Friday, November 11, 2011

panic room.

Every part of her body was quivering uncontrollably. She had to hold her palms tightly over her mouth to keep herself from screaming. She felt transfixed. Her instincts were telling her to flee, but her feet felt glued to the floor. The fear pulsing through her made her immobile.

She knew that there was no escape; she would have to face the inimical situation. She was struggling to fight back the tears. She couldn't breathe properly. She could feel her heart pounding erratically. She was crouching behind the sofa; waiting for some approaching sound, some sign, some warning before she would be face to face with her biggest fear.

She always believed she was a fighter, a survivor. She would have to live through this. She would have to. This couldn’t really be happening to her; maybe it was just a nightmare; maybe it would be over soon.

She could hear the footsteps now. They were getting louder. There was a pause and the door creaked open slowly. He was just a few feet away. She couldn’t budge, she couldn't utter a world. From under the sofa, she could see his black shoes approaching.


He peeped behind the sofa- “What happened Priya?”



She jumped and clutched him.
DADDY…….Lizard near the bed!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CONVERSATION OF UNSAID THINGS

It was one of those beautiful days when you just had to be outdoors. The weather was at its pleasantest best. The breeze was cool and light. The sun was bracing itself to set. We were all sitting on the grass, doing the same things we always did at ‘our spot’. My hair was dancing wildly in the late evening breeze. I was straining my ears, trying to concentrate on the faintly audible chirping sounds coming from the Neem tree.

There are a lot of things about this place that made it ‘our spot’- The dense trees all around, making it almost impossible to guess that it’s just a 10 minute walk from the road. The little brook, which always made a reassuringly soft gushing noise. The vast expanse of non- pricky grass. The beautiful open sky.

I was sitting cross legged on the grass, nibbling at my brownie. Nina was passing around the paneer rolls, and I could hear Nayan groan and complain about the ‘all vegetarian’ menu. Riya was laughing her high pitched laugh, probably at the text that she just got. As usual, the very much in love Drishti and Asif were whispering to each other, giving the air of two people who were up to something fishy.

Everyone seemed comfortable and relaxed. The exams, which seemed to go on forever, were finally over. The summer had just begun and for a whole week, we did nothing other than catching up with all the new movies and simply driving away to the outskirts and lazing around. The Bolero that Nayan got for his 21st birthday was honestly a god-send to all of us! This summer was going to be exciting; everyone had grand plans about how they were going to spend it.

I bit into another brownie and looked at Arnav, who was sitting with his back against the tree trunk. Suddenly, the strange feeling of despair and gloom that I had been feeling all day intensified. His I-pod was on shuffle mode and his eyes were closed. He was swaying his feet slightly to the music. He was leaving for Mumbai the next day. He was the only student from our university to be selected for a prestigious 3 month research program at TIFR. As though sensing my glance, he opened his eyes. He gave me a smile; the same smile that had brightened many of my difficult days; the same smile that was as familiar to me as the back of my hand.

Arnav was really excited about the program. All the hard work that he had put in finally paid off. I remember the sleepless nights he spent before his telephonic interview and the many hours he spent on writing his paper. When he finally got through, we were all so thrilled and extremely proud of him. But the moment he told me it was in Mumbai, I couldn’t fool myself into feeling genuinely happy. I couldn’t really understand why I was reacting the way I was. How could I, his best friend since he was 6 years old, not support him?

I tried to pacify myself by thinking “It’s just a matter of 3 months, not eternity! Riya, Asif and I are going to be busy with our summer internship in Ahmedabad, so I probably won’t even miss him.”
My train of thought was disturbed by Dhrishti, who thrust a bottle of orange juice into my hand and said “Ask Arnav if he wants some”. I turned around and offered it to him. As I looked at him take his characteristic tiny gulps, I realized something. The very prospect of not seeing Arnav throughout the summer wasn’t something I could deal with. We had never been anything more than friends. Yet, this overpowering sensation that engulfed me when I thought about him leaving the next day was something I wasn’t used to.

