Monday, August 30, 2010


As I told Effe this morning, every time I visit her is better than the last. 

I hopped over to Bangalore on Friday to spend three days with Effe and the Man-Friend. It's been a year since I had seen them, and the Guy is away and I'm alone on weekends, so I didn't hesitate when they asked me. 

I had been planning to sight-see a bit this time, finally. I'd been hoping Effe and I would go around the city and see some of old Bangalore instead of just the pubs and restaurants we otherwise visit. We'd planned to visit Bannerghatta National Park. I had hoped for one of the plays or performances Effe is always raving about. And a long walk in Bangalore's awesome weather. And of course, long long conversations with Effe as we catch up on each other's lives.

But I did none of that, except the last. What I did instead was watch movies, eat till I was stuffed, drink copious amounts of alcohol, smoke so much that Effe felt the need to warn me, and  generally behaved like I was playing truant from school. 

I finally got to watch Peepli Live, with the Man-Friend, while Effe put in a couple of hours at work. I loved the movie, but have nothing more to say about it than what has already been said by my betters. Except that I loved the cinematography, and the shots of Delhi at the end. (Oh, was that a spoiler? Haven't you watched the movie yet? Sorry, Guy.)

It made the experience better that I watched it with the Man-Friend, and could talk to him about it in the interval and didn't miss the Guy.

The Man-Friend also showed us a lovely old movie on DVD on Sunday afternoon, when we got back from lunch and I begged him to show something that would keep me awake for the next couple of hours, till it was time for me to leave.

I came home to an extremely wet city, and went to bed alone in my empty house. But I worked with more keenness than I have felt in a long time, because of this wonderful little vacation. 

But I missed the rainbows.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 10

I Learn More about Vikram

The workweek was unexciting. I was on a new project, part of a large team with a narrow role to play. Vikram had moved back to his department, and I didn’t speak to him all week, except for waving at him once in the cafeteria.
However, I got some good news from Raghav.
“I’m coming over next week,” he said as soon as I answered the phone.
“What? But why?”
“That’s welcoming!”
“Sorry. I’m just surprised because you were just here – what, ten days ago? Hope nothing’s wrong?”
“Nope. I’m coming for work – got a couple of meetings to attend in Delhi.  I have to be there Thursday and Friday, so I’m coming over Wednesday night and going back on Monday. In fact, I’m trying to make them give me a couple of days off so that I can stay longer, but let’s see how that works out.”
“That’s awesome! I didn’t think I would see you again so soon.”
“I got that the first time,” he drawled.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Counting My Blessings

I'm alone, and lonely, and missing the Guy terribly. To keep myself from being sad, I'm doing something that has worked before: going over some of the things in my life that are awesome. 

Friends. Of course. To be honest, I look around myself (metaphorically) with some surprise. I have more friends now than I ever did since college (when my idea of boundaries was less formed). I know so many awesome people. And apart from real life friends, whom I've written about before, there are friends I met through the blog, like the Mad Momma, who's done so much over the last year to encourage me as a writer. Like Dipali, who has a cheerful, encouraging comment to nearly every blog and Facebook post that I like. And all the rest of you who read and comment. Thank you all.

My job. I had a Gmail status up some time ago: "in lust with my job", and Veeru pinged to say that a job's not worth lusting after. Wrong. It totally is. It's the best thing I've ever lusted after apart from the Guy. And my boss is the awesomest boss in the whole world. (That was my status too recently, and Suki challenged me on it. It didn't take me long to convince her.) Even when I'm ill or tired or sad, the job isn't a burden but something to look forward to, something that will make me feel better. 

The Guy. Need I say it? He teases me when I tell him I find some guy attractive, or that I've had an inappropriate dream. He laughs when I start my conversation every workday with "You know how awesome my job is?" and settles down to listen to me. Well, I could go on and on. But the best part is, after a few more weeks of separation, he'll be back home for good. And while I should be sorry at how that great new opportunity didn't pan out... I'm too selfish to be. I am just so glad he'll be with me again. And - we have been together nearly five years now. FIVE years. And each year has been better than the last. 

