December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Alright, people. I'm off home tomorrow, to celebrate christmas and ring in the new year with my folks (and that includes my family, my friends, my neighbours-everyone). I don't know when I'll log on to the net again. I kinda like to disconnect myself temporarily when I go home. So in case I don't get to wish you guys later on, here it goes!

Eat lots of cake. Sing lots of carols. Watch lots of TV. Sleep in till noon. Wear all your new clothes. Enjoy the holidays.

Most importantly, be happy.

I hope the coming year brings in loads of happiness and fulfils all your wishes.

2011 has been a great year writing-wise. I hope 2012 is better.

Two pieces of news I want to share with you:-

1) I actually won the Calvin & Hobbes Box Set give-away hosted by Sumitra. Yes!! I won that one thing I've been wanting more than anything else! :) Once I get my hands on it, I'll post pictures and make you all jealous, ok? :)

2) I just started contributing for an online magazine called Do go over and have a look when you can.

See you all next year with lots more of my sense and nonsense. :)

December 20, 2011

Christmas Star

It was a very pretty star. White colour, made of paper, with many little Santas in red laughing all over.

It was a very very pretty star.

We weren’t exactly one of those families who put up a star during Christmas every year. Not because we didn’t believe in Christmas- we are Mallus. We believe in ALL festivals, religion no bar. We just need a reason to celebrate and eat and drink. We just didn’t have a star. The one that was bought even before I was born had lived its full life and had to be thrown away. So I didn’t really have any memories of Acha taking out the star during Christmas and tying it to the light-bulb. But I loved stars. Absolutely loved them. I used to go around the whole apartment admiring my neighbours’ stars. Aren’t they just lovely?

So one Christmas, when I was in college, I pestered Acha to get me one. Off we went one evening, father and daughter, star-shopping. I dragged him along to numerous stores until I found the perfect one. Normally, he would’ve taken whichever star he found first in the first shop and bought it. Not exactly the patient shopper, my dad. But for once, he seemed as excited I was, to buy a star.

Shiny ones, huge ones, small ones, ones with intricate designs- we found loads of varieties. But I didn’t like any of them. I wanted one that, when I looked at it twinkling in my verandah in the evening, would make me smile and appreciate the spirit of Christmas. Not one that would hurt my eye with its glossiness and give me the feeling of being in a very tacky discotheque. Nope, I didn’t want a disco ball.

After a couple of hours of rigorous searching, many rounds of screening and elimination, we finally found one. It was very simple, the simplest of the lot. There was nothing outstanding about it. But the jolly little santas on the white background brought a smile to my lips instantly.

I was like an excited bunny all the way back home. I couldn’t wait to hang it up. I didn’t even let dad change clothes or have a sip of water once we got home. It HAD to be up immediately. And so he pulled out a few wires, found a bulb, and hung it up. I spent the entire evening outside in the corridor, admiring my star. I knocked on my neighbours’ doors, dragged them outside and showed it to them proudly. I just loved the way it lit up our corridor. Before going to bed at night, I went and peeped at it again, said a ‘Goodnight’ to it, and went to bed a happy, excited person.

For the next couple of days, I couldn’t wait for it to be dark outside, so that I could switch on the star-light. I didn’t let Amma or Acha switch it off till late into the night.

One morning, I was standing outside in the corridor, talking to Ritu Didi and Amma, when I felt something amiss. I glanced up at my star- and all I found was a bulb hanging there.

Somebody had stolen my Christmas star.

I don’t know which bastard could do such a cheap thing. A Christmas star, of all things?? And that too such a simple one? Till date, it’s a mystery. Where could my star have gone? No, it could not have got torn and flown away in the wind, because there were no remains of paper or the string on the bulb wire. It had been neatly cut away.

I haven’t bought a Christmas star after that. I was heart-broken. I know it’s over-dramatic to be so dejected over such a simple thing, but to me, that star was special.

Dad bought another star a couple of years back. It’s big and shiny and twinkly and lights up our verandah.

But it’s not as pretty as my Christmas star.


I didn’t want to write a negative Christmas story, but I wanted to share this with you guys.


What are your favourite Christmas memories?

P.S: I’m going home on 24th morning. HOME! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

Images courtesy Google and The Raw Hen (also goes by the name of Rohan)

December 16, 2011

Two Fates: The story of my divorce- Book Review.

