High time.

Stupid standing breathing life
Stooping stopping saving life
Ruki saansein but chalti life
Dil toota, par phir bhi life
Peechhe mudke jee li life
Aage bhaage girti life
Lakeeron mein likhi life
Oongliyon se phisalti life
Bina scene kiye yeh life
Tamasha har pal kari life
Kabhi centrestage pe darrti
Audience mein seetiyaan maarti life
Kicking biting kissing life
Hugs se love-hate karti life
Mitti se dhuli hui life
Mitne pe mitne-wali life
Soche-samjhe subah shuru woh
Shaam ko crying-weeping life
Gusse se phatti-tooti life
Kheench-taan par chhoti life
Aur ek minute ke liye
Soti hui dreamy life
Jhoothe high ki wannabe life
Chhupke smiling, blushing life
Ek baar ussne dekh kya liya
Day-dreaming pe chal di life
Heartbreaking si sasti life
Roz Goa ghoomti life
Anti-alcohol mentality life
Tharki friends ke tharki jokes ko
Tweets mein copy karti life
Rona-dhona bhari life
DP change karti life
21-jaise sochti life
14-jaise giggling life
Earphones dil se connected life
Mumbai ke traffic jam mein
Romantic imagination ki life
Pillow-talk mein beeti life
Football se haari-piti life
Superstar ke geek secretary pe
Jaan-lutaati secret life
Dost-dosti-waali life
Lyrics pe chalne waali life
Har scene ka brain-lab mein
Photo frame karti life
Dhunn mein besuri-si life
Komolika-type vamp si life
Lift-music ko gungunaati
Mysteriously smiling life
Madness, maybe, music ke naam pe
Kal aaj hi mein jeeti life.


Day long bad.

This hardly has much to do with the fact that 'all I want' in a pointless statement, because there's always something else that has to compliment it. This piece is being written in a mood to kill and honestly, one day I will.
You know what I hate? We all hate, more like? Disappointment.
It's that nasty little thing that tags along with every action that hopes for something as a logical conclusion to it, but doesn't deliver. Today I hate the fact that perhaps I am a disappointment to half the people I meet but when someone does that to me, they are not forgiven. I don't hold grudges, I just stop trusting. Whom? Humanity in general.
Happens to me in this season. My head's more often in the summer and the rain, and when the leaves start shedding I'm taken by surprise and attacked by pangs of disappointment and a looming sadness. Yes, being like that sucks too. But no one chooses to. I hope no one does, actually. Because happiness also happens just as suddenly.
Like the way this post ends.

My take on work life


The title hardly leaves much scope for guessing. So yes, it isn't that people have been begging for it (though in the ideal world they would) but I need to tell you. 
Note- This is not venting. It’s just a natural note of what I’m watching happen to and around me. #IHateDisclaimers!
For those who haven’t figured, I’m working at Digit 9.0. My job’s promoting brands, celebs, movies, channels, shows- well not singlehandedly, but there’s 43 people the last time I counted in this office, out of which some 8-10 are in the same department as I. According to Kabir, I’m a social media executive. I like the sound of it. The office is bang opposite college so that’s really convenient for when I have to go to college. Neat, eh?
I’d like to tell you about the people with me someday, but no. I’d rather tell them what I think of them personally. I actually already do. It’s still too early for me to decide what I like about them and what I don’t, and we’ve all experienced, at some point of time or other, bearing the brunt of speaking too soon.
My first few days there are done with, and while I still conveniently think of myself as ‘new’, today, a third newer one joined post my signing in, and it suddenly struck me how I am pretty much among the team now. It’s a feeling that deprives you of some novelty, but it’s actually a warm feeling. That you’re there. There’s something I’ve wanted to say for a while now- Teja’ll somehow always remain elder-sisterly special. I know three months into a job, this is almost awkward saying it, but I sometimes look across the table and remember how sweet she was to me. Not used to it, never asked for it. But she was that way. (Thanks Tej, and that doesn’t yet make Bandra the coolest place on earth- Jigi you can take note of that too).
So when I left from a tiring, mindless lecture from college today, I didn’t want to go home that soon. I wanted to call Kabir and ask him if there’s work to be done. Just to hand around there. After which I remembered I’m working the weekend and I have a couple of things to give in before tomorrow evening.
The pages I promote are a personal thing. See the point is, when I’m given some work to do, I’ll do it. But if there’s something that I sincerely want to get done, I’ll go any extent to do it. By which I mean that when something comes along that’s impersonal, I will make all professional attempts to get it done. Yes, I do fail a lot of times, but I try to make things work. There are movies and products that need to be pushed. So I’ll have a regulated way of putting up the updates, and doing the tabs.
That’s what happened when I began working on this movie that released late September (I completely understand that this is my blog, but just out of respect for everything that I’m about to write, I’ll leave the movie’s name for you to determine). Initially, I was banging my head against the wall- the leading pair was debutant, which is to say, not in films, but together debutante. And trust me, not the best actors. The woman’s voice keeps ringing in my head all the time. No thanks to Rochelle, who sounds like her on some terrible days, but I live with it. Anyway, eventually, I got used to the promotions. The people who follow this movie are really enthusiastic, and there’re no two ways about that being the key factor of me wanting to keep that page alive for as long as possible. I even zombie-walk my way to Ky’s table wanting to ask her for work, but turn back half way, figuring that now the deal’s over for this one.  
When there’s something that rings a bell in my head, I’ll give it everything. It has a lot to do with the sort of experience I’ve had, and may not be the most professionally or politically correct thing to say, but I’d rather be honest from the early days of my earning about what I want to mix my faith in. If I personally like it, I’ll stand by it through and through. Like SNIFF. If you haven’t heard about it, take a look at sixteen:nine International Film festival. It has bonded me inexplicably to events and films. I haven’t watched half the classics and I’m rather distant from the film world, but you could say that I know what I’m doing in the middle of a film fest. So that’s when something like India Is steps in. I may sound like I’m promoting the stuff, but there’s no harm in it. It’s international, it’s got films, and it’s got categories and the time limit and the literature is what I’m looking at. I hear SNIFF SNIFF SNIFF ringing every time I see the red-orange banner of India Is. Regardless of how much I’m sweating for it, it’ll be my pet. It’s my new ‘movie-that-released-late-September’. So you’ll get a fan’s review for it from me all the time. If Deepak’s wondering why I’m always on that page, there.
The random stuff now. Before I start blowing the horn in my sleep, I’ll give you the usual list of ‘So-guess-what-I-just-figured’ of sorts. 
  • Bad hair days happen to me too. Who’d have guessed, right?
  • I’m one unpunctual mess when my mind’s not there.
  • Noise cancellation earphones: lets the office sing your name for about a minute till someone decides to physically shake you.
  • They also improve peripheral vision, by the way.
  • Lunch is a grand affair here. Well, till Aijaz strikes.
  • Oh, you can keep kickass wallpapers and stick things all around your desk. That was part of my dream-job prerequisites. Whooohooo!
  • So it does slow down your blogging, but working is fun.
  • I’m a tweet bot. You’ll find stuff in normal conversation weird. #justsaying.
  • Yeah, that.
  • The AC is a WMD in disguise. Again, please refer to the ex-Eskimo Kabir (who’s technically my immediate boss. So sweet he is. No no, not an Eskimo. AC-phile. He’s a 4sqr bot, by the way.)