Nina was planning to throw him a party that night and I couldn’t even bring myself to say I would help with the preparations. The very fact that he seemed so nonchalant about going away was making it even harder for me to accept it. Why couldn’t he just say that he would miss me? Why was that too hard?

Most of the food had disappeared by then. Asif and Riya, the die-hard BBT fans, were playing rock paper scissors lizard spock. Aarnav’s eyes were closed again and he seemed to be lost in a world of his own. Nayan yawned pointedly and checked his watch “It’s getting dark, I think we should head to Nina’s place for dinner.” Everyone mumbled in agreement. Nina had a lot of fun plans for the night. It was going to be the last time we would all be together before the new semester started.

Everyone got up, gathered their stuff and started walking towards the car, which was parked near the road. I looked around and saw that we had left a mess behind. As usual, nobody seemed to bother cleaning it up. I kneeled down and started collecting all the trash and stuffing it into a cover. It was our spot after all.
Drishti seemed to be describing something about her modern art project to the others. I could hear her voice become faint as they walked farther away.

When I was done cleaning up the mess, I got up and picked up my bag. As I slung it on my shoulder, I saw Arnav standing behind, tucking his earphones into his pocket. I thought he had left with the others! He slowly walked towards me. His expression was calm and peaceful. Didn’t it hurt at all to leave? I looked away, silently pleading him to say something. He came closer and gently took my hand and gave it a slight tug, prodding me to start walking. By then, the rest of them had disappeared behind the dense expanse of trees.

He did not say anything, I did not say anything. We just walked on, having a conversation of unsaid things.

When we reached the car, he just let go, looked at me and nodded.
As I got in, Riya looked at me strangely and said "Why are you smiling?"
I just shrugged-"Oh...its nothing! By the way, is it possible the weather became more beautiful since we got here?”

Sunday, September 4, 2011

so much drama over hair???

I'm someone who strongly believes that "You're only as good as your last haircut". And you can imagine what would qualify as the worst nightmare for someone like me. Now that I've given you a heads up, you can truly appreciate this post which starts on a certain eventful day last week-
I decide to get one of my usual haircuts. I go to the usual parlor, sit at the usual chair and stare at my usual hairstylist. She asks me the usual question- “Do you want to go for something different”?
Well, Do I? I think I do! I need a change, Don’t we all?
“Change is the only constant” I decide, and tell her- “Sure, let’s try something new”. Now “something new” could mean infinite things but did it strike me to be more specific? Sadly not!
She nods her head enthusiastically and takes a chunk of hair just above my forehead and then the scissors happily go snip snap. She is done before I realize something is happening to me! I look into the mirror, and I stare at a scary/ amusing look alike of mine with hair that would look great on a 6 year old. As I sit there, digesting it, she finishes with the rest of my hair. No change of style there, just a little length reduction. (Phew! There is still some normalcy in my life).

I pay her and leave the parlor. As I walk back, my brain is whirring, trying to decide how to react. I’m screeching in my head-“I have that typical Chinese fringe which looks atrocious on Indian girls!” and “Please God let me just die right now, I can’t live through this nightmare” etc.

The prospect of coming back to the campus was daunting but I didn't have a choice, did I? Immediately after getting onto the bus, I tied a scarf around my head. Which, I now feel was a really juvenile attempt!
The next few days were initially depressing, then frustrating and finally simply amusing. I had to endure the most freakishly stupid comparisons and the rudest of comments.
Here are some of the things/people I was compared to:
->a poodle (being told I look like a dog did make my day)
-> a UKG kid (I heard a lot of this one in different variations, all as amusing as the next)
->‘Chinky’ (whether or not that is offensive is debatable)
->Katy Perry (wherever did that come from?)
->Cleopatra (I knew I was bound to hear that one)
->some pokemon character (I don’t know which one and I honestly don’t care. I hate them all)
->Wilma from Scooby Doo (she looks soooo geeky!)
I don’t even remember the rest of them.

