Friday, January 29, 2016

Wrong Turn

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Remember those mazes that you loved solving as a child? Where you have to make your way through and find the treasure? You know you have to reach the right place and there is only one way out. Sometimes you take a wrong turn and then you have to go back and erase your steps, in order to take the right one. What if that was not the way it was supposed to go? What if the wrong turn leaves you at the right destination? What if that was where you are meant to be, even though that was not what you had in mind or planned? What then? What then?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More than just another day

You kiss me goodbye before leaving my side. I am only half awake as I turn over and kiss you back sleepily. I hear you sigh one last time with my eyes closed. I turn over and crush my face into your pillow, on your side of our bed. It still smells of you and I snuggle underneath the duvet and it's almost like you never left. 

I can even feel the dent you left behind in the pillow along with a few stray hairs. After what seems like a long time, I finally feel content. I know you will be back. Just like how I know it in my heart that when we had said forever two years back, we had meant it. 

On days like these that you leave early, I miss our breakfasts together. How you would make me scrambled eggs, a bit on the runny side just as I liked while I buttered our toasts. Sometimes even burning them. I am a bad cook, unlike you. You can whip up dishes in a jiffy. And that's what had drawn me into you in the first place. How you paid no heed to the jokes and continued to do what you love. 

We had been reckless, eloping and getting married in secret. The photograph we had taken stands on our bedside table reminds of that night. Me laughing at something you told and you with your hands around me looking at me with an amused expression on your face. Of all the pictures that we have taken, this one remains by so far my favorite. 

A cold wind breaks through the window as I open my eyes. The bedroom curtains fluttering gently. That's strange. I remember locking the windows last night before going to bed. I climb out of bed and stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Blood shot eyes staring back at me, disheveled hair. Another night spending tossing and turning. It has been this way since you left. 

There is still a faint whiff of aftershave above the bathroom sink. I refuse to believe what they tell me. How can you be gone when I can still feel your presence? Like today morning. There are days when I don't feel you for days on end. But you come back, you always do. Forever was what we promised. And promises are what you have always kept. I splash cold water on my water and for an instant, I think I see a shadow in the mirror behind me. It's gone before I wipe my face. 

You and me. Smoke and mirrors. Scrambled eggs and badly burnt toasts. Late night rides and long walks home. Messy hair and butterfly kisses. Forever and beyond. 

Red And White

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Tiny slashes across her wrists 
Drop by drop, red against white
Blood on ceramic 
The physical pain now matching her inner turmoil 

A little compassion was all she wanted 
Her cries for help fell on deaf ears 
She was supposed to be immune 
Locking away her emotions like she was expected to 

Her sanity went oozing out 
One, two, three... 
Too much in such a little time
Life was what had happened to her 
In this corner of a dusty bathroom 

People like her had no place in a cruel world 
They were labeled as weaklings
Survival of the fittest was the rule
Weeded out one by one

Blade against smooth skin 
She had given up
But now she had a new reason to fight
To carry on living 
Inside her a new life bloomed 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Memory and I, we go a long way back 
I have tried to kill her many times 
Tried pushing her into a well 
From the edge of a cliff top 

But she was stubborn like a stain 
Refusing to leave my side 
She drained me, took away everything 
And so I decided to trick her 

We went on a journey by boat 
Into the ocean at night 
Side by side, frolicking 
Sharing a jolly time 

It's time for you to go, I tell her 
She looks at me in panic 
I can see the pleading in her eyes
I try to shrug it off 

I take out my matchbox and light a matchstick 
In the flickering flame I see her weeping 
Before having second thoughts 
I light her on fire and watch her burn and burn

Burn till she's no more than a fistful of ashes 
Lying on the floor of the boat
I take it and scatter it in the water around me 
Watching it floating and dissolving, becoming one with the ocean

I look around, dawn is breaking 
The sky is turning a blushing pink 
I row back to the shore all alone 
Feeling strangely empty 

Her death was what I wanted all this while 
But now that she's gone, why do I feel so guilty?
Why this hole in my chest? 
I walk back to my life, each step heavy with exhaustion... 

Monday, January 25, 2016


Image Source: Francesca Woodman

I was a ruin when you met me. An ancient one at that. You fell in love with my cracks, the dust gathering around my soul. But you lost interest, you always do. 

