Thursday, November 25, 2010

Profiles: The Man With The Shoe Lace

Peeche Market.

That’s what the name of the market behind our colony had invariably become. Peeche Market. I absolutely hated it, it was a good ten minutes walk away, and once there, it was a dirty, stinky, and crowded vegetable and everything-else-you-can-imagine type of market. Basically, your typical Indian market.

For me the market trip usually meant me holding onto my mum or sis’s hand and being dragged around the area, as they went about haggling with the vendors or selecting garbage disposal bags. The benefits of being a kid! This also meant I was free to let my eyes roam around and notice all the tiny creeks and corners of the market…the people…the vegetable seller’s secret money stash…the little boy in the dhaba washing plates in the gutter water…the servant girl who always stared out from the balcony which seemed to separate her from the rest of the world…
…And the man with the shoe lace.

A crinkled boney man, sitting timidly on the pavement, looking through extremely thick glasses with a toothless smile, a white cloth laid out in front of him. And on the cloth, were an assortment of around ten shoe laces.

Black, white, red and yellow, smooth, patterned, short and long. The options were random and assorted. But always the same. Ranging from Rs. 2 to Rs 5.

That’s all I remember of him, for years of dragging along after my Mum. The same spot. The same white cloth. The same arrangement of shoe laces.
Black, white, red and yellow, smooth, patterned, short and long.
Rs 2 to Rs 5.

Now as I think about it, I realize how different my views were when I was a kid. I wasn’t curious about him. I didn’t find the old man odd, trying to make a living out of selling shoe laces, Rs.2 to Rs. 5.
Black, white, red and yellow, smooth, patterned, short and long.

For me he was normal. Someone I saw every time I went to the market. No different from the crumbling houses, the vegetable seller’s secret money stash, the dhaba boy’s dirty water, or the servant’s longing look on the balcony. He was the scenery painted in my head, the memory of every creek and corner, the blend rather than the bold.

It wasn’t until years later, that I told a visiting cousin of mine about him. His curiosity invoked guilt like I had never felt before. I don’t know how or why, but I couldn’t remember when I’d last seen the man. When the background and the memory changed in my head, I have no idea.

For the first time, I voluntarily headed to the market along with my cousin. I knew the spot, the image clearly etched in my brain. But the spot was empty. No white cloth. No arrangement of shoe laces.
Black, white, red and yellow, smooth, patterned, short and long.

My cousin asked a nearby vendor about him. He had no idea. I didn’t have a name. Just a memory.
My cousin was persistent. I was sad.
He asked around more. And finally we found someone, an old shop keeper, who had been around as long as I could remember.
“Chandan kaka ki baat kar rahe ho aap?”
(You’re talking about Chandan uncle?)

I looked at him. Blank. My cousin prodded him on.
He fit the description. The old man, who had spent his life selling shoe lace. He had a son. A son he put through school. Selling shoe lace. A son who went on to IIT with a scholarship, supported by shoe lace. A son who then earned a lot, had a flat nearby and cared for his father, who sold shoe lace.

And he sold shoe lace, till his last days, out of habit, the love of his life.
Rs 2 to Rs. 5.
Black, white, red and yellow, smooth, patterned, short and long.
The crinkled bony man.
The scenery.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sugar and Spice...and Some Things Nice!

In a desperate effort to dispel the myth that I’m the most negative and pessimistic person on the planet, who only cribs and whines about everything in life, I sit in front of my laptop today, trying to put together a list of the most amazingly awesome things that have happened in my life over the past year or two.

So…here’s me …trying to be positive:

I got through the one committee in college I had always wanted to.
I moved into a hostel I loved.
I got to know Grumpo, Slim-Boy-Fat and Pappu.
I had THE most amazing 22nd birthday ever!
I checked off the entire list of five star hotels in Ahmedabad.
I fell head over heels in love with Media.
I landed a job.
I got rid of Airtel.
I’ve had fun in Mumbai, I’ve met new people, I’ve eaten and danced to my heart’s content.
I shopped alone for the first time in my life.
I shopped.
A lot.
I realized TAM is a rare skill.
One I'm believed to possess.
My crazy roomie left.
And I love my current roomie.
Even though I barely see her.
I finally fell in love with a baby
The cutest thing on the planet
And I just can’t get enough of him!
I realized the importance of old friends.
And I try to stay in touch.
I learnt that I can actually survive absolutely alone.
And sometimes I can’t.
I fell in love with Delhi all over again.
I romanced winters.
I missed winters.
I learnt patience.
I learnt the importance of geeks.
I found the geek in myself.
I found myself.
I realized that my confidence can have an ego.
And it can get scared.
Rather easily.
I realized that I can fight.
Though sometimes I need a reminder.
And someone to remind me.
I realized life can be very good indeed.
Even if conditions apply.
In tiny font.