I conclude this by admitting that I’m starting to like being a working kid. If you haven’t guessed that already, that is.




Grant me nothing


Travelling in the blog makes me think a little more than should be permitted. I came across this post of mine, written some 4 years back. In a state of decisiveness and confidence, both of which seem to have sublimated from me. Now it's only a memory of the strength to walk up to the centre-stage and do my thing. I can't walk, and I no longer remember what my 'thing' is. Pity. It leads to over-thinking and madness like this. 

I wish I had-
  • Stood up and sang when they asked me to
  • Held his hand when he tried consoling me
  • Hugged her when she left
  • Started crying when he said it wasn’t me
  • Asked for a little less
  • Not bought it only because she asked me not to
  • Stood my ground and spoken my mind
  • Written those lyrics down
  • Not saved a chair
  • Slept a little earlier
  • Been kinder to her
  • Believed a little more in him
  • Fought a little harder for it
  • Chased her and stopped her
  • Not banged the door
  • Studied instead of texting
  • Played it a little more
  • Smiled back at him
  • Asked him if it weren’t for her, would he have chosen me


Some things don’t happen again. For the rest, there’s always the will to follow your gut. Not to mention the failure repeatedly to do so. It’s us brave ones who boast of having worn our hearts on our sleeves that face the flak of actually not having done so. Hypocrites that we are, we’ll rationalise concepts like finding the ‘one’ while it’s actually just a case of natural selection. I’m just NOT meant to be a faithful person. I move on, from friends to fascinations to loves. Nothing sticks with me unless there’s nothing better coming my way. It’s like the onus of finding all signs of human evolution has been handed to me and I threw it away to find some new book to read.
I am a hypocrite and it is my inconsistency in that that makes making something like that public- brave.
Today will be special again. It always is. I will not get UPG back just the way I won’t get any of the 7000 odd days I’ve lived back. So what do I do? Cry about it? No I blog about it.
I’m living a life I’ve chosen, but honestly a few months back, had I know what life I’d be living now, all I’d get is stony silence. Of dreams I haven’t believed in as much as I claim I did. Of plans that came crashing because I changed them. Of the trouble I cause.
But it’s alright. It’s right now that matters. I’ll have forgotten about it by morning and yes, that right now will be all I care about.

