Thursday, 17 May 2018

Past perfect-present tense

  • Loneliness is like a fleece blanket in chennai. Baby's bottom soft to touch but the moment you slip under them hoping for buttery comfort you will sweat out about a 100 calories. Everyone else sees you under the "comfortable fleece but only you know how desperately you want to get out of it.. I do not know if it's the new place,  totally different way of living,  a different set of rules or being totally clueless about what next, but I feel smothered by this fleece blanket. I've never been in one place too long. By the time a new place grows on me,  it's already time to move. After a lot of such moving around,  I'm finally in Mumbai. I know I know,  there is social,  juhu,  vada paav, and the monsoons but it does not float my boat. Not yet. I have spent years in the laid back and fiercely polite Coimbatore,  hills and valleys of ooty, family friends more than family GULF, best UBERs and hypermarket ever (lulu) cochin, and something for everyone chennai. I guess Im not that big a fan of this beehive called Mumbai except for maybe the sea link road which I adore to bits. My ideal place would be ever cool with hills on one side and Bessy beach on the other, the sea link bridge that connect one hill with the other via the sea don't ask me how though.  There should be the occasional snow fall, 2 months of monsoons per year and inhabited by a mix of people from different states each minding thir own business but gathering together under banyan trees to play carroms or chess or just to catch up. There would be shops selling free Mysore dosas, kancheepuram idlis and filter coffee with Tamil songs from the 90s blaring in the background. There will only be public buses of all kinds,  no private mode of transport except for cycles, mc Donald's delivery bikes and ambulance. This utopian world of mine is what sweet dreams are made of. No matter where in the world you've been to,  at the end of the day there is just one place that you want to get back to. This distorted reality is my happy place. And here I am in a place that travels faster than time , almost a galaxy away from my utopian world.  The constant ache of wanting to be elsewhere has totally closed me off, making me a kitchen island surrounded by advanced gadgets, utility areas and designated cooking areas.  I know it's not fair to this place with the sea link road and this lonliness is of my own making. Knowing this is the good part. How l'll get out of it is another that will probably require a few years to figure out.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


“You should get first rank next time, second rank is for loser. Go for tutions to that XY teacher”

“You should get into the best college, just like your uncles daughter did, else it’s a shame for your parents”

“You should work with the top most MNC, what is the point of working elsewhere?”

“You should only do clinical subjects, non-clinical is not an option. Best is cardiology”

“You should do something about your skin. It’s too dark. Use lemon juice on your face!”

Sounds familiar?

It should! It is called unsolicited advice/ suggestions. Doled out by highly judgmental, often jealous and jobless people who do not know how best to mind their own business!

Advice is free and makes a lot of difference when we seek it, from someone we look up to. But when “suggestions “are piled on us from unknown and unwanted sources life becomes a living hell.

This unsolicited advice from anyone including a peer, a neighbor, colleague, or even the lady who sells tomatoes in the street corner is an integral part of our life.  Like a drop of ujala in water. Once you add it to water, it mixes quickly and effortlessly staining our clothes in sickly shades of blue.  Pretty much like an annoying totally uncalled for advice that stains our outlook.

These advices do not respect personal boundaries, preferences, opinions. It is often discriminatory, demeaning or outright hurtful
Being a medico, these annoying suggestions reach an all-time high immediately after UG
 Everybody is suddenly interested in the specialty I wish to do, making creepy faces if I fail to say “obs and gyne” or “pediatrics” because that is supposedly the best specialty for girls!

I occasionally come across male colleagues who are exceptionally talented in para clinical/obs gyne, but still chose “manly” ortho or sugery because of the sharp tongue and opinions from people totally unrelated to the field.

If Career is one hot topic among these inquisitive people…..marriage, babies and other embarrassing personal issues happen to be their forte.

