Thursday, November 19, 2009


I am sitting in a corner of my hostel room. There goes the 1st ring. A shrill tone of ♫♪ Siragugal Vandhadhu ♫♪ echoes in the corridor. Occupant A next door. She attends the call and starts the now famous walk-while-you-talk (thanks to Abhishek Bachan…what an idea Sirji!). Then comes a crude mumbo jumbo remix of the Airtel tune and occupant B steps out to walk on the other half of the narrow corridor. She has left the door open and her roommate, Occupant C is already on a call. This one is probably a fan of MJ because she is doing an almost-moonwalk inside the room…or maybe its just that the room is so small and she is pacing frantically that it seems like gliding! Span left and there is Occupant D running in circles around a bag of snacks lying on the floor, an N73 pressed to her ear.
Occupant E has joined the traffic on my side of the corridor and throws me a smile before she continues to scream into her phone “naa dhaa appave sonnenla” (“I told you that already”). More occupants and many more ringtones blaring out to them. This is an every night routine. It’s a clear proof that the world is small and connected. Very well. Its fun watching these people. They walk, strut, run, jog and even jump over piles of footwear along the corridor, so intent on their conversations, avoiding banging into people by sheer instinct! I said its fun observing because these people are diverse – in language, slang, emotions and magnanimity with words.
Proceeding along the corridor, I can gauge the gist of the talk just by looking at the faces – an open smile: ‘1 more week mom, I’ll be home’! A sly smile – ‘hah! I found out about your BF’! Blushes – ‘heyyyy! Am I that beautiful?’ Contorted sad face – ‘why should you end it? Give me one reason’! (poor thing...lost love) Furious – ‘that git! And they call him a lecturer’! There are many more I could make a dictionary of. You’ll find these people everywhere when it is phone time – leaning on the door, ferreting in the corridor, exercising in their rooms, staring out the window, in a silent spot of the darkest corner of the staircase (shhh…romancing…DND),sitting on the stairs (sometimes like a Golu display, one on each stair) and I know of one who even sat on top of a Western loo closet sick of not getting privacy!
These souls talk to a variety of people –mom, dad, brother, sister, cousin, friend, fiancĂ©, ex-s, lover, customer care(!), talk about an enormous range of topics (my one page vow stops me from listing out) and in a wide range of languages! Sound waves move from “Solluda” to “yep…that’s right” to “nyan paranyittillo ahdi” to “pichakara dog e” (kids don’t read this –unclassified vernacular :P) to “@##$%^$%$#!#^$^%I&^*&” (er…that was high speed Telugu and Kannada. I lack de-encrypting grey cells! ) to “acha..baad meh baath kartha hoon” ( “talk to you later”. Wont hang up in less than a solid hour after this!) .
The decibel level would start with a beep and a ring, proceed to a babble of voices, to an unintelligible chaos, to perfect ‘all hell breaks loose’ and go down in steps as one by one they disconnect, stop talking, stop walking (and running and jumping and exercising) and retire to their rooms…content with sharing what they wanted to. After all that’s what sets us humans apart as social animals isn’t it? We talk. We love to! Oh and by the way, those isolated occupants in the dark corners…shhh still talking). I’m done writing. Got to study and then…♫♪Yeh ishq hai..baite bitaae♫♪ oh! That’s my mobile ringing…excuse me . “Hello! Ya ya..tell me…”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hostel sweet Home!

This one also made it to The Hindu, Nxg, Jan 21, 2010  :)