Evil me, cruel me

For a long time, I've wondered how a lot of people get attention- if you know what I mean.
And for a long time, people I know have also wondered why I even wonder. With a waistline the total of your family's size, it is my stupidity that I should consider myself even- well- considerable. For most things anyway.
Now I know what you're thinking- especially if you're the likes of my close friends.
"It isn't the looks- Radh, it's the person you are! You're beautiful, and charming, and witty." The list goes on. I suppose my eulogy is pretty much in place (courtesy- Maans, Shri, Trupta, Prabhu, Madhu, Kritzel, Radhi, Shitta and co)- all good writers, and the ultimate mood lifters in the darkest of days- but barring a few exceptional occasions of brutality, they've spared me the critic's viewpoint.
Flattered, but not convinced.
I mean, if the world's such a puritan place that goes for the 'person I am', I must have some serious character flaws that either skip the attention of my friends, or they're too kind to admit them to me- that make me such an unlikable, non-fascinating something.
Oh no, this isn't even drunk drivel- this is a conscious question I want to ask you out of very sincere curiosity.
Really, WHAT is it?
Apart from my borderline schizophrenia, my 'temperamental' personality (honestly, Tejashri- I haven't seen a more politically correct term for 'mad as a hatter'! I'm putting it down somewhere) touch-o-phobia (sorry for the black eye, Coll and the scratches, Vinod- but I'm a Ninja in my head) latent OCD, hopeless cynicism splotched with overdoses of haunting optimism, I could say I haven't been made aware of a personality disorder as such.
I know I may be questioning the basic instinct of most of male-kind (and Dad, if you're reading this, ignore most of it) but it surprises me to see that I haven't been exposed to ugly truths yet. I have made awesome friends and a lot of people who feature on that list are honest as that ruddy woodcutter, but I'm up for brutality for the next few days. It isn't even for the hormonal boy-girl thing. I have a feeling I've been missing out on large doses of reality (probably while planning my next Ninja outing) that has been served in moderate amounts to everyone. Without insulting my list of very close male friends- I thought we could talk about anything, ye know? Right from Class 1, I've been told repeatedly about what an exceptional piece of poetry I am. Thank you again, but give me some reviews! Or am I just registered in your head as someone to laugh with and forget? I'm glad to be that shoulder you're always in the need of but PLEASE, I'm sometimes a little more than that. Not to be misinterpreted by the friends, though- try funny stuff and more blackened eyes and scratches will follow. There's an annoying tale of the guy who looks beyond the looks.I believe it to be a myth. This is an oath to take the lard off, but trust me- with it goes my optimism that the male species is actually not interested in skin-deep matter. I wouldn't look at them too, but a large number of my 'interests' have been on the unflattering side of the mirror. About it being a tale- if it isn't, well, show me a person who's ready to give this a chance. And do not expect me to be happy- I'll have my usual set of (cynical) questions- Does he know me? Have you told him what's happening? Is he here to prove a point? So you get me a guy who likes me and what? I'm by default supposed to like him, like it's my only chance?
I do not want to be attention seeking, I am extensively sick of pretenses, and I agree that with the lard on me you hardly wait to see my pretty side (if at all I decide to don one), but somehow EVERYONE around me is convinced that I'll find love and all that drama- my question is, where? When? Am I supposed to go looking for it? What are the chances this unknown faceless personality could be looking out for me? I mean, quite an ego boost I'll get there. 
I did try not making it matter- another side of me is extensively happy with the current version of 'me'. It hardly matters on most days about what someone says or doesn't. I'm not a pro at following advice and definitely not a pro at getting things done, but I never complain. 
Today is my day of complaining though. Too bad. My blog, my version.
I know, I'm getting convinced by the second that these are reason enough. To repulse anyone. I would be. I want to hear it from you.
The sorry part is, if I do turn completely cynical- I'll miss the fairy-tale side of me, my happily-ever-after ideas and the entire point that sometimes makes me the way I am. I have identified myself as a little less normal than you are and quite a bit on the troubled side, but seriously- for heaven's sake- Mulan was a cross-dresser, Ariel swapped a mermaid's tail for a date and Belle was a masochist.
And they say I have problems!
Point being, where's the honesty gone? Or were the fairy-tales just tales?


But tell me. Please.
I need to know the bad things about me. The terrible ones. The annoying ones. The strictly weird ones. The unspeakable ones. INBOX me if you have to- but for a day or two (preferably not more than that, I have esteem issues if you drag it) please, drag me (virtually) on dry ground for who I've turned out to be.
So long as it's on paper. Kindly rip me apart (on paper/webpage, again) because I'm very thoroughly SICK of being told of what a perfect person I am (I believe it very sincerely most of the time) because at the end of the day, I don't get the feedback I want.
I may not know what that is, but I know I'm not getting it. 

Birthday made special

She turned around at people wit me not bcos we share the same name but to support me wenever she saw me alone.. thnk for being der wen i needed u the mosttt...Radhika Mohandas i jus love ur name:* haappyy happy happy wala bday i hope we turn back together all r lives n ask each other "did she call u ??"..
- Radhika Varma

Radhika - very happy wala birthday...thank you for being the person in the pic..for not judging, for not trying to figure me out, for being with the perverted me, for being there with the more perverted me, for being with the most perverted me, for making me look good, for being crazy, for being sentimental, for being a friend. for being YOU! neighbour uncle loves you! :)
- Ankit Pareek



The migrating Man-Boy.