And the best news I've heard since the Guy told me he was coming back: the Blade and LC are getting married before the year ends. Two of my favourite people getting together. I've been a witness in much of their journey so far, and am incredibly excited that I'll get to witness this. Plus, the wedding's in a town neither the Guy nor I have visited before, and it should be a fun trip.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 9

Meet Divya

I slept for a few hours and woke up feeling tired. I lay in bed for some time, but sleep didn’t seem about to return, so I got up and tried to splash the drowsiness out of my eyes. Divya was making lunch and looked up when I stood at the kitchen door.
“Hey, you’re up! How are you feeling? What time did you come in last night?”
“I didn’t. I got in around eight this morning.”
“Oh! They worked you that hard?”
“Some issue with the project.” I stepped closer to see what she was cooking. “What’s that?”
“Curry with pakora. And rice is cooking in the pressure cooker.”
“That’s wonderful! I’ve been longing for home-made curry… How come you’re here this weekend?”
“For one, I was feeling too lazy to drive all that way last night. Besides, I thought I should do some wedding shopping in Gurgaon too, seeing as I’ve been shopping all over Delhi already…. I’m thinking of checking out the malls later. Want to come?”
“Sure. What are you gonna buy?”
I spent the day – what was left of it – with Divya. We looked at shoes, bags, saris, lingerie, even skirts and tops (which, Divya insisted, was part of wedding shopping as she could wear them on her honeymoon). Divya had great fun spending money on bagfuls of things, and I had great fun helping her pick out things and window shopping. All in all, we both enjoyed ourselves immensely. She even treated me to a nice Chinese dinner.
Divya and I got on well together, mostly due to the fact that we respected each other’s space and led separate lives. We worked at the same office – that was how she had found me when I had just joined and was looking for a flat and she was looking for a roommate because her last one had just moved out – but in different departments, so we rarely saw each other at work. She was polite, quiet and neat. She rarely ate at home and usually went away on weekends, so we pretty much stayed out of each other’s hair.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Question about Marriage

I was looking at search terms that people use to get to my blog, and saw terms that look like questions. It looked like people were looking for answers, and that lead them to my blog. Some were funny, like "Do we have one soulmate each lifetime"? (You'll have to ask someone who has experience of more lifetimes, hon.) Most were sad. "Should a husband defend his wife?" (You know my views on that one.) "What to do when your dad died". (I can't answer that. I did however, tell you how I felt, in probably too much detail.)

I wanted to answer some of those questions, even though it's probably too late, and the person who asked has moved far on. Yet, here goes.

Is it normal to feel sad the first few months after marriage?

In a word, no.

Let me expand on this. Getting married is a big, scary, wonderful step. It may be the best thing you ever did (like it was for me). It may be the worst mistake you ever made. (And usually, it will be one of the two.) The scariest part: there's no way to be sure beforehand which of them it will be for you. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thank You

Thank you, all of you who did as I asked: who posted in your blogs, in Facebook, on Twitter. Who read, emailed and commented. I have tried to thank as many of you as I can, but I know I have missed some. I appreciate what you have done, and am glad - so glad! - you like my Miki and the voices in her head. 

For those who complained that a week is too long to wait for the next chapter: patience, my friends. I have a job that takes up most of my weekday, often from 9 am to 11 pm (but no complaints, because I love it!) Posting once a week lets me look at the chapter and edit it before I put it up, because there are still many kinks I'd like to iron out. It gives you one day in the week when you can expect to read more about Miki. It gives me time to put up other posts too, like this one. 

Stick around, my friends. The ship is yet far from the shore. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 8

Mostly Work

The alarm on my phone rang a second time. This time, I let it ring so that it would wake me up enough for me to get up. I sat up, and instantly shivered as the heavy blankets slipped from my shoulders and the bitter cold touched me. I looked at the time. My phone flashed 07:02. I forced myself to throw off my blankets and face the cold – even with pyjamas and flannel top on, it was stinging. My back had a dull ache that seemed to make my entire body heavy and lull me back into bed.
“Serves you right for sitting and watching TV the entire weekend,” scolded Mki.
“My back hurts,” moaned Mandakini. “Maybe I can take the day off. Or at least half the day… Let me stay in bed for a couple of hours longer…”
“The project’s due this week, remember? The longer you take getting to work, the worse things are going to be. Now get up.”
I jumped out of bed before I argued myself into going to sleep again.
I stole quietly into Divya’s room, looked at the sleeping figure on the bed – she had got in last night while I was out – and crept into the bathroom to turn on the water heater. I crept back to my own bathroom and began to brush my teeth. It was the beginning of another day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Bunch of Links

Hello, there. How are you doing?

