Monday, December 17, 2012

Thank you for writing in. Didn’t quite expect this, and it warmed the cockles of my heart. 
(Eh, I has ‘em you know, cockles and cowbells and sunshine and suchlike.)
Some of you have an issue with anonymity—you can remain as anonymous as you like, your mail id could well be abcxyz@yahoo/ gmail/ whatever—as long as I have a mail id to plug in.
I will be leaving in a couple of days to watch endless oceans of sand, shiver in the chill that thunders down from the north, track the flight of the falcon above weathered sandstone,and suchlike.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This blog is going private in the new year.
For now, for ever, who knows?
If you've been reading and wish to continue reading, drop me a line.
Else, Godspeed and good journey, and may you days be suffused with goldspun.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The last few days have been an eye opener. Yes, I’m shading the words and yes, I’m cautious, wary still waiting for the wrecking ball to swing back, it has to, you know, oscillatory motion. Cainer in his impeccably accurate forecast had written about being shoved off a high cliff and just about managing to grasp a shrub, branch, whatever, to break the fall. And so it was. And so it was. After being shaken, punched, hammered at, I crumbled like the boxer in the corner but stumbled up again. How many times must one sit with one’s head held high regardless, reinvent the wheel --and why? Is this the only alternative? Why is this  the only alternative? If one knows oneself, and as one inches closer to the half-century mark surely one ought to know oneself, one begins to wonder at the predictability of events and the fault of one’s passive participation in their coming to a close, such a close. As the parent used to say, you cannot teach an old horse new tricks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

After a long long time I woke up this morning wanting to get up.What an incredible time I’ve had over the last two days. Linked to some cosmic source of energy…I’d say, if I believed in all that hoopla. 
Amazing crowds gathered to listen to Gulzarsir at the concluding session on the verdant lawns at Mehboob Studio, at a reading where Nasreen Munni Kabir’s book Conversations with a Poet, was launched. Yes, I stood in queue for an autograph and mentally touched his feet.  

Watched with a raised eyebrow the crowds that had gathered to listen to Chetan Bhagat earlier in the day, personally I like my t’s crossed and I’s inked, thank you, but feel free to do otherwise. 

Earlier, listened to Gulzarsir and Javed Akhtar discuss Manto with Prasoon Joshi, where Atish Taseer just about managed to make this pov heard—but what an audience! Lovely, enriching to hear about that era of words. 

Then listening to Rana Dasgupta, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Jeet Thayil, Anjali Joseph and Nilanjana Roy talk about the craft of shaping words… Rana Dasgupta called being in the flow almost a mystical process… maybe if I’d be that way sometime anytime I’d buy that…I raced after Daniyal Mueenuddin to get his sign on my slightly dogeared copy of  “In other rooms..”, but there was no way I could tell him though I dearly wanted to-- that I consider his work as fine as Munro’s, or Maugham’s. 

Watched Mira Nair in conversation with Shyam Benegal, watched the trailer of her yet to be released latest, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, wondered at her drive even as an eleven year old when she wrote pages of gibberish for all of six months, gibberish  that still earned her top grade at the convent she was being sent to, to show that she needed to be sent to a better school…what spunk, and what clarity.

Always thought litfests were melas, but this one was rich and well worth my limited time.

Friday, December 07, 2012

I needed to be shaken awake. Every rupee of the $2 submission fee paisa vasool. The best part about life events, long after they’ve matured and the pain/ angst/ misery/ tears/ anger, anything that evoked a “from the gut” reaction, the best part after the emotion has mellowed a bit so now you only scowl at it—the best possible use is CNF. Yesterday I very quickly rewrote large chunks of an CNF after the Editor pointed out that I didn’t seem terribly proud of my work, my cussed persistence in pushing on with a genre regardless of rejects and silences. Where did this come from, shrinking violet, this “Yes, but…”? Part nature. Part credit to the notable “ex-perts” who had set the standard at stratospheric Glimmer Train heights and deem any lesser effort worthy of cruel disdain. Somewhere, it stays with you and it slips into the words.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Chillar Party is very good. Hilarious.
Delighted to  read that it cost 5 cr and grossed 33 cr.
Smarter than the nonsense Balaji is delivering in one hour doses now, a national dumbing down.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Perhaps it was always as tough.  I know I took the first job I got post my degrees and then moved on, made it work
But 22 lacs  “donation” for an entry-level college  job?
I was aghast and then G told me—6 lacs for a primary school teacher’s in a district in Maharashtra.
If I were young, I’d be worried. Very.
(Not that its easier post the 40’s cliff.)
And have a backup plan, a second trade or source of income. A plan b as it were.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A leopard. Spots and all. In my backyard. Almost, that is. In the next to next to next apartment block. Not its fault—once a dense forest stood here, trees reaching skywards, sunshine filtering to the ground..One more reason to justify a really late morning walk.

Very interesting to see how CONFIDENT some people are-- even when they’re wrong.
“This doesn’t magnify,” she said.
“You’re looking at the wrong end, turn the binocs around”
“THIS is the right end.”
“Hmm are you sure? The manual said otherwise.”
“The covers are on the part that points away. Magnification is not good.”
Other than the fact that these binocs are different, and that thing there is an eyepiece, the part closest to the eye, what you’re supposed to peer through.
But I like the confidence.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The harbor line moves slowly, even languidly, its tracks tread overhead as it leaves its brash and competitive W. Rly cousin on the ground behind, these crowds  not as pushy nor is the clatter of the tracks as insistent . The stations have quaint names- Sandhurst, Cotton green, King’s Circle. Past Dockyard you marvel at the breeze and the miles of yet-green. And on the ride back it takes 45 minutes to traverse Peddar Rd and you thank the stars for small mercies.

All for two sweaters. One heavy duty, street-bought, a bargain, and yes, I’ve sent it to the dry cleaners. The other store-bought, all wool reversible and so expensive that my eyebrows are still raised. And binocs, am still figuring out which is the eyepiece.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


resident gargoyle, pillar base

greater peninsular railway insignia

offices, circa 1887, still in use

at the gate

above the hawkers

VT station. I got pictures if nothing else.