Whatever I felt, I should say, there is one important thing that I learnt over these past few days. As long as you don't accept your shortcomings (in my case short fringes) people will crush your confidence and be extremely rude and vindictive. Just gracefully accept it and save people the trouble of laughing at you, simply laugh at yourself!

“An intelligent man is one who builds a wall with the bricks that others throw at him.”

True Story.

To jinx or not to jinx, that is the question.

If I was gifted with the super power to secretly jinx/hurt random people who do annoying things, my first targets would be-

1.People who pee on roads.
2.People who play blaring, irritating music in public.
3.People who eat like pigs but never ever put on weight.
4.People who think cheating, smoking, stealing etc. is COOL!
5.People who just can’t stop honking even when the damn signal is red.
6.People who handle their contact lenses like they don’t mind becoming blind.
7.People who think being rude is simply being frank.
8.People who think that getting out of India is the only solution to EVERYTHING.
9.People who think all south Indians are dark and ugly.
10.People who can never truly appreciate what they have.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Alas! Ear wax!"



Some of you might have guessed what the post is about after reading the title.



Here's the thing- I've always been a die hard Harry Potter fan. As I kid, I adored the books and the movies and simply worshiped J.K.Rowling. The word 'Harry' was enough to grab my full attention to the person uttering it. I made friends based on whether or not they were HP fans! I know, hard to believe! Every latest up-date about the HP franchise and about JKR had to reach me immediately- I made sure of that. I used to prowl around Mugglenet.com and leakycauldron.com like a demented hippogriff. I was meticulous to see to it that no link in any of the popular websites was left out.

I ordered the 7th book a month in advance and got it the minute Walden (My favorite bookstore)opened the morning of the release.I remember having lengthy discussions with my fellow obsessed fans about the intriguing aspects of the plot from different angles. None of the predictions that we had earlier made about the book had come true. (Trust JKR's genius to do that). I also remember trying to persuade my friends to wear a black wrist band after Half-Blood Prince released, as we were mourning Dumbledore's death.

Till today I have the collage of 70 pictures cut out from newspapers and magazines, which I made 7 years ago. I still own some stuff from my 'Harry Gallery'- things like Harry Potter stationery items, coffee-mugs, post cards, t-shirts etc.( Its a wonder my obsession did not drive my parents to disown me!.

My favorite past time was to play Harry Potter quiz with friends. If you still aren't freaked out after reading all this, now you will be- The year I got the Chamber of Secrets DVD, I watched the movie 13 times. I drew a lightning bolt scar with an eye liner and yelled 'Expecto Patronum' at everyone in the house the week Prisoner of Azkaban movie released.Well, I could go on and on with such stories...

Growing up with Harry has been truly amazing! Understanding about choices, about death, about love and about courage is as much a part of the books as is the incredibly interwoven genius plot. It really saddens me that the 'epic conclusion'- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is also out. Watching all the cast and crew getting emotional on the last day of filming Harry Potter made me extremely nostalgic.Once a Harry Potter fan, always a harry Potter fan I guess!

I'm grateful to JKR for adding magic to my childhood and for teaching millions of kids about the pleasure of devouring a book. I think I will tell my grand kids the story of Harry Potter like my Gran told me the Mahabharata and Ramayana!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the books:

Harry Potter:
"Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher. There was just that minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head!"

"Wow, I wonder what it'd be like to have a difficult life?"

"Dumbledore's man through and through. That's right."

"She's Ron's sister.
But she's ditched Dean!
She's still Ron's sister.
I'm his best mate!
That'll make it worse.
If I talked to him first-
He'd hit you.
What if I don't care?
He's your best mate!"


Albus Dumbledore:

"Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love."

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

"Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

"What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows."


Ron Weasley:

"Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,
Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow."

"I'll make Goyle do lines, he hates writing," said Ron happily. He lowered his voice to Goyle's low grunt, mimed writing in midair. "I...must...not...look...like...a...baboon's...backside."

“And what in the name of Merlin’s most baggy Y Fronts was that about?"