I wanted to point you out to some things you might like. 

First, Chicu's blog. I've recommended it before in the comments, but I can't recommend it enough. Her prose is beautiful, her pictures breathtaking. Go to Uttarakhand and I and see for yourself. She's an "atheist in the land of the gods".

Aparna, my friend and co-founder of Friends of Children, has also been posting regularly since she started her sabbatical. I love her latest post. 

While you're at it, try out Red's blog. It's new, and it's nice. 

And the best thing I've seen all week is this video that tells you "How to Be Alone". I too wish I had known this much earlier: but it's not too late yet. Some things I love doing alone: reading (duh!) quite alone in an empty house, stretching my legs out on the sofa. Going to the bookstore, because anyone I go with (usually the Guy, and once, the Mom) always loses patience while I sit with a loaded basket of books and look through them; I prefer going alone, and finishing a graphic novel and maybe a couple of short stories while I am there. Working: alone at home with the laptop on my knees and taking my own pace working down my long list of tasks; making myself a cup of coffee or a quick lunch when I need sustenance; walking out to the balcony and watering the plants when I need a break; and, if I'm lucky, looking out of the window at the rain. 

Now that the Guy is away (again!) I will be alone more. I'll drive down to the big store to pick out groceries, and maybe I will go the cafe all by myself and have a big cup of latté. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 7

Finally, I Go Out with Vikram

I watched TV late into Saturday night: three movies almost in a row, along with bits of another in commercial breaks. I slept in on Sunday morning, getting up once to let Kamalabai in and then going back to bed. I finally got up around noon because my hunger had grown too strong to ignore, and cooked myself some lunch. I spent most of the day watching TV, feeling too lazy to wash the clothes that had piled up in the corner of my room.
In the evening, I forced myself to get up and have a shower. Afterwards I made some tea and stood in the balcony with my mug. The cold wind sent shivers through my wet hair down my back, and I gripped the warm mug with both my hands.
My phone rang. It was Vikram.
“Maybe he’s calling to say he won’t be in to work tomorrow,” said Mandakini.
“I hope not,” said Miki.
“Well, what else could it be? He’s never called on the weekend before!”
“I’ll find out if I answer, won’t I?” Miki pointed out.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pay Me!

So, all those who said you like how the story of Miki is unfolding, and especially those who think you'd buy it if it was a book in a store, this post is for you. Here is how you can pay me. 
  1. Tell others. Email your friends. Put up a link on Facebook. Write a blog post. Tweet. Put up a link on your blog. Tell others about this story and let them come and be a part of it unfolding. Here's the link (newest chapter on top):
  2. Help me improve. Write a comment, telling me what worked for you and what didn't. Especially what didn't. Tell me what you think of Miki, of Raghav, of Divya, of Vikram (more about Vikram and Divya later). Help me become a better writer, and maybe I'll write a better story. 
  3. Are you good at graphic design? Create a button that I (and others, if they want to) can put up on my sidebar. Make an illustration that will go with the story. Make a t-shirt design, if you like! (The Guy has been saying he wants a t-shirt. I told him to make one. Let's see what comes of that.)
Do any of the above. Do all. Hell, do none if you don't want to (I know I would probably be too lazy to do any). Just keep on reading. 

But if you really like this story and want a way to pay me for it - now you have it. 

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 6

My Childhood
My sister called on Saturday morning, while I was still in bed. I looked at “Ba” flashing on my phone and winced. Then I cleared my throat and answered, hoping I didn’t sound as drowsy as I was. I didn’t want to hear her marvel again at how I could sleep in because I didn’t have an energetic toddler to look after.
She asked me to visit them, and, as usual, I said I would look at my project schedule and see if I could go. It was more difficult than usual to put her off, because she put Sahil on the phone, and he said he missed me and demanded that I visit him. I was feeling guilty at my inadequacy as an aunt, so when my sister came back on, I offered to visit on his birthday, two weeks later.
“Actually, we’re going to Girish’s parents for Sahil’s birthday. They’re throwing a big party for him. Do you want to come along?”
“I’d rather not, Ba. Some other time, then?” I would barely get to talk to Sahil or my sister at my sister’s in-laws’ house, with Sahil’s grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles and cousins milling around. 
I lay back in bed and kept my eyes closed, making the appropriate noises at appropriate intervals while my sister talked on.