I was in a crappy crappy mood a few days back. As in, REALLY CRAPPY. I was ready to bite off a few heads. There was an invisible neon sign around me that said “Beware. Cranky woman inside. Will bite.” I got home, had dinner, and went straight inside my room with a copy of ‘Two Fates: The story of my divorce’ and locked the door. I did the customary ritual that I perform with every new book- read the last two pages first. Then I flipped to the front, read the dedication, acknowledgements etc, still with a scowl on my face. Five minutes later, I was laughing my head off. I had even forgotten what I was so upset about.

It’s one of those books that you can call un-put-downable. And the fact that it was written by a blogger who I have been following for a long time and whose writing leaves me open-mouthed every single time, made it all more exciting for me.

“Two Fates: The story of my divorce” by Judy Balan, is about Deepika and Rishab, a Tamilian ponnu married to a Punjabi munda. They fell in love, fought with their parents, did a lot of drama, got married, and now four years later, they’ve fallen out of love. Not so uncommon in today’s time and age. They fought over kissing with morning breath, leaving the toilet seat up, fart jokes and indulged in meaningless sex. So they decide to put each other out of misery by getting divorced. Simple, right?

Not quite. Because now, the families of the two have fallen in love with each other. There is major North-South bonding happening, and over all the sambhar-vadas getting mixed with the butter chicken and rotis, Deepika and Rishab find themselves in a fix. How do they get divorced when the families are so obviously in love with each other? Not just that, they consider Deepu and Rish as the perfect couple. The rest of the story is how they plan to get divorced, and in the quest to get away from each other, they find themselves drawn more strongly towards each other. And in the process, they discover what they truly want to do with their lives.

Judy is a self-confessed Grammar Nazi (Psstt! She’s a Virgo too :P), so even if you scrounge the book with a magnifying glass, you won’t find any errors. If you’ve read her blogs, you will also know that her language is impeccable. Neither too flowery, nor ordinary. Just right. And her book is just like that. It screams ‘JUDY!!’all over. And that sense of humour. Simply superb. It will leave you guffawing aloud. And the best part is, it all seems so effortless! There is no forced humour. She’s taken a dig at every possible cliché that you’ll find in your run-of-the-mill love stories. And we the likes the funnies, don't we?

The battle-scenes between the two protagonists are highlight! So cute are they, that you would want to have fights just like that. I swear. And if you’ve read “Two States: The story of my marriage”, you will enjoy the humour even more. :) Now here’s one more author who will manage to make India read.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading her blog for a while, and also because I comment on her posts and inbox her on FB once in a while, all the while I was reading the book, I felt as though I was reading a book written by someone I know very well. Someone of my own. And it thrilled me to bits that I could actually let her know personally (or as close as I can come to ‘personally’ on FB) what I felt about the book. And she was sweet enough to reply to it promptly.

So go buy the book pronto. And instead of placing it in the shelf and forgetting about it, read it. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Dear Judy, please write your second book soon. I want it ready to help me through my next bout of depression. Seriously.

December 13, 2011

An atrocious love story

Some of us write. Some ramble. Some jot down stuff in their diaries. Some of us type and save it as a draft in our phones.

And some, like my guest blogger today, scribble. And that too atrociously, no less.

And he scribbles all the way over from Germany, where he is pretending to study but is actually lusting after cars and going on vacations to Switzerland (that I'm not even remotely jealous of. Hmmph). More than just a blogger, he is a diligent reader and critic. He doesn't believe in mincing words. His subtle sense of humour has had us all rolling on the floor and laughing. And he somehow, SOMEHOW, manages to write without any exclamation marks! I just don't know how he does that. Seriously. A fellow weirdo-Virgo, he is one of the few of my blogger-friends who actally GETS me. In many ways, I feel he is the male version of me (you lucky dog, you!).

If you still haven't got who I am talking about, come here, let me give you a knock on your head.

Ta-da! Here's Atrocious Scribblings, or Sringo as I like to call him (long story. Some other time).

When I requested (Alright! Ordered) him to write me a guest post, he promptly responded with yes and sent me the post within a few days(I know, right!). Then he put on so much of formality, I wanted to go all the way to Germany and whack him on his butt. After asking me a million times whether the post is ok and whether I would want him to redo it, or whether he should write another one, I finally told to shut the eff up.

So here is AS, talking about his love story. And just like a Yashraj movie, it has picturesque locales, beautiful characters, and a killer ending. Imagine 'Tujhe dekha tho ye jaana sanam' in the background, if you will.

My Love Story

Being a 20-something is difficult in this day and age. People on either side; the 30-something’s and the Teens see it as the place to be. Little do they know about the pressures and struggles involved in being a 20 something these days. Especially a 20 something in a land far, far, far away from the one he deems his own and more importantly in love. I`ve been asked this one simple question in all possible permutations and combinations and it all boils down the simple humanistic curiosity behind the intrusive – What is your love story?

