Second hand living

The past couple of weeks I have started living second hand.

Books and LPs i have always purchased second hand, there is a romantic streak in me that gets unleashed. I found this Larouse English-French-English dictionary (1948 print) which had a note inscribed in the 2nd sheet. This is what I remember of it… “We met at the class, and I never knew when I would teach you je ne sais quoi and j’etre conjugation we would become amis for life..” and the note went on to describe shared coffees and verb conjugations. I was hooked.

Unfortunately, I lost this copy when we moved house and than I lost several more precious copies as I moved on through life but my penchant for living second hand never wavered.

LPs I got hooked on to after jiving to a funkily weird beat and singing ‘Heh heh Bombay, I know you never goin away. I know you will stay alive till judgement day. ” I’m sure most of you haven’t heard of this kookey number but if ever you get a chance, DO. It’s Remo Fernandes at his raw best.

I haunted the streets of Avenue Road and than Fort when I stayed in Mumbai for a spell to collect LPs of Funky Town, Jagjit & Chitra Singh at Wembley and oh-so-many-more and this was even before I had me a turntable.

Movies are the latest additions to my list of living life second hand, and blissfully so.

So, all the Hindu Jagran Vedike, moral policing, rape & pillage, atrocities against women, senior citizens and humanity, ludicrous statements from NCW, politicos, so-called pillars of society had me boiling in fury. And I turned to The Accused, V for Vendetta, Irreversible, 12 Angry Men, Memento & Clockwork Orange. Enough gore there to make you puke but more importantly, enough spunk & ballsiness that we, civilised folks, lack to tackle wrong doing the way it should. Idyllic in a gorey sense, but heh!!

I don’t intend to review these flicks for you but here’s a short line on The Accused. Jodie Foster & true life story make a heady combination of ballsiness to stick it in to people who deserved to be maimed to a slow death; and another on 12 Angry Men for Henry Fonda’s courage of conviction & standing up for what is right. Only wish I could do that more often.

Jack and Sarah, The Holiday, The Thirteen Chairs, Fast Forward, Step up 3, Breakin, Flashdance, AS good as IT gets, The Terminal and It happened one night carried me unscathed through bleak weeks and dark days.  It hammered the fact that Life is always about giving yourself a second chance, even if nobody else does.

And that good ole cliches like…

–For every cloud there is a silver lining

–the hour is darkest before the dawn

–every night is followed by day

–into each life must rain fall

and so on and so forth

aren’t so much cliches at all…

Like the wise lady said everything happens for a reason in this best of all possible world my friend, so make the most of what comes your way ‘coz life is too short and ’tis so easy to forget.

Cheers, and God Bless!!


Moving On

How apt! The year draws to a close, and I start preparations to move on uprooting myself after 11 bitter-sweet years of trying to grow some semblance of roots.

The adventurer in me welcomes the new, while the escapist shirks the responsibilities the move entails. This time I’m not as footloose and fancy free but the oars are firmly held.

Amidst all the great memories I accumulated during these years what I also have is unshakable dust & visible grime. Moping them off is not as easier as it was a decade back. Age does that. Your sense of things past is sharper than what is or what will be.

A small plaque hangs over the mirror which reads:

\\”To my brother- …..we have weathered all the highs and lows of growing up so close, of normal joys and problems we have always had our share. But in resolving difficulties and sharing moments fond we’ve formed a good relationship and built a lifetime bond..”

And as I troll through my documents to find a photo of the two of us together, I find none. All I have are  remnants of cards exchanged, rakhis tied, books gifted and endless memories of stolen trips, childhood mischief, juvenile fights, teenage confidences, and the hugs. Fills my heart to know I have one person I can always turn to and count on in my deepest despair and priceless happiness. Touchwood.

The cleaning spree continues and I discover a 1952 hardbound edition of One Thousand & One Arabian Nights and several leather bound classics with silverfish happily residing inside. I find a scribbled note to myself in Hugh Prather’s Note to Myself & look at the date of purchase – college but don’t remember what caused the angst?

Tattered, dog-eared copies of Jeeves & Wooster fight with the Blandings Family and Psmith, and just when I think where are all the other colorful Wodehousian characters, there pops out Picadilly Jim and Sally. Ah, life; Perfect life!!!!!!

Underneath the cobwebs I find a chocolate wrapper neatly folded and probably kissed (traces of lipstick) and a thread. Cobwebs from the mind are cleared and long walks down avenued,breezy r0ads spring up. Hand in hand, a stolen glance, a stolen kiss, a smile, a hug – love was in the air. I look around and I find the bill for a kitchen sink (my birthday gift) and I wonder, where is the love?!