Hermione Granger:

"Just because it's taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn't mean no one else has spotted I'm a girl!"

"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed - or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to bed."

"Grawp's about sixteen feet tall, enjoys ripping up twenty-foot pine trees, and knows me," she snorted, "as Hermy."


Fred and George Weasley:

"Give her hell from us, Peeves."

"You don't want to bottle your anger up like that, Harry, let it all out," said Fred, beaming. "There might be a couple people fifty miles away who didn't hear you."

"You haven't got a letter on yours," George observed. "I suppose she thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid - we know we're called Gred and Forge."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

OVERRULED...

Rule...its a funny word, you know. If you really observe, it has so many dimensions and categories to it. Take a minute to think of the last time you broke a rule. Some would, without even having to think, tell you in one breath. While, there would be others who will scrutinize and analyze every little 'not so right' thing they have done lately.I guess this is because the phrase,'breaking a rule' can be relative. What some may consider as an offense may be nothing but 'out of the ordinary' for others.

Is signing in for your friend at the hostel entrance considered as 'rule breaking'? What about cutting the queue in the mess?
I'm not talking about legal rule breaking....you know just normal stuff!

As we grow up, so many rules which used to exist at home, slowly fade into the oblivion (either for the better or for the worse). For me, it has been things like "Don't skip breakfast","Don't stay up all night before an exam" to "No ice cream when its raining". We obviously need to change as we grow older and move to different places. It as though we are constantly writing and rewriting the set of rules we live our life by. Don't tell me you are the kind of person who sticks to his/her value system no matter what.I'm not going to buy it!

I always wonder-Rules are rules right? or are there kinds that can be overlooked and kinds that can't.I mean, we can't exactly lead the life of a Sadhu, doing all the right things all the times. We do falter.
Chetan Bhagat said- "To be successful, be sincere, not serious" and yet again we are left to decipher for ourselves what the precise meaning of 'sincere' is.
So many times in life, I find myself caught up in an internal conflict- whether or not to do something which everyone else thinks is right but I seem to believe is wrong.

Its true what they say, nothing is black or white...the varying shades of grey is all you get.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

SHADES

The water felt neither too cold nor too warm against her ankles. It was just perfect.

She loved the sweet-salty smell of the ocean. The sound of the waves against the rocks always filled her with an inexplicable calm. The beach was deserted and the zephyr was cool and playful. She felt at home there, like she always did. She could sit there for hours, with her knees close to her chest and her feet in the water.
The sky was still bluish-black. The faintest hint of orange began to appear. She came here often to watch the sun rise. With the sun there was no waiting, no anxiety and no hide and seek. It will show up soon enough, rising in its full glory and engulfing her in its warmth.

She watched the waves approaching with a slow melancholy. She stretched her palm out, waiting with an almost feverish excitement to feel the water against her palms. She closed her eyes as the cool and tingling sensation of the foamy water overpowered her. It was the shortest of moments before she felt the water recede away hastily, leaving her pained and abandoned. She didn’t know why but it made her think of her dad. She did not want to; so she quietly admonished herself and diverted her attention to the sky.

The first rays of dawn started to appear. Though she had watched the sun rise many times, it never stopped taking her breath away! She shared her happiest moments and her deepest anguish with the sea. She could clear her head there and have some respite.

The sun rose a little higher and she watched the sky change color. In a fleeting glance, everything looked just orange but she loved observing the multitude of other shades, which lied there hidden amidst the majestic orange. All the shades- from the palest of yellows to the brightest of reds!

The clouds seemed to be paying hide and seek around the rising sun and she could hear the chirping of the birds. The feel of a new day, with its infinite possibilities usually excited her, but not that day. Again she thought her dad. That silly fight they had earlier had been playing on her mind. Why was he so hard on her? When will she ever totally grasp how he felt about her?

