where are you going

YES LET'S POLICE EVERYBODY because that's the bloody answer.

(i'm constantly surprised by my own capacity for anger at things i was sure i had made my peace with. oh well.)


learning from this week

sita does not know how to take a selfie.




i hate people
who never know when
to use
"air quotes"



saw my first ever dancing peacock today in baria, gujarat.



who'll stop the rain

the thing about happiness nobody tells you about is this: when you're happy, the things that you used to cling to for life, don't matter so much anymore.

not television, not books, not frantically being the first to read everything the internet has to offer, not music, not alcohol, not the right shade of lipstick. it doesn't bother me so much that i haven't read a book from start to finish in weeks. i haven't read july's issue of so many magazines, and july's almost over. i haven't listened to three weeks of podcasts, but it doesn't irk me. i haven't eaten red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, and i've been craving it since mid-june. (i haven't even zomato'ed it more than twice.) 

i'll tell you what matters though. deodorant that works. orange juice in the morning. the right music in the shower. pedicures. the right berth on a train. sleep. and crappy movies, always. 

obviously happiness and loneliness are compatible too, and that's a good thing also. 


grown up

i hate growing up.


(ps. grown ups just don't have fun on their birthdays, is it? bah.)



this is all very exciting, blog.

i have a new job! i have a place to stay! i paid rent! and will prospectively pay bills!

adult, i.

*excited, but soonly broke*

(yeah yeah i have to read and write and meet deadlines and generally spend quality time inside my head. and not at work. i get it. i'll do it soon in my cool new apartment with nice showers)

(or not, because i'm traveling for the rest of my foreseeable future. but what are trains for if not for writing!)



i've been cheery and high all day. like you know the annoying kind of cheery, that you just want to slap?

yeah. me.

and it reached a peak just now: i discovered that an author i love and i have *several* mutual friends on facebook. OMIGODCANTHISWORLDGETANYSMALLER.

(don't answer that with a rant about political economy or i might hit you.)


guide to loneliness and back

peaberry plantation mix,
song on my iPod,
metro card,

the smell of home
the sound of urban
nothings and

the guide to loneliness
and back
is a secret nobody



a shimmer, a glimpse
a word for the sea

a thing you want to say
to me.

petrichor/ coffee/
japanese/ cherry/ blossom

a hum a whisper a murmur
of things you will not say
to me. 

(only things within
parantheses, of course
like characters in comic books
will you?)



the magic trick: making the real, illusionary.

because we are so blinded by it, so deeply taken in, so sold, that we only see from within. whatever is outside, whatever is incongruous, whatever is not a part of this performance is really not real at all. we have no vocabulary for it; we render it voiceless by our limited imagination.

and we perpetuate it. we teach unbelief; we teach unbelief as belief. because, after all, cities can only rise from the ashes of those that burn. we watch the smoke rise from a distance, and we think of the possibilities that it can offer. we dream the limited dreams that are sold to us in packaged boxes, we live the limited lives that are offered to us in advertisements.

we look for magic only in places we think there should be: our unicorns are always white, living in rainbows of every colour. we are so involved in looking for the magic trick, we don't realize that the magic is outside the performance.

and we forget. we are so happy with our illusions, our mirrors, our box-sized dreams, that we forget there is magic at all.


mango yoghurt

breakfast is really the only food i need.

obviously i don't mean i only eat in the morning (morning, what is that?) - i mean i can live on muesli, fruit and yoghurt. or eggs and toast. or both.

oh wait, were you expecting deeper insights?

that doesn't happen to happy people, apparently. :D

(you can let me know when this happiness starts to annoy you. i'll go back to being grumps. promise.)



being happy is pretty awesome. i recommend.


new story in reading hour

I have a new story out in print, you guys!

You can buy it here - http://www.readinghour.in/

Or preview it here:

(Or, of course, I can send you a copy if you write to me.)


making mountains

I am losing myself in a wind.