They need to know why mango pacchadi was served at you wedding and not pineapple. Why is your wedding saree so expensive? And if its not so expensive, why is your wedding saree cheap? You get married only once! They say pink is your color because you are dark, and will help distract the crowd. They compare and complain on everything from the parting of your hair to the length of your toe nails suggesting alternatives that they saw elsewhere.  Mind you, some of these “talks” happen on the stage, where a whole lot of other people stand in a Q quietly observing the verbal exchange and phony smile and drawing their own inference. You may want to punch them in the face, but no the camera is all over you and the photographer charges a bomb so you can’t waste candid pics on this blabbering “unknown” individual
The very next day after marriage, as some of my friends confessed, the annoyingly inquisitive person has the audacity to ask for the “good news”. And hence starts the “good news” period. Been a month no good news?? Oh how sad. You should see this doctor..blah blah..  The newly married girl is not mother Mary, or Kunthi Devi to miraculously conceive. Dear somebody who knows everything, you should also know that such things take time. Besides there is something called "planning" and preference, which i hate to break it to you, but is none of your frigging business! 

They offer endless suggestions, call it the life (ruining) advice not just to us but also to our parents who are responsible adults. They are responsible for more than half the fights I have with my parents regarding trival tv shows to the courses I want to apply. The clothes I wear to the friends I have, nothing escapes “their business” zone. It is like being on the Truman show or Big boss.

That’s how good their surveillance is. If they could channelize this energy onto something productive, I think they would make the best “surveillance team” for detecting communicable diseases. Department of community medicine, your attention please.

I’m pretty sure even if they happen to meet superman, they would suggest he wear his flashy underpants beneath his blue body suit and also advise him to wear airy costumes so he can have healthy sperms and hence healthy babies. Because life is all about babies.

Stay a safe distance away from our air space dear superman.

Saturday, 20 December 2014


I have decided to abstain from all  movies/ serials with an extensive background score.

No. it’s not because I'm too busy working or because I have a major exam. It’s simply because it has made everyday life such a pain in the rear!

I was pretty alright until I watched a few episodes of Devon ke dev mahadev.  This particular episode had the ridiculously good looking telly Shiva staring into the love struck Sati’s eyes oblivious to the other demi gods and humans around them as the background music wrapped it all together ,successfully causing the goose bumps effect. I felt like a big cube of butter dropped into the hot frying pan!

It took a few days for me to get over that melt down. I kept wondering why!?? Why does a “divine”soap have such an effect? Was it the stunning Shiva?  The Impossible human-god relationship angle??  The beautiful sets? Was it how Shiva, Sati and everyone else said the right things at the right time or was it just the music??

Well the actual culprit is THE music! 
You can call me crazy, but I watched the same episode on mute and surpriseeee!! It wasn’t magical anymore. In fact it was plain awkward! How long can two people with blank faces stare at each other without any background music!?

Then started the movie marathon (on mute of course) but with sub titles to reconfirm my hypothesis.

I started with Vinnai thandi varuvaya, a beautiful Tamil move with amazing BGM.  I changed genres and watched Pirates of the Caribbean, Inglorious bastards(another amazing BGM), Star wars, Legend of Bhagat singh, Visvaroobam,indira, and a bunch of other movies which I hold special. Without the Background score the emotions conveyed in these movies seems blunted. Even the heart tugging dialogues and scenes dint quite complete the picture.

Yes I am quite jobless at the moment. But here’s why it affects my everyday existence.

When I wake up every morning, there is no chirping birds or girly chorus playing in the background.  I’m late to work or college and literally on a run but there is no fast paced music playing along pushing me to get there faster!  
After a fight with a friend there is just breakable silence, no sad violin tunes. Someone cracks a joke there isn’t the claps and laughs we hear in the background of a sitcoms. 
When a mother in law fights with her daughter in law there is no weird owl hooting noises, or crying chorus that produces enough tears to build a dam!!

And If I do manage to stare at someone with all the love I could possibly feel, it just makes me feel like a creep and that someone extremely uncomfortable! Where the hell are those goose bumps inducing music when I need them??

There are so many such everyday situations that get blunted, buried in awkward silence, or the unbearable sirens and horns and the din of mundane existence. 
Wouldn’t life be much cooler if we had our own bubble around our heads playing timely “punch music”??

