A Nightmare on Coles rd

To start with, to all my faithful readers out there, I am sorry I haven’t blogged in so long. A month of traveling, a lot of things happening in the personal front (good things), a lot of ups, a few downs and a shit load of work (pardon the language, but sometimes there is nothing more apt than a swear word!) has kept me busy with little time to do what I love doing; blogging my thoughts down. So after being reminded this morning by my darling Teena that I should get down to it, I decided to.

This blog is written after a phase of being upset, frightened and then plain mad at the subject I am going to write about; the abuse of power by civil servants. The dictionary defines a cop as one who ‘maintains order, prevents and detects crime, and enforces the laws.’ never as perpetrators of law who abuse their power and status by preying upon innocent people creating fear amongst the citizens for a moment of a false boost of power. Are these the people we are expected to turn to for help? I think not.

I was walking towards my supermarket to do my monthly groceries in Frazer Town, Bangalore. A cop on the bike stopped me and asked me if I was on my own and lived alone. Taken aback by the unexpected question, and falling under a false sense of security of seeing someone in an uniform automatically made me answer ‘yes’ to a question I should have avoided at all cost. He then went on to spin a rigmarole of how there was some security breach in the area and that the cops were asked to collect addresses of people living on their own to be able to ‘keep an eye’ on them. Well, I may be careless at times, but I have never been accused of being completely stupid. So of course I didn’t give it to him and said I wouldn’t till I see official documents and reports of this so called ‘crisis’ and I walked away. The creep chose to follow me, harassing me to give him my address and in the process to ‘accidently’ brush up against me and pull at my hands saying he would ‘drop me safely home’. Now to be more explicit so that others may be more on guard when faced with such situations, he poked at me with his stick and kept laughing.

I have had the fortune of having a dad who has always foreseen such situation and made sure that Sharika and I have had all the training we need to stand up to harassment; a second degree black belt in karate, a basic understanding of the law and  rights we have. But I must say that I didn’t quite know how to deal with this one. Had it been anyone else I would have done a multitude of things; shoved him over, punched his face, tricks I have resorted to a few times which have always served me well. But the thoughts running in my head with this creep were ‘will he charge me with assault’, ‘what if he takes me to the station under some charge and I don’t have too much control of the situation’. He was a cop, he could make up anything. So I froze. I didn’t notice his name tag, took no note of his bike number, didn’t take a picture of him on my phone; instead I froze and worse, I teared up.

With the road streaming with people, no one stepped my way. Either people didn’t notice and were trying to avoid a cop or they just didn’t care because of being bogged down by their own lives. My knight in shining armor proved to be a road side vendor who came to see what was happening. The cop mumbled something and took off and the vendor put me in an auto and sent me home. I came back home worried sick that he would have followed me and will know where I lived. I couldn’t work the whole day and couldn’t sleep the whole night. What annoys me most is the irrational fear that sets over you; all because of a creep. But after talking to Bart for a long time and being told to shake it off and not succumb to it, I did. But I am still seething mad and want all you girls out there to know that you need to be on your guard at all times. Don’t let anyone bully you, even if they come sheathed in the protection of a uniform. Stand up to yourself and be careful at all times.




The Plague of Womankind

I try and not address the issue because I can’t claim any expert opinion on the subject. To be honest I am bewildered and often wonder how the same creator can come up with dimensions of opposition in his creations that can be so drastically different. But I am brave enough to try and address the topic today and ask my comrades in compassion to try and give me more insight into this complex confusing subject.

Men- They can’t be from mars. How can they be? It seems easier to understand a red planet that gives you no opportunity to live, that can kill you and damage you forever. That sucks life and existence out of you. So where are they really from? How do they function? What do they think? What’s going on in their heads when they seem on the surface to be just sipping a drink and munching on some food? What is this conniving quality they have within that makes intelligent and good looking women get snared?

I may be judgmental, so sue me! But I think women are far superior. They are better managers, better at understanding emotions and intricacies of someone, better at offering love and sympathy, they can work, manage a house, dress better, behave better. And they actually seem to have a filter between their brains and their mouths. Flabbergasting and incredibly stupid statements isn’t normally what comes out of a woman (again, don’t jump down my throat, it is simply my opinion).

Have a women strut up to a man, say a few soundingly intelligent sentences, but be dressed to kill and bat your eyelashes at him and you see an embarrassing sight you wish you need not have to witness. To hear them say ‘What an intelligent woman, completely amazing, and looks like a goddess’ leaves you wondering if you both actually met the same person. If they had spent a few minutes actually getting to know the person and then made a judgment, of course you understand. And you would be happy about the fact that men don’t make ‘the look and judge’ decisions. These can be men you look up to, who you think are intelligent and savvy enough to not fall for contrived acts of behavior, who you think is smart enough to see through things and not be an embarrassment to you with their acts; but lo and behold! So much for illusions.

