Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thoughts on the Mockingjay Movie and the Hanging Tree Song

I've read criticism that Katniss Everdeen is selfish, which I always found weird. Selfish, the teenager who repeatedly risks her life to save others? But for the Mockingjay book and movie, this criticism seems to ring true. As one reviewer implied, she's obsessed with her romantic life, with Peeta and Gale, while the world is going up in flames, while people are dying in the revolution.

But as a character, she makes perfect sense to me. Katniss is cynical. She doesn't trust people easily -- and why should she? She's never been rescued. She's always had to look out for herself and her family -- since she was a child. It's only natural that this colors her worldview -- she thinks of everyone else, when she thinks of them at all, as as intent on survival as she is. In the first book, when Peeta is sad about going to the Games, all she wonders how he's playing to the cameras, what his strategy is.

Of course she doesn't believe in the rebellion at first. These people tricked her, manipulated her, and left to die the one person she was sure was on her side. They never helped her when she needed help, but they hijacked her life once again, just as the Capitol had. How could she trust them?

Monday, November 24, 2014


Also written over nine years ago

What makes you think you can take over my life?
You walk in one day out of the blue
Just to say hello. And never leave again.
But take possession of my life
As if it were your own.
Walk into my mind’s hidden recesses,
Help yourself to my most private thoughts,
Witness my tears, my sorrow, my humiliation,
Share my sublime moments of happiness
Till my life is not my own anymore.
I lose my sense of direction, and purpose.
The straight narrow road on which I walked alone
Now seems winding and strewn with flowers.
You hold me back from the destination that is now in sight;
My feet feel heavy as they move forward.
Hold my hand – but you cannot walk with me further…
How can you just vanish from this life that you have made your own?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Things I wish I didn't know about how plots are structured

In any kind of fiction (lit, movies, whatevs), it usually adds to your enjoyment if you don't know beforehand what the plot is going to reveal. If the author reveals a big twist, it's helpful to actually be surprised. But if you've read enough books or watched enough crime shows/movies, it starts to become easier to figure out what's going to happen. Authors (and crime show writers/producers) are after all human, and seem to keep reproducing many of the same techniques.
(Don't read on if you take spoilers seriously.)
1.    For example:
In Perry Mason books, the beautiful woman who is suspected in the beginning is always innocent of the murder, even though she's probably lying about a dozen other things. Why is she innocent? Because Mason is in lust with her and believes she is, that's why. (Or, to mix worlds, he has, like Hastings, a "beautifully unsuspicious nature," as Poirot would say.)
2.    In a romance, the man (or woman, if the book starts from the man's perspective) who is first described in the most detailed manner is going to be the love interest. Especially if the eyes are praised. Every romance hero/heroine has beautiful eyes.
3.    In a Christie, if a woman is dead it's most likely the husband who killed her. In the beginning it might seem impossible that he did, but it was him nonetheless. (Yes, I can remember at least one exception to this rule.) (Okay, every writer has their own formula and prejudices, whether they're writing mystery or not.) 
4.    In any crime/mystery show, if one person is given a lot of screen time with no apparent reason, he/she's the murderer. If you find yourself thinking why is this dialog with the secretary so long, why don't they move ahead with the story... it's her.
5.    It's especially likely to be her if she's wearing a lot of make up or is presented as what's generally accepted as sexy in the mainstream entertainment industry. 
6.    If it’s a man, it’s most likely the one with weird hair (again, going by the mainstream entertainment industry).
What did I miss?

Monday, November 17, 2014


Written in July 2005

Why can I not stand alone?
Why does strength elude me?
Why must I be a creeper
And not a majestic tree?

Why does the wind bow me down?
Why do I tremble at the roar of thunder?
Why am I not strong and unmoving as stone?
Or gentle and persistent as water?

And yet, why should I be?
If I lay my weary head on your shoulders
And be your companion part of the way…
Is that not what we are meant to do?

Is that not how we find happiness?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

I have been reading Americanah. It’s beautiful and brilliant, like all of her writing, though I still like the book of short stories – That Thing Around Your Neckbest.

Minor spoilers ahead for the book.