And for the second time in a month, a support system leaves home-soil. 
My mother once boasted to someone about what a strong friends circle I have, and I think she's absolutely right. Each element in that circle was agonisingly helpful, attached and a perfect friend with a role to play. 
So what do you do when you're in a stretch of 4 days when 4 of these friends take off to another country, for a very very long time?
I decided not to sit and cry. But day 1, and I'm already feeling the strain as Karan Dhebar sits at the airport.
My pillar, my subject, the predictor of moods and the controller of emotions has just left tonight for a new life in London. He made me realise that it's okay to wear my heart on my sleeve, that love doesn't ask to happen, and nothing is certain.
He's taught me lessons in how to look beyond appearances into truths about people and how ruthlessness is often a result of ignorance. He's broken my heart when he got his heart shattered and he's made me a stronger person by letting me take care of him when he needed me to. We're not finished yet, but with the distance grown so much I'm more worried about what he'll be like than the 'missing' tirade. 
He's on the airport right now and I'm feeling worse than ever for not being there to say bye. I'm feeling terrible for not clicking pictures of his last few moments in Mumbai for a long time, that might stretch into years. I'm trying to prepare myself for nights that begin with a few minutes of wondering how he is and then hoping that someone there sees the anguished, non-flamboyant side that this man-boy dons. 

So again, unsolicited advice to the bro of all bros (and me, who isn't a bro per se). 
Keep safe.
Remember that we're all back home and we love you.
Keep the phone charged, because when someone hits the panic button and decides to call you, it'll cause less damage when you answer.
We love you a lot, okay? Bas phone kar lena.
Give a lot of yourself to everyone there, that's who you are- selfless, undiscriminating, loving, the emperor of gossip-mongers, the homie- all those senseless words. But we know Karu/KD/Dhebar/Debbie etc- and we know you'll change. Just don't forget us in the bargain.
Don't get your heart broken again. I'll want to come there and you know that could do your cool repo a lot of damage. 
Keep dreaming.
Stay beautiful.
And you're the sweetest guy ever. And I/we/everyone here really loves you. (Special jhappi from Babboo and me, separate and team huddle and everything)


Dear Manchester,
Take care of Karan Dhebar, he's excited and he's got a weird accent, but he's a good boy. Lucky you.
Sincerely, 
overtly-emotional-best-friend-who-didn't-even-say-goodbye

And this, is his birthday poem. Two years back. 

Thirty seconds into anger
And I lose myself again
There starts the need of a leash
And something to kill the strain

On a day when the sun’s too harsh
And tears begin to flow
You’re a friend when I need you most
And this I need you to know- 

You’re my unexpected guardian
And you can make the frowns fly,
And you restore my cool and sense
And I need you to pacify
The passionate outbursts I have
Every second terrible day.
You’ve never let me down
Please don’t ever go away.

There’re times when we both hurt
And no one can even tell
Where the wounds appeared
Or the path where we fell.

But this to you I promise
That even if I don’t see you fall
I’ll be right by your side pronto
Away by just a call.

A beginning we never saw
An end that’ll never come-
I’ll never let go of the ideal friend
You have become.

All your funny antics aside
And behind that wall of cheer-
Just let me know what’s hurting
And I’ll make the pain disappear.

I’m feeling blessed today
That I have you around me
For joy and through pain
Through broken hearts and scraped knee-

We’ll run through like oddments we’ll always be-
KD, not just on your birthday- I hope you’re always happy!

Square root three.

Last night I was watching Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and Kumar Patel (pronounced Quoo-mawr P'Tayl by Kal Penn, originally Kalpen Mody- or Modi) reads this out to his chikni, at her wedding, originally to Eric Winter (Drwwwwooooool) but not any more. It's the sort of love poem I DREAM of being written for me- plain, simple, stupid, honest but given my...uhmm...affinity/relationship to arithmetic, I'd say THIS would be perfect.
"I’m sure that I will always be
A lonely number like root three
The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine
For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic
I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality
When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three
As quietly co-waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer
We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands
Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed"

Birthday no.21

What makes this birthday special?
1. I'm still at office.
2. I'm not allowed to drink, necessarily or legally, but they make a big deal of it anyway.
3. Mum and Dad are both here, as in the same city. Long time.
4. I'm happy, and NOTHING has gone wrong today.
5. I'm with new friends and I'll be meeting the old ones.
6. I'm actually following Manasi's instructions. As opposed to doing something in the 180.
7. Oh well who cares!

So yes, Thank you- as far as today goes, to Maa and Dadda, for staying up. To Coll and Shri- for turning up (surprise surprise), Rahul (the REAL surprise) for the event co-ordination, Manasi- for the day-long SMSes. To Babboo- for that one little mail.
Everyone who called. Rishanka for the loooong birthday call :) shared with the dog.
Everyone who posted. 247 posts as of right now. I have LOADSA friends!
Radhi, Ankit, Renu.
And the office gang. Party (ALisha- rollypollyrollypollyrightleftright) abhi baaki hai!
And now, the rest of ze party! Yaaaayyyy!!!
Hum bade ho gaye!