She knew about all his unsaid feelings. He had loved her mother very dearly. When she died giving birth to her, he was left with a child whom he could never completely accept. It was not like he was nasty or hurtful. He did everything that was strictly expected of a parent but she always yearned for more. She constantly overworked herself to impress him, to earn his love, because she did not want him to think of her as a curse, as the monster that killed his wife.

He was not the kind of man who let his heart do the thinking. He did not believe in good night kisses or birthday rituals. He brought her up with all the values that he staunchly believed in. He treated her accomplishments and failures with the same composure. She felt that their relationship was full of complexities. It was something she always tried too hard to analyze.

She looked at the horizon. Yet again she was powerfully drawn to the scattered and thin lines of yellow, red and magenta. As she watched them slowly lighten and merge into the orange, she was suddenly overwhelmed with a strange feeling. Before she knew it, she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. The ocean always gave her answers and she couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen it all along. It was like all the missing pieces of her life were coming together. She didn’t try to control the tears.


They were comforting tears of happy realization.
Now she could see it. It was all in her head and it had always been. Her constant need to earn his affection and the trepidation with which she treated every step in their relationship had blinded her from seeing the truth. Beneath that strict fa├žade were the wonderful shades of affection and concern- the subtle shades that her fear and apprehension had hidden from her. Instead of accepting his ways of expressing his love, she assumed it was hatred! How could he hate her, when she was the only reminder he had left of his wife? How could he hate her when he had devoted his entire life to making her life comfortable?

The sun was shining bright now and she wiped the tears away as she got up. She had to get back home quickly; she had a lot of amendments to make!

"Reality"(?) shows...

The room is not very well lit, you feel suffocated and cornered. Try as hard as you can, but there is just no appeasing the demons. As if one of them wasn’t good enough, there were two of them. The twin shiny bald heads don’t seem quite as amusing once their owners start to make you strip, dance, cry, beg, scream…

Why are thousands of people thronging to the auditions of a show that has captions like ‘Hell Down Under’ and ‘Shortcut to hell’? Why would you agree to make a fool out of yourself on national television and push your physical, mental and emotional limits to no end? Is it the money, the fame or just the opportunity to prove your worth? Though many participants cite the third, I guess it’s the cumulative enticement of the first two that makes many reality shows awfully attractive to today’s youth.

Those of you who follow Roadies 8 would definitely know Dev, the guy who has been auditioning in every damn city, every year, for six years! Now what would you call him- crazy, obsessive, determined, or simply possessed?
Roadies is just one among the several reality shows that have consistently been gaining popularity since the last decade. Now several channels are literally inundated with as many reality shows as soaps. Reality shows came as a refreshing change to the average Indian television viewer, who had long become accustomed to tear jerker TV serials. The inspiring display of talent, the liberating sense of achievement, the acceptance of failure, the possibility of a world where you could be whoever you want to be- all this and more captured in a reality show makes people connect well to them. Several people get carried away and forget that these programs just show “a slice of life portrayed by people who simply act like they are expected to act.”

Some old shows like KBC and Khulja sim sim (my favorites as a kid!) are actually quite amazing. They award the deserving (or the lucky) and are quite exciting to watch too. Also, reality shows based on talent like Jhalak Dhiklaja, Dance India Dance, Boogie Woogie, Indian Idol, India’s Got Talent, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge etc. provide a great platform to budding artists. But, I just wish they would tone down the drama a bit. Trying to show a romantic angle between participants, or judges screaming their heads off at each other or worse still, judges breaking down while praising a performance- there is no end to what they would do to add masala to the show and shoot up the TRPS. I’m not saying all of it made up, but there is no denying the fact that some of it is. I guess, as long as it is not overdone, it is good to watch.

Some of the adventure based reality shows like Khatron Ke Khiladi and Iss Jungle Se Mughe Bachao have quite a few takers. Personally, I would rather watch some crazy guy jump through a ring of fire or down a bowl of cockroaches than endure shows like Rakhi ka Swayamvar or Big Boss. It truly amazes me how pointless and pretentious some ‘reality’ shows can get!

