Pull back the curtain, dear Zouina, and smile at a stranger. Silence, Zouina, stand back and laugh at teenagers' problems on the radio. Listen to french women talk about the things you don't talk about, about love and sexuality. But Zouina, simple Zouina, on sunday go look for that familiarity of Algeria so that Inch'Allah, on that day, you'll find your peace again.

When you're torn apart from your mother like that, I can feel your heart being torn away. Your home, your Algeria, has been left behind, and your husband and La France wait in anticipation. Your husband, he kisses your mother and hugs your children, but for you Zouina, he has only a perfunctory nod as he takes your luggage to put it in a van.

What is this strange new place you have been brought to? Who are these people? Your neighbours peek at you through a curtain and call your Indian. Their garden is full of flowers and dolls. They live alone, without husbands. They even take their coffee plain without any sugar - even when your mother-in-law gives your visitor sugar from the box.

The couple next door, they are old and lonely. They spend their time pruning their garden and pretending to win their competitions. Look, she practices her speech in front of her mirror, as her husband smiles at her secretly. She is harsh, this lady who killed your children's ball, why does she torment them so? You hit her, yes, and tore her clothes, but watch her husband as he politely coaxes her into shaking hands with you. Your husband, he pushes you and jabs you in your back while he commands you to shake hands.

The colonel's wife, she's a wonderful friend. Sunday after Sunday, she comes to help you search for your companions. That day at the cemetery, when your child had an accident, you tried to tell her that he was okay. Her tears were for the dog she lost, Simca, who you buried in your backyard in the dead of the night. When she found you again, she helped you find Malika, the Algerian on 12, Alouette street. Malika betrayed you, and threw you out, but didn't you find a friend in the stranger on the bus who you smiled at like Eleanor Rigby with her face in a jar by the door? 

Your loneliness, dear Zouina, and your tears you lost on the day Algeria asked you to leave. But on this day, when the Algerian betrayed you, your husband saw you smile for the first time.


This is a movie review that I submitted for a competition. The name of the movie is Inch'Allah Dimanche. It is a french film about an algerian lady who migrates to France with her mother in law and children to stay with her husband. This was a move that tore her away from her home and left her in a strange new country with no company, a mother-in-law who wasn't nice to her, a husband who was on the surface indifferent to her, and children who she cared for. It is about her search for a companion, the way she deals with the new place, cultural differences, women's issues, migration, patriarchal structures.. It is a film that has to be watched.




my giant ego and i are out on a walk. we're deep down in the earth, walking through the crevices and the caves created by underground water channels, looking for my morals. it's a violent, dark time for us. please don't disturb us.


28th nov, '08
03:23 am

I can't sleep. The fan is too loud and makes unpleasant noises. How I wish that is why.

I feel your presence in my room. On my neck, I can feel your smoky breath and the smell of your cheap gutkha. I pull my knees closer towards me. I close my eyes tighter and watch my breath coming out of my nostrils. It is warm and moist, the air that comes out of my body. I drift in and out of my dreams. Many dreams, I remember. Many, I forget. One dream was unlike a dream at all. In fact, it was more real than the night now.

You are laughing in this dream. I flinch and my shoulders slump. I didn't know I did that when I get uncomfortable. I try not to look at you. I don't look away, no, I look down and pull out my mobile phone. I pretend to look at the time. At this point, I jerk myself awake. I look confused at the sudden change of location. I shake my head and turn in bed. I face the wall. I remember a story I read a long time ago about a man who sees a face on the wall. He claimed that the very next day, a newspaper reported that the man whose face he saw was dead. I wish that I could see your face on the wall. I would take much pleasure in advance knowledge of your death. Unfortunately, the man was bogus. He lied. He spun tales, and I'm not so good at spinning anything. (Rumpelstiltskin was, and see where that took him.)