I no more stand in the background





Just this morning, I spoke about not knowing what is happening around, and thanks to the replies and comments I got, I can say that yes, I'm a tad bit wiser and a lot more affected by this movement that I expected to be.

You would be too.

As I write this, my colleagues are uploading a video of the march taking place against corruption that happens in the country.

Shouts of 'Vande Mataram'- not only agitated, but from the heart gave the on-lookers goosebumps. You cannot compare the edge in the voices that reverberate through the Juhu air as thousands- and no one would object to that number, because it is not an exaggeration, take to the streets- to recent events such as the World Cup victory. It seems so insignificant now, that I am almost embarrassed for having taken to the streets that day.

The atmosphere is still trembling as batches of scattered residents from we can't even begin to estimate march past. When earlier this morning, we discussed the march and the impending rally, none of us expected that we would be part of it later. Yes, the initial guilt of not being an active sloganeer or having covered an even admissible distance did quieten us, but as we stepped into the streets ourselves, Himanshu (who shot a video himself, please look it up at his video, me and me again) and I hesitatingly took out our phone cameras and shot what we saw- our documentation of a struggle that fights brown skin, being brown-skinned yourself. The energy isn't at all the romanticized versions of passion and patriotism as you'd expect to see, but a raw, raw need to find lost justice.
The crowds were, if there is anything on a scale like this, representative of the country. People of every age, and this includes parents carrying young children on their shoulders, were shouting slogans which confirmed support towards Anna, and the movement's primary motive of a corruption free India.

Two things come into mind now-
First, that the march wasn't for or against the release or fasting Anna Hazare is part of. It was purely against the corruption. The people on the street are not supporting a person necessarily- this is an ideology. This may or may not be one of those hyped media issues that tones down, and finally is stamped out due to disinterest. But for the moment- seeing that the public is unanimously fighting for a currently prevalent, solvable problem (unlike the rally post the Mumbai terrorist attacks- which, consider this, were pointless- the damage was done) that may have a solution, or at least will be at the forefront in the minds of people who face this.
Second, if in any way this has to be compared to any freedom struggle, this is, as philosophical as it seems, a fight against the devil inside. Except for one group condemning the Congress, all groups were focusing on a streak of freedom against the ways that we ourselves have promoted. Pay the fine, undertake the procedure, and stick your ground.

If this is even a billionth of what the Independence struggle felt like, then I can say that I have been honored.
If a thousand people can unite for a cause like this, I can say that we as a nation may not be shining, but we do have a glow.

Old girl in the old city

As Manasi packs her bags, I'm almost as apprehensive as she is. The entire jazz about her not being around in the city is camouflaged by my fatigue of landing home 12 hours after I actually leave. While most would be concerned about the logistics of the move (place to stay, washing, food, money etc) I'm worried about her need of having any known face around. It could even be Mahadev, our eternal and never-to-be-fired dhobi.

She's so used to Mumbai, along with its sweaty, sweet, somewhat stale scents that when she doesn't enter a train on a regular basis, I think she's gonna have withdrawal symptoms. I hope she doesn't start spitting around the roads to make herself feel more at home.

Bangalore's not just dry- it's cold. And by cold I mean the kind in which you can't walk around barefoot in your house. In Mumbai you shouldn't, because dust settles here more often than winds blow and certainly more often than it's cleaned off the floor- but in Bangalore it's a physical impossibility to walk on marbled flooring in the evenings.

Her next big hurdle is getting people to like her. In denial about it, she's pretty convinced that while her first impression on most is terrible (and I can't differ there)- she makes up for it given a certain amount of time. Variable, but certain amount of time. Going there, one of the things I figured is that people don't really bother. Not about your first impression or your last. That's how South Indians are. Indifferent. Which doesn't mean she needs to go out of her way to ruin the impression bit, but darling don't bug yourself into anything. We've probably learnt this the hardest way- be yourself. Which means be your average take-shit-give-shit person.

About work. It's not like people haven't had first days ever- but Manasi's firsts are twice as dramatic as they should be allowed to be. So while she comes back from her first day of sincere application of her asocial skills and some work, I'll probably be in a state to collapse. Yes, I'll call to find out- but no, don't give me "arre kya, it was so ordinary" answer. Darling, you're gonna have to work, out of choice or chance- so make the best of it by the icing we all thank Shriya for coining as Nain Sukh Praapti. Look around. Kannadigas aren't THAT disappointing.

Please, get two mirrors for facing walls wherever you put up. On days you don't have much to do, you can sit for hours and do and redo and undo your hair or what's left of it.