Imagine having your own intro music!( like Ajith’s in Mangatha) every time you enter a new place??, 

 or VTV’s Bgm every time you feel a little romantic? 

Or how about Superstars “vidukaiyaa inda valaki” music when you are totally stumped in an exam hall?

There is such a sharp contrast on what’s portrayed on screen and our lives. May be that is why we look up to cinema or television and music as a source of escape from everything that is normal making us feel inadequate and incomplete in some way...... the only solutions being, Invention of the “punch music bubble”or just stop providing such unattainable, unrealistic  BGm’s  for otherwise normal events pictured on screen( like the movie The lunchbox)

The latter pretty much won’t happen, because family soaps thrive on Sad music, a villain/vamp will always have an owl or wolf entry music, all major dialogues will be followed by a lightning bolt sounds, shocking incidents will have a a few Carnatic swarams in high pitch, romance is never silent and has nostalgic numbers playing along. No awkward silence anywhere.

So our best bet  and the only hope for a “complete” feeling is the “punch music bubble”. In case you are interested please wait for your turn in the Q. Someone somewhere is equally mad and is working towards the betterment of us! It is time to blurr the lines ;)

Thursday, 4 September 2014


Yes! It does exist. Most prevalent in the generation born in the mid-late 80’s and early 90’s and is defined as “unwillingness to grow up”. Almost all my fellow 89’ers and 90’its are afflicted with this disorder. If for any reason you think that you are above this nonsensical syndrome then please consider this:

  Do you associate Parle-G with shakthiman? [ “No” is not the answer!]                                                                

Do you remember the spinning psychedelic Doordarshan symbol and the funeral song that played along?—if you don’t, please pass away and I will play it for you!

)How about games like lock and key, chain catcher, “color pei”??
“knock knock”
Yaar adu???
“Pei idu!!”
Enda pei??
“color pei”
Enda color??  Followed by Usain bolt like sprint in all directions??

Rember those Sundays reserved exclusively for cartoons like Flintstones, Laff-a-lympics,centurions and chandrakantha??  Fortunately the mega families dramas dint exist then, so the TV was mostly free.

Do you remember Dravid as Jammy even though he earned more sophisticated names later??

 And have you ever checked out, liked or shared stuff that glorifies the 90’s, the old cartoon network or “The I miss my childhood” pages on FB?? 

Things have changed in unimaginable ways over the last decade. The World is just a touch away. It is possible to have pepperoni pizza in Kumbakonam and Avial in France. There is airtel D2H, Videocon and tata sky and yet life is not very Jinga-lala as it was before.

I spent the 90’s in two different countries and six different schools. Change was always the constant common denominator.

The first school I was enrolled in is at Coimbatore. That school taught me two very important lessons

a)    The teacher will ALWAYS know if you are actually sleeping or  pretending to be asleep during the sleeping hour.

) bThe water bottle with a tiffin box on top, and the sharpener with an eraser on one end and toilet cleaning brush like bristles on the other was(still is) the most genius stationary ever !

It was during this period that we had Annual day in our housing colonies, which included appetizing games like bun eating, and Jamun on spoon. Clothes were meant to be soiled rolling about in the mud. Knees were almost always covered with scabs as a result of falling multiple times from cycles or trees. All the unoccupied houses in the colony were said to be haunted and my friends and i promised all the new kids in the colony that we had seen a ghost in a white saree under the banyan tree that dint even exist.

Then I shifted to a boarding school in ooty! That is where I fell in love with Inland letters and envelopes. That was the only way I could communicate with my family. The letters were distributed every Sunday. Every time I opened a letter, the familiarity of the handwriting (usually my mother’s) were the happiest few minutes of a Sunday (also the Sunday tea time when they gave us vegetable puffs)

 Irrespective of the fun I had I would always write letters complaining about how horrid the school was! There have been occasions where I would lightly smudge the ink with saliva to make it look like I was crying while writing the letters! ( I love drama!)

After this short period where I was obsessed with hand written letters, table manners and vegetable puffs I moved to another country in the year 1999.