The relationships are fascinating – the characters, as well as what binds them together, so well drawn. I keep thinking about Ifemelu’s (the protagonist) relationship with Aunty Uju. It seems so typical of relationships forged at a young age, or probably any relationship that lasts long enough, as the people in it change, that you look at the other person and wonder where the person you had known earlier has gone. Sometimes, it’s just that you were too young to see the other person’s flaws; and of course, people may change. Ifemelu seeing her aunt – who used to be so cool, who she talked to about boys and sex – becoming a more submissive, pragmatic person, partly because circumstances have beaten her down… and finding less in common with her than she does with her son… It seems typical of many relationships but sad nonetheless, as you try to hold on to the relationship for the sake of what was, rather than what is.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Who I Am and Who I Want to Be

Here's how I would like to spend my time:
  • 20 hours a week: read blogs and books and watch TV
  • 10 hours: cook
  • 10 hours: laundry and other housework
  • 20 hours: eat and do nothing much - sit in the balcony, talk to the Guy
  • 10 hours: go out - concerts, cafes, shopping
  • 20 hours: write
  • 5 hours: learn and practice music
  • 5 hours: meet or talk to friends
  • 5 hours: exercise
  • 10 hours: do work for which I get paid enough to do everything else
Here's how I actually spend my time:
  • 55 hours a week: work and commute
  • 30 hours a week: play games on the iPad, read blogs, watch TV, online shopping (mostly window-shopping)
  • 5 hours a week: read books
  • 10 hours: cook and do laundry and other housework
  • 5 hours: go out - usually grocery shopping preceded by coffee, sometimes Marine Drive maybe followed  by coffee
  • 5 hours: talk to the Guy (eating is usually done with reading or TV)
  • 1 hour (maybe): write 

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Albatross

 Something I had written nine years ago, and the person who I had written it for recently reminded me of. I don't quite remember what I was feeling when I wrote this.

You are not a mighty ship
Crossing the ocean with disdain
You are but a small boat
Braving the storm and the waves

I am not your anchor
I cannot be your sail
I am only an albatross flying along
To give you company for part of the way.

But my destination is different
My wings give me flight
And I shall leave you
In search of my prize.

I just hope, with all my heart
That before I leave you to yourself and your fate,
I shall see you regain your direction
And sail on towards the sun.

So I can go on my way
With a heart unweighed by guilt.
And think of you, if ever I think,
With pride, with joy.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Long Personal Post (with Pictures!)

Wow, it's been long since I posted, hasn't it.

I swear I had started writing a post telling you about what I have been doing, but I can't find it. Not in my drafts, not in my folder for blog posts... not in my phone writing app. (It should be in my phone writing app.)

Anyway. Where do I start?

The Vacation
In September, the Guy and I finally went on our much-awaited vacation in the mountains. We stayed with friends who have the most amazing house (and of course, are the most wonderful people), and had the most relaxing time.

I mean, just look at this.

So we had this amazing vacation, and came back and in the next week, we had a few holidays (the 2 to 6 October long weekend). I had hoped to use the weekend to do more fun stuff in the city -- walk around, go to a couple of art galleries. Some low key celebration of our EIGHTH. WEDDING. ANNIVERSARY. (Sorry for the all caps. It's just so difficult to believe it's been that long.

And then. The Guy's sister decided to visit (with her husband and child), and they hadn't visited us yet, so we agreed. But we didn't get the quiet time and romantic anniversary celebration I had hoped for. They were just visiting for a couple of days, so I thought I'd still get a couple of days to rest and celebrate.

And then we decided to move. It was something we had idly considered, but thought would be too expensive. We weren't happy in that flat though. It didn't seem like home. And then I heard this flat in the same building, on a higher floor, was empty and we went up to see it. It was evening and as the door opened we got a view of the city through the glass doors to the balcony. And the moon was rising over it, nearly full and luminous.

What could we say to that but yes? And it's been three weeks since we moved in, and I haven't seen the moon like that again (barely seen it through the window at all.) Hmph.

But I still have this.

And then on our anniversary day, Monday, which we had both taken off, the Guy had to unexpectedly go to work because of a contract being signed - which is great, but hey, it was our anniversary! And then I fell ill that same day, more ill than I had been in a while, enough to have to take most of the rest of the week off work too.
And then... the Guy found out later that week that he had to go to the US for a week for work. That very weekend. When we were supposed to move.

But because he's such a darling (and I was barely weak enough to stand up) he stayed through the weekend, and took care of all the moving and some of the unpacking before he left.
So for a week I was alone in a new house. It's nicer than the old place, but also less nice in some ways -- it's sunnier and hotter and the noise of the trains from the nearby tracks is louder.

Anyway. The Guy got back soon before Diwali, though he was still jet lagged and we were both too tired from unpacking and housework to do much celebrating.