So here goes mine.

It was during my first few hours in Germany, a land I had chosen to bring myself to, to hone my craft and better my life for the good. I stood blank and clueless in the Baggage claim area of the airport in quiet contemplation as to what the plans destiny might have in store for me in the Land of Cars, Beer and Bratwurst.

Tugging 50 kilos of luggage on a minuscule trolley to the railway station at the basement of the airport is not something you would ideally like to do on your first day abroad but that was what Karma had planned for me. The chilly weather was not helping matters one bit as I waited impatiently at the railway station. The moment I caught a glimpse of her, it was pure magic; in a flash all the chilliness seemed to vanish and was replaced by comforting warmth enveloping my chest. I knew that very instant, something special was going to unfold.

She came galloping into the station drawing the attention of a crowd of 40 odd people in what can only be described as Angel like fashion. Angelic she indeed was, dressed in impeccable white with an elegant red border she gave me the impression that the big guy up in the heavens who had been oh-so kind to many of my friends had finally found the time to send me an angel and how; In a manner that would put Shahrukh Khan’s romance in DDLJ to shame. It was undoubtedly love at first sight.

I did an imaginary fist pump on learning that we were going to be travelling to the same destination, as we set off on the almost hour long journey. I could have sworn our hearts were racing at more than 300 kilometres an hour in no time and I was instantly reminded of what Einstein once remarked ‘When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour.’ and sure enough time seemed to gallop like a prized brown stallion being controlled by its tactful jockey.

Throughout the journey I was so awed by the beauty and the peace within her that I just sat in my allotted spot silently admiring her as we passed by several crop fields, lush greenery and the serene German countryside until destiny caught up with us and we had reached the end of the line.

I was finding it very difficult; both literally and figuratively. Literally owing to the big pile of luggage that I was to push and shove again and figuratively because it was her I was destined to go away from; with absolutely no certainty on when or even whether our paths would cross again. With a heavy heart we parted our separate ways to proceed to our respective end destinations. I could only walk a few paces at a stretch and kept turning back in the wild hope that she would reciprocate; with a huge pile of luggage to tug it seemed like an intelligent enough excuse to me. I kept walking to another platform until I could see her no more.

She was gone forever; lost in the hustle and bustle of the milieu.
Or so I thought, until I managed to spot her amidst the chaos and snap one quick picture of her for my own sanity.


PS: Anyone dare call her a ‘TRAIN’ will find themselves run over by her before you can say ‘I.C.E’

Thanks a ton Ms Spiff, for letting me Atrociously use your blog space for my Scribblings.


If you guys haven't read his atrocious scribblings yet, then go over right now and spare me from giving you one more knock over your head.

December 8, 2011

Abu jaan

Abu came into our lives as a tiny, scrawny 2-month-old baby. But we had already decided that he was the most beautiful baby and that we would love him no matter what, even before he was born. Even while Ritu Didi was carrying him, we knew he would be one of us. More than Ujesh Unlce and Ritu Didi, his parents, the four of us- Acha, Amma, Chechi and me- were excited about his arrival.

Didi left to Chandigarh for her delivery. It was a complicated case, because she was highly diabetic. The day she went into labour, we heard that it was going to be difficult. She had gone into labour two months prematurely. Ujesh Uncle kept us updated about what was happening. He was tensed. There were chances that they won’t be able to save the baby. We were all praying fervently for the baby we had never set eyes on even, but were waiting excitedly since the past seven months for. Finally uncle came and told us and Abu had entered the world, after a lot of difficulty, drugs and drama.

Abhishek Sharma was born on 23rd August 1998.

And ever since that day, he has had two dads, two moms, and two sisters. Five years later, one brother too.

He lived in our house, pretty much all the time. Didi used to put him to sleep, place him on our sofa and then go for her bath and to finish off her chores. So tiny was he, people who came to our house were hardly able to make out that the small lump on our sofa is actually a sleeping baby. He slept at our place, he ate at our place, he played at our place. He grew up at our place. Since his flat was right opposite ours, it didn’t take him much time to just cross over and come to our flat. From 7 in the morning to 12 at night, our door used to be open all the time, because a) it was getting tiresome opening the door every five minutes to a tiny little fist banging on the door and yelling “Viji Mummy, darwaza kholo!” and b) he had figured out how to lock doors from outside. So just when we had to go out somewhere urgently, we would pull on the door and realize that Sir Abu had locked it from outside. We would then stand at the window and yell for one of our neighbours to open the door for us. So ya, it just made better sense to leave it open. We had to device new ways to make him eat his Cerelac, because he was a very fussy eater. Chechi and I would sing songs, jump around, twirl that spoon-fork-knife set (that looks like a merry-go-round) in his face, and when he’s watching open-mouthed at his two mad elder sisters, Amma would shove a spoon of Cerelac into his mouth.

