Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Arion Salazar is following me on Twitter. Why is that such a big deal?
a. He is part of the Third Eye Blind of my dreams
b. He is hot as hell's summer
c. a and b are reasons enough to have it recorded here for posterity.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


She'd had it. She was sick and tired how they ruled over her. Of how they mocked her plans and imposed without apology. They overstepped boundaries and clomped all over her with their dirty boots. They told her what to do and didn't allow her an opinion. They ridiculed her and left her open to ridicule. They humiliated her and took advantage of her weakness. They deformed her beauty into something ugly and degenerate. They took her dignity and made silly games out of it. They broke her resolve and reduced her to a puppet that dangled onto their whims. They made her their slave and had their way with her. They slapped her around and spread her secrets. If only she could stand up to them. If only she could learn to say no. Food. If only she had the will to fight it.  She'd be able to stick to that damn diet and reclaim that body of hers. But she caved in every time. Every single time. She'd had it. She was sick of it. But she was too weak. "Tomorrow," she promised herself uselessly for the millionth time, as she reached for a fourth helping "I'll diet."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The air was free back then. Laboured, but free. So was the sunlight. The very dancing beams that stand rationed now, I blotted with a thick curtain of make-believe despair. A grey castle I had constructed from the debris of things I thought were broken. There I surrendered myself as prisoner. There I flogged myself, believing I was unworthy. Believing I was cursed.  I thought that was the passage of hell. I thought that was the night that swallowed the sun for good. I was so wrong.
Hope came at a reasonable price. I could have traded my wounded pride for some hope. But I was too miserly to part with my plastic convictions. My fool's gold, that I treasured as a former world champion treasures his medals. My testament, my walk down the vale of thorns. What I thought was sacred, was a masterpiece of pure idiocy.
I thought that was suffering. I believed that was the truest cup of pain. I thought that was the death of laughter. I thought I was a Martyr. While all I was, in truth was stupid.
I now know that this is pain. I now know that this is the deepest end of fear. I now know there is no shadow thicker and darker and more impenetrable than this. I now know that every other tribulation bends a meek knee and folds its hand into a respectful salute in its presence. I now know that this is misery's unmerciful whip. I now know this is the definition of fear. Death's breath, hot on our cheeks. Praying for a brighter day and yet, afraid of the dawn - cowering from what it might bring. I now know that this suffering has no equal. Cancer laying claim on a precious one. Taking them away without your permission. While the angels stand beside you as you protest, rage, fight, claw, crawl, beg, bleed, bargain away your sleep, your dreams, your soul and you sanity - just to have something you always took for granted. More time.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy Anniversary

She was never big on anniversaries. She called them expiry dates. Dates that marked how much closer and older they were to becoming stale. But she kept track of them nevertheless. On their first, she was in denial about it, even as she put on a brightening face mask. She wouldn't admit to herself that all this fuss was in honour of 365 days of togetherness as she painted her nails coral pink - a shade that was chosen after careful deliberation. She smiled secretly at the roses he'd brought her in the morning. "He remembered" She thought proudly before censoring herself for being a sentimental fool. She tried to look bored at dinner. No small feat, given her freshly washed hair that shone with the strength and vigor of a beer and vinegar rinse, her perfume that punctuated the soft cups of her collarbones with the delicate notes of a floral bouquet, her coral-pink nails that jittered self-consciously like shy five-year-old ballerinas. They gave her away. They told on her. They rendered her efforts futile. She radiated joy. A little star that pulsated, albeit involuntarily, with a sentimental variety of happiness laced with a shade of self-satisfaction. Exactly the kind that the gods fed off. Exactly the kind she was afraid of showing. She tried so hard. But failed. Miserably.
On their second, she was a little more successful in her attempts to stash her happiness into a impregnable lightproof box. The box wasn't exactly lightproof. But it was a box. A cardboard one. No fancy trimmings. A little thing so nondescript that no one would guess at its precious cargo.  She beamed weakly enough to escape detection by the ever-sniffing, ever-hungry gods. Her heart would have betrayed nothing even at a lie detection test. She was proud.
She got better at it with every passing year. Till she could convince herself that she wasn't too big on anniversaries. They would stumble clumsily on the date, finding themselves at the fag end of their anniversary.
"Shall we order Chinese?"
"No, there are some leftovers in the fridge."
Berating themselves for a precious minute before shrugging all vestiges of anything remotely romantic. Sometimes they'd realise, with the distress of an alarm that went off belatedly, that they'd completely forgotten the anniversary. And then conveniently forget that they forgot. That's the way they liked it. Not acknowledging it. There would always be one next year.