Like the time you craved perfection, when you knew from the beginning that I was not. In fact, I'm scared of shiny, new things, unlike you. Things that have no soul; unblemished, untainted. 

My roots go deep. You prefer to admire me from far, yet, you will never make me home...

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 303

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Year I Turned Back to Books

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I have taken many vacations in my life. But the one that's imprinted in my memory is the summer vacations after my 10th standard boards. Though I have been a reader all my life, there came a reading slump during my high school years due to lack of libraries and the scarcity of books in my life. My reading for these few years were limited to the Harry Potter books that I read as soon as it came out, which was once in a blue moon. But that was about it. The various tuition classes and the board examinations and vast syllabus left me with little time to devote to my first love. 

So when I got a long break after my exams, we went back home and this was when I rediscovered my love for reading with a flourish. This was the year I discovered Sidney Sheldon; a startling difference from the books that I was used to till then. These were labelled as 'grown up' books, meaning they had plenty of thrill that kept me up late nights devouring book after book. I still remember my first Sidney Sheldon book, The Other Side of Midnight. I was so in awe that I went and bought all his books that I could get my hands on. 

Now, these are books that deal with sex, murder, betrayal and what not. For the hormone filled, rebelling teenager that I was, these were my staple diet. The heroines of Sheldon's novel reveled in their sexuality, they did not shy away from desires; they were spunky and real (it was for me then). And just like the regular teenager, when I was admonished for reading these books, I made sure I read more of it. I also read The Da Vince Code and all of Dan Brown's books. It so happens to be a book fetish of mine- if I discover and love a new author, I kind of go overboard and try to read all their books. Yes, that was one adventurous vacation! 

The impact these books made me on was tremendous. I discovered a genre that I'm hooked to even today - thrillers. Crime, murder, mystery set against dangerous backdrops. But my most favorite among the lot are psychological thrillers. Gone girl, The Girl on the Train, Tell me your Dreams are among the few that top my list. Even today, when I'm stressed, I prefer to get lost in a world where the author dwells into the psyche of characters and it's easy for me to forget all my worries and just get lost in their world. 

And when I took to writing, this was a genre that I wanted to explore as well. I tried my hand at writing a few short stories and I'm still trying to get the hang of it. Though being far from perfect, I try to be a better writer with each word I create. Today, for some reason, I felt like writing about the books that have impacted me as a person. At the risk of being labelled a psycho, I continue to dwell into the minds of complicated characters. I have come to a better understanding of people and that they are not all good or bad, that sometimes even good people can do bad things. It's just a matter of perspective. 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Tea Shop

Image copyright: Anaz Jaffer 

She watched the tea leaves simmering inside the hot water, turning a shade of deep amber before adding spoonfuls of sugar into it. The time was 4'O clock, a busy time at the tea shop. Most of their customers would come in at this time. A bead of sweat made its way down from the corner of her earlobes. The kitchen was small and stuffy, filled with smoke and kerosene fumes. 

"Eli kutty.. ," her reverie broke at the sound of his voice. Her name was Eliamma, yet for Chacko, she was always Eli kutty, from the day of her marriage. He took the tumblers of hot tea from her hands and took it to the adjacent room to serve. Looking out at the dusty road from the kitchen window, her heart clenched. No matter how hard she tried to forget, some days like this one always brought back the memories. Ones that she wished she could bury forever. 

As always, her mind wandered over to Joseph and Mathew, her sons. Joseph, her first born, who had come into her life with the joy of a rainbow. She had cradled him close to her, he was the apple of their eyes. Till that dreaded day when he had decided to play in the village pond with his friends. He was only ten, still a child. Some say he had lost his step, others dismissed it as a cruel twist of fate. Losing him was a grief that took her many years to get over. It still ripped her apart.

Then came along Mathew. Her serious and sturdy boy. Her baby who had come to her when she was too old to be a mother. He was nothing short of a miracle, which was why she wasn't able to ever say no to him, unlike Chako, who was always stern with his children. They had given him the best they could manage between the two of them. He had grown up fine. He studied well, found a decent job to support himself before getting married. 

He had wanted them to close up the tea shop and move in with him. Chacko had said a firm no even though they both craved to spend time with their granddaughter who was only two. Chacko was always a man of principles. No matter how little he made, he made sure to support all her needs without depending on anyone else. Depending on their son for even small errands was something he didn't like.