P.S. And Oh!!!! I have the most amazingly curly hair suddenly...on their own accord!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life With A Blogger

It’s easy being a blogger. In fact just about everyone I know now has a blog. It’s a beautiful thing isn’t it? It’s the one place you can share your wonderful experiences, your complaints and views, opinions and perspectives, and whine about everything in life in general, without the fear of being judged or reprimanded by the world, well usually at least. And in my head, at least.

Of course it’s a completely different thing that anything and everything I write is being used by your brain to form an opinion about me and an opinion about my opinion of myself. But then if I start taking that into consideration, chances are I’ll talk as little and diplomatically on my blog, as I have often forced myself to, a lot of times in my life. And I don’t like that. This blog, now around for more than six years, is one of the few connections to my past and who I really am, and I’d rather not spoil its sanctity by pretending or holding back on it.

Anyway, coming back to the point, as I was saying, blogging is the most amazing release of all the built up emotions and thoughts most people have bottled up inside them. It doesn’t matter whether you can write or not, what matters is that you want to systematically let them out. Of the blogs I love, one friend writes one liners every few days which give the most deep insight into her life at that moment. Another lets out the most humourous sexual thoughts, yet another follows a random posting algorithm to let out whatever she feels like, another writes under a pen name. I’m not sure what I do. Maybe there is some logic or pattern I follow, but that’s another thought for another time.

What got me wondering right now however, is while life is all nice and flowery for bloggers, it cannot possibly be so for the friends or loved ones of bloggers, isn’t it? Everything that happens in my life doesn’t happen in isolation, it’s caused by the people around me, or affects them in turn. And while I happily go ahead and rant about all the thoughts and feelings in my head about the situation, they inadvertently get mentioned on my blog, under a pen name, anonymously or subtextly (I know that’s not a word, but what the heck). And while I’m gladly checking Blogger Stats and smiling at the number of clicks I get within the hour (around a hundred every time, thank you very much), they’re the ones getting troubled with calls or just the simple knowledge that the world (talk about my ability to exaggerate) now knows, or worse, is at a liberty to guess what might be going on in their lives.

It cannot possibly be easy living with a blogger.

On the other hand, I’m not a tweeter, so maybe they should still be a wee little bit thankful.

P.S. Grumpo, Pappu, Fat-boy-slim, Le Dudes, and the vegetarians and filmy people of this world: I’m really sorry if I have ever managed to piss you off, or worse, embarrassed you through this blog.
Of course, I’m not promising I won’t do it again.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Land of Dreams et al.

I can feel it in the very essence of my bones. Resonating through the frayed nerves, mixing with the very base of my blood and existence.
I always feel it, and it takes all my will power to keep it within me.
I’m about to lash out. Illogically and emotionally. Big time.


That amazing land where singing is second nature to everyone from a baby to the 200 year old granny, and dancing around trees is commonsensical to one and all.
The land where the spoilt rich girl falls for the oh-life-is-so-poor-but-beautiful servant.
The land where forty year old men can pass off as college students.
The land where the spot boy becomes the film star.
The land where life is beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Bollywood as much as the next person, and pay amazingly huge amounts of money every other weekend to contribute to the ever growing pockets of the producers. But oh -my-God. How in this whole wide crazy world can people give Bollywood the right to define their lives????
Or worse…expect it to define mine?

How is it that there are so many people in this world who believe that life is meant to be beautiful? That life is about seeing the beauty in small things and the people and that money doesn’t buy happiness? That it’s good to be romantic and see the romance in every freaking thing in life? Getting drenched in the rain, little cute kids, the mountains and the sea, the first smile, the first kiss, the view from the top, the wind, the inspiration from the road, the love and the villain, the sexiness and the lust, the crowd and the local train, the first time the eyes meet…the description of everything in life in terms of visuals and the feelings they inspire, rather than vice versa.

And believe me, till here, I’m still perfectly fine with things. To each his own. After all, Bollywood wasn’t created out of thin air, it is, I’m assuming, based on popular thoughts and beliefs.
But what really gets to me is the stubbornness of this lot.
If I can accept them, why is it so difficult for them to accept me?
The fact that I don’t see beauty the way they do? That I prefer my life unpopulated and clean, comfortable and cool, with money and without emotions, far away from the maddening crowd. Why do I disappoint them so? And why is it so difficult for them to believe that I can be happy in ways very different from them? And that, for God’s sake, it’s not their responsibility to show me what happiness is, and how I should go about achieving it?

Why is it so difficult to tolerate my views and my perspective?

And believe just for a tiny little second, that a thought and a feeling might just come to me before the ideal visual from a movie does?

Of Hope and Vibes

Hope and Vibes.

Two things I’m not necessarily known for talking about.

But there are times the two terms hit you, by their excessive presence, or mere absence.

I’m not necessarily a person who judges people fast or easy, and I have been known to make mistakes before. I personally feel I end up being so indifferent to people around me for so long, that by the end of it, it really just depends on whether they’ve still stuck around or not, and my judgement just chills and pretends to blow smoke rings in some dusty corner of my brain.

If that makes any sense at all.