A moth-eaten saree that still has the whiff of a wooden stove and I’m back in my grandma’s lap cuddling myself into a ball so I forget my maths homework and dad’s caning. Can’t believe I lost her so young to cancer. For some reason Nostradamus comes to mind and his prediction of plague and the apocalypse. But instead of filling me up with despondency I smile. My precious rock gifted this book when I passed out of seventh. He taught me English & the other assorted combination of subjects late into the night to the bells of Radio Moscow and the hzzzz of Voice of America.

Lucky this time, got this image that captures the three most important people. mater, nanu and my rock. Well thank God for small mercies.

For all  the scars and the grime, Life has been kind.

For all the people I lost, for all the relationships that fell by the wayside there is someone/something new.  Life is good.

So here I’m already and eagerly awaiting the next ADVENTURE.

XXXX and hugs to all those who have come by to read, comment and silently glance at this, my journal. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.

Adieu and Au revoir!! 




December always makes me maudlin. Tis the season to be jolly and forget all your follies, or so my wise friends say.

A good one to follow actually as the year comes to a close and a new one awaits at the threshold. Are you ready to usher it in with hope and gratitude and belief that you are looked after by a force greater than you can fathom?


Where were you when I was burned and broken
While the days slipped by from my window watching
Where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
Because the things you say and the things you do surround me
While you were hanging yourself on someone else’s words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun

Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life

These lines from Pink Floyd’s Coming Back To Life  resonates poetry, angst and hope. And it has stayed on with me through all the times I nearly got burnt and broken. When I mentioned this to a friend, his response: Shit Happens.

True, shit happens so have toilet paper handy 🙂

Whether it is your inner resilience, your belief in a higher self or a greater force, remember if something is dumped on you it will be eased as well.

So hold on and hang on. Remember, this too shall pass……

Have a good weekend, and stay blessed.

Here is where all things anew, something borrowed but not as blue….

This begins my new affair cutting out the old and pruning the not-so-old…… no more credit (cards or otherwise)… living in the now with what I have and nothing more.



With love comes responsibility and chocoball has thought me this. I promise to take him on daily walks, not molly coddle him and smooch him, not feed him all the gook I feed myself and promise to play with him even when the bed beckons me……

I’m growing up……………and thusly I got these two out of the carton box. To remind me I’m growing up….


With the Indian budget 2011 dawning close the media is reporting on budget expectations from CEOs to aam aadmi. Speculation and informed guesses say the government will not introduce anything new but plough in more funds to its pet projects including its rural employment guarantee scheme, healthcare scheme and education.

Which brings to mind a narrow alley i travel through each day and at times stop since the veggies are sold at half the rate as my nearby Hopcoms store.

On this alley are faces i see every day and some times shyly smile. from the lil’ boy who serves chai and washes glasses at the irani tea store as early as 6 in the morning to as late as 11 in the evening to the patient old man, blind and arms drawn up in a silent prayer outside the mosque as busy two-wheelers whizz by and sometimes stop and drop alms into a hanky spread close by.

This lil’ alley to me is India in a microcosm. Self reliant. A communal melting pot. Colorful. Stinking. Apathetic. Bustling with energy. Laidback.

The alley is lined with small machine tool shops, shops that sell old wooden doors and window frames, shops that sell fake lee cooper jackets and jeans, shops selling chai/dosas/kababs/naans/fried fish/vadas.

Women wearing burqas lugging crying tots in uniforms, women wearing the ghunghat and bargaining with the veggie vendor, women briskly selling hot idlis to autowallas stopping by for a quick eat.

Men sitting on benches and smoking beedis in the morning, the same men sitting and smoking beedis in the evening, youngsters going threesome on a luna, an indolent traffic cop sipping chai at the tea stall, men with their white caps hurrying to the mosque, men helping kids cross the road not stopping to ask what religion they belong to.

My India.

The alley has lots of secrets to those ready to share it. Great jilebis, lovely vibrant dresses, fresh veggies and tender meat, a ready laugh and some street philosophy.

Strewn with garbage that never seems to get tidied up. Yet every day as I pass by I see the BBMP workers pitchfork tons of filth into a waiting truck. Dogs wallow in it and people walk on it. Day into night and night into day. The garbage still stays and these brave folks doggedly remove it. Perhaps some day they will win the war.

The alley has the constant patter of feet. Children lugging bags, sometimes burdened by bags laboring away to school. Lil girls in burqas or the niqab attending school. Evenings a darker part of the alley leading on to a solitary house cordoned off by a flimsy curtain plays madrasa to young minds and at times a brightly lit store is converted to a madrasa as young tots run in to learn.

My lil’ boy stays on at his chai shop serving chai and washing glasses as a busy world stops and passes him by, again.

Perhaps, some day, he will get the RIGHT to EDUCATION, our government’s well-meaning RTE will probably touch him as well but till then he washes his glasses and serves his chai.


Dawn of a New Decade

Just finished a week long celebration of my birthday. Crossed the 30-mark quite some time back so asked myself what’s in a number as another year passes me by?!!