Until he left. And the day ceased to have any meaning. Then, the day seared into her heart with the red fierceness of an iron brand. Then, the day dropped into a significant giant black-hole. Then she remembered their anniversary. The bitterness, a sort of perverse celebration of a day that now made obvious the absence of all the things she once called hers. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


There’s definitely no Santa Claus in here. But there’s hope.

More hope and more prayer than all the midnight masses in the world.

There are no Christmas carols here.

But the voices of nurses, chime with a sweetness no heavenly host could compare with.

Stringy festoons of tinsel and stars that quiver in the draft of the air conditioner, glitter into a mirage of next Christmas.

Tomorrow we will wear silly Santa hats and drink wine.

We will forget about this poison that courses our veins.

We will live in the Lord’s birthday.

We will smile for cameras. We will try.

But today we hold our breaths, afraid.

We'll look around and take stock

Comparing sizes of misfortune or fortune.

We listen to valorous stories, of wise men and women following stars of hope

Survivors who battle an enemy that inches closer. 

Rosary beads mark time as an expensive packet of hope, dispenses a steady trickle of chance.

We wonder how did we ever get here,

Who decides whose name gets picked in these things,

We lock horns with fate and pitifully rage.

We grapple with this betrayal from a god we trusted

We reel every time, as if punched in the guts.

We fight tears and our misplaced sense of injustice

We take a deep breath and hold on to dear life.

Suddenly dearer than it ever was.

When we spend Christmas Eve in a chemo ward.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dear Dada

On the 8th of January, after a brief illness, my dad succumbed to pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in November and after the hardest one and half months my family has ever lived through, he was taken away from us. I'm still coming to terms with it. But even in his illness, my dad taught me a lot. About the value of life. About courage. About taking each day as it comes and making it count like it was your last. We had our differences, and yet we were the same. He was a strong man. A fighter. And he loved me more than I believed.

The picture below is his broken thumbnail. A physical testament to his love for me. He used to be a technical supervisor in Kuwait, while my mum, sister and I lived in Kerala. He spent a good part of his life away from his family. It wasn't until he retired that we got to live together as a family. So long-distance was the way it was. And like all things long-distance, everything was amplified..the worry, the fondness, the growing pains, the absence, and yes, the distance. So once when I'd fallen really ill as an infant, my dada got so distracted that his thumb got wedged in some heavy machinery. And left a permanent mark that announced to the world that he had this difficult daughter who always worried him. This difficult daughter who can't believe just how much she misses him, now that he isn't there.
This is my tribute to him.

When a strong man dies
He leaves behind a space,
A vaccum of things, routines and commonalities
He takes with him a sense of security
That he provided by just being present.
The assurance of seeing him around.
The knowledge that there's always him to go to.
He takes with him the hands that worked -
the calluses that marked the toil of his existence.
He takes with him the voice that once soothed,
yelled, advised, joked, comforted, scolded, sang and laughed.
His arguments hang with the air of unfinished business.
His shoes wait in empty limbo, never to be filled  His place at the table stands with a sombre  emptiness, even when occupied.
He leaves us, the weaker ones, wondering why him.
When a strong man dies,
He defeats death
He lives in all that he left behind
A legacy of love
That will live on forever
That will never die.

Monday, February 3, 2014


This is the rather easily made Banana Rum Cake with a comforting dollop of cream cheese. It's part of the One Day at a Time project I'm trying to live up to. The last month was the hardest month of my life. And I'm still reeling from everything that was. But life must go on. And we must recover. We must keep creating. Anything.
Wish me luck!