There life progressed at lightning speed. There came a brick sized nokia phone with a table cloth like transparent cover. I got my first Walkman, and I discovered the existence of Sonu Nigam and his albums!

I spent the better part of my teenage reading agony aunty columns from YOUNG TIMES, the most popular magazine in the region. The “F” word was all over the place and was uttered in hushed tones like when saying “he who must not be named”.

I created my first email id and I am proud of my 13 yr old self for having had the insight to not create id’s with names like “bunnylove” or “twinkle sparkles” because I still use that id!
Msn messenger is where all the after school action happened and anything that left the confines of the chatroom was a juicy piece of gossip to be discussed during the recess!

Series like hip hip hurray, fresh prince of bel air and Sabrina the teenage witch slowly replaced cartoon network and small wonders. It was probably the fastest 5 a log phase of a growth curve.

Looking back I’ve had an eventful childhood. It is a place I would gladly visit again.and again and again! It invariably arouses a sense of fondness. It amazes me that “childhood” was hardly 20 years back! The changes have been faster than a chameleon changing its color.

I am sorry for the generalization but I do believe I come from a generation that holds on to its dear past! It is indeed golden. As golden as the gold color of the new Horlicks gold label.

Kids these days [that line ages me by almost 100 years! But anyway!] Prefer to grow up ASAP! They are on the lookout for the magic beanstalk that grows overnight. Childhood is replaced by a mad race. A race for better grades, better jobs, better bank balance and a better coffin at death. That thought almost pushes me into the depression mode. I am sure a few episodes of The Jetsons  can cure that. Thank you YOUTUBE.

Oh! The irony!

Saturday, 24 May 2014


Last month I happened to travel a lot with family. While driving all the way from Mangalore to Coimbatore via parts of Kerala we stopped for breakfast at a small restaurant at Udupi. I ordered a ghee rost, like every other time because I love how its served.. Golden, crispy, oily cone with two chutneys and sambar. The smell itself is soooo intoxicating! But as I was eating it, I realized that it just dint taste that good. The sambar was watery, it had coconut in it and there was just one chutney. Coconut. Coconut and I do not get along well you see.. Bad breakfasts lead to a bad day. I knew then. Food changes our outlook. It affects our mood. It makes us happy, sad or mad. Food is magic.

Food means a lot to me, and it is pretty evident! It is associated with many memories good, bad and weird.

The very first time I had a pizza, I thought my hands smelled funny! The last time I had fish was the first time I had to be rushed to a doctor to remove the bone stuck in my throat! I gave up chicken believing I would get chicken pox if I had them! Well that was a good decision; I saved many a chickens life if not a patient’s! :D

My love for food started in school. So many tiffin boxes, all with different types of snacks and hungry us.

School life was all the more memorable with “pepsi”ice, and Kucchi ice, which were priced at 2 rupees and 5 rupees! There was one time when the kucchi ice had a small worm in it. I saw it as soon as I removed the cover and cried a lot! I wouldn’t get 5 rupees for another week! I dint give up on kucchi ice! Never will.

It was in school that I betrayed maggi. I was loyal to maggi, all throughout high school, until my friend had top ramen in her lunch box. We were in 11th standard!!. That day we were sent out of class for not completing our physics record. I pledged alliance to top ramen that day as I stood outside the class! Who really cared about physics record?

A few evenings after school, I would walk to my friend’s place and have real hot aloo bondas her mom made with a glass of boost, ignoring the world including her dog beta who would bark his head off. Not just coconuts, I don’t get along well with her dog either.

Then came college. It was the work of stars that I found friends who were foodies, all except one! :D We bonded over the pathetic hostel food. Aloo bonda came back into my life as that was the only tea time snack we would flick from the mess hall. We got a little bolder and started ordering food from nearby restaurants. This was all behind the wardens back. We would plan days ahead…the food we wanted, who would order, which number would we give, the name we would use.. And then come up with a plan to sneek the food into the hostel without the warden’s knowledge. It was our own version of Mission impossible minus The Tom Cruise!! Feasting on that food was our sorgavaasal!

