Wednesday, November 30, 2011


‎"I don't love you only for who you are. I love you for all that you are not but you so badly want to be. I love you for all those dreams that give your eyes that glint. I love you because you laugh so easily. I will never understand how anyone can laugh so easily. I love you because you are crazy. You would stick out your hand to shake hands with a child on the adjacent vehicle, you'd make faces at and wave at kids on a school bus, you meet people as if you've known them for ages, you make friends with shopkeepers, you smile at everyone that you can smile at. Its insane. It can get you in trouble. But you are you. I love you because when I had put everything at stake, you stood like a rock beside me. Because when we sip Chocoberry together, you make funny satisfied noises and laugh. Every single time. I love you because you are never about mediocrity. You are always analysing, improving, yourself and the world. I love you because when you talk about something that you feel strongly about, everyone shuts up. I love you coz you screw up, so often. And I love how you never pity yourself but fight back. I love how you can be extremely lethargic for days and then completely in charge of your life for the next few days. I love that you are able to forgive, so easily. Its impossible for me to fathom. I don't quite believe in forgiveness, but it goes with you, with who you are. I know I will never understand a large part of you that resides in verses and stories, but I love how you make a complete fool of yourself just to make it sound alright, as if your talent is something abnormal. Well, of course, it is. But I love that you pretend to accept it."
"I think you are much more than you seem to be on the surface. Like a marshmellow."
"That's it?"
"Well, I love you for the companion that you are. I love you because you laugh along, because you want to see and feel and hear and touch and live and love as much as I do. And I love that you never pretend to be who you are not. I guess I love the child in you that you have managed to keep intact despite gaining all the skills and management one needs to face the world. I will never understand this paradox of your personality. As you will never understand why I spend hours writing and listening to old sad songs even when I am not sad. I wish that you weren't a lot of things that you are, but never that you were what you aren't."
"I always knew we were very different :)"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


There are some things that are best left unsaid. They are to be felt, involuntarily, in the silences between two hearbeats, in the spaces between words. That is how I have experienced it, the unspoken pain of my unfulfilled dreams. They are too proud to wail. They will remain quiet. They will remain unquenched, spent embers with a tiny silent flame inside them, that will continue to burn at late hours of the night when the heart is the truest to itself. These shards of broken dreams, they are sharp around the edges, but colourful none the less. Sometimes I play with them over my veins as I wait for dawn. In the sunlight, I hold them against the sky and they diffract and multiply, giving birth to a million small dreams again. I believe them and I live them, fooling myself all the while. But at night, under the stars, there is no pretense. Its just me and the broken pieces again. And a very old kind hearted moon that spreads her milky grace over us. She tells us not to wail. It is not of grace to wail. We obey her in our silences and await the dawn again.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Questions

I listened then
to the sound of life
resonating with my own breath
under the green waters
I floated
for an eternity
A golden fish
slid between my toes perhaps
And I wept
a little salt water
into the sea
I had
no questions anymore

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I float above us
and watch
tangled fingers
lazy afternoons
filtered sunlight
and tiny fractions
of hopefulness
our entwined
bohemian souls
finding home
in each other

I float above us
when we sleep
and just watch
figments of you and I
strewn together
into the total
of a 'we'
I weep
so as not to
wake us up

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Do not worry
for the generations
to come
for they shall forget
the loss and blood;
for history
is selective
and is written
by conquerors.

Lets just hold a fistful
of soil
and weep
just a little
as we leave behind
childhoods and love songs
marriages and separations
tears and laments
of our half-lives,
while we turn overnight
into something
distant and unknown
that they call 

Hold on to the soil and weep
for our kind, they say
are forgetful
but the land

the land
shall remember all

Monday, November 07, 2011

What do you want to be?

I have had a very traditional, middle class and conscientious upbringing. My mother decided never to work to raise us, and she did a great job at it. When I was growing up, we had limited resources, but plenty of love and laughter. My parents never fought. Not in front of us, at least. We could take them for granted, and I am thankful for that. I grew up being loved and pampered by the whole of the extended family. Two big vans and jeeps full of relatives would arrive at our house around our birthdays, and the party would last a week. Most of the times, they would come for my birthday on December 30 and leave after my brother's on January 26. Everyone would stay in the two bedroom houses we lived in and my mother would be completely unreachable and out of sight, always in the kitchen, with her salwar-kameez and a pink cardigan over it, dough on her hands, but never without a smile on her face. My father is the epitome of principles. He would live with days of troubles and threats from local goons but refuse to sanction a bad loan, he would not save a penny but never refuse to meet the needs of his immediate as well as paternal family, which was tragedy-stricken, disease-ridden, big, and had only him to depend on. My father was the perfect son, my mother the perfect daughter-in-law. My brother was the blue-eyed first born on both sides of the family, I, the lucky second. I would carefully observe everything my brother would do and try to be like him all the time. He was a quiet and observant child, inquisitive, intelligent, and respectful. I tried to be him. But I was not born to fit in. I was defiant, talkative and I would always want to judge wrong and right on my own. 'Rules' never made much sense to me. But we were looked at as the perfect kids to have. We loved each other ardently, protected each other fiercely, and never fought.