What are you doing in my head, stranger? We have never spoken. I don't know who you are, you have no idea who I am. Why do you cross your legs when you see me? If not for the expression on your face when you see me, you would have been pleasant to look at. I see you at all times, lingering around me like a ghost in a haunted house. From the corner of my eyes I can see you grinning in your reality, your childish grin with the pleasure of stealing candy from your mother's purse. Am I what you hide in the back of your cupboard? These twenty minutes that you ride on the train with me, is it time unaccounted for in your life, that you spend it in my mind? Do I form a part of your darkness?

Your stare is a sexual assault. The way you looked at me today, your tongue hungrily licking your lips, your nose upturned, like a pig's.. I'm glad I have a blanket here, the hair on my hand is standing up. Are you picturing me naked? I wonder how people do that. Would they see all my flaws? Is it easy for you?

The fan is getting louder. I turn in bed again, away from the wall. I should sleep. It is perhaps the possibility of seeing you tomorrow morning that keeps me awake. I want the night to be as long as possible. If not a distance of space, a distance of time will keep me away from you.


in being alone, i am liberated.


white clothes just have a way of turning themselves pink (and sometimes green.)


so. my iPod drowned. my earphones conked off. my hard disk crashed. there's no stereo in my car. the ownership of my shiny white laptop has been transfered from me to someone else. my camera and cell phone were forgotten in the cafe in auroville with the yummy pineapple pastry (and then later recovered, thank you mr. gandhi.) and to top all this off, i have to go back to bloody mumbai in less than two weeks and there, my fan doesn't work.
it seems like all this electronic stuff, thank you, is just revolting against me.


i wish i could write. the way some people have a way with words, the way words mould themselves in sentences to fit exactly what wants to be conveyed. damn, really. like how some pieces of writing just whisk you away and keep you there, in the world of the author.


australopithecus has tagged. it has an interesting question that i've been meaning to write about for a while now.

my oldest memory:
i have several, but this one is most disturbing. i remember, vaguely, the face of a man with a white beard, staring at my face. he seems to be cooing at me, or saying something to me to soothe me. it has filled many of my nightmares over years. i have no idea who this man is, or what he is saying, but his face remains vivid in my memory.

10 years ago:
i was thin as a stick, had glasses with a golden frame, a terrible hairstyle, and hated tuitions.

my first thought today morning:
sitamma, if you don't wake up in the next three minutes, you're going to flunk.

you built a time-capsule today. what would it contain?
well, if it's at all aditya 369 like, then a good looking, intelligent man with whom i will have many adventures with and eventually fall in love, marry, and meet our grandkids in the future. (and okay smartass, so you know more than i do about sci-fi like things. but i'm still firmly embedded in my fantasy world, so even though now i know what it really means, i will stick to my creative interpretation of time capsule.)

this year:
had brought many disappointments, new friends, changes for the good, changes for the bad. it has brought me one step closer to being a grown-up.

14 years from now:
i'd be thirty five. which is a scary thought.

i tag:
unless, you want to write about any of this ofcourse.


isn't it true, sir, that your eyes are made of sunshine?
oh, don't look at me like that, i blush so.
why don't you tell me a story, like you used to?
tell me about the trees, and how they dance with the wind.
and when you laugh, sir, does your voice come from thunder?
because i know, when you cry, your tears come from the sea.
and sir, tell me your secrets, those you tell noone,
about who you loved, and what you sang to her.
isn't it true, sir, that you were humming the songs of raindrops,
when she was taken away in a hurricane, and buried under the apple trees?


happy fourth birthday, blog!


being older is overrated.


if i were to tell you a story now, it would be about the old man sitting next to me on the bus. he was holding a tamil newspaper, wearing a veshti with a crisp white shirt and talking to his daughter on the phone. if i were to have eavesdropped, i would've heard him talk about paying college fees. if i would have paid attention, i would've seen that he looked worried while talking to her. if i could read tamil, i would've known that he was looking for a job. 

instead, i sat next to the window with my earphones plugged into my own ears, reading the story of anansi the spider and bird. 


"i'm just a fucked up girl looking for her own peace of mind."