The best thing that has happened to me in quite some time is my admission to SASTRA, Tanjore for a PG. That means am staying away from home now…at a hostel...all by myself! :)
Many friends of mine told me hostel life was too good to miss. Instinctively I’ve known all along they were right and I’ve always wanted to stay alone too! Maybe because I had fantasized too much about this life I was thrilled to the point of screaming silently on the terrace in joy! To someone who doesn’t know me this might seem sadistic – me wanting to be away from home. But folks no…I have a very loving family behind me. Sweet and cool parents and a cozy home. Then why, you ask, would I be insane to leave it behind for a while? Because I’ve never been away from it. Never been on my own. I’ve always had mom pampering my taste buds and dad trying to instill discipline in me for the simplest of things. Proximity to the source of advise is inversely proportional to its execution! :P so a slob I was. But I always knew I wanted to fly away from my nest for a while and feel the thrill of living independently ( well its not quite that now…dad still finances me). I’ve wanted to prove to my folks that I could be the discipline daughter they’ve wanted me to be. And am doing all that right now! :)
Its been three months since I moved out and life here is bliss! How , you ask. Because I have a hundred and one things I have to take care of for myself by myself apart from college work. But the food? Thank Heavens am not fuzzy about food and honestly at my hostel its definitely above average so for me its wow! Home sickness? Surprisingly I haven’t shed a single tear all these days B-). Friends? Everyone here is one. Am known to be a chatterbox so the credit to a dozen new nicknames around here goes to me :). I eat healthy! (too lazy for fruits at home. Routine here) I monitor my cash (my parents are both into accounts management ) my room is spic and span always (half the credit goes to my sweet roomie) and my laundry bag never comes under stress (back home it was ripping at the seams often!). On the whole my life has taken a change for the better and I feel in control. Am responsible for myself here and there is no feeling to match that sense of satisfaction. I love it.
We get delicious soup at a stall here, there is a tiny supermarket enough to find the occasional junk food and our college canteen rocks! Am living every moment here to the fullest! These will definitely be some of the best days of my life and they came in at the right time to ease out some rough spots I faced a while back.
I dress better these days :) ,watch movies on my laptop(don’t tell my mom :P) and even find time for craft. The only downside maybe? A lot of ants! But we found ways to keep them off. Now that I know what its like to be away from home, happy as it may be, I want to get back one day…and when its time to go I will get to appreciate Home sweet Home better than ever. But for now hostel life rocks! :)

Why are my articles so lengthy?!

This one made it to The Hindu, Nxg - 6th January :) yay!

When I was in high school there was an essay competition to choose a student representative for carrying the Olympic torch as it passed through India. The moment my dad told me about it, I started writing. I wrote 6 sides and still was a good 4 pages away from completion! That’s when my dad mentioned the basic condition – it had to be 300 words! And I had half a novel ready! My torch was extinguished as I realized I had a huge problem – I can’t write short and concise articles! My material for that essay was good. Definitely different from what the winner had written (short of course!) but had exceeded the limit by just a million words. I have close to 30 articles and poems that I’ve written. None of them in a dearth for words!
I wonder if its some kind of electrostatic attraction between my pen and my brain because when am in the groove it goes at top speed like a seismograph sensing a powerful earthquake! I don’t write articles everyday inspite of having a lot of things to write about (that explains why my diary is swollen to 10 times its size with just hints I jot down daily!!!) but when I do feel a work coming on it’s a few minutes of rapid and serious writing and bingo I’ve exhausted a bunch of papers! I’ve always felt my mind and heart working as one when I write. Like they seem to know what exactly wants to be put into words. That’s hard to control. I’m a person who gives heart and soul to anything I do and writing definitely tops my list.
People who read my works tell me they are good but my mom always points out with a sigh that they are obviously too lengthy to be read by anyone without forcing them into it! Pras would agree vehemently…every time I mail him an article he has a lot of tweaking to do with the font size to make sure it doesn’t run off the page! My blog suffers the same plight.
I love expressing myself and thanks to that they always turn out to be magnanimous. That’s my style of writing – replete with sarcasm, humour, confusion, anger and what not. I reasoned with myself that all those things needed pages to explain (couldn’t convince myself to write short) but then I found one guy who did exactly that and still kept his articles to half a page! Sudhish Kamat and his movie reviews in The Hindu! Each one is a treat for anyone with good humour! That’s when I started thinking if someone else could do it, I could do it too! And I started reading blogs belonging to my friends. It turned out that ‘someone’ was ‘everyone’ apart from me! It was around that time our own Pras woke up from his intellectual slumber and started filling IK with his own write-ups (sick of running behind us – the others who promised to contribute!). They were brilliant! Short and sweet, they were a perfect expression of emotions spot on. I realized that was the secret. To write, write and write...whenever you feel like it. That way what you want to say comes out at the right time and you don’t have to wait for it to accumulate sufficiently and end up writing XL sized articles! One tiny reflection at a time brings about the same reaction and increases your article database too. Pras I know your secret har har! So that’s it. I’ve decided to try and write concise stuff. This should be a start :)
This doesn’t mean the lengthy ones won’t happen but I’ll reserve them for once-in-a-while. Wish me luck guys! :)
P.S: this one didn’t go over a page! Yay me! B-)


