Friday, September 30, 2005

The Magic Box

Planning to buy a digital camera.
Any suggestions / recommendations?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Life, or Something Very Like It

Conversation 1
B: (to friends at large) Why don't you come over for lunch on Sunday? My cousin (that's me) will cook something.
F-a-L: Sure. We'll be there.

Conversation 2
B: (to other friends at large) Why don't you come over for lunch on Saturday? My cousin (me again) will cook.
F-a-L: Sounds good.

Conversation 3
B: (to her friends-at-large - people I barely know) Have dinner with us on Saturday night. My cousin (by now you know who this is) will cook.
F-a-L: Great.

There's a pattern emerging here, I just know it.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Packing my stuff - to leave behind, to carry back home and bring back again - takes a few hours. As I'm sorting through stuff and trying to fit it into bags, I'm suddenly tired. I feel as though I've been packing all my life, all my life, packing, packing, fitting things into bags, getting on trains and planes and buses and into cars, leaving. Suddenly, I can't face packing any more. Instead, I go downstairs and stand outside the hotel and look up into the night sky. No Mars, but some stars and a sickle moon and clear air flood my head with my earliest star-gazing memories - on trips and treks, sitting outside in the cold cold air and breathing in the calm fullness of the place.

My Air India flight to Bombay via Paris takes off 1 whole hour late - apparently all systems at Newark have shut down. I imagine skynet or whatever it was in the Terminator movies, or the whole Matrix phenomenon. Machines taking over the planet and deciding to shut down un unison. Incoming flights frozen in the void, temporarily bullied out of existence by Newark's IT failure... else reduced to circling the airport endlessly.

By the time we lift off, passengers' stomachs are growling so loudly that they could be doing sound effects for a whole other airplane. To prevent us from eating them, the crew hastily throws packets of chips at us. As they put dinner together, the smell of fragrantly spiced mutton curry almost drives me crazy.

After dinner, I try to sleep. But a stewardess has other ideas. Each time I start nodding off, she jumps to my window and snaps the shade shut. The sound wakes me. I open the shade again, send unpleasant thoughts and quelling looks-that-kill in her direction and try to drift off into dreamland again. (Repeat from beginning of paragraph for 4 hours to understand the true meaning of endless night.)

We're flying into daylight and into timezones ahead of ours, so dinner, breakfast and lunch all take place in the span of 9 hours. Part of the time, I read Tears of the Giraffe - the second book in Alexander McCall Smith's "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series - set in Botswana, and highly recommended. But mostly, I'm just jumping in my seat with anticipation, can't wait to land in Bombay.

And when we finally do, I can see rain beating against the sides of the plane, and I think, "shit." So much for the anticipation, the anxiousness to be back.

Immigration, baggage claim, and out the door. The humidity hits me like a solid wall. The rain is a snivelling drizzle - the type I hate most. A is nowhere to be seen (turns out later he's waiting at the wrong terminal). I've lost my phone and can't call or message. Welcome home.


After a warm, cozy weekend, I leave Bombay on a sticky grey Monday morning. A sees me off at the airport and a grey sheen hangs over the city and our goodbye. My flight breaks through the cloud cover and Bombay suddenly vanishes, just like that. No long last looks over one's shoulder. Perhaps that's as it should be.


Bangalore sucks.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


1. Toilet paper can scratch your ass raw.

2. Seasons change real quick. One day there's bright sunlight, the next, you remember old geography lessons as you watch the morning light slant across the park.

3. It's dangerous to go within a 1 mile radius of Cheesecake Factory.

4. It's even more dangerous to get caught in a corridor with Cheesecake Factory on one side and Cold Stone Creamery on the other.

5. If you can survive the temptations of the corridor, you will, inevitably, reward yourself by giving in to temptation at the Barnes & Noble at the end of the corridor.

6. Hotel rooms are difficult to keep clean. It's not your's, so you don't care.

7. It's eminently possible to live like a slob for 2 months, washing dishes only when the fungus starts to creep out of the sink and attack books on the counter.

8. American ads really suck.

9. Speaking of which, there seem to be, broadly, 4 categories of products advertised on TV here:

  • Automobiles
  • Telephone network providers
  • Medication (mostly for penile dysfunction and post-partum depression - and you have to wonder about cause-and-effect here)
  • Insurance
10. It's always nice to get a dosa. Even one that costs 4 bucks, USD.

What Was I Thinking?

Spring Fest, 1996

Perhaps it was the effect of all the un-imbibed dope lingering in the air...