I was gathered in a heap
(like a mountain)
with apparent seamlessness
(like garbage is gathered)
And when the wind came
(the wind always comes)
It took me away from me
(the edges first always)
But I am flapping my arms
(gathering always gathering)
I know it's not working
(paper boats in a rain pool)
because my edges are frayed and

I am losing myself in a wind.


april is the cruellest month

Everything is falling apart: but everything else is falling into place. 
If I ask the right questions: what are the right answers?
A romantic's desire: at the end of this, there will be sleep.

Not a dreamless alcoholic's respite; not restless nightmares.
Sleep, and dreaming. 




"All your life - all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain - it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream. It was a dream that you had inside a locked room.

A dream about being a person.

And like a lot of dreams, there's a monster at the end of it."

-Rustin Cohle, True Detective.

(Also, is that a little tribute to Sandman, with the man in the gas mask immediately after this quote? So much joy!)


a paler shade of grey

Another story about a story.

It passes from hand to hand in secret.

Those who have heard it are distinguishable instantly: they seem to be shrouded in darkness somehow, as if they see a little less of every colour. When they pass it on, they won't know it, but they're sharing a bit of themselves.

The story itself grows. From each person, it takes its weight until there is too much of it. It hides inside allusions and leaves traces nobody can recognize.

A day will come when everybody knows the story but nobody will tell it.

Everything will be in paler shades, but you won't be able to say why.


(If paintings add layers and photographs peel them, what do stories do?)



"But Tanay, why did you paint over all your pretty fishes?"

"It's time for them to go extinct."


a god in every stone

by Kamila Shamsie
I don't have the time to write something longer, but I have to note these down or I'll forget.

1. The anticipation of love: The whole book is full of it. It is always standing around at the edges, teasing you, testing you, seeing if you'll fall for it. I did, convincingly, every time. I fell for every character meant for love, whether or not anyone in the book actually did. I fell for Qayyum Gul (with his hands behind his head alone on a berth in a train; one eyed Qayyum, sure yet so very unsure of himself.) And I kept hoping she would too. I kept looking for it - Now it will happen, oh, now she will recognize him, wait this is the moment. A moment. I can't say if I loved the book for the anticipation of love, or for the love there actually is.

2. Reading Shamsie is like reading a non-fantasy Guy Gavriel Kay. It feels like you're really reading a book on history in story form. It's well-researched and a terrific pleasure. Makes you want to read up on little things. (May be I'm drawing this comparison because I've been reading Kay like a beast. But if you read Kay and Shamsie in succession, I dare you not to make it too). I loved her account of wartime Britain for its little details, the politics, the opinions. I loved how Vivian grows through the book: I love her idea of service to a nation in wartime, and how it changes as she becomes her own person. I love the tension in the book when the man from the government comes to meet her. You know she can't be that silly, you want her to not be that silly. When she is, you're immediately heart-broken. You know what is coming, it's an inevitability. But you hope because she hopes.

3. I really really want to go to Turkey.

4. My southern school education somehow missed out on the immediacy and intimacy of the history of partition, and I think this is true of many of my South Indian friends. A lot of North Indian friends of mine have a romantic notion of Pakistan - they have roots there (a grandparent who left, lands, families, that sort of thing). To me, it has always been a different culture, a different people. When I found out that they have a Punjab too, somehow Pakistani butter chicken became something I had to try. (I was 11. Not much has changed). So when I read Pakistani writers, I read them as I would read any other writer. Suddenly little unexpected things pop out at me and I think aha, there's something I didn't expect you to be like. With Mohammed Hanif's Alice Bhatti, I kept thinking that way about caste. About how I understood its perpetuation without really thinking about it as different/Pakistani. 

It happened with Shamsie too, but not in the same way: With her, it was about the cultural references. The train stations, the quaint streets, the clubs. (In my head, they look like old Hyderabad, and I can say with some certainty that the clubs are the same everywhere. I've been to Gymkhanas all over the country, and if they haven't changed between Hyderabad, Bangalore, Calcutta and Delhi, I doubt they're largely different or the sandwiches are much better in Pakistan).