Archive | June, 2009

Tweet This

30 Jun

So confess, how many of you actually glance over at the sidebar on this page?

For those who don’t, read this:

India Helps is now also on Twitter. We’re at If you’re a fellow Twitterer, follow us for updates and ways to learn how you can help. We’re likely to be most active during and immediately after a disaster, but do keep yourself in the loop because we’ll have regular updates too. Already, we’re looking for a physiotherapist in the Vikhroli, Mumbai, area for a 26/11 victim and a monsoon shelter for our pavement school children. Please spread the word, retweet and help us help India.

Many thanks to Chandni, who’s already twittered about us and puts up so many of our causes on her Fund-a-Cause page.

Thank you for your time, people. Regular programming resumes tomorrow.

Shooting From The Hippo

27 Jun

a.k.a. Unpublishable Saturday Afternoon Whimsy


Jamshedji the Hippo lived in Cooverbai Pond

He was born and raised in its glorious mud

After his Daddy did abscond.

Growing up among sisters, he would pluck lotus flowers,

String them, wear them, and play pretend

For many afternoon hours.

Listening to Beethoven, he would twirl a dainty leg,

And settle down at the end of day

To swig a Parsi peg.

He would pray a tad too earnestly for pretty, pretty Daisy

To waddle over and say hello

But no, she was too lazy.

His hairdresser was Suki the Stork, who labored all in vain,

Try as she might, it was a fight,

To manicure that mane.

If you’re trying to glean exactly where this ditty is going,

Let me know, will you, kind soul,

For I am certainly not knowing.

Stop by, say hi and share a drink, these lines will shortly end,

The author doesn’t appear to think,

But will be glad to see a friend.

On Writing

25 Jun

It starts with the mildest of anticipation, a sense of prelude, the uncharted liberation of an empty Word document.

I pause, even though the sketch has been formed, for the lines to get darker, firmer, definitive. Shards cohere into rapidly swirling aerial whirlpools, spilling out into letters, words, and then lines sliding off the page. I can take no credit—I will not—only convey what needs must be told, for holding words within, like ingesting too many groundnuts, routinely fosters belly aches.

And finally, when it leaves you, there is a sense of relief. A package sealed, a job done, the closing of another sub-chapter in that coffee table tome we only occasionally browse. Applause is extraneous, the act itself organic, a past I am all too comfortable leaving behind.

In Honor of the Coming

23 Jun

Storm over the Mandovi

Credits: OJ and her Canon Powershot. And the Boy, for being my watermarking teacher.

This is not a black and white picture. The ambient lighting makes it appear so. It was taken in regular scenery mode, less than 5 seconds before the storm broke over our heads. I have put it up in celebration of our first day of rain today, the latest arrival in a decade.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

21 Jun

It’s a good thing today is the longest day of the year. Because I needed pretty much all 13 hours of daylight to hike beyond Bombay and into an adjoining district to reclaim Lapwanti from Mr. Fixit Superhero Whose Hands I Forever Worship.

So yes, she’s back, is good old Lappie. And consequently, I am too. (Okay that sentence was completely unnecessary. As is this one. And the one I’m going to type after this before I finally close the parenthesis. Allow me the thrill of caressing old familiar keys, even if they produce meaningless garbage such as this.)

Getting down to business, here’s two of the three tags/awards a response is overdue on:

June passed on a “Your Blog is Awesome” award and needs me to list 7 reasons why I am awesome. Sigh, the things I do for the blog world:

1. I am awesome because I possess perfect, kidney-shaped nostrils. I saw that, you know, that rolling of the eyes. Allow a girl her vanity, will ya?

2.I am awesome because I am one of 66,000 Parsis left in the world. That’s how small my ethnic group is, so I’m not even one in a million. (Don’t try calling me a dodo, though. It isn’t polite.)

3. I am awesome because I remember dates. All dates, any dates. But of course, this cruel world won’t appreciate my stellar talent when I remind them about the 34th birthday of their ex,ex. Sigh.

4. I am awesome because I’m cringing through this tag and will have to fabricate the remaining three points just to amuse you.

5. I am awesome because I’m a miserable failure at taking myself seriously.

6. I am awesome because I plant crumpled paper balls in hard-to-reach places just to check if my cleaning maids are doing their job.

7. I am awesome because even if you think I’m the crazy lady from hell for doing it, I’ll just go back and plant more balls.

Thanks, June!


Anu and The Girl on the Bridge and D passed on this


and need me to list seven things I love. (How easy would that be, were I Snow White.)

1. Girlfriends. A woman can never have enough close, supportive pals who tell it like it is and ply her with mint chocolate chip ice cream and tissues.

2. History. Specifically, the Partition, the Raj and my own. Generally, that of a mansion, a city and a filigreed silver teapot.

