Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

> Told suspicious security card at college gate, "Hum purane students hain, yaaden taaza karne aayen hain!" Where confident and authoritative failed, bambi eyes and plenty of "Please bhaiyya, bas dus minute main vaapis aa jaayenge, promise!" worked like a charm. Heh, men are such suckers, and no we have no pride.

> Wandered around the place and got completely disoriented because fucking progress has ensured that those lovely green lawns where we'd spend hours bunking classes, have now grown ugly brick buildings like a rash. Goddamn progress.

> Got into TGIF after driving around Connaught Place (and I will NOT call it goddamn 'rajiv chowk') three times, in an attempt to find someplace that served cheap alcohol. After attempt three in a rapidly heating-up car, any alcohol was just fine.

> Went to Janpath and fulfilled the cold-coffee at De Pauls ritual. Ran into THREE other classmates doing the same. Exchanged gossip and phone numbers.

> Squealed at everything that had changed in the five years that I'd been away. Got punched by N and called a b******** tourist for acting like a, well...b******** tourist. Basked in the warmth of authentic punjabi-accented abuse.

Good times. *sigh*


I walked through a dust-storm today. Cloudy when I left home, and then the wind whipped up. Dust and leaves and the funniest sight - those little cottony balls of fluff that hold seeds, rolling faster and faster down the road as the wind gave chase.

I must've been quite a sight. Lone girl in a red kurti and jeans, hand held up to shield her eyes, the wind whipping up dust devils all around her, her magenta silk scarf struggling to make a break for it.

Not that there was much of an audience.

Just a few measly drops of rain though. And I was praying for hail. Have you seen one of those in Delhi? If you're outside when they hit, you're torn between wanting to take cover (those things *hurt*) and staying out because this is ice falling from the sky in a city that was an oven till a few minutes back.

And if you're indoors, you hear them rattle as they hit the windows, the AC, the mosaic floor of the balcony. When it's over, if you get outdoors fast enough and if it was a big storm, the roads are shiny black and the hailstones look like melting stars.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


She sees them from way off. Blue and white against the night sky, black on yellow, white on green. They're lit up by streetlights, headlights and on the quieter stretches, moonlight. She reads, rolling the words on her tongue, testing them, tasting them.

'Mehrauli'. Open-mouthed, soft-exhaled, palate-brushing. 'Motibagh'. Stronger, tongue-pressed-against-teeth, from the back of the throat. 'Dhaulakuan'. A complete tempest of a word.

The air smells of dust and dried flowers.

'Purani Dilli'. She reads, invoking Dalrymple's djinns. 'Shalimar Bagh', 'Hazrat Nizamuddin', 'Neeli Chatri', 'Kalkaji'. 'Hauz Khaz', 'Sarai Kale Khan' and then, 'Chirag Dilli'. "What an absurdly poetic name for a flyover," she thinks to herself. "Light of Delhi indeed!"

But she can't stop looking out the window, like some country bumpkin, trying to drink in a whole city in a half-hour trip. And her steady, senseless half-smile prompts her cab-driver to finally ask,

"Aap bahut dinon baad aayin hain madam?"

"Haan bhaiyya...kaafi dinon baad."

*Or, How to Make *Anything* Pretty.**
** I give her three days, tops. You?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to make an effective decision-making tool wish it had never been born

She sits on the cold floor, her back against the wall, her knees pulled up close to her chest and her arms wrapped around them. She picks up her pen, her sketch-pad, draws a line down the center of the page and starts writing.

1. "Lies. (in block letters, underlined twice. The second line so fiercely that the paper tears a little). Lies all the time. About everything. His family, his holidays, even his goddamn internships! Why would anyone lie about something like that?! I didn’t even get an internship, did it ever occur to me to lie about it? No! Lies about his mother, for crying out loud. Says she’s suffering from a life-threatening disease of the spine. And (of course!) she used to be a dancer. "

2. "Steals ideas from Creativity editions and passes them off as his own. I can’t believe how much I praised his India Ink idea, how slack-jawed with awe I was, how stupid I felt for not being able to come up with a concept even a fourth as intelligent as that. And how he was all modest and self-effacing about it. “Oh I was just doodling and it came to me. It’s no big deal.” Arrgh! D, you bloody stupid fool!"

3. "Copies down Robert Browning’s poems and claims he’s written them. Apparently, having the same initials as a Victorian poet implies that you are him. Apparently, he also thinks he’s the only one in college with a library card. And like that's not enough, he denies it so vehemently when confronted, that I begin to doubt myself.

And in the right column, in a much less forceful hand, she writes, “Makes me laugh.”