And now you're all caught up! What have you been doing?

Monday, September 15, 2014

(More Than) Ten Books That Influenced Me

When a friend tagged me on Facebook to post about ten books that influenced me, my reaction was, "Ten? How can I stop at ten?" 

But I started thinking about it, so here's the list I drew up in my head. 

All of Ruskin Bond that I've read, especially the Rusty books; reading Bond makes me want to write, even though I'll never be as good. 

'Pride and Prejudice' for totally enchanting me when I first read it at fourteen, and giving me Darcy as the lover's ideal: I still think he's much nicer than most romance heroes -- shy and arrogant but very kind to people he likes. 

'To Kill a Mockingbird' for introducing me to the idea that a novel with a child narrator could be so nuanced and grown up, and more recently, 'Mockingbird' by Kathryn Erskine and 'Room' by Emma Donahue for much the same thing. 

Jahnavi Baruah's 'Next Door' for stories that are so familiar, set in streets I've walked in and peopled by characters I might have known as a child, and so sad that I had to keep wiping my streaming eyes to continue reading. 

For both Baruah and Chimamanda Adichie ('The Thing Around Your Neck'), I liked their short stories more than their novels (though the novels are also brilliant), even though I'm normally very much a novel-reader. 

The Narnia books, which entranced me as a kid even though I dislike them now, and gave my life some magic when I badly needed it. 

The Harry Potter series, which I was a somewhat late but zealous convert to, which I rail at and nitpick but can't stop loving (and reading fan fiction about). 

The Hunger Games, for giving me the girl hero I'd always thought must exist. 

Enid Blyton's books, which I mostly despise now for all their issues, but which first told me that adventures are worth having (and I've never stopped trying since). 

And Agatha Christie, especially for Death Comes as the End (which I'm rereading now for about the 20th time) and Absent in the Spring. 

(There. That's somewhere between 10 and 40 books, depending on how you count.)

If you want to, share yours, either in the comments below or on your own blog (and share a link with us?)

Monday, September 01, 2014

I wished an old school friend on Facebook yesterday.

I wished an old school friend on Facebook yesterday.
It was her birthday, Facebook said, and then I remembered -
Of course it was. Birthdays were a big deal when we were in school. 
Last night, I dreamed of the town I lived in when we were classmates.
It was so beautiful. The big sunk garden outside my house
That I used to wander in. Sit on the swing and think up stories.
The hillock that we used to go on walks on, my mother and I.
The morning mist. The tall eucalyptus trees waving from a distance.
My school. The lovely church behind the pond,
The grove of trees we sometimes sat under,
The wide field we would walk across, arm in arm.
The hills and forests in the distance. The empty streets.
The hillock I had to climb up to get to my house.
All so far away now, in distance and in time.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I walk across the field in gloves

I walk across the field in gloves
that shield my diseased hands from the summer sun
I look at the butterfly that roves
and lands on a primrose, small and wan.
I walk across the field in gloves
The train going by blocks out the sound of the birds
I stop, watch the train as it moves
and walk on again, listening for those songs without words.
I walk across the field in gloves
faster now, as I think of my friend
and her children, all full of love
for me, waiting at my journey's end.
I walk across the field in gloves
but slower, with a smile I don't try to hide
thinking of the man who loves me
and will wait for me this evening by the fireside.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I'll write when...

I'll write when the time is right
And when life is true
I'll wait till I'm in the mood
When I'm not -- or not enough -- blue.

I'll write when I'm alone
I'll write when I am free
But I'm too sad to write
On the nights you leave me.

I'll finish that novel someday
And the play I started too.
But today I have blogs to read
And housework to do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Photos and Words about Bombay

I really love living in Bombay. I don't have anything very coherent to say (yet, though that may come soon), but here are some photos and observations.

I love how CST (Victoria Terminus to my childhood self) looks in the evening light.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gray or Grey?

I can't decide.
Gray looks prettier, more interesting.
Yet my fingers automatically
Form grey.
Maybe because
It's more common.
My eyes got used to it first.
And my fingers.
Maybe that's what I was taught in school.

And so, habit wins over affinity.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Weight in My Chest

What is this weight I carry in my chest?
This despair that overshadows my life
I am not poor or heartbroken.
Is it grief or disappointment?
Is it loneliness?
Or merely being lost
Not knowing where I am and where I'm going?

