Friday, May 14, 2010

Am prone to manic depression. Wonder of wonders. Who knew? I didn't, and it's still not easy for me to admit that I cannot be one of those eternally happy, sunshiny people who inspire you to not be so serious, look at the brighter side of things, smile through bad phases and always be cheerful like a stoned clown.

However, thankfully - I also know what sort of gets me through during those spells of manic depression.
Wonder of wonders. Who knew? I didn't.
Mom would be so proud. Especially since she'd never notice the depression - only the cooking. In her world, people don't get depressed. People just get married and get on with life, for what else is there to do. She doesn't know a thing about depression. Not mine, not her own.

Anyway. So why do I enjoy cooking so much? I think it's because it puts me back in control of the outcome one hundred percent. I don't reduce that flame and forget to/ refuse to stir - and there go the mushrooms. Burnt to a cinder. I fold the cake batter just right - lightly, lovingly and slowly with my hand, and bake it at 200 degrees for 40 minutes - and out comes the softest, spongiest sponge cake in the world. Delectable as hell, but also bloody predictable.

The garlic pods, the carrots, the chicken - all at my mercy.
The flavors - as I desire.
The textures, the aroma, the look - as I arrange.
Everything as I manipulate.

Sometimes I deliberately let a batch of cookies burn a bit. Sometimes I overcook the pasta. Other times, I decide that the family must have a feast.

Every so often these days - I cook.


Friday, February 20, 2009

It is friends, and not so much your adversaries, who will remind you every now and then that your happiness is your own responsibility, not anyone else's and least of all theirs.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Words: I chase, they elude!

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Impassioned ranting of a deeply upset mind

For the last 18 hrs, i have watched on TV in horror the nightmare in Bombay - not half a mile from my home - unfold, and like a million others like me, i'm so angry, so desperate, and so helpless. I don't want to sit here and watch. I really want to do something, but what?
I have never been so affected by any news before. In a way, it's totally wrong that i should feel it now just because it's close to my home, and not some far off place that does not involve me in any way. It's no different from 9/11 in the US. The whole Russian school hostage drama was in fact so much horrific and sordid. Every single time any place - India or elsewhere - has been struck, i ought to have felt the way am feeling now, but i did not.
But that's not correct, you see. This attack is unlike any other preceeding it. Just as sordid yes, but essentially different. This attack is totally unacceptable, totally infuriating and totally hateful, because i don't see the motivation behind it. There are no demands being made, no agenda being thrown at the media to air to the millions who are glued to their TV sets. It is terrorism for terrorism sake. It is bad enough when they hold hostages and entire cities at ransom, making some ridiculous and unjustified demands like the release of their fellow terrorists or some such, but it's so much worse when they don't even do that; when they just go on a rampage for the sake of spreading terror, brandishing their AK-47s, blowing up heritage strutures, killing innocent people, burning our cities and our homes.
And when the news channels go on and on about the meticulously planning and the perfect execution of the dastardly attack, comparing it with the lack of nimbleness of our police and the army, it makes me so mad. A bunch of sick bastards with totally twisted bloody notions about right and wrong, make it their life's mission to be relentless vandals and militants. They with their network and contacts and no dearth of money and means to get their dirty hands on the deadliest weapons and armament - make it their full time vocation and occupation to fill up their own and other people's heads with the poison of their hatred. Their life's mission is to kill, kill, kill. Naturally, they plan it well. Naturally, they make no mistakes. Why would they? That is all they do for days and days - plan for perfection. Why the hell would they falter?
And all of this - the killings, the attacks, the innovativeness of the attacks, the sheer madness, it makes me wonder - how is it possible for anyone to be so inhumane, so frigging brain-washed so as to believe that all the world's in a conspiracy against them and their few million muslim brothers? How the hell can religious fanatism reach such crazy heights? Why can't they see the foolishness, the uselessness of it all? Why can't they find something better to do their their lives?
I don't believe in heaven and hell and judgement day. I believe in this life - one life, and karma, and redemption, and getting what you give - here, in this life. But what about these people - these ruthless, remorseless killers? Where's the justice? Who brings them to book? Even if some of them are cought and executed, it so does not feel enough. It is just not enough for them to die a simple death by hanging or being shot at or by being executed on the chair; not enough at all! Not enough, because they are not afraid of dying anyway. It would only feel like vindication if they could be made very very afraid, and ashamed... and sorry - truly, really sorry for their actions, and then killed. They don't deserve lengthy trials, or plush jails. Nor consideration or indecisiveness or mercy. What they deserve is public execution - maybe like in the Saudi - by stoning.
But sadly, with each passing day, i am beginning to realize that happy endings only exist in fairy tales and disney movies, that the simple life as we knew as children is probably a thing of the past, that this is probably how the world will be more and more. That like it or not, good things will not always happen to good people, and worse, bad things will seldom happen to bad people.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Once again, it's in the dead of the night that i'm struck with the desire to, no... need to write something. Which makes me feel like the old me. That is - the younger me; the way i was some time ago. It wasn't really a long time ago, but it just feels like a lifetime, which is really strange.

