Wednesday, September 05, 2012



- Saadat Hasan Manto

Thursday, August 02, 2012

'The Buyer'

Clearing the drafts in my inbox, I came across this post I had written way back in September 2006 (20th September 2006 to be exact), and somehow never posted it. Well, as it happens, this year's Osian's Film Festival 2012- Indian, Asian and Arab Cinema, is currently ongoing (info is linked above for the movie buffs). Hence, almost befitting that this long lost post is finally online after six years when this year's festival is ongoing, same as that one day in September 2006. Presenting - The Buyer

Let me start at the beginning: Twas a happy go lucky start to the day.
Or maybe not so much. After going to sleep at the usual God-ly hour of
5.30am, I had to be up at 8.00 in order to meet a prospective buyer
for one of my VCDs. Oh yes, I am on my way to being a successful
businessperson. Sent an email to a listserve with a list of my VCDs I
no longer wanted to and lo and behold I got a response from a member.
The deal was to meet her at 8.45am with the movie. Since the venue was
not too far from home I agreed to the previously mentioned Godly hour
and having gotten up at 8.00am sharp, drove bleary-eyed to the
rendezvous. 'I will be in this and this car and will be wearing this'
always has an exciting feel to it, especially for movie buffs like me.
Well, have you ever done this, - that you have to meet someone at some
place and then when you get there and see them, you pretend like you
haven't and then wait till they see you first while you act cooler
than a prickly heat powder. I do it all the time, barely works, but I
don't give up easily so I keep doing it. After about two minutes of
playing the powder the prospective buyer approached. Me: Hi, how are
you. I'm here with the movie. I didn't have any difficulty finding
this place. Have you been waiting long. I'm here with the movie
(silently wispring to myself: way too much talking happening, shut up
shut up, act cool). Buyer: Ya. Did you say you had difficulty finding
this place or did you say you did not have difficulty in finding this
place? Me: Uh....(silence) I'm here with the movie. Buyer: Hmm. Me:
(this isn't going too well) Buyer: I haven't heard of this adaptation,
but I guess I might as well buy it otherwise you would have come for
nothing. Me: Oh no its okay, you don't have to buy it. (WHAT! Shut up)
Take your time to decide and I can always come again. I did not have a
problem finding this place! I have a car, I can come again whenever
its convenient for you (Groan, you moron) Buyer: Okay then, let me
think about it. Me: Okay, call me when you have decided. Bye. Me in
the car: Well that was just bloody great! Why did you call me here
with my CD at this time of the morning if you did not want to buy it.
You had all the details on email. Damn. And you, you idiot, what
happened to the resolution to act cool and all businessy. Sad start to
my business ambitions. Well, haven't heard from her so far and if I
do, I have given myself a pep talk to act very businesspersonny and
not like a sissy geek.

Let me fast forward to the second transaction, ostensibly to be
carried out this evening. A very friendly voice called and said 'Uh I
emaile you about the mooovie. Can I get eet.' Me: great, I can meet
you somewhere convenient and give it to you (shut up before you agree
to drive 20km to make a 100buck sale). Fortunately the buyer in
question was coming to the Osian Film Fest and that being 'not too
far' from home, I agreed to meet her there just before 9 and make the
deal. With the usual 'i will be in this car' and 'I will be in a Green
dress' talk, was up and ready when the call came at 8.40 and drove to
the rendevous point, spotted the buyer and made the deal. I even took
the initiative of taking the requisite change with me, and She turned
out to be very friendly and we promptly finished the transaction. The
deal got complicated as I got home and was geting out of the car I
noticed that the lady in question had left a mobile in the car. Groan, I got back right in and drove back towards Siri Fort.
Well this is just great, - Typical. By the time I got to the Siri Fort
turning the traffic there was horrendous and after managing to make
the turn I started looking around for 'the buyer' in the hope that she
had realised the mobile was in my car and maybe was hanging around in
the hope that I find it and drive back to the Fort. Well no such luck,
so after getting yelled at by the traffic cop, by a really angry
looking young lady who practically bellowed at me, being stared at by
a bunch of drivers (probably thinking, isn't this the same car which
had had gotten stuck while making a u-turn just 10min ago. Hey look,
its the same car and the same girl. Ha ha' I decided to turn back.
Only, it was too late and there was no turning back (as they say). The
road behind me was chock-a-block with traffic so the movement possible
was in the forward direction. So I drive for another 15minutes, get
stuck among the parked cars for another 10 and after about 40minutes
of this ordeal, get back home, to discover that the cook had waited
and gone back home and I had another night of maggi ahead of me.
Bloody great. So this is the story of transaction number two. It
doesn't stop here though, the mobile (you know which one) had been
ringing every 20minutes and I dare not turn it off. Thankfully the
buyer called a few minutes ago at midnight, 'My mobile is at your car,
can I get eeet' Me: Oh yeah, I went back looking for you but didn't
find you there. I can meet you somewhere mid-way or drive to your
place to give you the mobile (oh puhleeese shut up woman, anyone else
would have asked her to come get it, and what about that resolution to
act cool and all adult and businessy) The buyer: No eets ok, its my
mobile so I come. So yes dear reader, I am going to be up and early
tomorrow morning after my two hours of sleep, to wait for 'The Buyer'.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shame - yet again, and again...