Monday, July 07, 2014

Highs and Lows

Sometimes I feel alone and full of despair
And then again I'm happy again
But not for long.
Like the ebb and flow of the tide:

Sometimes life seems full of vitality
You and life are one;

You are so lucky
Everything is going your way.

And then the tide recedes
The sands beneath your feet shift
You sink a little lower.
And the horizon seems further away.

(Written in response to something a friend said about this.)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fiction and Reality

Why do I spend so much time
Reading and thinking
About people who never existed?
About worlds that don't either
Or if they do, are far removed from mine?
Because figuring out why so-and-so did this
and what he was thinking or feeling
helps me figure out what I feel and why
What I want from life and from people.
And what kind of world do I want this to be.
And thus I go full circle, from fiction to reality and back.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Do I miss you, my friend?

Do I miss you, my friend
or just the way you make me feel --
how you say my name
and envelop me in a hug
as soon as you are near me
giving me a rush of delight:
Are you so happy to see me?
The way you smile
and ask how I am
as if the answer is important.
The way you tell me
what has been troubling you
and listen to what I have to say
even though I have nothing new
nothing helpful.
The way you listen
to my petty troubles
as if they had been your own.
And remember to ask next time
what happened with that?
Did you manage to do so-and-so?
You listen to my confessions
when I reveal my dark side
with a calm air, sympathetic
yet not flippant
and show me you believe
I am better.
I miss the laughter
I cannot recall
what was so funny.
Nothing probably.
but the sheer joy
of being with friends
makes the giggles bubble forth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Short Story: Brothers

I realize I'd never shared this short story I wrote a few years ago, published on the Assam Tribune.  So here you go: Part 1 and Part 2.

I am not very fond of this story: I was too busy making a point to write a good story! (And I'm not even sure what the point was.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

The First Drizzle

It's dark this morning.
We have the curtains drawn
And it's harder to wake up
Difficult to tell it's time to go.

Outside it is less hot than usual
As humid, but a cool breeze blows:
Not a speck of blue sky can I see
Amid all the gray.

It has started drizzling.
Oh, will it rain hard?
Is the monsoon arrived?
Should I go back and change
Out of my thin cotton clothes
Worn for the heat and not for the wet
That will make them cling to my skin and become sheer;
The office will see my underwear.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Blogger tells me I get more visitors from the U.S. and Germany than I do from India: in fact, nearly twice as many from the U.S. as from India. I'm surprised at this because most of my regular commenters are from India.

So, what I'm asking is, who are you guys and why do you read me? Would you care to delurk in the comments?

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Three Months in the City

It's been three months
in the city.
That's a whole season.
Not enough, no
to have explored it
nor for it to no longer feel new.
But it's growing warm now
too late to go on walks during the day
we had too little time.
Already it grows too stifling to breathe
and sheets stick to me at night.
Previous note about the city here

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Earlier story on Boromir here.

I miss Boromir. I keep expecting to see him turn the corner, to hear him call out when I go home at night. But home is so quiet now.

I push myself harder every day, trying to keep the enemy out of our walls, trying to regain lost ground, trying hopelessly to gain my father's trust. I see the men looking at me and wonder whether they too, wish my brother were here instead of me. I know my father does.

I will never be as good as you, brother, I say in my head. Who will now keep our people safe?

I know what he would say. You have skills I don't. You have diplomacy and wisdom. You are calm in a fight.

I know what he would say because he did say it.

Your greatest fault, he told me one day, is that you try too hard to please others. Especially our father. Do what you would, Faramir, and he will come around. Don't circumscribe your life for him.

But Boromir is gone now, and there is no one to comfort me, no one to praise me. No one to intercede between me and my father. I think of living in that long hall for the rest of my father's years, in uncompanionable silence punctuated by muttered reproofs, with resentment hanging over the walls. It's not just my father who wishes I had gone in my brother's stead, that he had lived and I had died. I do too.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Have you ever felt so alone
Like an alien on a new planet
Alone in your room, with more than doors
blocking the rest of the world out?

Have you ever felt so empty of words
That your best friend in the world could appear
And you couldn't say hi.
Nor reach out a hand.
But raise your head for a moment
and put it down again?

Have you ever felt so numb
you'd hold a cigarette to your arm
just to feel the pain?
Have you ever felt
the world would never make sense again?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A summer memory

When it’s hot, nothing seems romantic. I’m not interested in the woman in the pretty burqa lined in blue; I just wonder how hot she must be feeling.

