Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Book goes places - Literally!

Tales from the Garden City is in New Delhi today, to take part in the World Book Fair (Jan 30, 2010 - Feb 7, 2010) at Pragati Maidan.

Tales... can be found in the following places:

Mudranik Technologies Pvt Ltd /
Stand #S2/12, Hall 1-2
Pragati Maidan

CinnamonTeal Print & Publishing Service   
Stall #S1/3, Hall 7H
Pragati Maidan

Do drop in if you happen to be in New Delhi this week, and please spread the word...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Likes and Dislikes... on a Thursday

1. I dislike the sound of a dripping tap (sometimes more than one!), when the plumber is nowhere to be found.

2. The day of the week I like the best is Thursday, because by then a major chunk is over, and I am just one step away from the Weekend.

3. I dislike it that Life is so unfair to Tom, and Jerry has all the fun.

4. I like the soothing effect of hot soup on my sore throat.

5. I dislike the fact that sometimes my UPS goes down before my PC completes the shut down - even when I race against time to close all windows and begin the shut down process.

What are your likes/dislikes today? Do share them here as a comment, or link to your blog!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pasta - Escape!

Those were the days of pizza-craze.
Favourite food? The answer, without skipping a beat, was 'Pizza'.
A--, the popular joint frequented by many facets of Youth, eager to be seen, was The Place for The Pizza.

So we went there one day, yearning for Pizza, but somehow had not realised that the day was doomed. Perhaps God had tried to catch my eye, to give out some subtle warnings, but I refused to note them.

I guess I didn't have to ponder over the menu much. I must have named one without hesitiating. But the guy who came to serve us had other ideas. He had apparently just been given a session by his superior on how to coax customers to try their new delicacy - Pasta.

We tried to smile our way out of it, but to no avail. He had his claws well planted, and refused to budge them. A Pizza and a Pasta, he suggested. We really did not think we could devour both. After a great deal of futile resistance, we gave in. The guy surely was good at his task, besides having freshly sharpened claws. Maybe we were curious deep inside to know what this pasta fuss was all about.

Regret! The moment the first little forkful went in. We looked at each other. Groan. How, how, did we fall into this mess? And which way do we escape?

I prefer to forget the rest of the evening. A lot of pasta still remaining in the plates, the bill paid, some hollow comments left on 'How delicious it was! Next time we are gonna order only pasta!' we crossed the borders of the place, never to return.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When Ads come of age

Explaining things to a 4-year-old could be tricky. With his sharp retorts and observant queries, one could never be too careful. As it is, handling his queries on normal daily-life is tough, without any help from the commercials that appear in Television these days.

Remember the commercials in (Indian) TV during the 80s?
They were not even called 'commercials'. They were just 'advertisements', without being shortened to the glorious new(er) term, 'ads.'

Those ads, if I may say so, were more original, very down-to-earth. Possibly there was (or evolved over time) a law which stated that misleading scenes were not to be shown. But no longer. Now we see hair so strong that it pulls down the wall it is tied to because of a shampoo (or is it hair oil?) applied on it, a magnet attracting dirt from clothes, masala powder falling from a fingertip, a Superman look-alike making his appearance to wash grime from the kitchen, etc. etc. I admit that I would never have noticed anything amiss in these commercials, had it not been for my ever-attentive son and his simple queries that complicate my life. How, pray, would I explain them to him? 

None of us, I guess, can now recall when Boldness made its appearance in the Indian ad scene. Circa 15 years ago, I remember seeing one ad in a magazine that left me shocked. Come to think of it now, apart from a pose suggestive of intimacy, there was nothing. They were even well-dressed - considering today's standards. Which is farthest from the case today - the less I elaborate on this, the better!

Once upon a time, if my memory does not mislead me, ads (and the popular products?) were directed towards the younger, beautiful-looking generation. Try as I may, I cannot recall many ads of anti-ageing creams/soaps/products or pension plans, in those days. Now, and this I am happy to note, ageing actresses come to tell us, it is okay to age! Just take care it does not show too much.

Hence I say, our Ads are growing up, too!
And in the years ahead, I am going have a lot of explaining to do.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughts for the Weekend

1. If we could only let go of the Whys and the Wherefores, Life could be so much simpler!

2.  When we want Time to go slow, it flees by on horseback. When we want it to race, it finds itself a snail to carry it!

3. The cordiality shown by two people is directly proportional, and the taken-for-granted-ness inversely proportional, to the distance between them.

4. Seeing the steam rise from my cup of tea, my son asks, "Does the steam go up to where God sits?"

5. Suppressed anger wreaks more havoc than the explosive kind.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Some Lessons!

Okay. So maybe it wasn't the brightest of ideas.
Or maybe it was a good, small step towards a complete cure.

There was no plan. The beauty lay in the spontaneity. 