So what exactly of all this aggravates you? You start wondering how it is that you can trust a guy not to be judging you on a superficial level. If they are stupid enough to fall for that play, they are obviously falling for the projections that every woman puts up now and then. So do they see you? Do they know you? Do they really care about you as you are? Do they see past defenses? Can they handle the hurdles? Will they stand by you? Are they trustworthy? Or will they go running after the next pretty ploy that is thrown out at them? Do you really want to be with someone who is so? Or do you keep looking for a ‘man’ you imagine to be wise and trustful? I see this happening around me all the time. Any wonder why I am not married???

The Month Behind – The Ups and Downs

My life is like huge crashing waves. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. The month behind was turbulent with many lessons learnt about handling crisis, about who my real people are and how much family means to me. The month and a half went racing past; seemed like a never ending eternity when I was going through it, but now I can look back and frown at the awful moments and smile at the good ones. So here is my stream of thoughts of the last month and half.

Cycle 1: Vishu. New year. Hopes of a good year. Dinner at home with friends. A whole day of cooking. Kidney stone pain!!!Shots in the night. Shots the next few days. Pain pain pain. Never ending pain; pain when I sit, pain when I stand, pain when I sleep. Why does pain take over your thoughts till it lets nothing else pervade in. Your whole existence becomes about the pain. Scans, tests. Nemo and Memoll cuddling upto me. Teena soothing me with home made lunch and sweet talk. Bart coming over everyday and making me laugh. Ravi on the phone every day making sure I’m all right. BR Uncle and all his help. Work sent from office. Sneha tells me to lay off freelance and just get better. Concerned phone calls from home.

Cycle 2: Excrutiating pain. Numbed with pain makes sense suddenly. Hospitalized for a week for kidney infection. Stone-UTI-Kidney infection. Pain shots, fever, medicines, nonexistent veins and repeated efforts to find one, jabs all over, kind nurses and doctors, Bart and Teena shuffling up and down, ambulance, more tests, tests I will remember with embarrassment for ever, tests I was too drowned in pain to remember, insurance hassles, a stuffed toy, lollipops and cards, hospital food, sneaked in Mc Donalds burger, work sent from office, concerned phone calls, pretend concern phone calls, pain pain pain. Less pain lesser pain, no pain. Discharge. Advice. Doing things alone. Home.

Cycle 3: Antibio, antibio, antibio. Bacteria develops resistant. Bacterial infection in the worst of places. Ecrutiating pain. Can’t sit. Can’t move. Crying in the bathroom. crying in the bedroom. Cursing everyone there is to curse. Nemo accompanying me for every hellish bathroom visit. Memoll sitting near me all the time. Afshan and chocolate cake. Mrinal and Andrew and lunch and tender coconut water and love. Payal and comfort. Rutger and sympathy. Teena and love. Bart always. Surprise visit from Gibson and Malik who drove all the way from Chennai just to see me for a few hours. Home and phone calls and voices that make me feel better just listening to them. More work sent home.

I need to stop here to talk about pain. Pain is a funny experience. When you go through it, you are so consumed by it that you promise the one up there you are talking to all the time that you will do everything in your power to stop asking for anything if only it will go away. Your whole life becomes centered around it. You are irritable CONSTANTLY. Everything people say seems to be targeted at only making your pain worse. No one gets it coz only you are going through it and you hate the world for it. You take out all the anger, the frustration, the sheer tiredness of having to deal with it every day on every one else. Especially the ones you love best. And then you feel wretched and guilty about it. You cry all the time. You sleep crying. You wake up crying.

Cycle 4: Recuperating. Frustration. Small ventures outside the house. Quickly back inside. Bart’s bday dinner. Pain in the restaurant. Doctor’s visits. Tests. Work sent home. Ravi being there to make things better. Sharika’s exams. Ama comes to take care. Anagha visits after 3 years. Happy. Talks. Dinner. Ama magically makes illness better. Long talks with Anu. Dinner, movie. Ama and Anu leave. Flu decided to torment me. Cough, cold, congestion, fever. Teena not well. Bart leaves for the Netherlands. Payal calls to check. Ravi calls to check. Sneha and her never ending support.

Cycle 5: I go home. Flu slowly goes. kidney pain goes. Bacterial infection goes. Frustration at job. Mean bosses. Decision to only freelance from now on. Happy at flexibility. Happy to be home in my room. Happy to see amuma and apupa and ama and acha. Happy to see Simba and Cocoa. Guilty about leaving Nemo and Memoll behind. Phone calls. Mails. Good food. Gitu and Jess and the beautiful beautiful beach. Hospital visits. Trivandrum and muthashi. My adorable nephew and cuz and aunt and uncle. New paintings. An airplane and Back in Bangalore. My babies. My house. Missing home.