And it’s the same when it comes to places, opportunities, things. It takes time for a like or dislike to register in my head, until something really pleases me, or manages to push all the wrong buttons at the same time. A hypothetical example perhaps would be asking me to take an auto to a place where no auto ever agrees to go, sit in an extremely hot room, with someone who has a total library of one topic to talk about, and eat vegetarian food….Immediate dislike. On the other hand, if you pick me up in a nice AC car to a nice place with continental chicken and talk about Media and the world, and of course, wear a good perfume…well...Get the drift?

But recently, in a span of two days, I’ve felt them…those eerie things called…vibes.

I went to a place which seemed perfect to me, something I’d dreamt about for quite some time, and finally got the opportunity to visit…and I disliked it…for no logical reason on this planet. Everything was there exactly the way I’d imagined it…and yet things just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. And I don’t feel like ever going back. Only one explanation in my head…vibes.

And the very next day, I forced myself to get out of bed and go to yet another place, out of obligation to someone, and basic logic. And I entered the building. It was a mess. Chaos redefined. Crowded, dirty, unorganized, unfriendly. And I couldn’t stop smiling. It just seemed perfect. It was all there…the vibes.

And all this weirdly gave me another thing I don’t usually believe in…hope.

Because somewhere, I think, God’s looking down at me and chuckling to himself (herself?!).

Completely enjoying giving me a taste of my supposedly preferred medicine.

Because if God is half as twisted as I believe him (her?) to be...

It's going to be one helluva life!!! :D :D :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Confessions of A Scentaholic

Everyone has quirks. Something they’re particular about. Something they have a ‘thing’ for. Something that turns them on.

As you might have guessed already, for me it’s all about the scent. And not just any scent.

Mens’ perfumes.

Sounds silly doesn’t it? Of course mens’ perfumes! All girls like them. So what am I khaoing footage for?

Because it’s the one thing I can’t resist.

Because for that one second, as the scent hits me, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and completely forget where I am…smiling like a complete fool the entire time.

I’ve been known to smile contently in elevators, taking in a lingering scent long after the owner has left, wondering who had been in them just before me.

I’ve been known to unconsciously sniff the guy on the stair above me on an escalator, much to the embarrassment of my friend.

I’ve been known to randomly smile at a guy I’m talking to, without any relevance to the topic of conversation, just because of his perfume.

And till date, after so many years, I still love the combined fragrance of the car freshener and a friend’s after shave and deodorant and perfume…The scent imprinted in my brain all these years, clearer than the memory of all the car rides themselves.

Hell, I’ve even smelt a ghost. (Another story…another time…)

And…if you by any weird chance…throw in a light blue shirt…

Oh My God.

Friday, November 12, 2010


So I really really couldn’t think of anything to write about.
So I asked.
And so now I have topics.
Weird ones to say the least.

  • ·         Importance of perfumes
  • ·         Porn
  • ·         Bollywood
  • ·         Delhi Winters
  • ·         The Ride to Nowhere
  • ·         Deepika Padukone
  • ·         Shoe Lace
  • ·         Writers Block
  •        The 100 Truths

So here goes.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


So I have a friend.
A good friend.
Who has been after my life forever to mention him on my blog.
Pleas of whom I have been continuously ignoring.
With good reason.
Because when I do finally decide to write about him, this is what comes out.

Name: Slim-Boy-Fat
Current Location: New Delhi
USP: Whiney and attention seeking
Most often spotted: In love and regretting it

Perhaps a bit of background would help. Slim-Boy-Fat is my friend from college. I didn’t know him throughout first year at all. And knew him all too well in my second. I didn’t really have a choice you see, you can’t possibly ignore him if you live in the same hostel as him. He makes sure of that.

He’s the one who you’re most likely to wake up to.
His attention seeking loud voice of course.
He’s the one you’re most likely to throw your shoe at from the first floor.
To give him some attention of course.
And he’s the one whose speakers you’re most likely going to kick.
To stop the annoying weepy and romantic songs, of course.

But he’s also the one you’re going to run to when you’re bored.
His gym dance the one you’re going to copy in the party.
His pillow the one you’re most likely to soak with your tears.
His bike the one you’re going to sit on to get away from life.
His company the one you seek when you randomly want to walk in the middle of the fields.
His room the one you choose to vandalise, when you’re really frustrated.
His friendship, selfless and forgiving, the one you’re going to hold onto, for the rest of your life.

Hence I don’t care if he updates his Facebook status like it was Twitter, and sounds more depressed as the day goes on.
I don't care if he types like a ReTaRd, which by the way is damn difficult to do!
I don’t care if he’s rude to me and tells me I’m making the worst mistake of my life, when I feel I’m making the best.
I don’t care if he makes the same mistake over and over, because I get to say “I told you so!!”
And I don’t care if he hates this post, because right now, I just want to hug him and thank him for always being there!

I love you, Slim-Boy-Fat!!

P.S. Lay off the aaloo parathas for a while...u might become slim again!! :P