Life will be different, very different. I suppose only time will tell whether or not it'll be the good different or the bad. Yes, I'm gonna miss you the minute you leave the building. It's this dread I have. All the time. Our gang of 8 had 5 left, and now with 3- it'll be somehow way too sparse for me to believe. There's a huge, empty void in the (seemingly endless) pit of my stomach. Sometimes I think about it and feel like someone cut my thumb off. I wish I could tell you about it.

But it isn't about me. I have Coll and Shri. It's you I'm worried about.

So yeah, unsolicited advice from the eternal inexperienced Yoda.

Don't be afraid of pinning your hopes on anyone or anything.

Believe in things, and let them shatter you sometimes. It's the masochist fun of picking ourselves back up and grinning into the mirror after we're done that leaves us stronger.

Go wrong sometimes, in the decisions that affect you. How'll you know what's good otherwise?

Be irrational. See how far you can go into being me. Then, if things begin to get out of control- which they never fully will- call up and we'll see how much I can be you.

Every new place gives us a new face. You may not recognise the person you've become there. But it's still you- embrace it. Never forget- home is where you are, not where you are longest.

The girl who grew up with the boy who lived.

I grew up with him. Literally, literally. The first movie came out when I was ten going on eleven, same as Potter. Started reading the books around the same time. So you can imagine what I went through when I didn’t receive my Hogwarts letter on my birthday. Muggled for life, I suppose. I started reading it on the way home from the library. It was a 339- and I hadn’t known the significance of that bus back then- and mum was sitting next to me. A guy with really low waist jeans was standing a little ahead in the bus and with every bump that the bus would go over, I’d glance upwards to check if he still had them on. Low rise was a new thing. I had finished all but the last 43 pages in the ride back home, thanks to the Pump House traffic jam.
The second book- and now we stop talking about the movie, not only because I don’t remember what they were about, but also because the directors henceforth stopped showing what was important to me- was the first ever book that made me stay up the night. And get a fever, all courtesy the excitement at the end of it. The Basilisk attacks invaded my sleep for 3 days before I could get myself to complete the book. Harry Potter triumphed. I rushed down to tell the best friend and co-Harry Potter adventurer- Manasi how feverish I felt. She’s used some tremendously long word, or at least that was what it seemed then to tell me that it’s alright, I’m overreacting. A line I never gave her the chance to stop repeating to most of my situations.
I just came across the third book. Just, not as in recently- but in the context that it happened by chance. I suppose like the others, I must have borrowed from the library. Harry was growing up fast- I was 13 with him. A lot of things happened that year, actually. 2003 brought home two of the most important boys in my life. Clarence had read the books; Collin was intimidated by the size of them. Shriya was indifferent. Harry Potter seems to be one of the least discussed topics between us, and that’s saying something because 1. We talk about anything and 2. Even today, the movie has a special place in our mind. But we’re strange. 2003 also happened to be the first time we agreed not to slit each other’s throats.
I couldn’t wait to know what was in the fourth book. Only Manasi had read it by then. I nagged her to death and back before she relented and told me the story beforehand. Back then, there were no benches in the primitive Namaskaar. We would sit at the edge of the tank up ahead and talk about it. While she told me the story, I was staring with concentration at Aashirwaad. Harry had now faced Voldemort, and the world was dark again. Manasi also gave me some advice- don’t call out his name aloud. Some believe that he really does exist. And, as expected, I walked around the building all pseudo brave whispering ‘Voldemort’ out in the darkest places. A justification- ‘whispering’ not because I was scared, but because if I said it aloud, people would know that I’m cracking up.
The fifth book was a disappointment. The entire point of it seemed to be Sirius’s death- so it wasn’t a happy point, really. Manasi has bought the book. I borrowed it from her. And it took me a really long while to plough through 767 pages of nothingness. For the first time, I had trouble picturing what some scene would look like, with reference to the fight at the ministry. The book really did not leave an impression. I did connect the dots, eventually. Umbridge and Trelawney and the entire fiasco at the ministry and Harry attacking people were odd. I stuck to my impression of what he’d gone through the past year as an emotional support. The less said the better. I went through the ordeal with a frown, and ended up without Sirius.
The sixth book was a gift from Mum. I was at school, it was a Tuesday. The rains outside wouldn’t subside. Dad came to pick me up from school that day. We were stuck outside in the rain for 7 hours before Mum joined us from Inorbit, ‘The Half Blood Prince’ in hand. Little did I know that we had another 10 hours to go till we got home. July 26, 2005 was memorable for most of us. A little wet, a little stuck- and a little more wet. Maa later told me how she was tempted to throw away the bags she was holding while trudging through waist deep waters for three hours before she got to the car. It happened to be one of her rare shopping sprees and she was carrying about 4 bags with her. What stopped her was my attachment to the book, and that she didn’t know which bag she’d kept it in.
I’d always heard about the people who’d line up in front of book stores to catch the first copy of the book on the day of openings, and somehow I wasn’t too keen. Until, of course, I met Rishanka. I’d spent the summer with her fantasising about how the book would turn out to be. On July 21, I picked up my copy from Shabd, Borivali at 6.47 am- thirteen minutes before the rest of Mumbai did. When Rishanka got hold of hers, a few minutes later, we opened the first page together, 6 miles apart. The day was spent trying to read the book between lectures and irritated professors. Both of had predictions about the book. All ten of mine came true. Harry Potter lived for another 15 hours, and our questions were answered.
If I were to go into a deeper analysis of what my take on the series would be like, I’d have to read through it again. I remember almost everything. But somehow, I don’t want to read every book again. I like the books. I love the books. I can defend any angle and any take on it. At one point of time, I could rattle off the chapter names in sequence. Pottermania- they called it. I called it love. But I don’t want to read them again now. It’s probably because I’m 10 years older than him when he started. Because now, I’d want to know the 21 year old Harry, not the 11 year old one. I can’t relate to him anymore. He’s a friend I knew when I was a child and a teenager. Neither of which I am now.Now the people around me fascinate me. There aren’t good and bad people in my life - I’ve learnt to appreciate that and I’m intrigued by the grey areas. Them and their stories. I’d like Harry to meet my friends someday. Our stories may not be legends, but every day- we’re survivors.
It’s the Harry Potter movie I’m worried about. That’s the problem. And ‘Zindagi na Milegi Dobara’. Ironic, given yesterday’s incidents. Zindagi, every day, is what I have been gifted by those who decide to kill someone else every time, and spare me once again.
Maybe I should thank them- that’s all that that’s left of me. Or of us.