I try not to read newspapers often. Each time I do, there is lots which infuriates me and makes me upset at the status quo. Gender insensitivity in India is one of those issues, splashed wide open in the national newspapers - violence, physical, followed by violence, psychological, verbal, and systemic - perpetrated by both men and women, and then supported by the flippant comments of politicians, officials, law enforcement persons, etc. etc. While I try and calm down, here are two (of a multitude) of links to give some food for thought. Hope those in corridors or power are reading - your lack of action on gender issues, makes me hang my head in shame as a citizen of this country.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


As I walked out late yesterday afternoon, this had caught my eye. Three hours later I still could not get the image out of my mind. By the time I went back to take the photograph, the sandstorm had torn the web from one side. But. It still remained. Strangely solid. Strangely beautiful. And strangely apt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Picture postcard

A father keeping his daughter entertained with number games.
A young couple munching on chips and talking of mutual friends.
The woman with three kids in tow calling her husband on phone.
And old grandparents looking out the window.
Quiet. Dignified.

Two little girls
From the large family sprawled on the station platform
Engaged the old man in a chat
As the engine started
He smiled briefly and looked away.

The father, daughter, mother, children, gransparents, one woman and two men
Were one blurred picture
For just a brief moment
For the old man
Of the large family sprawled on the station platform.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flavours of my day

Today. Made up of all the emotions I thought. I had left behind a few years.

Dreams of hills today. With some sadness. Some memories. Some hopes and some envy. Oh how I have dreamt.

The overcast sky. Beautiful. Made a perfect backdrop. A cup of tea and pages full of words. In front of me on the table. And inside me, gurgling away in confusion.

Deep inside my chest. Inside my eyes. And inside somewhere else where I cannot reach. I close my eyes and hope to escape. Them.

A semblance of a resilience from inside somewhere. Very shy. Very still.

And. Pineapple, hazelnut, ginger.

Flavours of my day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unexpected melodies

An unexpectedly chilly night
At the start of summer
With the dry leaves
Running around
Chattering away
As they ride the balmy waves.

Then a faint sound
Of a stranger on the road
Singing a melodious tune
The voice
As he pedals against the
Balmy waves.

And the dry leaves
Stay quiet for a moment -

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The more loving one

If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

- W H Auden

Thanks to Alexander McCall Smith for the discovery of these beautiful lines.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Yesterday evening, at a traffic light, I saw three street kids having the time of their life in the middle of all the vehicles. As soon the the lights turned red and the vehicles stopped, they shouted 'start' and ran between the vehicles playing hide and seek. All the time laughing and giggling and completely uncaring and unaware of the world passing by on wheels. One of them hid next to my autorickshaw trying to avoid the little boy tracking him. Another one bent low next to a black Honda salon. A few seconds before the light turned green, they were both 'found' by the boy tracking them, and all three erupted in laughter, slapped each other on the shoulders and walked off chattering away.

The world on wheels careened its neck to catch one last glimpse of the trio. A brief reminder of bliss, friendship, childhood, laughter and a niggling feeling of guilt. A few seconds later the lights turned green and with a silent sigh and a loud squeel, the world on wheels rushed on.

Friday, January 27, 2012

This afternoon

Today I want to write about this afternoon.

The kind of afternoon which comes about only between the winter and the spring. The kind of afternoon when the sun borders on being too strong and yet is missed dearly when one escapes into the shade. The afternoon which burns the cheeks incessantly and yet comes with a sense of relief and pleasure.

This afternoon I sit with my left cheek turned towards the sun. The head tilted to one side to avoid looking the sun in the eye. This is the kind of afternoon built for dreaming about Africa and Jaipur and journeys and landcapes and authors and books and incidents far far away.

The afternoon made for sitting amongst grass and twigs and yellow buds about to unfurl into unruly maroon flowers. The kind of afternoon which just for today, is perfect, for dreaming and day dreaming and imagining words and worlds.

As I sit with my left cheek turned towards the sun, I am satiated and happy, with just this one afternoon.

Monday, January 02, 2012

This New Year's Day

Winter Rain
and chill in the air

warm food
besides snug heaters

building new memories

Friends far away
Cozy blankets
around Books
new and old

Cafetieres and decanters
Among cups of tea
with cardamom and cloves

Ghunghroo, forever in our thoughts and conversations
Rocky snug in his chair, chewing his way to happiness -
chairs, seats, blankets and today - a pair of woolen gloves

Resolve, hopes and a little bit of practicality
Tiptowing its way in.

with lots of Plum Cake
one ripe Fig
and more and more food.

Plenty to be thankful for
this New Year's Day.