Though she tried not to dwell too much on these things, there were days like today. Days when the ache in her heart spread all over her body, grasping her in its clutches. Her eyes welled up and she wiped it on her faded blouse before Chacko came in and saw. She mixed the batter to make the bhaji which they served along with tea just as he came in. 

"Sit down, your feet have started swelling again. Let me handle the rest," Chacko insisted as Eli kutty went down and sat down on the stool in the corner of the kitchen. She leaned back, resting her head on the charred walls behind her and closed her eyes. 

P.S. A special thanks to Anaz, the talented photographer who was kind enough to allow me to use this image on my blog. He captured the picture in all the right emotions. I don't know if this is their story and I hope not. But this is the story that spoke to me from this picture. The story of Eli kutty and her Chacko. A melancholic one. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Image Source: Ed Ross

Frozen in time she stays 
Pain in her eyes unmasked 
Roses tumbling out of her hair 
She was called the queen of love

Many couples matched by this cupid 
But none saw the agony behind her smile
Nobody asked her for her story 
If they had, they would have known 

Nothing hurts more than unrequited love
Her heart belonged only to him 
But his heart was always another's 
At night she would howl out his name 

He never came, she stood waiting 
Many days and many nights 
To catch a glimpse of him 
Yet he remained hidden in the shadows 

Now they see her as endless beauty 
Melancholy in her eyes 
Waiting to be thawed 
To come back to life 

To breathe once again 
To love just once more
How do I know this? 
In her I see me..,  

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 301

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Crimson Red

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You slash me with your words. Invisible wounds inflicted. I bleed. My blood spilling in between my fingers, from the pores of my body and flows into you. A silent sob escapes my throat. 

You dip your pen into me, filling it with my life's essence as you repaint me in your words. You are applauded. How beautifully he writes. So much of pain in his words. How lucky is his muse to be loved so deeply.

But I seem to be the only one who notices that all your words are stained crimson red...

Sunday, January 10, 2016


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She was never one for small talk. 

So, heard you quit your job. Why? Weren't you getting a hefty package? I thought you were happy. She felt like running away from the intrusive questions thrown at her. She had escaped the confines of her bedroom in order to seek some solace from the loneliness that haunted her. But standing here, in the midst of a crowd of people she hardly knew, suddenly she wasn't so sure. 

The walls started shrinking in and she struggled to breathe. 

If it was a few weeks back, she would have found the whole situation funny. She would have gone to him and they would have laughed about it over a glass of wine. Now that he's no longer there, there seemed too much time and very little to do. 

Stepping out onto the balcony, she lit her cigarette and took a deep breath, the smoke filled her lungs. The place was deserted, other than the smoke that others had left in their wake, she was alone. It was a beautiful night, a moonless night. Her thoughts wandered over to him again unwittingly. Poetry, she mused. That's what he had called her. Her body was his canvas and he wrote sonnets on them. Till one day he probably realized that he had outgrown her. 

The walls expanded. She could finally breathe. Away from the swarm of people, alone with her thoughts, she felt a little less lonely. 

What's a beautiful girl like you doing alone smoking in the dark? A voice from behind invaded her thoughts. She turned and fled. 

She was never one for small talk. 

Book Review - Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Image: My own

From the book cover: As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and achieves triumphs, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into undocumented life in Britain. 

Years later, Obinze is wealthy in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. When Ifemelu decides to return home, she and Obinze will face the hardest decision of their lives. 

My thoughts: I had read, reviewed and loved Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun last year. Seeing all the raving reviews that Americanah was getting certainly piqued my curiosity and I finally bought the book couple of months ago. Just like last year, I wanted the first book for the year to be something special and I couldn't think of a better book to kick start 2016 with. 

I took quite a long time to read this one. At 470 odd pages, it is not a light read. I wanted to savor and relish it as much as possible and took over a week to finish it, but it was so worth it. You know you are reading an excellent book when you don't want the book to be over, yet at the same time can't wait to see as to how the story would unfold. 

This certainly proves true here and Ifemelu is a character that I fell head over heels in love with. She is pretty, definitely not conventional, makes her own mistakes - in love and in life, is a blogger (and this alone scores her all the points in my book) and at the same time, is connected to Nigeria and her roots despite living in America for many years. 