Amongst the one too many gifts that life has bestowed upon man there is one that doubles up as a tool to find answers to the million questions swirling around in his head. Ironically this gift that I ‘talk’ about has the ultimate power of keeping the vocal chords on a leash. It is silence!

Seldom used, many wise men consider the gift of silence as an art which is perhaps why they call it ‘practicing silence’. Contrary to the popular belief, silence is not the treasure only of saints and monks. Almost every single English adaptation of a Chinese or Japanese warrior genre movie would have a minimum of two characters that are silent and hence powerful and graceful, in stark contrast to a blabbermouth who would most probably be the hero and goes ‘Whoa! Dude you are cool’! When the fighter slashes up a dozen bamboo sticks midair!

Does silence really give a person so much control? That would be a vehement yes! Spiritual language uses a liberal dose of terms to define the effects of the silence-habit, right from channelizing your chi vibrations to as much as transcending your soul and attaining salvation! But since am yet to sell my Ferrari and become a monk, I thought I’d just pen down my interpretation of silence to the extent that my death-metal repellent brain could fathom!

To the layman silence would simply mean the absence of sound but truly Webster goes only that far. Silence is a whole new world! A wonderful and completely different experience. Silence is when you choose to stop adding your part to the milieu and start to listen to other sounds around you and counts like a form of respect shown to them. It is in itself a new genre of music!

Men and women keep up talk most of the time because of the inherent fear that silence brings with it. Talking gives a sense of fitting-in and lets a person realize they are alive and well…but true living is from the inside and the true sign of living is listening to the sound that the heart makes against the ribs rising above the chaos in the outside world. Silence is a secret understanding with all forms of life…a channel of communication and with focus can be put to creating harmony.

To put it simply it’s such a great relief to shut up for a while and take notice of all the crap that you sometimes deliver. When you take stock of that you’ll be amazed to know how much energy you can conserve!

Hatsumomo in Memoirs of a Geisha says “sometimes the best reply is silence”. How very true! Millions of students around the world would agree with me unanimously when I say its better to remain silent for a few minutes rather than walking the plank giving the wrong answer to a prof’s question in front of the nerds! :P . Maybe it was a wise student who said “silence is golden” and with today’s market rates, that amounts to a fortune!

Silence gives you a sense of calm and the power of observation. Bird lovers need to stay silent if they love to watch a flock…a group of cool dudes remain so for the time they can hold their wisecracks in front of a girl!

Silence gives you interpretations…like they say ‘calm before a storm’. The unspoken word is what differentiates wisdom from stupidity. I read somewhere that words are like toothpaste – something that you can’t put back into the tube once taken out. Silence is a form of beauty. It’s a style statement. It lends mystery to a person’s character and intrigues others to no bounds. No wonder heroes of the kind that pops a silent cigar and goes ‘uh huh’ are more interesting than the kind that drives you up the wall with a half page dialogue for a Hi!

I sometimes go on a silent spree…friends of mine would snigger at that statement because am a paler version of Geeth (of Jab we Met fame) but they know it’s true. And when am at it I usually end up talking a lot on the inside holding debates with my heart and mind trying to find answers to many accumulated ‘Why’s. Through that silence I find it easy to love, reason and forgive. It’s when I spend quality time with myself so that every time I talk after that I could try and make more sense.

In all the half hour I took to writing this article, I listened to the soft hum of the fan overhead, the babble of kids on the street, the gentle breeze romancing with the mango tree next door, couple of biker dudes riding their tyres flat, a distant horn, a yelping puppy, and a lot more subtle sounds. I spoke not a single word because I was busy listening…and for once I realized there are other sounds apart from my own…sounds that need appreciation…the language of silence helped me do just that. Life comes with bgm after all…you just got to sync yours with it! Cheers! :)