~clem, eternal sunshine of a spotless mind.


i hate:

bright, happy people.
the coffee in college.
using my laptop.
dirty toe nails.
not having any appetite, even for the good food.
running out of ink.
not having lazy clothes to wear.
my white bag being colourful (and mostly brown).
yellow food. nasty yellow food. dal-tasting, nasty yellow food.
cauliflower. and potato.
my new toothpaste.
not having a stylus again. or an umberella again.
not getting an auto when i want one.
crowded trains.
crowded buses.
late night drunk people singing lewd songs.
having to iron clothes.
not having time to read.
not having time to watch a movie.
not having time to talk to people on the phone.
being stressed out.
being frustrated.
being social.
being sociable.
knowing the difference.
waking up.
looking at my face in the mirror, before brushing in the morning.
jasmine smells.
my new pretty-looking, jasmine-smelling deodorant.
having to deal with people.
people. in general.



..and sometimes, when we fall, we fly..

-fables and reflections. neil gaiman.


bombay. not sure where. very late at night.


it's two am i'm drunk again and it's heavy on my mind

in three beers and a new friend, i found my loneliness strangely magnified and expelled at the same time. the idea was to walk down marine drive and watch the sea. and at twelve fifteen in the night while we waited for the last train to VT, the many people who waited with us blurred themselves into the background. comfortable silences, gaps in the silences filled by insignificant conversation, the element of familiarity.. the balm i was seeking. i found it all, and i found comfortable conversation.
a song we had heard many times over was playing on somebody's cellphone is the compartment next to ours. the brief traveller sat with us for a period, shared a glimpse into her life, her anxieties, and left us. the stations came and went. we traced them all on a map pasted on the space above the doorway. we stood there with the wind in our faces, enveloped in the worlds we left behind us, trying to make do with what we had.
we got off into a beautiful, empty station. the only other times i had been there, it was full, bustling, with no space to breathe. the policemen at the entrance smiled at us. we hoped for beer mostly, or ice cream at the least. we took a taxi with a blue light to colaba. it was my first time. the near empty roads of bombay seemed to be reflecting our state of mind. just our luck, a cafe, mondegar's was open and was taking its last orders. they played my song too, all the roads are winding and all the lights are blinding.
a sandwich, a pitcher of beer, and ketchup later, we ventured into the streets. we walked by many shiny horse carriages, lit up for couples' romance along the sea. old buildings, perfectly built to the 19th century detail we walked by. we stared like villagers, new to a city. suddenly, we stopped. the world looks very different at two am. gateway of india stood there in front of us, quite unassuming without its hundreds of people, without its many, million lights on the other side of the water. we sat there, happy with ourselves, listened to the sea crash into the wall. we took pictures of ghost hands and the moon, bumped noses into the louis vuitton store and admired old street lights.
on three beers, in a new place with a new friend, life seems good.

(title from dave matthew's band, grace is gone)


twenty friggin' one. yeah baby!


and just because you know you must, and just because you want to, out of the deepest corner, from the bottom, does not mean you have, and just because you’re trying, putting in effort, does not mean you’re putting in enough, and just because you’re still holding on doesn’t mean you’re not fallen, and just because you’re optimistic doesn’t mean it’s right and just because you’re alive doesn’t mean you’re living.
in continuation, you’re exhausted but you haven’t done anything, and you’re not ambitious but have achieved, you’ve finished, but haven’t completed, you’ve cried, but haven’t regretted, you’ve regretted, but haven’t improved.
and you’ve lost, but haven’t tried to win, you’ve criticized but haven’t listened.
you know, yet, you overlook.

may 05, 2005.


three years later, i'm still there. in the same place, in the same phase.


of replies


"leaving on a jet plane. don't know when i'll be back again. oh babe, i hate to go."