Now comes Cycle 6 and I see the wave crest here again. Here’s to the next batch of me surfing on my waves. Love you all for being there for me.

Myths and the City

I grew up with more cows and trees around me than automobiles and high rise buildings. No, I wasn’t the village girl with big dreams who came to live in the evil city and got trapped in the big city ways. Far from it! I grew up in a small town. But thanks to great parents I guess I wasn’t in want of anything. I got great education, exposed to the best of everything, globe trotted to the best of places and maybe had more than my share of things than even kids of big cities. But I still did see more cows and trees than other things.

I spent the formative years of my life growing up in the most magical and ethereal place I have ever been to. After having seen almost the whole of the rest of the world, there is still no other place that takes my breath away than my home town. The Ghats, the plains, the sea, the paddy fields; the sheer beauty of it all always manages to leave me with sharp intakes of breath. And the people of the town; I think Tamilians are the kindest and nicest people on earth; always willing to lend a helping hand, no ego, no clashes; just genuine ‘niceness’ that is so wanting in the world we live in today.

And then life took turns that led me to the city. Chennai for my under graduation,  Pune for my post graduation and now Bangalore (or should I say Bengaluru to avoid the Ram Sena from declaring me a terrorist?) for work and a new phase of life. Cities bring with them their own share of joy and chaos.

I love the city life. I love the fast pace, the ability to be able to disappear amongst the crowd, the luxury of having amenities around, the fact that I can walk out for a movie at a comfortable theatre or shop for groceries in hypermarkets; the benefits are definitely an upside.

The chaos is the downside. The traffic, the smoke, the rude auto guys who have that inane ability to spoil your mornings with their conniving acts to con you of money, the dirt and garbage on the roads, the fact that greenery means small miniscule patches in the middle of all the grey smog which is pathetically referred to as ‘a garden’. And the space! I sometimes look at the miniscule apartment of mine which I am so proud of and then the fact strikes me that my whole apartment is probably just a little bigger than my room back home!

But everything has its ups and downs right? And I look at my life and see how I am so lucky to have the best (and the worst) of both the worlds. I live in a city, I can take all the breaks I want in a small town. SO I have my share of high rise buildings and Mc Donalds and also the cows and the sea. So city life vs small town life. Don’t ask which is better. Because I have both and I love it!

My Song

Everyone has a favorite song. One that keeps ringing in your head, one that you find yourself humming when you wake up or take a shower or feel happy or feel sad. One that seems to make perfect sense to you. One that you find yourself going back to, to help you through crisis. My favorite song is ‘November Rain’ by GNR. To say I love the song would be to put it very mildly. I love everything about the song; the beautiful lyrics, the unusual melody, the way it is crooned, the music arrangement, the emotions behind it, the video, the fact that it is by my favorite band, basically everything. But most of all I love the lyrics.

To me the song stays true to what it says in every way. That it is a lament of a kind, a sad love song about a man in love with a woman who is in love with his best friend. A song about a man who starts talking about how he loves this woman so much that even though he knows her loving him back is impossible he still looks for that little ray of hope in all the darkness. A song about a man who finally loses his woman to her own turmoil and suicide. The song is so cruelly sad, that it becomes strikingly beautiful. The way it unfolds is sheer poetry; the fact that it is centered around an inauspicious start because he is marrying someone not in love with him, ironically in November when the rain is considered acidic and not a good start for a life together, that he keeps saying that even November rain can’t last forever which subtly conveys his hope that bad times can’t stretch on forever. I love the way Slash is weaved in so ingeniously into the story, just giving one a glimpse of the whole complicated triangle, showing only snatches of what he is probably going through as well. The human emotions attached to this song; love, happiness, sadness, desperation, anguish, pain, betrayal, hope…it is all so artistically intertwined.

The lines that speak to me most about the song are, “And when your fears subside and shadows still remain. I know that you can love me, when there is no one left to blame”. These lines show love that is so unconditional, so unrestrained; a love that I wish I could experience. A man who is willing to wait around, who is so much in love that he doesn’t mind what’s happening, who is just around hoping to have her love him back. Is love like this possible?

So I close my eyes and hope that I will experience this sheer love one day. To be loved so much that they will wait, to be loved unrestrained, to be needed, to be wanted, to be loved unconditionally, to be loved without expectations, without boundaries. Who out there is lucky enough to be loved that way? Tell me your love story…

Opening Up

For those of you who like me have been living on your own for a while and is used to having to take care of yourself and not depend on anybody else for all those emotional upheavals, you will know what I am talking about.