But this is not about my childhood. This is about my dreams. But to know someone's dreams, to understand them truly, you need to know who the person is. I have very early memories of myself. I remember being all of three or four, conversing with 'God' when my mother took her afternoon naps. I would close my eyes and talk silently, and pray to grow up to be someone who would make my parents proud. I remember believing that I did not need to speak it out for him to listen, for he is supposed to be everywhere, even within me. I don't know how I had that idea at that age. Perhaps it was the number of stories I had heard while having my meals. I would always ask questions about God, about who was right in the story and why. I remember having given my mother a hard time after I heard about Sita's 'Agni Pariksha'.

My parents believed in not sending kids to school till they were at least five. So we were taught our initial lessons by Mom and Dad. I would insist on learning everything my brother learnt, and in that enthusiasm, even before I could actually read the words properly, I knew all his lessons by heart. Once, when a friend of Dad's was visiting, I sat on the chair opposite to him, and started to read a chapter on 'Gai'(Cow) putting my fingers on the lines and speaking out the words that I had heard my brother read so many times. Dad's friend was amazed, because I was too small to even know alphabets properly. He started to express his amazement when my Dad smiled and asked him to make me read a random sentence. At this, I laughed and ran inside. When he came to know that I couldn't read and was just reciting it from memory, he was more impressed; by the pronunciation and the confidence. I guess it had already begun then, the love for words, and for the way they were pronounced.

Another time, at a family wedding, a relative asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. "Hindi teacher", I had replied. The whole big family had laughed a hearty laugh. Some had said, "She is already so preachy, she could do a good job at it." I was confused. I didn't know what exactly was so amusing about wanting to be a language teacher. Then, I was told that everybody would like me to be a doctor. I thought about the job of a doctor, and thought it was a noble profession. So my answer to "What do you want to be" changed, to everybody's satisfaction.

Growing up was difficult, as it is expected to be for any independent spirit in a highly traditional family. But growing up, my dreams changed from those of just being successful to make my family happy, to those of travel, and a dream home, and leisure. In those days if you asked me what I wanted to be, I would probably just say 'a successful software engineer' which would imply being able to fulfill all other dreams.

When I was twenty, I was on a bus one night with my best friend, when I told her, "I don't like the idea of being twenty. I am not sure I am everything I wanted to be when I was twenty".
"Why do you say that?" she asked.
"All the wrong choices and mistakes I've made."
"But they make you who you are. They're going to make you a better person of twenty-one or twenty-two, or seventy-eight. And, you still have your dreams." she had told me.
Just the words I needed to hear at the time. So her.

I am twenty-three now. Am I who I wanted to be when I was twenty-three? Yes Sir, I am. It took me many mistakes and downfalls to be here. But I am here, and I am happy. Not because I have attained a perfect job, or because I have fallen in love. But because I have lived every day of my life for the past few years. I have laughed, I have traveled, I have made friends, I have risked being hurt, I have been hurt, and then I have received love and friendship. I have lived like a child, bruised my knees, and I have grown immensely in the process. I have lived in the mountains, listened to fireflies in the wild, tasted the sea water and witnessed the life under it, I have listened to the whispers of history in ancient ruins, I have been to war museums and ancient churches, and I have coloured myself with different cultures and cities. This was exactly my dream. This is still my dream. To always have wheels on my feet. To never stop exploring. To never miss the opportunity to play with an animal or a child, to never miss an opportunity to make a difference, and to always, always learn. Thankfully, the world is large enough to fuel this dream for a lifetime and still leave a lot to be done.

Ask me again, "What do you want to be when you grow up?". My answer: I do not want to grow up, thank you. But I want to be. I want to be so much that being is looked at as an art. I want to quit my job. Sometime soon. And I want to start something with a difference to make a difference. It will take care of old people, because I love them, more than I love children and animals. I love them because they, who once knew the spring of life, are learning to deal with its fall, and they are trying hard, alone. I love them because they are ours to love, they are stories, they are old buildings and history, they are a bundle of memories. I want to teach. Because education in the true sense is the solution to all our problems. But we never educate people. We make exam-experts and desk-jockeys and perfect corporate slaves. I want to 'educate'. I want to write a book. A marvelous, glorious book that creates history. But before that, I wish to read and travel, a lot. So that I can do justice to my first baby. It needs to be right. I do not like apartments, I wish for a beautiful bungalow, with enough garden space for my kids to grow up in. I would have a lot of pictures and quotes on the walls. I would have a large white room with just a canvas and a glass wall that overlooks a beautiful garden, or a sea. I would have unique furniture in the whole of house. It will be a practical and useful house, with space to walk in, lie in, run in, play hide and seek in, and a lot of light and air. And of course, I would always, always have the wanderlust. I would go to unknown places and experience their cultures, deeply and genuinely. I would taste different types of cuisines, learn languages, traditions, hear stories, listen to the whispers of nature, and continue to grow and share the joy, till the last breath I take in, wherever in the world that is.