Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the simple truth

Have you ever been to Bengal?

The countryside?

Dry in summer. The earth, still green but beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Little cracks on the ground.

Ponds on the side of little village roads that run for miles. Through dry patches with shrubs and lone trees.

The smell. Heavy in the air. Mangoes mixed with cowdung with smoke with open sky.

Far away, a young boy walking a cow.

Small clusters of village houses. Hibiscus growing wild. Wet earth mixed with cowdung mixed with fish mixed with yesterday’s fermented rice.

Last night, five bauls, or wandering minstrels came to our house. All of them were wonderful.

One was the famous Paban Das Baul. Who made me want to weep with joy when he sang Tomar Dil Ki Doya.

But two, they touched my heart in a way nothing has in years.

One was blind, the other was the someone I saw, and felt I had loved all my love. Kanahi Khepa and Deb Das Baul.

When they sang, I felt like someone had put me on a conference call to god. Their voices were pure, unspoilt, innocent and so beautiful.

They call themselves Khepa, as in mad. Beautifully, happily mad. To wander around singing. About god, nature, the universe.

And the thing is, I never had a role model. Or someone I wanted to be like. But at this ripe old age, it dawns on me. Kanahi Khepa and Deb Das Baul. They are what I want to be all my life.

Khepa. Akdom khepa.

(that's kanahi khepa in front and deb das baul behind him) And here's a video of deb das baul singing last night)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

la lee lah

somedays i find everything so beautiful.

then i tell myself, "stop it you shallow person."

Monday, January 18, 2010

gene pool with a twist of lime

Continuing from you can write a book about us:

When I’m unwell, here’s how my grand mom will react.

“Put Boroline.”

Boroline???? For heaven’s sake I have fever. Get me a doctor.

But no, my grand mom is convinced Boroline is a wonder drug that works for aches, pains, fever, toothache, gas, alien landings, you name it.

This is how my mom will react:

“Drink milk. Don’t I keep telling you to drink milk? But you will never listen to me, because I’m your mother.”

“ Milk? But what does it have to do with my eye infection.”

“ Don’t argue with me. Drink milk.”

So that’s my mom’s cure for everything. And if symptoms persist, fruits, almonds, ghee get added to the list. Sometimes they all have to be dunked in the milk.

And finally here’s my dad.

“Have a drink, go to sleep.”

“But dad the doctor gave me antibiotics.”

“Okay then add some hot water to your drink.”

Now you know why I always wanted to be like my dad.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

walk the talk baby

You have fifteen days to 26th Jan.

In these fifteen days, you’ll have conversations that run like this,

“ you know I always wanted to join the Air Force.”

“ Remember, the 26th Jan parade on TV, and how we used to watch it. Now it’s just a holiday ya.”

“I changed my profile picture to the flag.”

“Those Army guys, at Siachin, they’re doing a programme on them.”

Get my drift? In turns you’ll feel warm and fuzzy. In turns you’ll feel all cynical and grown up.

Because somewhere that’s what it’s become. Just another holiday.

So here’s what we’re asking you.

Stuff that cynical grown up into the laundry basket for a minute.

And think.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be part of a meaningful movement this 26th of Jan. Not one where you write placards, or light candles. But one where you can actually change the future of this country.

We feed 6,00,000 underprivileged children one hot meal every day. This meal is served at the municipal school they study in, and is very often the only way to convince their parents to send their kids to school.

One hot meal. For which the parent sacrifices sending the child to wash your car or sell flowers at the signal. One hot meal. Which is probably the only nutritious meal the child has in a day.

One hot meal. That brings a child to school every day.

And all it takes is Rs 700 for a whole school year.

So here’s what we’re hoping for. If we can get thousand people to donate Rs. 700 in the next fifteen days, then thousand more kids can go to school this year.

And 26th Jan will never be just be another holiday for them. Or for you.

To donate, you could use the internet payment gateway at or call 022 40366866. Or send a cheque addressed to Nanha Munna Rahi Hoon, ISKCON Food Relief Foundation, 19 Jaywant Industrial Premises, 63 Tardeo Road, Mumbai 400 034. You could even call Seema at 9820842453 and have a cheque picked up, if you are in Mumbai. JUST IN: you can also drop a cheque at the rickshaw office in bandra. the address is flat 102, dheeraj grand, 15th road, bandra west, (the lane between mini punjab and bombay blues. look out for shaibaan restaurant at the start of the lane). we're up and about from 10 am to about 7pm. in case we're out, slip the cheque under the door. and we'll have it sent to School equals Lunch.

this is a message from a charity i support and work for. They are School Equals Lunch. And this is how they introduce themselves. We’re passionate about feeding children. You are more than welcome to visit our kitchens or call Seema at 9820842453 to know more, or even visit our website ( We’d love to show you how much thought and effort goes into cooking that one meal. Whether it’s a different Khichdi for every weekday or the steam cooking kitchen we‘ve introduced, we’d love to share our passion with you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

quick shameless plug

so we decided to do something for mankind.

and here it is. notes to the young man about town. from mentalie and i.

if you'd like to be of service to a greater cause, feel free to contribute. write in to either of us, and we'll put it up (ahem, if we like it). and yeah, it would be nice if you could avoid long drawn sob stories about your ex. or the guy in class 2 who never looked at you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

you could write a book about us

Serves me right.

