Oh, December!

I like you! You’re dressed in twinkly lights and Christmas red. People everywhere are celebrating you. You bring travel, events, parties, gifts, retail therapy, friendly get-togethers, holidays, jamborees and surprises galore.  Some year endings are painful and others come with a surety that what’s coming … Continue reading Oh, December!

To whomsoever it may concern,

I think we have a problem. My electricity bill is twice what it used to be.

I pay GST every single god forsaken month. In fact, I pay GST (in illogically varying percentages) every single day for every single purchase I make. And then I top it all off with some income tax as well.

I feel mounting dread each time I venture out in my car and find myself looking at an almost empty fuel gauge. I hunt for ATMs that actually dispense cash and, more often than not, i find myself stuck with 2000 rupee notes. Thankfully, they are handy at the petrol pump since money flows like an infected tummy run. I don’t like paying by card because …

My credit card got hacked. I was being encouraged to use it across the board but no one warned me of the potential dangers. I had to survive for a week without a card. 

My building society wants to extort more money in the name of repairs. 

My phone network rarely allows a call to complete without dropping a frustrating number of times.

The roads are a joke and the traffic is a laugh riot.

Stepping out of the home is fraught with  unforeseen dangers, potential road injuries or respiratory illnesses (courtesy the air pollution) leading to potential hospital costs that could wipe out all my savings; cancelled flights because of striking pilots or worse still … drunk ones; fake news and misinformation causing sudden stupid riots; good, reliable education is like the unicorn – a fantasy … the list is endless. I think you’re getting the point, hopefully.

I’m not even sure what you can do but if things don’t improve I may have to resort to stand up comedy … cancel that … I’m not too keen on jail. 

So that leaves me with a couple of options … I could borrow a boat from a fisherman (since they are now steadily losing their fishing areas in the name of development) and sail out like Pi. Phir dekhi jayegi.

Or I could team up with some scamsters and make a lot of money from the clueless banking system and fly out of the country and spend my life as an infamous, rich socialite. 

Hmmm. This exercise has helped.

Thank you. Next.


#MeToo

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I tried writing this blog from the POV of a sexual predator but I gave up after a few attempts. I couldn’t get myself to think like an entitled imbecile who throws himself at women and believes that their gratitude for this attention should be paid by servility and sexual compliance.

This grey zone of sexual harassment is a judgmental space. It’s a zone of judgement and opinions. Men and women both get summarily dismissed by colleagues and observers for the ways they behaved or failed to behave at work.  From allowing a hand on the thigh to drinking with a male colleague to being someone’s favourite at work to consistently dipping into the office pool to hone their marksmanship… the list is nuanced and long. The enforced bonding on projects and long hours at work have made the workplace a hotbed (pun intended) of potential exploitation in this desire for power and possession.

However, what constitutes sexual harassment? In my considered opinion, it is anything that involves :

  • Stalking
  • Preying
  • Luring
  • Baiting
  • Using aggression, blackmail, power, promise of retribution, fear, undermining someone’s spirit … All for sexual dominance.

So, to clarify …. Gentlemen predators,

  • If you believe that you own the women who work for you or with you …
  • If you believe that women are basically dumb props and have made themselves available because they stepped out of their home to earn a living
  • If you believe that women exist for your pleasure
  • If you believe that women cannot achieve their goals without your proprietorial hand on their ass
  • If you believe that your female colleagues need sex education
  • If you believe that you are populating your personal harem while employing young, fresh ’talent’ then …

You are about to have your mask ripped off. And the world will see you for the self-entitled oaf you are. Because your Time is Up and you had it coming.

This applies to predators across the board, irrespective of gender or their leaning. 

The Unexpected

When life happens without warning … it sort of jolts you in to thinking about so many fundamentals. Bodies that we take for granted, people that we assume will always be there for us, health that will continue to keep us going in our ‘important’ assignments … inevitably, these realities change.

You decide. What is so important that if it disappears … you will be bereft/incomplete/inconsolable? You decide. And then focus on savouring it. Before it disappears … like every transient thing in this world. Including you.

Dear Akshaybhai,

Such a hullabaloo about me! Didn’t really expect it. I’ve been so used to being hidden, spoken of in hushed whispers, hurriedly passed from one hand to the other, tucked away under a shirt or in the pocket … god forbid someone sees me and puts two and two together.

And now suddenly, every one is flashing me around, taking selfies with me, openly flaunting me … men and women alike! Being waved around like a victory flag is so confusing. I mean. Aamir Khan was brandishing me a while ago! This sudden celebrityhood is very heady.

Hopefully, I will not get eclipsed a28595975086054a29f9da29ef58a273

once all this naach gaana is over.

In the meantime, thank you for bringing me out of the closet. For setting me free.

The ‘period’ic friend and companion,

The sanitary napkin fondly called ‘Pad’

Time travel

I was sitting at a coffee shop waiting for a friend. I had enough time to observe the people around me. I noticed a couple sitting in the extreme corner. The guy was clearly uncomfortable because the girl was sobbing and he seemed torn between wanting to reassure her and hoping that the people around wouldn’t hold him responsible for her tears. All of a sudden, while the guy seemed to be earnestly saying something, she threw the mug across the floor and ran out of the cafe. He appeared stunned. No, he did not get up and run after her. He placed his head in his hands and stayed that way while the waiter went across and cleared the mess. Soon enough, he got up and left for the exit without meeting anyone’s eye. Since this is real life and i’m not involved in this character’s story … i guess it will remain incomplete. It will come back to me from time to time in different ways … sometimes the boy’s expression, sometimes the girl getting up and flinging the cup across the floor with disappointment writ large on her face, sometimes the turning of several heads as they register the disturbance and look around, sometimes the defeated look on the boy’s face as he walked out the door … sometimes in slow motion and sometimes in sharp cuts.

Isn’t that what happens to our memories too? Over a period of time the interpretation is sweeter or not depending on how we want to see that moment.9d75c9ad3cd5dec88faa9f8ff1c5b0ba

The images don’t really alter but the way the light falls on them, the way the expressions remain, the selective bits we remember or those that we discard … decide how we look back on our past. Time is a great healer. It is also a great concealer.

To Love or Not to Love,

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Bright curious eyes. Expectant. Childlike. Alight with dreams.

Reality. Insidious, unpredictable, dramatic, inexplicable.

Two parallel lines of dreams and reality rarely ever destined to meet.

Simi was forced to accept reality. To swallow the bitter pill. To learn anew the walkway between illusion and fact. To question her dreams. To doubt her gut.

She learnt that love can be a lie that trips smoothly off a tongue. That promises are made to be broken. That avowals of love can be made to more than one. That love can be a string of beautiful beads. That the string can snap in two and the beads scatter across the floor in different directions to never come together in the same magical way they once had. That love can mock. That love can be a facade. That hate can be love. That causing pain can be love. That love can hurt. That feeling is illogical. That, sometimes, you just don’t have the stomach for it. Or the heart for it. Because you dread the emptiness it may leave behind. That love can be a one way street. That words are not love. That retaliation can be love. That love cannot be hidden. That love can let you down. That you can let love down. That love makes you vulnerable and powerless.

Simi’s eyes remain bright. Curious. Expectant. Hopeful. But there is a wariness now. Doubt.

Till love comes along again. Wearing a different costume.

And she holds on fast for the ride but this time, she keeps her eyes open.