes my mind off the impending day at work that is coming soon.

I have no patience to be online to chat with anybody anymore, I worry and moan endlessly about how all those short stories I lovingly form in my mind evaporate into thin air for lack of time, patience and energy to actually write them down. And in those rare cases I do find the time to write them down, I lose the mood mid-way and the story falls into a horrible spiral of hopelessness that I'm apologetic the story ever got to be written.

I look at my entries till about two years back and wonder where the enthusiasm and dreams about publishing went. How sad is it that as you grow older, you become more 'practical' and don't dare to dream so much anymore?

It's funny how a movie can have such a huge impact on your thoughts.

We all dream big, but over the years, we replace dreams with the more pragmatic solutions. I'm only hoping I don't have to fall into this upsetting trap. Of course, who knows what the future holds for us?

P.S.: Now, now, no advice please!
A year of working (almost!)

A year in the house and now on to a new one

The new house is windy, bright, with large shelves, swimming complex a few minutes away, and on the 18th floor – which is what I’m most excited about!

Will miss the bookshelf in the old house, though. The bookshelf based on which I chose the room (talk about priorities – my room had only a wardrobe and nothing else).

May has gone by in a flash – May was when I got my first peek into the world of fashion (one that got me incredibly bored once I got over the ‘I’m watching a fashion show!’ mood), of homosexuals (I mean, real ones, not boys that we make fun of – and that was a first too), late night parties with new people, and well… models who had no butts or boobs (why do designers want to model their clothes on people who look sick? There’s a reason I won’t understand fashion). A month of a lot of responsibilities, late nights at work, a bit of falling sick, and oh, how could I forget, the month of Tioman!

Tioman was brilliant. The amazing beach (a little rocky, though), the I-can’t-describe-how-it-was waterfall, good food, lazing about, and my first successful snorkeling adventure (yayyy for swimming!)! it was awful to get back to work after the trip, but I was soon so caught up that – like now – Tioman didn’t even come up high on the list of what I did this month!

It’s amazing how work seems to swallow so much of your thoughts. But screw that, it’s the weekend and I’m busy packing my stuff and quite pleased with how less chaotic it’s been.

Thanks for all the lovely times in the old house and a toast to the new house and the good memories it is to bring!

This was what April was all about:




Weekends that disappeared in no time.

Sleep, books, a bit of swimming.

And before you knew it, May is here and that means the long awaited vacation comes. Hope it's fun and is the much-needed break. Of course it'll be - it's a beach, a resort and blue waters! Tioman, here I come!

On a bleary Saturday afternoon that can be best described by the word 'blah', for all its dreariness, nothingness, for the lack of promises it held for the rest of the evening, I set about a task that gives me the energy and mood for the rest of the day.

We had made semiya upma, our kitchen lacking everything except the basic spices and a pack of frozen vegetables lying frozen in the refrigerator. Lazy to step out of the house in the sun and buy anything back, which must be washed, chopped and whatever, this was the easiest alternative.

As we cooked in the nickel-aluminium (?) wok that Amma had bought for me last year in the hope that I would step up and become interested in cooking my own lunches and dinner, I felt annoyed. At all the brown marks that the wok had come to bear, products of overheated oil in which me and my friend had tried many a time to make something edible (no, I'm not getting into what came out from the wok - things I have cooked deserve a special story of their own, and this blog has come to witness many such in its years).

Annoyed, half an hour later, done eating the semiya upma that might have needed salt but we still stuffed in by coating it with spicy pickle, I set down to scrubbing it clean. I toyed with the idea of soaking it in soap for a while, but didn't have the patience to wait before cleaning it. It was one of those times when you are so bent upon finishing your task that you have no patience to wait for the in-betweens.

I put on those bright yellow rubber gloves and grabbed the mesh of wire that had been strung together to make a scrubber. Turning the pan inside out, I scrubbed with all my might.

Scrub, scrub, scrub. And more scrub.

About five minutes later, I ran some water over the wok. Lo and behold! The scrubbing was working, and the brown parts were slowly turning golden. Encouraged, I scrubbed harder, unmindful of the ache in the right arm that was vigorously promoting my cause.

I turned the wok this way and that, trying hard to reach those unreachable parts near its handles, the rims, and pretty much every part of the wok I could see.

Ten minutes later, when the wok was covered with soap that had turned black (courtesy the metal scrubber), I ran water on it.

The wok shone quite brightly.I put the wet, dripping wok on the shelf, and gave a grin and left the kitchen.

Only remnant of that enthusiasm now is in my urge to go shower quickly, and get all the grime from the wok that stuck to my palms out and feel clean.
It's amazing how confidence can drop to rock bottom levels, hopes can be washed away, and the bits of positive thoughts remaining in your mind can be squeezed out... all in an INSTANT.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a fool to think positive all the time. It doesn't seem to be helping, so why not just rejoice in despair and take pleasure in being pessimistic?
I went in yesterday knowing that reviews said the movie wasn’t great, but I did expect some nice bits here and there and the music to make up for the disappointment that everyone had dubbed it to be. And well, at the end, I was as confused as the movie was as to how I felt about it!

Not all movies need to have stories – some get along just as well with lovely portrayals and bits – and while this movie did have quite a few of those, there was something lacking that made it fall apart.

It seemed like there was so much going on, so much that the director wanted to tell us, and unfortunately, his screenplay and editors wouldn’t let him do so, so he packed all he can that he thought made sense and put it in 2.5 hours. What a waste of stories/thoughts that could have really given us some poignant moments to take away from the movie?