Everything is dull, heavy, stifling, sweaty. I want to be away from other people and inside where there’s an AC.

And then, suddenly, there’s a cool breeze. At that moment, nothing else seems to matter. Nothing else exists, just the feel of the cool air on my hot skin.

When I was in college and lived in sultry Guwahati, and I got home from classes in the late afternoon, my mom would give me triangles of watermelon or long slices of cucumber dusted with salt. Sometimes accompanied by a glass of iced lemonade. I would sit on the cool floor under the fan, leaning against the bed, and let the cool slide down my throat and into my body.

Monday, May 19, 2014

We risked it all and lost it

We risked it all
and lost it.
We are living the life we wanted
so why does the loss weigh us down?
Why is having each other
and shelter and food
not enough?
We thought we had nothing to lose
but we did.
We had peace, and confidence in ourselves
friends and some money
and best of all, hope.
Why do we have no hope left
even though we have each other
and ourselves?
But let us cling together, my love
and when we are done weeping
and each has stilled the beating of the other's heart
as the sun rises and the city feels more like home
maybe some vestige of hope
lying hitherto undetected in our hearts
will rise to the surface.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Four Days

Four days.
Four days when we were at peace
And ourselves.
After years of stress and work and worry.
Four days to laugh and play and watch TV
and lie in each other's arms
and go out and do something fun.
To watch the flaming sun fade
into a rosy ball
and throw orange shimmering light
upon the waves
and stand and watch and hold each other
until it turned off.
It wasn't enough.
But yet
we had four days.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

I Like Myself Better in Bombay

I tweeted this, and it's true. I feel like a different person here. I do things. I go out every weekday and most weekends (instead of staying in my flat for weeks at a time like I've done in Pune). I am more stressed out and busy, but I am happier. I just wish I had friends - and I miss house parties!

I've done so many new things in the last few months. An incomplete list:
  • The Guy and I went to see my colleague perform at the Blue Frog one night -- and she dedicated a song to us!
  • I went to a red light area all by myself.
  • I went to a movie by myself (well, it was at the CFSI building and not a regular theater, but still). (It was Banno's movie, you all. And it won the National Award for Best Children's Film! Go see it if you can -- it was amazing.)
  • I went to a concert all by myself (a string quartet and not a rock concert, but still).
  • I joined a library after around 20 years, and got my first book. (Of course it helps that they deliver and I don't have to drag my lazy ass anywhere.)
What fun things have you been doing lately? (Also, any of you in Bombay and want to meet up?)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Finally updated my 'Other Writing' page. I'm sure I've missed some stuff that should be on there, but it's better than before. Phew.

Now if only someone could tell me how to include a table of contents with links on the top so the topics/sections are easier to get to.

Monday, May 05, 2014

This Weekend

There is so much to do outside
Plays and art and music
To take in
Lovely cobbled streets to walk on
The sea calling to us.

There is so much to do at home
Arrange my books
Put away the winter clothes
Write those blog posts
Take that online course.

But this weekend
All I want to do
Is sit in the sofa by the balcony
And read. And sit near you
And talk.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Happy Mother's Day Message... from You to Your Mom (through Me)

I wrote this for the Guy to send to his mom on Mother's Day. And I want to offer it to you too.

If you want me to send this to your mom, comment on this post by May 3. For up to three commenters, I'll write out one similar card and mail it (with your name on it) -- for free! Because I've never had a giveaway on this blog.

Here's what the front of the card looks like: these are made from handmade paper.

Anyone interested? No? I'll just go post the two for our moms, then!


So, so tired.
Just with the daily burden of living.
Going out every day
to face people and problems
I don't care about.

 Waiting for the weekend
and life and love
to roll around again.
I used to think
there was more to life than this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monthly Reads: Women Lack Confidence, Keep Rhinos as Pets

I wrote on Women's Web about how I got my new job (and social media played a big role in this).