The plight of Ifemelu, right from when she is a teenager who is struggling with her emotions to the young and confident woman that she transitions into, is portrayed deeply. Dwelling on her fears and insecurities in a foreign country where she faces immense poverty and desperation; battling with depression, all changed my outlook of how I had viewed America till date. 

Adichie shows the raw side of not just people, but also the cultural differences and among the countries as a whole. There are not many books that I have read about race, but this one tackles the issue with an unflinching honesty and really opens your eyes to the prejudices existing in our nation even today. What I also loved was the nuances that the author has brought in, be it in the conversations between the hair dressers and customers in a small salon in America, or the relationship between two old friends meeting after years and the changes in them, each scene is well constructed.

Though the book deals with race and has passages from the blog that Ifemelu writes, at its heart is also a love story. Obinze is another interesting character in the book and though he is married to a beautiful woman and has a child with her, his heart still belongs to Ifemelu. Will the lovers unite when Ifemelu decides to come back? And if so, at what cost? These are the questions that keeps you guessing right till the end. 

There are a lot of other interesting characters like Ifemelu's Aunt Uju, her cousin Dike, Curt- the white guy she dates, Blaine- the American black professor at Yale and boyfriend with whom she shares a special bond, to name a few. The book has been set at the time of elections in America when Barack Obama was elected as the president. Needless to say, this affects Ifemelu in ways more than one.

I also loved the pop culture references throughout the book. Whether it is in the fashion, the books or the music, the effort made by the author is commendable. The language flows beautifully, each sentence is crafted so well and is a pleasure to read. In short, there was nothing I did not love about Americanah. This one comes highly recommended!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

To the people who broke my heart

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To the people who broke my heart,

You, who took my heart and shattered it into a million little pieces, thank you. That was not easy for me to say. I nursed a broken heart for many years and it took me only some tear soaked pillows, a handful of friends and many nights of tearing my hair out in frustration to finally say it out loud. Thank you for tearing my heart when I gave it to you. For betraying my trust. 

Because of you, I'm who I'm today. The brokenness that sometimes reveals itself no matter how hard I try, has become a part of who I am. Those words that I can write, ones that I get appreciated for, are all thanks to you. They reflect who I am honestly when the words flow from my heart.  

Yes, you messed up my head in ways more than one. There were times when I could hardly recognize the cold hearted person you had turned me into. Time is a funny thing. It heals wounds you wouldn't have thought possible. With time, there were other people who entered my life. People who showed me why it never worked with you, why it never could have. People who have stayed by my side through it all. Ones who proved to me that it was possible to trust again. To even fall in love. 

Getting over you did not happen over night. It took many, many years. But it gave me a chance to rediscover who I was before you came into my life. It gave me back my first love - words. Perhaps it is both a boon and a bane, to feel so deeply. I think moving on finally happens when you can look back on those times without a bitterness twisting your heart. I know so because I can today. Without wrecking havoc on my emotions. 

As much as I am thankful for the lessons and creativity that you gifted me with, I sincerely hope that our paths do not cross ever again. Do not nudge your way back into my life and head. Please don't even try. You were a chapter in my book, a meaningful one at that. But I have moved on and you should too. It's time to finally turn the pages. 

Thank you for everything, 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Stay for Me

Charing Cross Road, 1937 by Wolfgang Suschitzky

Time's running out 
My feel fly over the ground
In the rain, over muddy puddles
My skirt stained with dirt 

Yet I'm hasty 
I can't afford to lose you
I need to tell you 
Before you go 

Just how much you mean to me 
Oh, why did I wait so long
Is it because the thought 
Of losing you was suddenly unbearable?

Or was it because you were never mine 
To begin with?
Don't leave me all alone here
With just your memories for company

Bridge this distance between us
Take me away to another world
I'm almost there
Stay, stay for me...

Linking this post to Magpie Tales - Mag 300

Of Likes, Comments and a Perfect World called Facebook

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"He had first been excited by Facebook, ghosts of old friends suddenly morphing to life with wives and husbands and children, and photos trailed by comments. But he began to be appalled by the air of unreality, the careful manipulation of images to create a parallel life, pictures that people had taken with Facebook in mind, placing in the background the things of which they were proud." – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

So, I'm reading this amazing book by one of my favorite authors - Adichie. And as always when a book interests me, I make sure to read all the information I can on it. Mostly I lounge around Goodreads which is like a Disneyland for bibliophiles like me. I can spend hours and hours just browsing books over there. So, that was when I came across this quote from Americanah, that I'm currently reading.