Memories from long ago are crystal clear in my head, like that pungent (but inexplicably comforting) smell of spices in a south indian flour-mill many years ago in a town with an unpronouncable name, or that little pool of water - a gutter really, below the tiny bridge that the school bus went over everyday, and seeing a water-lily in that for the first time ever. Or even the weight and texture of the hands that never should have trespassed and touched the flesh that wasn't willing, ready or old enough to understand. It's all fresh in the mind like it happened yesterday. Only it didn't.

On the other hand, more recent years - at least a couple of them - are completely unclear and hazy - like bits of a dream that you try in vain to remember the next day, like a foggy winter morning in an unfamiliar new place. So much so that sometimes something flashes before my eyes, like a waking dream; something vaguely familiar, and i'm left astounded, for i don't know if it really happened, and if the person i saw was really me. And i know that if i delved on it, closed my eyes just long enough, it would all come back bit by bit. All of it. But i don't. I understand that it is my mind trying to self-heal, by blocking away memories that have no place in my life anymore. And i'm ok with that. I know by now that my mind is a more reliable friend and guide than my heart.

And besides, why would i want to go back to that dank, dark place? It's nice to have the noises in the head silenced finally, to have the cloud lifted. It's great to see the bright side of life, and to be simple and uncomplicated again.

So here i am, in the dead of the night, realizing that i will be good, and clear as water, with no exciting new secrets. There will be no more being an enigma - and the adrenaline and other heady stuff that goes with it, and i'm not complaining. That was my kick then, this is my nirvana now.

So now, maybe i should get back to the much neglected, half-done presentation. Only, that is something that the older (the younger) me would do. So instead, i'm going to call it a night and get my 7 hrs of sleep. Till the next time, then!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's your birthday, but you aren't here anymore. Well, are you watching us from heaven? What do you see? Are you shocked? Afraid? Dismayed? Saddened? Do you feel angry? Angry that your life seems to have been a waste? That we so efficiently undid all that you spent your life building?

What can i say? I'm sorry for all of us. We have never needed you as much as we do now, but if you were here, we'd have killed you faster than we did the last time you were around. Only this time, you'd die not of a bullet, but of heartbreak. Like i said, I'm sorry.

Happy Birthday.

Ps - Photo taken in Vizag: A street artiste posing as human statue. Whadya know... we have em in India too!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You may say i'm a dreamer, but am not the only one...

It is all so depressingly, so sickeningly familiar now. You're in the middle of something - a random, mundane activity, perhaps looking forward to the evening cuppa cha, and then a breathless phone call, text message or a friend in person arrives to tell you ahead of anyone else that there have been multiple blasts in city X, Y or Z.
Your eyes widen in shock and concern, and you gravitate towards the nearest television set, also frenziedly scanning your memory for names of friends and other loved ones living in that city. One after another you text or call them all, and more often than not, get through none. On TV, newschannels scream 'Breaking news', and correspondents at the site of the tragedy air in high-pitched and well-intended but a little useless and definitely insensitive reports from the location. Wailing relatives, bloodied sidewalks, shredded body parts, overfilled ambulances and stretchers, harrowed police and gallant samaritans - the images repeat over and over until you're so sick of it you change the channel. Only to find the next one relaying the same content.
You feel terrible - saddened and angry and helpless, thinking about how unacceptable it is that we should be so vulnerable to being attacked by a few crazed fanatics who probably have a twisted notion of fairness and justice and the way to get it. If you’re like me, and you hear that some Muslim group had something to do with it, it makes you go raging mad all over again, and despite your secular upbringing, despite your education, despite songs of bhaichara, despite the commonsense, despite reproachful reactions from more politically correct friends, you feel murderously venomous about all of "them". You want to kill, to slap them hard, poke needles in their nails and eyes and teach them a bloody lesson. But of course none of that is possible, because you know that even if it were true that all terrorists are muslims, it wouldn't be true that all muslims are terrorists. Also, you’re just an ordinary person – an aam aadmi. And ordinary people do not – cannot – indulge their fantasies of exterminating all the world’s terrorists.
And besides, there are things to do and places to go. Office reports to prepare, birthday gifts to buy, and relationships of all kinds – some to nurture, some to snap. There isn't time to brood about the serial blasts in a city at least ten thousand miles away or to do something drastic a la Naseeruddin Shah in ‘A Wednesday’.
And so you go back to working on the presentation due the next day or buying the veggies or reading the book or making dinner or going to the gym or whatever it is that you do. And like one news channel commented, slowly you become numb, you start ‘adjusting’ and getting comfortable with the sinister new neighbour - Fear. Slowly, you feel as much (or as little) as you feel when you hear about a road accident. Very sad... terrible...tsk tsk... the poor family... so young...etc etc. And then it’s back to the newspaper or the computer screen.
So i do the opposite of what i really want to do. I pray. That someday we will have common sense prevail. That we will live without fear. That the killing in the name of religion will stop. That there will be a day when i'm no longer convinced that there isn't one place in my own country where i'd feel safe and content enough to have and bring up my kids.
That's what i can do, I pray.