And I also happened to have this wonderful roomie in the first year....we would have picnics in our room with packets of oily chips, bread, Nutella, ceralac and pointless discussions.  The recurring topic of discussion would mostly be “how to lose weight!!”, as we kept stalking people on orkut :D

The food court opened when we started our second year. Every evening we pooled our resources and ended up with a single dosai or one glass of juice split 4 ways! Birthdays were spent at budget hotels with good food. At once such “food craving” outing, we were left with hardly any money to get back to coll and ended up begging and fighting on the roads of Adayar! Adayar has been my favorite place ever since.

We attended conferences after discussing in detail if the travelling expenses and time wasted at the seminar was worth the food being served at the venue. We would mostly end up going; because good food is worth any trouble.

During internship, food became all the more special. We ditched the food courts and started patronizing the D block canteen right in the middle of the hospital. We would demand for the coffee to be strong, less milk, high on sugar without aadai! :D That was heaven in a tiny paper cup. During the night duties, we would set out to the dosai kadai, or karai kudi chettinad. Two roadside eateries that fed us and kept us happy. We had the opportunity to have candle light dinner at the fried rice kadai every time they were out of power. Candle supported by a Miranda bottle. The most romantic dinner my group of 6 interns ever had!

There were times in the hostel when one vessel of plain white rice, homemade sambar, with garlic thokku and chips made with a loot of love and care would make its appearance every time my friend’s mom (Jessie bhavan’s ownwer!) came to visit her. That food would feed about 10 to 12 of us .when you are away from home, and you get home cooked food life looks a lot better and filled with love.

Food, has always been something special. It fosters friendships, ends arguments, promotes sharing and just makes us a better person. It engages all our senses and makes memories that come back later in life. Even now, when I look at aloo bonda I’m reminded of my friend from school, her mom their terrace and for some annoying reason her dog! 

P.S: I’m on the look out for Amudhasurabi as a gift for Jessie Bhavan’s owner. It’s supposed to be a vessel from which we get endless supply of food. If you have not heard of it, never mind. I have probably been fooled to believe its existence.

Give food. Spread love.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Find “X” in the following equation. This was reason enough for me to hate Math.

I could never find X, not just in math class but also in physics and chemistry. One fine day I found not just one X but two! It was in the biology class, and the best part of it was that XX was a part of me! 46XX, and I love it!

Now, this blog is not about algebra, or about chromosomes. It is about the 24th alphabet X, which signifies everything unknown.

We see so many movies most of which is as unrealistic as unicorns riding on rainbows and there are some movies that are so real and raw that it makes us cringe. And then there are movies like Avatar and Gravity. Let us exclude Avatar, because Pandora does not exist. It is just a fragment of an individual’s wonderful imagination (also Hogwarts!) But Gravity was based on outer space, and it does exist! As I was watching that movie, I kept wondering how it would feel to be in space.. I screamed my head off, and rendered a few people deaf on a giant wheel when I saw the VGP golden beach globe from up there. How would I handle seeing the earth from outer space!??   It becomes another X for me. Something I will never find.

That is not the only X. I will never know how it feels to bungee jump! Because there in no way I will jump off a cliff or bridge or even my own bed with a rope tied to my feet and not die! I will not know how it feels to be on a roller coaster that has a vertical drop of 90 degrees, because I’m pretty sure I will pass out the moment the ride begins. You would possibly say, get over your fears and just do it. But these Xs, I don’t want to find them ever!!!

Apart from the Xs that we will never know because of our fears and inhibitions, there are some Xs that are like non modifiable risk factors. There is simply no way in haven, hell or earth (or Hogwarts: D) that we can find them.

For instance, There is no way i could have known how it feels to be that cute kid with monkey bangs and short bob when I was in 2nd standard, because at that time I was busy sporting a coconut tree sprouting from the vortex of my head. I could still get a bob and monkey bangs, but I just can’t go back to 2nd standard unless it is for my future kids PTA meeting. If I do go for that PTA meeting with a bob and monkey fringe, my future kids will be pitied upon by the judgmental teacher! Poor kids that don’t yet exist.  This X is lost in the clause of time.