3. Water. Of the rain, pool, ocean, guzzle variety.

4. Flying. Nothing quite like the thrill of a plane sluicing the air.

5. My work with children. It’s probably one of the few things I take very seriously.

6. Bombay. The one I grew up in, the one I live in now, the one I’ve heard tales about from three generations of family.

7. Indulgence. Read spas, chocolate, diamonds, shoes, candles, hair masques, king-size beds.

Thanks, ladies. I accept the bling in chandelier earrings and Manish Malhotra threads.*


Mirror, Mirror

19 Jun

Why your legs are so fat?

~One of my kindergarteners to me, looking up my skirt whilst I bent over her written work last term.

Is your nose usually that bulbous or is it water retention?

~My doctor to me, a few days ago.

That’s right. Pile it on. It’s a good thing I was born with the vanity gene missing.

But Then Again, (Sometimes) You Just Gotta Let It Flow

14 Jun

a.k.a. Ooze

Sometimes the ties that bind me

to this relationship are so

slender, I spend afternoons

squinting at them;

At others, they are a noose,

sadistic knots chafing under my chin,

reminding me you must exist.

Questions coagulate around

the snapping,

Crackle with the inquisitiveness of aunts.

Neurons hum about me

I will not drift away

I am here,

I am still,

I am rooted,

I am.

Tug and summon your presence

I blindly chase blank skies;

Laugh into wells of rocks and

mocking echoes

that draw the pulley in.

We are an advert for glue

but my will is crueler,

Me of the inbuilt blades.

Sever in slow motion

Pull the screen on madness

And perform your last ablutions

in its entrails.


11 Jun

It feels like literary constipation. The words would probably come out if I sat long enough, but hell, it would be painful.

~Me to the BFF, trying to explain why I can’t write without my laptop.


4 Jun

Soli the Kamakli lives right below us. Now before all you politically correct people pounce on me for calling someone less abled (kam = less, akl=brains), I must hasten to inform you that I am merely faithfully reproducing matters as they stand. And since you are unlikely to storm the almost 100-year-old Parsi bastion of high ceilings and cool corridors that is our common abode, demanding a change in title for him, you must be content with Soli the Kamakli.

Truth be told, I don’t know his last name. Nor can I hazard a guess about his age. He’s always been around, you see. Loping rapidly and uncoordinatedly to the door as we climbed up the stairs, peering out of the peep hole in silence, and then yodeling our names as we ran past, his long, comical face stretching even further into an eternal oblong.

Soli the Kamakli is a lonely man. He lives with Viru, his man Friday, who makes three additional salaries a month by renting out the extra rooms of the house to newly-arrived job-seekers in Bombay. He is also a rich man, the heir to millions and the owner of a South Bombay Parsi housing colony. It is widely murmured among the old families of the neighborhood that there lies a curse on the Kamakli family: no heir shall be able to enjoy his/her wealth. His mother inherited a fortune, but died crazed and clueless. Madness lurks in their genes, you can see it in the crackling dilation of their irises, but for us, Soli the Kamakli is a much-loved fixture who sing-songs daily as we go past, telling us we’ve forgotten him, of how the world has no time, asking after each member of our home, making us stop a while and smile and shush the twinges of guilt we feel about being such busybodies.

Soli the Kamakli is a young old man, an ageless creature of antiquity, a sane man in an insane world and a clock that cuckoos the slipping of time. It’s been years since school and college, so many of us have moved out, swapped continents, returned and traversed mind-zones, but our time-trained ears are still treated to the sound of shuffling feet, a peep-hole shutter being lifted and the precise hush before our name is warbled.

I don’t know why I told you about Soli the Kamakli. He is not a famous man, or even a clever one. He didn’t discover relativity or father babies that resemble gamboling puppies. He lives his long days in sky blue bush shirts and starched white pyjamas and worn leather slippers that scrape soothingly. It is strange to be aware of one’s mortality at 30, but I realize that life is seeping us by. And I want to cling on, just a little while longer, to a time when my name is yodeled twice daily and a flute-like voice declares I have forgotten its owner. The stairs won’t be the same without Soli the Kamakli. Until then, I’m making sure I get plenty of exercise.

Still in the Boonies

2 Jun

…so don’t get your hopes up now. (Actually, you may.  My new battery is officially within city limits.)

But, 2 things:

  • While I’m at this archaic piece of equipment, bathed in fresher-by-the-minute perspiration, I am thrilled to announce a new home for Ultra Violet: Hop over. Feedback is very welcome. As are guest contributors.
  • Is it a coincidence or a convoluted, insidious plan that I come back to awards each time I’m away? ( Yes, yes, we are mucho full of ourselves and need to (a) poke a pin into us,  (b) go watch Angels and Demons for conspiracy theory inspiration. )

Thank you, Anu, for calling me creative with a K, and June, for saying this blog is awesome. Of course, since the blogging world simply must be at its productive best precisely while I’m away, I realize both awards are several posts old. But I’m still in the boonies, remember? Back soon, with appropriate bows and flourishes. But wait, it’s too hot.