I did nothing but follow a few leads that crossed my uneventful existence, and a series of events tumbled out - a visit, a cup of tea, a walk, a phone call, a meeting, surprised smiles.

So why was it that, despite the pleasure I experienced at its peak, the moment it was over and I moved on, a pang that drew down the corners of my lips made its unexpected appearance like pain from a long-healed wound?

And yet, in the vast layout of affairs, the pain and the pleasure, did they not appear to teach me another profound lesson today?

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Dark Night

She decided to join for the tour because the entire school, including her closest friends, seemed to be participating. Besides, staying away from her parents - for the first time - for two nights, with just her friends around, sounded exciting!
The bus ride did make the tour lose a bit of its charm, because she felt quite queasy; and it was embarrassing since the others seemed fine, while she was on the verge of being sick.
The night was to be spend at a school... it must have been somewhere near Thekkady. The girls would not worry about how or where they slept. Those were the concerns of the accompanying teachers.

The girls crowded around the bathrooms at the school, late at night, shivering slightly, but ready to take a bath after a tiring Day-1. Across the gate on one side, a group of shadows watched them. The girls stared back. Someone among them whispered, "That's an orphanage."
No one spoke for a while. Then, her friend standing next to her, said loudly, "Good Night!"
After a milli-second's pause, the replies came from across the gate. "Good Night!" "Good Night!" "Good Night!" 
Slowly, as the girls watched, the shadows melted away into the light.

The girls flocked back into the classrooms, and found mats spread out on the floor for all of them to sleep. There were blankets as well. They lay down in rows, talking among themselves, regardless of the roughness of the floor and the inadequacy of the blankets, and fell asleep in mid-sentence.

When she awoke, she was sitting up in total darkness, unable to comprehend her surroundings. She looked around in the solid blackness that was threatening to smother her. Frightened, she put out her hand to push it away and encountered nothing. Where was she? 
It dawned on her then - the trip, the school, the mats, her friends. Someone had turned out the lights and let in the eerie darkness. 
She felt the floor around her. This time her hands met heads, hands, legs, on all sides. Heaving a sigh of relief, her panic blown to smithereens, she tried to lie back and sleep. But there was no space! Someone had encroached on her mat. She tried to push the other's hands away but could not. Where would she lie down?! Panic returning, she pushed in all directions. None gave way. None woke up from their exhausted sleep, either. Finally, feeling totally frustrated, she rolled herself into a ball and occupied the place she was sitting on.

Twenty years later, a woman sits up in bed after a troubling dream, her collar wet with sweat, looks around, finds the room in darkness following a power black-out, and remembers the Dark Night.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Unfathomable Laundry Magic

Laundry Mathematics has always baffled me. In fact, for long, I did not even realise that there was a strange Math associated with Laundry. I had taken its puzzling nature for granted, until a chance comment at a blog pointed out to me that I was not the only one in the tangles of finding my laundry baskets full every day, despite running them through the machine daily. (And I used to wonder if I am washing the same, washed clothes over and over again?)

After months of pondering over the problem that could well have made Mr.Einstein pull out a lot of hair from his unkempt head, I figured out a few things. The number of washloads generated is not directly proportional to the number of people in the house. It is close to an exponent of the number - and then some. I have not been able to unravel the mystery of this ratio, and however much I try, I am unable to figure out how and from where these dresses appear and hop into the laundry basket when I am not looking.

Once I resigned myself to the laundry multiplying and dividing itself to its fancy, the corollary made its inevitable appearance. The dry clothes that lie around waiting to be folded. The least I would expect was the number of such clothes to be in direct proportion to the ones that are washed?

But where, oh where did I go wrong?

Monday, January 4, 2010


So much water has flowed under the bridge.
The bridge, through much disuse and lack of care, has decayed, splintered and fallen into the flowing water, which takes it to lands unknown. The slices bear no semblance to the might it once was, in its past life across the wide span of the river.
The water continues its journey, frothing with an unhealthy, sick hue, unkind to the shores it touches.
The grass that was once green has become dry and crumbled; the land parched, despite the presence of water so close by. Trees have uprooted themselves, collapsing on their side with a sigh.
The wind, the idle wind, that seeks to blow no more, appears for the last time, finds none to encounter, and retires hurt.
There is no Hope... anywhere.
The World is still.

Years Pass...

A tiny sprout breaks the solid ground and peeps up carefully at the sky.
The World catches its breath, and after a moment's disbelief, turns around - to look at the precious little piece of innocence.
The water, frothing no longer, sweeps close to it with a Motherly tenderness, and gently wets the ground.
The breeze picks up the movement, looks around, and catching sight of the new Life, blows ever so lightly, taking care not to hurt the tiny leaves just learning to break open.

A soft pulse of excitement and anticipation resonates through the Land.

Hope. Was Reborn.