I will not know it is to be a man and hang out anywhere at any time, not care about looks, have a big tummy and a balding head, drink, smoke, have a poor sense of humor and still have girls in Q for marriage! Because this X is bound by the clause of gender.

And the chances of how it feels to be stuck in a tsunami, hurricane, stuck by a lightening, though weird is still an X, is pretty bleak here in Coimbatore. I am not capable of inducing them as I please for experience sake because it is bound by the clause of nature. However if I could induce them in a controlled manner, I would be the owner of an awesome amusement park with the best and truly one of a kind wave pool!

And there is simply no way I will know how it feels to disappear on Malaysian flight 370. I am not being insensitive here, but that’s an X that is bound with mystery, politics, or aliens. Whatever makes sense to you.

These Xs make all of us the same yet different. Different because you have found or willing to find Xs that I’m not interested in or don’t necessarily prioritize. Same because all of us have Xs that we can never find due to factors like time,gender,nature or because we are never meant to. 
Unsolved Xs is always the human minds biggest thrill.

Our lives are about the size of a pin point. The Xs in this world is about the size of a beet root. One pin prick in a beetroot won’t make a difference. Multiple pricks do! For those of us who believe in karma, rebirth and destiny (all Xs) we have chance of multiple pin pricks, so cheer up! We will find few more Xs in the next life time.

And I chose to prick a beetroot because I detest them. Why??  It’s another X, reserved for another lifetime, maybe.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Smell Fixation

What a beautiful weather! I’m sitting beside an open door, and looking at the gloomy sky and the dull green trees listening to some oddball bird that’s chirping instead of cozying up in its nest.  A really cool breeze presents itself occasionally.  This feels like master Shifus’s inner peace!
But, this inner peace soon becomes more like Po’s inner peace.  I tell my brain that I am enjoying nature and don’t wish to be disturbed and at that precise moment it reminds me of the DD that I have to take in favor of COMEDK.  I tell my brain, no worries! I will take it soon.
 It’s quite for a minute then tells me about all the clothes I have to fold before placing them neatly in the cupboard.  I say so what?? There is sooo much time left. Then my two faced brain sent down a set of instructions that made me turn away from the door and the beauty beyond it, and forced me to look at all the books on the table. It was torture. It hurt me really bad! I argued with my brain. What the hell is your problem??? Can’t you let me enjoy pleasant weather?? Why do you always have to spoil everything for me? Don’t you have a heart? I asked my brain.
That was the question that did the damage. My brain couldn't handle the fact that I asked about heart, my brains on and off friend. My brain came back at me with full vengeance. It reminded me of the new shirt that dint fit, the chicken pox that will leave scars, the application forms that I hadn't yet filled, the tap that was not working in the loo, my friends engagement that I missed, the fast approaching new years eve that will just be another day, the magnum ice-cream that is playing hide and seek, the exams and their results, and all the uncertainties of the future.
 My brain won. I blamed the gloomy sky and dull green trees ad that mental chirping bird for distracting me, wasting my time and making me feel dull and lazy!
Whoever it was who said “stop and smell the roses” was seriously crazy. He/she must be DE cerebrate.
Its impossible to stop and smell anything for that matter, without having a muted conversation with our brain at every step. A thousand thoughts occupy our little heads at any given time. The worries and joys of everyday life , the mistakes of the past, the lies we have told, the people we dislike, the war in Syria, the dirty politics in our country, the price of onions, expectations, the peeling paint on our walls and that new Audi A7. We think about anything and everything. And if we do get to smell the rose, we ask ourselves, isn't’ this a bit too mild?, I think the other rose was better,  oh crap! Its making me sneeze, Am I inhaling pesticides!??
So forget about stopping and smelling the roses. We have our own sweet smelling/ stinking lives to keep us occupied. Enjoy that. When you do it will be a smell to remember!!!