True, you have friends, you have family; but they are all far away from you. There is only so much you can communicate over the phone and over emails. The fact that these people are around is an undeniable truth. But what also holds true is that for the most part, you have learnt to deal with things yourself, take care and protect yourself from all the hurtful stuff life hurls at you. You talk about it, discuss it, get the comfort from ‘your people’, but put the phone down or close the email, when all the feels come rushing at you and overwhelms you, you have only yourself to help deal with them. It’s a good lesson learnt the hard way.

But time comes when you suddenly get a new set of ‘your people’ to be physically around. It can be a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a husband/wife, a great boss or any one at all. Now comes the tough question, how do you start the process of opening up?

The people you have already put on the list as ‘deemed worthy of opening up to’ are people who have crept in and been a part of your life for a long time, much before the rigidness of living alone made its mark on you and toughened you up in a way that has made it almost impossible to open up to a new set of people. You might not even remember how it was done. But because you care about the people who have just come in, you try.

To trust is no easy task especially if you have been hurt before along the way. To tell someone what is wrong to me is almost a physical feat; the words get stuck in your throat, the feeling wedges onto your chest till you can barely breathe, anger, frustration, pain, fear all make their way tumbling through your head, everything gets fuzzy, confusing and terribly overwhelming.

But in spite of all this, you still try. It’s hard, but you still do. And what you fear the most is that this fragile trust will be taken and shattered into a million pieces and to put it back together all over again will be impossible. And then you are going to be stuck with the process of gluing yourself together on your own again, is it really worth it? Will the person take care of you? Be loyal to you? Hold you in priority? Not let you down? Squelch your fears? Understand you? Fight your battles with you? Or will you let yourself in for a ride only to find yourself sweeping up the left behinds?

But let me tell you this, close your eyes and think of the people who haven’t ever let you down. Who have fiercely and passionately been true and loyal to you. Who were never politically right when it came to matters of your heart and emotions. Think how these people made you feel. The sheer joy, the happiness that floods in you when they do so, the feeling of worth and measure you felt when they stood by you, the security and the way you let your protected heart open up and be free; isn’t it worth taking a risk to let someone make you feel that way? Isn’t it worth taking the chance? So all you independent, strong willed and mistrustful people out there – let loose a bit. Let someone in. If you are let down it is their bad and I am sure that you are strong enough to survive it. Otherwise, enjoy the feeling of letting someone win your trust. Bon chance.

My Grandma

One says that family is a group of people you are stuck with. You can’t choose them. In a sense, that is true. Then I am

The 4 granddaughters with the grandparents

probably the luckiest girl in the world to be given a bunch of people I would have chosen anyway if I had the option to.

My grandma and I have always had a very special bond. She was still in her 30s when I was born and her youth, her energy and her complete and utter love for me forged a tie between us that is strong, thriving and one that overcomes all odds, all fights, differences of opinion, generation gap. I remember time spent with her when I was a child like it happened just yesterday. The strange way my heart filled with joy so strong that it almost hurt, the fierce protectiveness and possessiveness that crept into me every time she was around; a love so strong, it felt desperate.

The love grandparents give you is completely different from anything else you will ever experience. It is a love completely without boundaries of responsibility or discipline. They are there just to love you, pamper and spoil you; not to draw any lines of behavior, after all that is what parents are for.

Going to my grandma’s place was all about fun and games and endless stories and doing everything my sister and I would not be allowed to do at home. Spoiling the house, painting all over the walls, eating all the junk food we wanted to, sleeping at whatever time we pleased, watching all the TV we wanted, bossing my grandparents around to our heart’s content and so much more. Midnight car rides looking for helium balloons and chocolates, endless trips to the toy stores, demands of any kind of food only to have it appear on the table 10 minutes later; no one could have asked for better childhood memories.

And this progressed into something deeper and profound as I grew up. The love a child had for her grandmother transformed into a strong love a grown-up granddaughter has for her grandmother. She became my confidant, my friend, the person I found easy to share things with, to fight with. She was always the person I could be myself with without having to worry about the right behavior or opinion. I took her for granted for sure, but isn’t that the greatest part of love, to love someone so much you expect them to understand and put up with you and be able to be the same way back? Sharika and I bully her, make her angry, happy, sad, joyful, all at once. But we love her. Like we love no one else. We admire the strength she has that she isn’t aware of, her ability to love, to cherish, to look after people. We admire her beliefs, her patience and always want her to be happy and at peace.

I hope she recovers from her operation fast. Amuma, your heart is so special, that I believe it will have no trouble getting better soon. It hurts to see you in the hospital so frail and so scared. But you have no reason to be. Look around you. Look at how many people have come for you and love you. It speaks so loudly about you. So you get better for all of us. Because we need you to be. Because we love you so much. Because you are my grandmother.

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