I loved this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

I enjoyed reading this year-old obituary of Anna Merz, who started a sanctuary for black rhinos in Kenya. I especially loved reading about Samia:
Samia, an orphan rhino whom she raised from babyhood, even crawled into bed with Mrs. Merz — not entirely to her delight. Samia would follow her around like a dog, even after leaving Mrs. Merz’s immediate care and returning to the reserve, where she mated and had her own calf. If Mrs. Merz fell, Samia would extend her tail to help her up.         
Not realizing how big she had grown, Samia once tried to sneak back into the house where she had been nursed and became jammed in the dining room door. Mrs. Merz had to pour a gallon of cooking oil on her rough skin to ease her through.
I found this article in the Atlantic about women lacking confidence both interesting and frustrating. While I do agree that I see many more arrogant men than women, here are some of the things I found frustrating:
  1. The article seems to be set in a world where all men are self-assured or arrogant, and all women lack confidence. This is really annoying. I know some confident, even arrogant women (though I must admit I can't think of any quiet, self-effacing men I know).
  2. Many of the "differences between men and women" laid out in this article seem to me to be differences between extroverts and introverts. Introverts take notes and think before they speak. Extroverts are more comfortable speaking their thoughts. This isn't gendered.
  3. Thirdly, arrogant people are likeable? Really? Back at b-school (which was my last ground for observing a lot of peer-to-peer social behavior), everyone disliked, even mocked, the arrogant people, and respected those who knew their stuff. Maybe it's different in the US?
Anyway. I really liked this response to the article, though. Read this one.

Also, a couple of amusing tweets I agreed with, from personal experience: 

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Will Survive

I can survive this.
Nine years ago
I had my heart broken
and trampled over
bit by bit
By everyone I had given a piece to
and trusted to keep safe.
I came home from work one day
sat down on the floor
and burst into tears.
Work was easy and fun
I just couldn't face life anymore.
Watching a loved one die
slowly, while we waited
hadn't been enough.
But I am alive now
am loved more than I could hope.
Nothing will ever be so bad again.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Missing My Friend

I miss you, my friend.
Even though, in a way
I never had you.
I miss your home
and long to visit
It feels like it's mine too
though it's so far away
and I have never seen it.
(Remember to send pictures.)
I am not good at making friends
or keeping them. I found you
late, after I had almost stopped looking
for a friend of my soul.
And you  are so much more
river goddess, mountain sage
gentle conscience.
I miss talking to you for hours
seated around your table
laughing into the night.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Does not simply walk into mordor Boromir  - ONE does not simply write fan fiction

It is so easy for them to sit and talk about taking the ring into Mordor. They have no idea, none, of how powerful the enemy is. Our men and women have dealt with him and his armies for long years. The unprovoked raids onto our territory. The cruel bloodthirsty orcs tearing our comrades apart limb from limb, or digging teeth into their flesh. The sudden appearance of an nazgul in the sky, with harsh screams that strike fear into the hearts of the bravest among us. And afterward, afterward... Having to tell a mother that her son wasn't coming home, though you did. Having another soldier step up to fill the place of the one who was lost. Making strategies for how we could hold our ground in the next battle, knowing full well that it is only a matter of time, as the enemy grows stronger and we grow weaker. Wishing we had the strength to storm their fortress, to stop them once and for all.

Do they think we wouldn't have gone into Mordor if we could?

One does not simply walk into Mordor, I say aloud. They have not heard the tales I have, of men who have wandered past the borders. They have not heard of the rocks that are so difficult to cross, of the bogs where strange things hide in the mist, of the dead who call to you. And worse, unnameable things that lie beyond. Orcs, even nazgul, are not the worst travelers to Mordor have to deal with.

I see the contempt in his eyes, the Ranger from the north. He dwells in the forests and fraternizes with the Elves -- what does he know of the horrors with which we deal?

He is the heir of Isildur, they say, this Ranger. How do we know that’s true? And what if it be true? He hasn't visited Gondor, at least not since I was a child, or I would have known. He has spent all his life up in the North, as far away from us as he could get, as safe a distance from Mordor as you like. He has never cared to find out how we survive, there in the shadow of the tower.

Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king.

We have kept Gondor safe, my father and my brother, who even now fights off marauding orcs, my men who have fought so bravely alongside us, and I. All of us inside the city have leapt to its defense, have rebuilt walls and healed the wounded and carried the dead on our shoulders.

These men and elves, this wizard and dwarf, these hobbits, they have not cared about the evil of Mordor as long as we were containing it. No one sent aid or thanks, arms or medicine. But now that the evil is growing and their corners of the world are not safe, they want to fight it. They do not even want to listen to me, who lives closest to the enemy and knows most about fighting him, who knows most about the ways into Mordor.

Give the ring to me, I say. They clearly have no idea what to do with it. These fools who cower so far away and do nothing but talk. We have guarded the borders of Mordor for so long, have stopped the evil from spilling out and claiming all the land. And we can't do this much longer. If this Ring makes the enemy powerful, do we not have the right to use it against them?