Now don’t go thinking I was being hedonistic by celebrating my birth a whole week. Of course ’tis a cause to celebrate but my b-day, lucky that I am, ties up with Christmas so Niligris had its cake show and every other bakery worth its name had plum cakes and iced confectionary and Thoms had its house wine as did Fatimas, so there I was tipsy and tight with sugar, spice and every thing nice.

Which state of mind naturally brought me to an introspective plane. As I look towards the new decade and bid goodbye to ten years that flew too soon for me to take stock of what happened or what I have done, I am excited and full of eager anticipation for what the morrow brings.

These years past I lost a few people who mattered and in the process learnt to value those that are still here with me.

I cherish every morning for being blessed to wake up each day and have my moom hug me and give me the morning glass of choco-milk in spite of Bangalore’s biting cold and her hurting bones.  To argue with her endlessly over trivialities but make up the next minute with a hug and a kiss. To have her worry about my health and well-being though I am pretend not to listen and care.

Nanu, God willing, will cross 92 this coming year. My umbrella from all ills continues to enjoy his morning walks and arguments on politics. CID holds him enthralled as does Anthony Bourdain’s voracious appetite. Shudder to imagine the day my umbrella is snatched from me living me without shelter and warmth.

Malty the monkey grows unbridled and unfettered. Happy to be petted even happier to play ever happy with his rubber bone. Eight months and stopped counting now since the threat of him getting kicked out has stopped finally. Yup, my moom stopped with the threats and pampers him more than she does me.

Onkle dahlin still gets me the hot bondas, nippatus, vadas and jalebis not to forget the hot bunroot. French is still something I aspire to learn if maybe disciple myself hard enough someday I may learn to say/write a whole para instead of je t’aime. Je T’aime. Je T’aime.

This decade past I finally made friends with myself . My biggest achievement till now.

I made friends with the most unlikeliest of people and stopped living in regret.

I accept now that for all my stubborn independence I cling on to my frere like an orchid does a tree. Someday I hope to stay on my tree for good, but that day hasn’t come yet.

I accepted that I can love again, and give without getting.

I care without clinging.

I am selfish and can be selfless too.

I have found pals quirky and amusing but ready to stand by and stand with.

Extended my family and found no cause to regret.

Learnt a few skills that will help me earn my wages.

Bought a dwelling which turned into paradise with all the collective memories and memorabilia it has.

Started blogging again thanks to some unswerving support from Rocksta and all of you.

So HAPPY 2011 and MAY the years to come take all of you on adventures worth remembering and bring you joys unbounded.



Reading about Swami Nityananda’s (hic) exploits had me wondering why everybody still refers to the ungodly man as a Swami. For a country rife with political god-men and holy mothers we do not have to look up to or look out for yet another Swami whose ochre robes are tarred.

Which brings me to a more important point – branding.

Nityananda was able to groom himself into a Holy man, and if the papers and reports are to be believed amassed a long string of patrons and institutions across the globe. Only time will tell if this is the truth or not.

How does this relate to the corporate set up?? Corporate branding is all about creating an image, reinforcing that image and successfully living up to it without getting feathered and tarred. Neither Nityananda nor the IPL have been able to do this very successfully. And both of them, to me come under the broader array of corporatization – of religion and sports.

Creating a brand starts early. I know of several ex-colleague who did not adhere to the stereotypical images of the pen-wielding maverick and the geeky nerd. They corporatized their image to create a brand of a super-efficient worker. Crumpled shirts, funky outfits and jhola-jhooti were not for them. Both these ilk succeeded beyond I am sure their own expectations.

While I do not side with one or the other factions the point I am making here is the importance of developing your Individual Branding or Corporate Identity.

Realise your potential and play to it. Pamper and nurture it. Do not get bogged down by what is expected of you or from you.

An ex-colleague had the funkiest dressing sense I have ever come across but she had carefully cultivated this image, which set her apart from the herd. Her style of writing was honed over a period of time till she had a unique quirky style, which was appealing to a certain set of readers. She was unable to fit into mainstream media since this curbed her creative and quirky pen. Today, this said lady works with Marie Claire as a Senior Editor.

Yet another acquaintance danced to his own tune. He was stuck in a dead-end job as a sales and marketing head for a FMCG firm. Numbers and sales pitches were not his cup of tea. Corporate events and social dos however brought out the best in him. He was associated with all promotional activities related to music and the arts. He was able to pull in solid sponsors for some of the musical events he was associated with. His image of being a fun-loving socially savvy personality who loved music finally landed him a long-standing gig with a leading music company.

This discovery takes time but it has to be a conscious effort. An image consultant can craft one for you but honing it is YOUR job. In a previous post I had written about the TripleE to which Anju wrote in with her take on the vicious circle.

Having your own Image and Knowing Yourself and your potential is a way of breaking out of that vicious circle.