"Aww.. Why do you kill like that re.."

and her:

"Your arse have fun have a blast. It's a beautiful day, don't let it get away :)"

i'll miss you so.


magical miyazaki

a few months ago, i was exposed to my first ever hayao miyazaki film, princess mononoke. to say the least, i was amazed. it was fantasy like i have never experienced. from the first frame, you can feel the magic in the movie. ashitaka's tribe's agony in letting him go, his absorption of the world beyond his own, the forest spirit, and the symbolism of the whole movie swept me away. i have watched it many times since then. every time, when the little tree spirits click in laughter, i laugh with them. i stare in awe when the forest spirit walks by him for the first time, when it pauses for a second against the light as ashitaka fights his cursed arm. when the forest spirit is beheaded, you can feel everything around you wither away, you feel guilty for the world you're in.

it was this magic that compelled me to watch the next miyazaki film i did, spirited away. and spirited away i was. i was as unsure about the place as chihiro was in the beginning, shocked and confused when her parents turned into pigs, even more confused when haku assures to help her. her meeting with the boiler man and his many hands, with those tiny little creatures bumping into her makes me laugh. through her travails in the bath house, i felt her determination. i love the way haku turns into that majestic dragon. in this movie and in princess mononoke, i was interested in how miyazaki makes friendship such an easy and trusting bond between people. her love for haku takes her on that beautiful, melancholic train journey along with the most unlikely of companions. then, her meeting with the warm zeniba reassures us that everything will be fine. when she figures out where she met haku before, she says, "i knew you were good", and even here, i smile every time i watch it. the way they fly together, holding hands, and he says, "that's why i can't find my way home.."

yesterday, i watched howl's moving castle. miyazaki is such an enticing storyteller. sophie, the plain girl who is always made fun of for being ugly, is rescued by handsome howl, a wizard who flies her into the bakery. then, the witch comes to see her, and the magic has only begun. this movie was delightful. as the story tells itself slowly, it leaves many moments to simply cherish. what i loved was the way sophie's age changes, from young, to middle aged, to old, according to how much she loved howl.

the magic in these three movies is so touching, and so real, that it doesn't seem like fantasy at all. i like fantasy because it whisks me away to worlds completely different and disconnected from the world i live in. fantasy is that exciting because it sucks you into the place the creator has imagined, through the eyes of the people who live there. the stories are understood at that fantastical level, and completely mesmerise by their exaggeration of what you might have considered simple. the point of fantasy, i think, is to simply let yourself go. it is to defy what is real, and immerse yourself in a world created by the power of many dreams and many dreamers. it is when you allow yourself to explore what you little know, and then feel the little treasures of this exploration.
and miyazaki, i think, is one of the most striking of these dreamers.



so on a very very personal note, guess who's moving to bombay and not feeling nice about it at all..

mostly, it's the feeling of finally winning any competition. it feels good.


i've been blogging for years now (no, really, four years is a lot!) and i still don't know how to make my blog look fancy.


the fat lady has sung!
meet me, graduate.


it's too late now,
isn't it,
to think about it?

it's too late now,
pandora's box is open,
and every misery in the world
has broken loose.


ain't it funny, how time slips away..


i'm bleeding mediocrity. it hurts, oh, it hurts so.


where do books that were forgotten in autos go?

1. last night i dreamt that the bhelpuri man outside college was using pages of my dolls house, neil gaiman to wrap Rs. 10 bhelpuri in. it was so scary, i woke up and drank a glass of water.

2. i imagined while doodling in class that the daughter of the auto uncle in whose auto i left my 3rd semester notebook in was studying from my extensive and brilliant political science notes, while admiring my highly creative geometric designs on the side of every page and laughing at the conversations i had in class. while doing so, she also stuck the spongebob squarepants card that said "you're a star!" in her dad's auto. and then, and then, i would see this card in an auto and exclaim that it's mine, and get that notebook back.

3. my sixth sem notebook is a sad story. there's nothing exciting in it, except, well, democratic socialism. which is really sad, because i don't get it from the text book i have. i feel like i've turned into some geek.

4. haroun and the sea of stories, flowing beautifully out of my hot water tap, with batcheat singing in her ugly voice like a siren in the night.