But no, of course they won’t. It doesn't matter that I know more about this than anyone else. I am too strong, and I am not one of them. I am not an Elf, or a King. I am but a leader of soldiers, a general who can fight. I am but the son of a Steward.

Monday, April 07, 2014

To Be Sung to the Tune of My Favorite Things

Reporrrts and paperrrs and borrring old jourrrnals
Emails and memos and process documents
all of these digital
docs clutter my mind
making it boring and heavy and slow!

Monday, March 31, 2014


You pin your hopes on something big
something that will prove
that you can.
You put in everything you have
and wish you had more.
But the ship doesn't make it
you return to shore
not far from where you started.
Home, yet not home.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

End-Month Reads

... since I didn't put this up even remotely near the middle of the month.

I recommended ink-splotch last month too, but read it regularly, especially if you're a Harry Potter or Hunger Games fan. Check out this excellent piece of fan fic. And this about Wendy Darling from Peter Pan. Really, read everything she writes! (Hat tip: Ana Mardoll's Ramblings)

I loved the latest issue of the Caravan (though I'm not quite done going through it yet). Arundhati Roy's essay on Gandhi and Ambedkar was beautifully scathing in the way only Roy can be, and extremely interesting. I also loved this account of the queer right movement in Nepal.

Women's Web tells you why rapists aren't monsters.

Here are ten things only lousy managers say.

I loved this beautiful contemplation on mortality -- brought on by a box of staples.

I have written about how much I loved Susan Cain's Quiet -- read this essay too.
Introverts, thanks to their tendency to speak quietly and reasonably, to ask questions, and to listen to the answers, can make unusually strong negotiators.
And before you go, remember: you're not as busy as you say you are.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vacation, Again

Will you come with me
to the seashore, my love
where in the roar of the ocean
we can hear our hearts again?
Where everything changes, every moment.
Or will you come to the high lonely rock
and we will sit and watch
as the skies grow grey
and feel we could grow old
just sitting here?

Monday, March 17, 2014


Where do you want to go, my love?
Up, up train tracks and winding roads
where two shaggy dogs
a grinning goddess
and a stranger await us?
Or down to the seaside
in a crowd but totally
with each other
and alone
watching the blue ocean dance
at our feet?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Technological Challenges

A couple of months ago, I scheduled all the little poemy things I had been writing and scheduled them as weekly blog posts. And I’m so glad I did, because I haven’t been blogging here otherwise, have I? So here’s a quick bunch of reasons.

We’ve settled very well into our new home and the new city, but we can’t seem to get our handle on having our online communication stuff figured out. We couldn’t get broadband at home – none of the standard providers agreed to come to our building, and we don’t want to go with the local cable provider (especially since we don’t use cable TV).
We do have Tata Photon and the Guy’s phone that can dole out wireless internet, but it’s not quite the same thing. We keep having to recharge them and it’s not quite the effortless seamless wireless connectivity we used to have (well, it wasn’t quite effortless or seamless, but at least we had it).

On top of that, our devices seem to be giving up on us. The Guy got himself a new phone, which is good. But my phone keeps running out of battery. And I dropped this same old heavy phone on the Guy’s iPad and broke it. It’s still usable, but it definitely needs fixing, and neither of us have had the energy to go get it done.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I dreamt I had friends again

I dreamt I had friends again
and we walked out laughing
over men and ourselves.
Even in my dream, I thought
I missed this.

Monday, March 03, 2014

I am writing again.

I am writing again.
Little bits of nonsense
fragments of a dream
snippets of conversation.
But it is something
and it is mine.
Did it take destruction
and upheaval
to shake these light words
out of me?
Or is it just that my words are mine now?
That after poring over others' words all day
they struggle to come free?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Eight Years

It's been eight years, you know.
Eight years since I started here
talking to you
though I don't know if you're here anymore.
Are you?
Who are you?
I wrote for pleasure
then out of guilt
but no schedules this year
I will come when I want to
just like you do.
Let's not expect more.
And yet, isn't that enough?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Friends and Lovers

I want us to be friends and lovers again.
I want to be young
and stay up all night talking
and laugh like there's no tomorrow.
I want to stop worrying about tomorrow.
I want us to forget the world
when we're together.
Not talk about work, and offer advice,
or other relationships, and offer advice
but hold on to each other
like nothing else exists.
 Because it doesn't.
I want us to not look at each other
and see failure
or potential.
I want us to not remember
our constraints, our weaknesses.
I want to be friends and lovers again
spend hours and days and weeks
urgently discovering each other
like we don't have a lifetime ahead of us.
I want us to not encourage each other to be better
to try harder
but to tempt each other
into playfulness, indulgence, pleasure.
Not that we ever did much of this
but we can start now.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mid-Month Reads

Mindfulness and recording moments are not mutually exclusive.