Sunburned

Goa does that to people. Puts them in place in the larger scheme of things. You're headed for the time of your life, pretty darned sure you'll be tempted to have your first alcoholic drink, a morning walk along the sea and the tryst with a random stranger who'll live in your mind for the rest of your life.

You want to live Sam's life in Goa.

You live Sid's.

The drinks you stick to are hot chocolate and at the riskiest, it's Iced tea when you have a sore throat. You wake up ideally around 8, when your alarm is set to 6- and find that everyone around you has no intentions of budging till well past noon. You shrug and settle into the blankets with a book you have. Very idealist-single-girl.
You're riding a two-wheeler with your eyes on the road and your mind in some internal rear-view mirror where all you can see in your past is a handful of people who might, just might be waiting for you to come back home. A friend's broken heart back home makes you want to pack your bags and rush to his side when you realise how everyone needs to heal on their own, and THIS, is your time to heal.
Then there are beaches. Blue. Untouched by plastic from Ganpati visarjans and the cores of corn kernels. On one hand women in nothing but skimpy shorts, and the other, your best friend in the waves, pulling down her shirt that keeps rolling up exposing an inch of skin. You chuckle.
A fever caused by staying out in the sun makes you retreat to the room, when four hours to yourself screw with your mind and makes you nothing but a delirious wreck of emotions that human shouldn't be permitted to suffer under.
Goa makes you take decisions.
To drink or not to drink?
To spend or not to spend?
How Goa can your vacation be?
How clich├ęd are you?
The cabana boy smiled at you. Run? Ignore? Smile back?
Madness has unique ways of creeping up to you.
The nights are better. You're too high on sea air and exhaustion from riding and thinking and obsessing and re-obsessing, and one of the electronic world's wonders- karaoke systems tempt you to the microphone where you turn your thoughts into pre-scripted ballads and stay happy in singing your story in someone else's words.
The next day's gonna be the bloody same, and as much as you hate the monotony, one part of you craves it- your lethargic schedule is the one familiar thing in the land of unfamiliarity and unpredictability.
And then you make decisions.
Without thinking, most of them, but that's only because thinking will make it more painful. No it isn't weed (there's no bravery in that, weed and hash). So it's yes or no time. What do you want to do when you get back?
Who do you want to see?
Who do you want to be with?
What lines to draw.
And who draws these lines.
Something like the Love Laws, as specified by Arundhati Roy.
And amidst all this thinking and rethinking, about actions of the past and plans for the future- you miss the laughter of the present and then wonder 'What if'.
So long Goa, I'm no smarter than I was before I met you. Just a lot darker- inside and out.

Thank You, Blimey Mighty Morons *Burp* (TYBMM 'B')- Part 3

Hello.
I know I haven't been fair. But let's say I've had a lot to do in the past few months that this post should have come up in. In any case, I'm happy to tell you that now seems to be a good time to let ze emosaans filow, and the words to start forming- because TYBMM B seems to be in love with itself (wooohoooo) and I love being a part of the madness. On the other hand, this lot of people has an unjust imbalance- there're so many I should've known better! Then again, here goes.

2008.3.071- Karishma Panvelkar aka Kalyan-ka-nahi-karat?
A lost face wondering what spastic society volunteering she signed up for. With a fleeting glance, you know she's been up all night (add some booze there) and really not a part of the usual crowd that enter TYBMM B's holy gates- i.e. her abysmal attendance records stun the blacklist. Revered by yours truly for having impeccable hard-copies- yes I remember psycho, you did that single-handedly- her only constant best friend till date has been in the opposite class. Here's something- I always thought you were Gujju. No clue why. I haven't really shared much space with you, na? Except for the time when we both couldn't shake the na-na-na from our heads for hours post Rock On, and when we turned into Grammar Nazis in Sem 2- the ride has been like Navita ma'am's lectures- rare, not exceptionally memorable, and fairly pleasant.