What some shows portray as acceptable and maybe even ‘cool’ behavior is quite alarming. The more abusive, uncouth and twisted you are, the more attention you get and the better are your chances of winning. Young and impressionable people following such shows devotedly seem to think it is alright to back stab your competitors, manipulate others and use abusive language. Shows like Splitsvilla and Truth Love Cash show dating in such a nauseating angle! ‘Couples’ pledge their undying love after being on the show for 2 days and the double standards that most participants have/portray is beyond belief.

Though not everyone might agree, many reality shows make it a point to choose only good looking people to be a part of the show. Now, how fair that is for a show based purely on your talent or your survival skills is definitely arguable. The producers should try to be unbiased and give a great platform to the most deserving candidates. Also, I never really got this concept of viewers voting to decide who wins a reality show. Isn’t it obvious that the guy with a bigger social circle and whose friends and family try hardest to scrounge votes from everywhere would win? Then the whole point of the show is lost!

Many Indian shows are total rip offs of foreign reality shows (Most of them have copyrights). I just wish they would choose better ones to copy. Maybe shows like While You Were Out, 30 Seconds To Fame, What Not To Wear, Whose Line Is It Anyway or Project Runway.

From the look of it, Reality shows are only going to get bigger, better and glitzier. Whether you love it or you hate it, brace yourselves- because Reality TV is here to stay!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SUPER RANDOM

-> I hate chauvinists but I love Barney....dunno why!

-> I love my name; probably that is why sometimes I feel like killing all the 12 other shravyas in the campus with whom I have to share it!

-> The amount of time I put in planning something is directly proportional to the chances of its failure.The best things that I do, happen spontaneously and out of the blue.

-> I think ‘jeggings’ are the bestestest invention by the fashion industry. I mean seriously, ‘jeans+leggings’-- how ingenious!

-> I will NOT watch a horror movie even if you pay me to do so.It’s impossible to find a bigger coward than me. You could try, but you will not succeed.

-> Will someone please tell me- Why are all Oscar winning movies so yucky?

-> I’ve learnt french for 5 years at school and Ive always wanted to speak to a native french speaker. That wish finally came true a couple of months back, but stupid me, in my excitement and anxiety to make an impression, I asked him-“Vous avez francais?” (You HAVE french?) when I meant to ask- “Vous etes francais?” (Are you french?)!!!

-> I can sing all the ‘Tiny TV’ title songs! (Anyone who doesn’t know what Tiny TV is, in Madhu’s words-“Go Die Somewhere”)

-> Why is ‘The Hindu’ so boring? Why do they even publish it!

->Where are all the ants when there is no food around?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

THE 'OTHER' GUY



This is a something which most of us don’t even think about. I don’t know if people think it’s trivial and stupid, personally it’s something that irritates me a lot about movies.
More often than not, our very sexy and amazing (?) heroine would be the love interest of more than one guy. The guy (who according to the script) is the so called hero is the one who finally wins her over, but in the process the ‘side’ hero is left heartbroken, usually with no fault of his. If the ‘other’ guy is an uncouth rogue (like in koi mil gaya), it is justifiable, but that too not entirely. Some of our heroes themselves are portrayed as foul mouthed road side Romeos. When they can pataao the girl, why not the other guy? Poor fellow, even he has feelings, you know!


We also have movies like ‘I hate love stories’, ‘Kuch kuch hota hai’ ‘Jaane tu ya jaane na’ or ‘Notebook’. Here the ‘side’ hero is rudely deprived of his loved one, just to make way for the hero. WTF! Seriously, I don’t get it, how can they say such movies have happy endings, when all that the stupid hero has done is, literally steal the girl from some Good Samaritan?! I don’t know why I feel so strongly for all such characters in movies and books! At the end of the story they are left with nothing but a sense of gratification at having made some mahaan sacrifice.

Sometimes it is justified, because the girl can’t be with two guys, someone should be dumped. All I’m saying is treat the guy with more respect; he is the actual ‘hero’ of the story, giving you your 'happy' ending!