Anyway, I’m sure the movie’s been hacked to death by many reviewers, but here’s what I liked:

1. Abhishek. Not only was he cute – the first ever time I have found him so! – I think he pulled off the American thing well. The good thing about his character was that he didn’t smirk or frown at the various things Indian – no ‘I have to carry this bucket into the bathroom?’ or ‘I want mineral water’ or unnecessary ‘In the US we do this-and-that’. He slipped easily into India and everything Indian, determined to have a good time. I wish someone had dubbed the American accent for him, though. Couldn’t pull it off.

2. The spontaneity with which Abhishek slapped the local inspector and landed in jail. The naivety with which he remarked ‘You are a public servant!’ which earned him the slap. No random huffing and puffing about India and stuff. Borrowing his oft-repeated phrase, ‘cool’.

3. Rehna Tu and Dil Gira. Very, very, lovely. Though I thought Rehna Tu was a song on the lady, it was a fresh idea to picture it on something else. Dil Gira.. was heavenly. I loved the colours, the painting-like-finish, and I’ve just fallen in love with the song even more.

4. Ali Uncle (Rishi Kapoor), Mamdu (I don’t know his real name) and Gobar (Atul Kulkarni). Among the few people in the movie that I thought had some strength to their characters.

5. The movement of the camera, be it jumping like the kaala Bandar or as Abhishek jogs through the street or the scene in the mosque that made me gasp in awe; the lighting that was so pleasant and complemented the mood and feel of each scene.

6. The way various things in Hinduism were portrayed, without making fun of them – the cow giving birth in the middle of the street (‘Mother cow giving Baby cow’) and how Waheeda Rehman is simply back to normal.

These are pretty much all I remember from the movie. The rest of it is a hazy hash of random things happening, sniggers from the cinema audience when people cried in the movie, and the other miscellaneous things that I cannot remember.

I'm mad with joy!!!! Speechless, grinning from ear to ear with everyone around me wondering why I"m maniacally grinning..
Gosh I can't type.
Just wanted to remember this moment of extreme happiness. That I"m an insane fan of this genius!
More later, but thanks to dearest amma for letting me know the news.

My eyes burn and I despair at the phenomenon called ‘Monday’, of the start of the working week, of the pain of waking up early, going to work, and living through another week.

It’s been a good 9 months since I started working, and Mondays are still not something I can come to terms with. Why do I have to work, I wonder, and what’s the point? And this stretches into deeper, unfathomable ponderings about why we invented so many things, when all we need are the basic food, clothing and shelter, and ok, hospitals – which means there should only be four kinds of jobs in the world – farming, weaving, construction and medicine – why are there THIS MANY jobs and kinds of things to do – stretching from banks to Public Relations and advertising and insurance? How did the world become this complicated? Why did it grow so big that we need trains to get from one place to another and engineers to design those trains and how they run and architects to build those stations and technicians to run them? Why did people start earning so much and have the concept of ‘money’ that we needed banks, which finally grew so enormously shady and everything and ended up ‘lending’ money and now owning what we call ‘toxic assets’. Why did we have to start manufacturing the same soap across hundreds of countries and sit and plan the numbers of these soaps that have to be produced? And why did these companies have to so LARGE that they all need machines to do their calculations supervised by humans, and have humans write codes to run these machines? And me, as a ‘Public Relations professional’, help all these organizations deal with these changes and help maintain/form a good impression for the company among the people’s minds.

Gosh, when did things take such a complicated turn?

Pardon the random musings of the Chennai gal on a bright Monday morning, but writing things like this helps me get ‘closure’ (I’m using this word very often these days, I realize, and what’s more interesting is ‘closure’ is only temporary for me) and get practical about the fact that despite all my thinking and philosophical exercise to the mind, these things still happen, we still slog, work day in and out, earn money, spend and do other things that we hope compensate for the fact that we have little/no life, and spend our long-awaited-weekends doing more things that help console us about the sad truth that ever since we turned 3, we have lost the simple pleasures of life. Excuse me, the phone rings, work beckons.

P.S.: This rambling took all of ten minutes, but now I'm charged, and ready to face the week!

I first saw her on my way home from work and stopped dead on my tracks. Bright, big and beautiful, she was shimmering in the night. It was captivating. Without any hesitation, I decided to go in pursuit of her.

Of course, she wouldn’t give in that easily. She felt mischievous, and hid behind trees, turned into buildings, and sometimes, vanished into thin air, till I’d stop again and looked wildly about, for she could have gone anywhere.
And then, I found her.

She grinned at me from between the trees, and I realized how silly I was to have gone looking for her in just one direction.

Lost in my thoughts, I lost her again. I walked aimlessly, forgetting my way home and forgetting where I was. My shoes were pinching my toes and I winced in pain with every step.

Finally, I found her again. Her shine made me find her, and I fished my bag for my cellphone to get a picture of her. Alas, it was of no use – nothing could capture her glow, the sheer intensity with which she radiated her happiness, and I was forced to just give up and stare at the beauty. Rich, creamy, surprisingly, even spotless. Kaise Mujhe playing in the iPod was the perfect accompaniment to the out-of-the-earth feeling, as I stood stunned at the wondrous capabilities of God – how could He make the moon, dripping with radiance akin to that of a gushing, happy bride? How did He know of Music?

I came back, wishing to talk to no one, just wanting to savour every bit of those few wonderful moments, and reliving them by playing the song, longing to be able to float in a dark pool with the song playing and the moon shining brightly up a dark sky.

P.S.: I know the pictures are quite awful, but that's the best my old camera could do.

P.P.S.: While gushing over the moon is quite normal for me any Pournami, apparently, today's moon is/was the brightest and biggest in some 50-over years.