2008.3.072- Jaykumar Paradava aka Vacation-man
With the average learning speed at Mach fifteen, Jay sir, aap chhaa gaye. The guy with the shy smile, specks- I often messed up between you and Raval, the only one willing to actually conquer his vices and set the record straight- I won't believe if there's a single person who would want to change the way you are. Especially since you evolved so wonderfully yourself. Something to remember would be how you asked for sometime to learn before you were asked to speak in class- Agnes Ma'am, yaad hai? And of course, the famous Tahira ma'am entry- for those who missed it, she let him in because he smiled! I went 'aaawww' there...The plays, the dramatics, and the drama- this guy is one helluva success story. And as for the nickname- Jay! Surat do hafton ke liye chhod de! Please attend!

2008.3.073- Ankit Pareek aka Pappa
Bartman. Father-figure. Love-detector. Complete, thorough, and partner-pervert. You had us listening the minute you said, in favour of live-in relationships (because she couldn't find much else to talk about). Like we've agreed upon, only a 3D loser gets into a merit list thrice. Sincerely, eugh. But all through, if there was anyone I would want to spill it out to, it was you. I mean, what was the point of not telling you anything? You already knew! The presentations and the geeky remarks about what actually is wrong with the world, the conviction that silly is not cute- it's silly and the high forehead gave you the air of wisdom (and sometimes, in the rarest cases, wis-dumb) of playing bade-bhaiya (or Bhai-sa) to all of us. Keep the wisdom flowing, may God/wife earn you a Royal Enfield!

2008.3.074- Krishna Parekh aka Lambi-Race-ki-Ghodi
Yeh bandi masst hai. No, seriously- which is how she stays- pretty darned serious. How many of you can actually point out glitches in the her silent, strong, and consistent pattern of working in the past three years? She comes in with her bag over one shoulder, glides soundlessly over to her bench, and for the rest of the day, you know that one corner's been taken care of. AMR happens to be the first project we're in together (agar pehle kaam kar chuke hai saath mein toh bataa dena boss, memory card full hai aaj kal)...but there's this reassuring thing about you. Something that says, ki homework ho jaayega, tu tension mat le- and for the likes of us lot, who'd rather do the baahar ka kaand, you, are a life-saver! And one more thing, tera dimple is, bas too cute yaar!

2008.3.075- Urvi Parikh aka Morcha-girl
Initially, I was scared of you. Kab phategi pata nahi chalta tha. But then came the antaakshari and the jokes and the madness that Brand-Urvi-Parikh brings along...with of course, bonding over the fact that we're that rare breed of Science pass-outs, and almost extinct in the sub-category of girls in that type. For some reason, you always reminded me of having to go scream at someone...a point which was elaborated when we bulls-eyed on that Haryaanvi aunty at Juhu...throwball practice yaad hai? Kya yaar, like I said- there's no student-inspired drama nowadays in class...sab professors hi karte hai! Promise me, that wherever you are (i.e. Ad or Journo or well, WHEREVER!) you don't lose that one mad glint in the eye that says, I'm out to get you, or well- let's just dance!

Phew. The third edition required a lot of recall power. I shall now put down my sword, hope for a lesser number of 'post-kab-aayega' looks from the already bored class, and well- rush to the bed.
The next few- thou shalt be in, soon!
Cheers.

Out of the closet

I am a Valentine's Day junkie, and I've no qualms admitting that anymore.
Yes, I want to be asked out on this day.
No, I don't mind the pink-routine. Or the flowers, or the chocolate.
I do keep a check on who is asking who out.
I love the way everyone's all glittery in their brains on one day.
I hate it when Manasi and I (and this time, Clarie) will be sharing the mourner's cake. No, I love the mourning- hardly anyone does it with cake- but I hate being single. I mean a lot of people tell me that it's the best way to be. Alright, maybe it is. You learnt that after heading the other way too. Now, let me learn the lessons firsthand. Thank you very much.
I don't mind the cliche- everything else I do is not, so this one thing, this once, I want it to be differently the same.
I want this entire world of people to go crazy over each other.
I'm screaming whatever I'm writing right now in my head.
I hate being all pseudo-intellectual in this matter and calling it over-rated. Is Holi overrated? NO! So neither is V-Day!
I want flowers too.
I want someone to gush over me.
I want to giggle like I'm back to 14.
I think it's alright for me to be asking for these things, because suddenly, I've decided to get out of being a closet-junkie and flaunt what I really feel.
I want to see people holding hands.
I want people to know how much 'falling madly in love' (there, after 3 attempts I finally type the 'L' word!) means to me and how I'd love someone to feel the way I do about it.
I know I'm cracking up, but I want to be honest and grin about it on Monday.