I liked this personal essay by a doctor who find out that he has a terminal illness.

This is an interesting essay about wealth addiction.

I love, especially this story about Eowyn (from the Lord of the Rings).

I have also been loving the Toast lately, especially this post about Bend It Like Beckham (which led me to this one, which is excellent).

And via Aishwarya, this delightful piece on Miss Marple, who is one of my heroes too(even though she is extremely snobbish).

What have you been reading?

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Am Not a Writer

I am not a writer.
If I were, I would have words
bubbling inside me
like indigestion.
Giving me sleepless nights
until I could get it all out.
I would have people
living out their lives
inside my head.
And struggle to draw them out
and move to my laptop instead.
I wouldn't live without writing
content myself
with writing for work
for business
for money
for middleclasshood.
I would be poor and write
or have a job and still write
and be poor in time.
I wouldn't be content with
having all I do.
I wouldn't be happy
because I have love,
and health, and peace.
I wouldn't be writing
just these few words on my phone
once or twice a week.

Monday, February 03, 2014

To the Guy, After Eight Years

Eight years, can you believe it?
Eight years of living together.
Not quite all our adult lives
but nearly all our grown-up lives.
Does that mean I've never really grown up
since I've always had you to hold on to?
Eight years of moving in rhythm
of leaning on each other
not quite sure
where one leaves off
and the other begins.
Eight years without knowing
true loneliness or despair.
Of having a home.
Of being home.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rain in the City

It is drizzling today.
The taxi driver reaches out a hand
to hurriedly wipe the windshield.
We move slower than usual
though the rain falls but softly
softly, not muffling
the incessant honking.
A mosque spire rises
washed bright green
Everything else is grey.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My City

This is the city I've been waiting for all my life.
It was so near, and I took so long to find it.
It was concealed under veils of grime and fear and delusion
yet the closer I know it, the more I feel, it is mine.
It has not bothered to welcome me
but that hasn't stopped me from feeling at home
I go out alone
feeling anonymous
among the millions
and I can be myself.
And be by myself.
I can go to places I want to be
and feel -- not welcome, but expected.
Like an old friend who visits
and makes herself tea.
I can go down by the seaside
and stare at the water
so important, this, for my soul.
I don't know why.
I can find companionship in unexpected places.
And best of all, in myself...
Where I had almost stopped seeking.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mid-Month Reads

Here's a bunch of stuff I liked reading.

Why "do what you love" isn't good advice for everyone:
“Do what you love” disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is an unmerited privilege, a sign of that person’s socioeconomic class.

What have you been reading?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This Year

This year, I will stop being good.
This year, I will find myself.
I will stop feeling guilty.
I will have more fun.
I will spend more time
with people I like.
I will like me more.
My love will be soft and playful
maybe damp with longing
but not heavy with guilt.
I will not apologize
for not being perfect
for having needs
for needing help.
I will not try to change
or pretend to be someone else
to win approval
or love.
This year, I will finally accept
that love cannot be won.
That who and what I am
should be enough.
That not getting love from one
is not a tragedy
when you have so much
from another.
I will accept
that there are things I cannot do
mountains I cant climb
and that the view from the valley
can be lovely too.
I will accept
the limitations of my body
and love it as it is
and be happy with all that's right.
I will enjoy my beginning
in this city I already love fiercely.
I will love even more
this man I love so much
and who is so full of love
for me.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Impressions of Bombay

I have been neglecting this blog, been too busy with moving to a new city, starting a new job, and mourning for a dead business. But while I haven't had the time to put together a 'proper' post, I didn't want to let more time go by before posting here.

I am loving Bombay so far. After eight years in Pune, the shift has been surprisingly easy. Of course, this is a good season to be in Bombay, and while I have had a bad cold for a couple of weeks, I have been enjoying the cool breezes and the mild sun. I work in South Bombay and live nearby, and I love this part of the city. The old buildings, the wide road, the sea so nearby, the interesting events and shops and places.

Here are some thoughts and some photos. Have a very happy new year, you all.