Monday, 30 January 2012


It’s difficult to talk about him. The memories, fragmented as they are, seem more vivid in retrospect. It has been so long, over a decade. The hurt has only gotten stronger, never abating. I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation then. I didn’t understand the horrible odour of death or that the sterilized blue-green smell of the hospital was not a good omen.
I ran along those hospital corridors, asking for money to buy hot chocolate from the cafeteria or taking a peak into the nurses’ Duty Room every few hours. I remember the downward sloping path to the Canteen and the prison-like gates of the small elevators. The hospital was big, and fascinating. I remember racing around the compound competing with my little brother to find the scariest things.
I remember the day it happened. Or at least, my memory has constructed images that tell me how it happened. I was outside the room in M ward. People were inside, cleaning his body. Ma told me later that there was just so much blood. I was confused at first, they didn’t tell me much. But I made sense of the lulled silence adulterating the hospital’s commotion. I remember Pa’s eyes, wet with pain. I never had, or have, seen him cry. To lose your father, no matter how, is difficult. To lose a father like Chachan, is downright devastating. My father’s strength on that day has remained one of the most compelling memories I have of him.
I remember crying, because I knew Chachan wasn’t coming back. I remember hating everyone, everything for not warning me. My cousin asked me, “Are you crying because everyone else is? Do you even know what has happened?” I thought about it for a while, and then I felt immense anger towards him. How dare he underestimate my understanding of the situation? I refused to explain myself to him. The rest of the memory is hazy. There was an ambulance, I think. I followed it, but they didn’t let me in. There were a lot of people, someone took me away. I don’t remember the funeral. Or anything after that.

There were days when I would sit in my room for hours, just looking through old photographs, searching for your face. Your smile was so pristinely beautiful in those pictures. 
This is the one where I am on your lap. I don’t remember it being taken. I was probably two or three. Do you see the joy in my eyes? You were my hero even then. You left too soon. It’s unfair, I never got to know you. The older members of our family tell me stories. He was like this, he said that, he told me this once. I resent that I have no memories of you to hold on to. It is with a mixture of anger and sadness whose source I cannot plug that my tears rain down making blots on the photo paper. I have resolved now, to create my own fantasies of you.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Why do you hope for love
Like a wing clipped dove
Under a sheet of frost
Hopes for some warmth lost?
Love to me is a stranger
The liar, the ever-changer

In an opaque bubble
Blind to the inevitable
Existing in dark hollow
Reality too hard to swallow
Truth to me is a stranger
My fantasies it wants to injure

Alone is a beautiful place
To be without a shadowed face
Solitude, safe and secure
No company to smilingly endure
People to me are strangers
I have but myself to endanger

And now by reality struck
I am the rotten apple to be plucked
It is sparkling crystal clear
'Tis I, the true impostor here
This poet herself is the stranger
There is nothing to do to change her

Monday, 16 January 2012


Big shoulders strong enough
To protect
From everything
Speeding car, leering men, broken heart

Eyes that twinkle more often
Than they cloud
With anger or fear
Light brown pools of hidden emotion

Never perfect, yet seeming just so
Yet more than lazy enough to be human

Downs a pint of whiskey (only the best)
A gentleman
Loose, but never a drunken swagger

The smoothest driver, shifting gears
With ease
That cannot be taught, only admired

The kite flyer, the ocean swimmer
And carefree
The one who taught me to ride a wave

Brimming with stories and terrible jokes
A father
A friend
Switching between roles seamlessly

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Love Letter to Economics

You lured me in with your charm
The big names, fancy statistics
I was attracted to your novelty
The newness was my honey

There is no steady state with you
Keep working, keep improving, keep learning
Before the others have a comparative advantage
In vying for your attention

Hoping for positive returns, I tried
To understand your angles and curves
But they twist behind me and tie my wrists
Like handcuffs. I know nothing about you

You watched me follow you,
Random walk. You burst my bubble
And held the hands of another
I felt a sudden deflation of self esteem

I gave up, blamed your contradictions
Your paradoxes confounded me
The books I read for you dust over
My expectations bearish

Then I began to find the kinder side of you
Removing poverty, building bridges
As you orchestrated booms and busts
Your alter-ego intrigued me

After all these years, even today I pine for you
Short, long and medium run
I imagine a future with you
Even as I know you may never understand me

Monday, 2 January 2012

Chronicling Lessons

I learnt a lot this winter, all of them essential truths that infants above the age of five are familiar with. Yet, this twenty-one year old had a momentary lapse of memory. By momentary, I mean two and a half years.

One, being unfit sucks. The way to not be unfit is to exercise and eat right. The eating right part still eludes me, but at least I have begun taking trips to the gym and the swimming pool in an attempt to get healthy (and I don't mean the adjective 'healthy' they politely use to indicate you are fat). Fitting into old jeans became an event worth celebration.

Two, not all work is terrible and CV oriented. On the morning of the 12th of December, I woke up cursing my father for the internship I had to do at the Deccan Chronicle. I am not high on the recruiter's list of ideal future employees so at least, this would make that ever unimpressive resume shine marginally brighter. But in those fifteen days I realised that work that we enjoy is rejuvenating instead of tiring. I began to look forward to waking up in the morning, to driving through city traffic, to meeting strangers and talking to them. I learnt to understand the jargon: an anchor was a small 250 word piece, a lead was 300 words or more. I could figure out the back-and-forth banter between departments like the Tabloid writers making fun of the Broadsheet writers and vice versa while Ajayan Sir peppered the conversations with his quips. The keen interest I had in learning and improving was something I hadn't really felt before. For the first time, the internship wasn't about a CV. I was doing it for myself, and it made a world of a difference. The last two internships I did were tiring, I was exhausted and glad I was done. This time around, I asked Sujit Sir myself if I could stay on for a few more days.

Three, getting lost is the easiest way to discovery. Driving around the city to take interviews for the Deccan Chronicle led me to discover nooks and crannies of my city that I wouldn't otherwise have found. When I find myself in an unknown area, two conflicting forces drive me. On one hand, I am fear-struck and wanting to find my way home and on the other, my curiosity pushes me to drive further and see what comes next. Cochin is tiny, I agree, but it is filled to the brim with interesting things. Like the man selling LED candles in Broadway, or Vishal Hotel that serves a hearty North Indian lunch for less than a hundred bucks.

Four, there isn't a goddamn thing I want to do with my life other than write. This was one of the most important reminders that the people at Deccan Chronicle gave me. I had forgotten how amazing it felt to end every day, just tapping away at my keyboard, writing a story for the next edition of the paper. That feeling of holding my words, in print, in my hands was a warning of sorts, telling me never to steer away from writing. Ever since my stint at the Deccan Chronicle ended, all I've been doing is miss it; Jiji Ma'am's quiet typing at her computer and her eye for things that make one 'House Proud' and Priya Ma'am's easy smile or the twinkle in her eye when food is the topic of conversation. I miss Sujit Sir's constructive criticism and snippets of stories and experiences. I miss laughing with Shruti about the most random things and watching in amusement as she cheekily pulled someone's leg.

No matter what I end up doing at the end of this year, whether its saving the world or selling my soul or following my heart, I know that I will never let myself get too far from being able to write. I know now, for certain, that there is not a thing in the universe that makes me happier than this.

Here's to the amazing people that helped me remember my immense love for words and the English language: Jiji Cherian, Sujit Chandrakumar, Shruti Karthikeyan, Priya Sreekumar and everyone else at the Deccan Chronicle, Kochi. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.