First I insisted dad get an internet connection at home. Then I taught him skype.

Now he’s on facebook. And has sent me a friend request.

I accepted. Reluctantly. Because I can imagine my parents lovingly scanning my page, reading into every comment made there, looking at all my photos and then analysing all my status updates.

Actually my dad isn’t the problem.

My mom is. She thinks privacy is a white woman who lives in another continent.

I remember hurling accusations at her as an infuriated teenager, after discovering she had read a letter that got home before I did.

“You have no right to read my letters.”

Her reply was always one of the following.

“I have every right, I am your mother.”

“Your letters? Remember, I am your mother.

“Don’t make those ugly faces and yell at me, I am your mother.”

How do you win a battle like that?

By learning to be sneaky. I remember a school crush sending me twenty four love letters on valentine’s day. I remember the number not because they were sweet or so well-written, but because I had to tear all twenty four into tiny shreds and flush them down the toilet bowl, while my mother banged at the bathroom door and yelled, “What are you doing inside for so long? Open the door, I’m your mother.”

She still tries it. Like if I’m changing, and she refuses to leave the room. She’ll stare at me, then I’ll stare at her, rather pointedly.

“Do you mind, I’d like to change.”

“So...I’m your can change in front of me.”

No, I can’t. Because you are checking me out with microscopic laser vision. What underwear am I wearing? Does my bra have underwire? And of course, is it washed properly?

Now she’s going to be on facebook, courtesy dad.

I’m already thinking of the possible scenarios.

“ Why are you wearing that awful silver hair?

“Because i like it. And I think it looks fun.”

Fun? You look like a clown. Don’t your friends tell you that?”


“Well, then take it from me, and I’m your mother, and I’m telling you: you look like a clown.”

Gosh. Dreadbook is an idea I might be able to live without.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

meet the weepies

Is it just me?

Or is it true that Aamir Khan is hoping to do a Meena Kumari.

Really, what is with him? I love that actor. Right from the time I watched QSQT and for weeks after that moped and wished I’d fall in love as violently.

But his last two movies. All he does is fucking cry. Weep over dyslexia. And before you start telling me dyslexia is a serious issue, let me tell you I suffer from it, and it’s made me quit architecture. But I’m not going sobbing hysterically into my fake Ed Hardy T-shirts every time I meet another dyslexic.

And then 3 idiots. Oh my god, there he was weeping again. It started well. With him being this march to my own drummer guy. Even though I kept wanting to yell out to him and say stuffing your hands into your pocket and mincing around on your heels doesn’t make you seem like a 22 year old, it makes me think your underwear is real tight.

But never mind, Mr Khan is fabulous. I so fell in love with him in Dil Chahta Hai. I’m willing to live with his tight underwear. But this constant weeping, dude, no, it is not metrosexual. It not method acting. It is not guy with a soft heart that he hides behind a biting exterior. It is fucking irritating.

And that bit where Madhavan has convinced his dad, and Sharman has got his job, and then they both come to tell Aamir this. Well, guess what he does. He leaves Kareena standing there, while he hides behind a pillar and bawls his heart out.

Whaaaaat? When is the last time a friend of yours got promoted and you hid behind the photocopy machine and cried your eyes out. Or a friend told you he’s going to try and become a DJ, and you shut yourself in the car, and sobbed your head off.

Really, the scene would have worked out way better had Kareena just given him the number to a good therapist.

Anyway the other strange thing is that the testosterone virus seems to be catching.

Now Chetan Bhagat is crying foul. Why? Because his name is not top of the credit list and right at the bottom. After the extras.

Of course, the fun part is not about him crying foul, but how he’s doing it. He claims he has no problem with the credit thing, but his fans are upset. Wait, don’t start laughing as yet.

And then he claims he’s bringing this up, because his mom went to see the film in a hall in Delhi, and when she saw her son’s name come right at the end, after the extras, she burst into tears, and was so hurt that she had to leave immediately. Which is why Mr Bhagat is upset.

Not because he’s dying to get credit for a blockbuster, but because he can’t stand to see all these people hurt and upset.


First we just had the new Meena Kumari to contend with, now we even have the martyred Nirupa Roy to deal with.