He called my dad Chandran Papa, my mom Viji mummy, and of course, we were Lachu Didi and Ammu didi. Chech and I used to play with all his brand new toys first and only then give it to him. He would say “Didi, please, abhi mujhe khelne do na.” He was more fond of my mom’s mallu cooking than his mom’s Punjabi style, and he had no qualms about accepting it. We would make fun of him saying that if his Viji Mummy gave him even uncooked dough to eat, he would polish it off happily. Didi used to cook something and stealthily give it to my mom, telling her to feed it to him passing it off as her cooking.

He would take serious offense if we introduced him as our ‘neighbour’. Once I had gone to pick him up from the bus stop when he returned from school, and a girl from his school who got down at the same stop, who had only seen his mom coming to pick him up, asked me who I am. I told her that I’m his neighbor. I could feel a small face staring up at me. Once we got home, he complained to his mom that I had called him my neighbor. “Why did you call me your neighbour?? Why didn’t you say I’m your brother??!!” And he threw his socks at me. Well, that was the last time I made that mistake!

He grew up with us. And in that process, we became kids once again. Amma made him eat, Acha taught him Malayalam (his first Malayalam words- the song Kandu kandu kandilla- and he speaks flawless Malayalam. He can even read and write), Chechi and I made him a bakra for all experiments. He had long curly hair till he was about 3, because they have this custom of shaving the head for the first time at a religious ceremony (it’s called Mundan, I believe). So till then, he had soft curly hair lovelier than that of a girl’s. Chechi and I used to drape a shawl around him like a saree, tie his hair into a ponytail, put bindi, chain, bangles etc, and dress him up like a girl. And then we would click his photos and laugh at him. We were such bullies. Paavom… he just loved his didis too much to protest. Whatever we did, he would play along with it. We made him dance, we made him sing. Our world revolved around him. His first b’day celebration was no less a celebration for us too. Exactly five years later, his brother was born. Yup, on the same day. They share the same birthday. :) Aditya Sharma, Vibhu at home. I lovingly call him Toofan, because he’s nothing less than one. He too followed in his brother’s footsteps and spent most of his time at our house.

But Abu was special. He was OUR baby. Our brother. Our son. They shifted from the apartment a few years ago, but even now, Abu spends most of his time at our place. He’ll come home and say “Viji mummy, I want your rice and sambar ok.” And Amma, just to pull his leg, will say “No no, you go home. I don’t have any food for you. Go tell your mom to cook for you.” He’ll go give her a hug, say “You’re also my mom only no”, go out to play with the apartment kids, and will be back promptly by lunch time.

Ya, Abu is special. It’s hard to believe that he’s grown up. He’s as tall as me now. Every time I go home, he’ll first give me a crushing hug and then come stand next to me and say “I’m as tall as you Didi. Next time I’ll be taller.”

And now, when I see my little Abu jaan on Facebook, uploading pics of himself in his new spectacles, commenting on his friends' pics and updates and posting links of songs from “I Hate Luv Storys”, ennala thangamudiyaathu kadavule, thaangamudiyaathu! :/

Ennala thaangamudiyaathu kadavule- I can't bear it, god!

December 7, 2011

Double the joy

You know that One Day match in which Sachin Tendulkar took 200 runs? You remember not going for sussu even, in spite of drinking four bottles of beer, sitting in front of the TV, praying fervently to the cricket gods to let our very own God of Cricket hit his very first double century in One Day International- the very first double century in ODI by any cricketer EVER. You remember that moment when Sachin set a world record (one of the many he has set)? And do you remember how you cheered for him when he hit that 200th run? You jumped in the air, yelled, hugged surrounding people no matter who they were. Some of you cried, kissed the T.V, took off your t-shirts and other items of clothing. You cried out “Sachin Tendulkar ki jai!”.

Ok, now, jump in the air, hug surrounding people, whoever they are. Some of you can cry, kiss the computer screen, take off your t-shirts (or other preferred items of clothing), and cry out “Spaceman Spiff ki jai!”

Because my number of followers has hit 200!