I must say it made a lot of sense to me. I felt the quote was speaking right to me. Facebook has turned into such a dumping ground and there are times when simply going over my timeline exhausts me. What is it with the need for validation anyway? There are pictures that I come across from people that I have lost touch with; and as much as I try to be glad that they are having a good time with their vacation or marriage or kids or whatever it is that they are doing with their life, there is no denying the air of unreality around it. It all seems a bit too fake, people seem to try a bit too hard. To convince themselves and the rest of the world that they are indeed living the perfect life. I have no qualms in admitting that I have been caught up in this rat race many a times myself. 

Kind of like tit for tat, you feel a sense of wicked glee when you finally post something that you are proud of, or a picture of you having a good time. The likes and comments are an ego boost. But since when did we need the approval of random strangers about what we do or who we are with? Some of the best moments in my life are those that I haven't captured pictures of. I think those are the truly priceless moments in life. It could be a good time spent with a friend when both of you were busy catching up that something as trivial as taking a picture and immediately posting on Facebook wasn't the sole concern. 

People are so obsessed over social media these days and  are always busy posting or tweeting that it actually hurts to be with a group of people who are all glued to their phones. Um, excuse me, but I would rather be alone at home with my book if you are going to be busy ignoring me or worse yet, pretending to listen when it's clear that your mind is obviously not in it. So, thanks but no thanks. I think I shall pass. Another pattern that I have noticed emerge is a scratch back policy when it comes to Facebook. You like me, I like you back. Sounds harmless enough, right? It would have been hilarious even if people didn't take the whole thing so seriously. 

I have seen instances where people squabble and quarrel over silly posts and comments. Seriously, get a life. When it comes to social media, everyone seems to have pretty strong opinions. But come down to reality, I have very rarely seen people who would actually do something for these so called causes that they believe in. Let alone do, they don't even raise an eyebrow when they come face to face with such situations in real life. Hypocritical much?  

There were couple of instances when I was on the verge of clicking on the deactivate button on my profile. Unfortunately, too many of my accounts are linked together and as much as I hate the wasteland that Facebook has turned into, it is the sole means of keeping in touch with some of my friends that I don't see or talk to as often as I may like. And not just that, there are so many pages that I follow and updates on books and authors that I keep track of that I wouldn't want to miss out on at any cost. 

Facebook will continue to exist for me. The number of likes or comments no longer matters. I took down a lot of my pictures too recently. Like I said, it was exhausting. What little I do post from now, will be only when I really have something to say and not just for the sake of it. My personal life should remain just that- personal. I will continue to use my account to share and talk about all that's close to my heart and that will be about it. Meanwhile, take a chill pill, relax. Make mistakes, live in the moment, grieve when you have to and move on. Life is perfect only on Facebook!

Sunday, January 3, 2016



Waking up to the sound of rain rattling against your windows. An old song playing on the radio, making you reminiscent of the memories that always tags along with it. A long conversation with a friend. A walk in the rain with that someone special, hands clasped under an umbrella, getting drenched all the same but your heart soaring with each step. 

That lightness in your heart when you think of nothing but watching the pouring rain outside while sipping a cup of piping hot coffee. Two sugars, just the way you like it.

A text message when you least expect it. An old love making their way into your heart and you smile because it no longer hurts, it was just a beautiful lesson learned. Reading a book that came to you at just the right time. Re-reading an old favorite when you want to shut out the world and get lost in an alternative reality. Words heal. Always.

A long night drive, with no particular destination and just your favorite music for company. Star gazing. Writing a verse of poetry after ages and loving the flow of words from your fingertips. An unexpected kiss. Stumbling across an old e-mail. Poetry touching your very soul. And love, always love. With the one, with life, with the beauty all around. 

Today is one such day. That makes me want to believe in the little things. Signs that pop up just when you need it the most. Life is not all bleak, there is love and beauty all around. You just need to look harder and believe in yourself. 
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