No no! Don’t stop doing all those things I instructed you to do! This is also a momentous occasion wonly no!

Ok, enough with the exclamation marks. I’m starting to feel like the energizer bunny that’s had three shots of espresso.

I know I know, it’s not the number of followers that matter, it’s what you write that matters. But let me just bask in the glory for the time being, alright? Because tomorrow, the number of followers may come down to 199. Or 198.

Seriously. Over the last one month, two people unfollowed me. :( So that beautiful 200 may come down any day.

But till then, yay! :)

And Jane & John Doe gave me another reason to hop around excitedly. Thanks, you both!

Also, I allegedly rocked PeeVee’s socks. I know it sounds gross, but trust me, it’s not. In fact, it’s because of her award that I got those three-four new followers to hit 200.

Well, such a momentous occasion deserves nothing but the best music to celebrate.

Yenjaay folks! And don’t forget to sing along Silsila hai silsila! Over and over and over and over and over and over again.

December 1, 2011

…that it’s just meant to be

They fell into bed together even before they fell in love.

Not because they were desperate. Simply because it felt like the most natural thing in the world, you know.

They didn’t talk about how they will sit on their porch together and watch the sunset, deciding on names for their babies. They did not discuss about what sort of a house they will build, their house of dreams. He didn’t tell her how much he loved her laugh or how beautiful she looked in the morning. She didn’t appreciate how caring he is or how she loved the fact that he made her laugh.

Instead, they spoke about how much they wanted to kiss. They spoke about how they turned each other on. They spoke about how they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. They spoke about luscious lips and broad shoulders. They both knew, even without saying it as much, that they would end up 'doing it’, sooner or later, because, you know, it felt like the most natural thing in the world for them.

They did not want love. That’s not what they were looking for. Love was rubbish, they both agreed. It had only brought them pain so far. Their pasts had taught them that. So they had decided, mutually, that there were no commitments from either of them. Nope. None whatsoever. They didn’t want to give a name to this. They were happy the way things were. He had never felt this way for any girl. No girl had ever turned him on the way she did, and she wasn’t even a babe. But there was something about her. She hadn’t felt this sort of dizziness around any other guy. Each time he was around, the world stopped spinning around her. It was just him and her. In many ways, they were xerox copies of each other.

She knew that this may never last. She was no fool. And definitely not an emotional fool. She knew what kind of a guy he was. He was the kind who ran in the other direction at the mere mention of love and commitment. But at that point, that’s exactly what she wanted. No commitment. No future. No “Where is this going?” No "We'll go to Mauritius on our honeymoon." No "We'll have one son and one daughter". She was aware that at a later point in life, she might regret it, but she also knew that she didn’t want to live her entire life not knowing what being passionate about someone was. She didn’t want to regret that she had the opportunity to feel that way for somebody, but had let it pass because she was afraid to take a risk. She had never been a risk-taker, but she was willing take one, just this one.

And so she did. They did. It was the first time for both of them. The very first. And it was not tender and soft or anything of that sort. It was mad, urgent, crazy. They couldn’t wait to explore each other’s bodies. It was an adventure for them.

But when it came to the actual thing, they couldn’t do it. Because it was just too painful for her. They tried and tried. But he couldn’t bear to see her in so much of pain. She didn’t want to disappoint him, so she held back her cry. But the minute he saw her tears, he stopped. I’m sorry, she said. Never mind, he said. We’ll try some other time.

So they tried again. But it refused to work out. Somehow, it just wasn’t happening. How come when they show it in movies and write about it in books, they make it out to be so easy, they asked each other. They would try for a while, and then they would just lie there, exhausted. Exhausted just out of trying. And then gradually, they started talking more. Talking about their lives, their past, their dreams, their hopes. They started sharing about each other. They spoke about how they were both afraid to commit because they had lost faith in love. They spent many afternoons, lying next to each other, wondering what this was. He was still afraid to commit, and she still didn’t know if she wanted a relationship. She even told him that if he ever decides to walk away, she will never try to hold him back, but will always think of him as the guy who had stirred never-before-felt feelings in her. She would always remember him as the guy she had almost given her virginity to.

And then, somewhere along the way, it had stopped being just physical. Somewhere along the way, emotions had crept in, unknowingly. Somewhere along the way, love had crept in. The bastard.

And that’s when they stopped trying to have sex and started making love. And then it happened. Just like that. The magic happened. It didn't hurt anymore.

Maybe falling into bed together before they fell in love worked for them, in some weird, inexplicable way.

He’s still afraid of commitment. And she still considers him the biggest risk she ever took.

But they both know…