Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Carrom Stories

I come from a large family. A family that believes in getting together at the drop of the hat and food, food invariably plays a large part in all our gatherings. But this, is not about eating, it is about that other very important ritual that unfortunately has ceased being as important.

Carrom was not just an indoor game for the Amoors. When we visited our grandparent’s home (which was every other weekend), it used to become a battle ground. Tactics were made, teams were decided and the air burnt blue with curses and victory cries. Pride was taken in polishing and cleaning the ‘Olympic sized board’. Lights were adjusted and fixed so there was adequate lighting but no shadows. Fans were placed at a strategic distance so the players did not get uncomfortable under the hot asbestos roof whilst making sure that the flow of wind did not play havoc with their aim. Food and water was supplied at regular intervals. Coin-boys and girls were chosen (the little ones who would pick any coin that fell on the floor, would help with powdering the board with the ‘finest quality boric powder’ and generally play fetch).

My youngest uncle was a much sought partner, because when he got hold of the striker, the opposition might as well go out for a stroll. He cleaned the board with finesse and cleared shots that looked near impossible. My other uncles, brother and appa were pretty good too. All in all, it is safe to say that we littlies never had a chance in hell in playing a full game when the elders were at it. Though just watching them play was an adrenaline rush. And sometimes, when we got lucky, we were taught tricks of the trade.

My appa had invested in a similarly large Carrom board at home. Every evening, a bunch of my brother’s friends would come in and play the game. It was a riotous affair. Sometimes appa and I would team up against my brother and amma and play for hours. Some of my happiest memories stem from those hours of Carrom.

Then one day, it all stopped. I have no clue why. We still have large noisy family gatherings, we still have my brother’s friends dropping by… but somehow, Carrom is not part of our lives anymore… and it makes me melancholic.


When we went for our annual vacation last month, Ankita got hooked to Carrom again. Sriram and Ankita and I played some games. It all just came back in a rush. The moods, the arguments, the sheer joy of playing a beloved game so long forgotten… and I know I want it for my girl and her cousins and friends. I want her to understand the intense joy of playing together as a family, as part of a team.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Do not think at me like that

I have come across so many men, good well educated men who would go out of their way to help a woman in need, who take good care of their girl friends, sisters, mother.... and yet, yet they do not think twice about discussing a woman's anatomy in the basest of ways, just because she is a celebrity or a complete stranger who "is dressed provocatively" or voices her thoughts or is "aggressive"...

Is it wrong to appreciate beauty? Absolutely not. 
But is it wrong to objectify it? You better believe it. And it is not appreciated. At all.

Dear men,
When you look at me
And discuss my anatomy
With friends, with yourself
I hurt.

It makes me want to cringe and cover
and shy away.

You may say you are educated
and respect women
But really, think
Be honest with yourself first
Weren't you the one
Who laughed at the juicy ball joke?
Did I ask for it?
Like a violator would justify it by saying
Maybe I deserved it because I wore a tight t-shirt
Maybe I deserve it all.

It is time to wake up
And understand
I am not just an object
I am a person just like you
Yes I have a beautiful body
But I have a mind too

Don't look at me
and see flesh.
Look at me
and see me.

Friday, January 31, 2014

bricks and stones

Call me a racist
Because I have a religious symbol for a tattoo
Call me cruel
Because I will not bring the stray home
Call me stubborn
Because I do not want to look at things your way
Call me any name
Because it is not going to matter
As I am, what I am              
And my reasons are my own

My heart has bled
My back has bent
My eyes have dried out
So dear friendly advisor
Owner of saccharine tongue
Time for you to go

Because I am, what I am

And my reasons are my own

Thursday, September 19, 2013

writing for one person. me.

the problem with having a hobby that is also your profession is that somewhere down the lane, you stop thinking of it as a hobby and it becomes work.

words used to be my best friends
now they are colleagues.
temperamental and moody
sometimes stuffy
sometimes nice
sometimes good for a gossip
sometimes ready for a joke
always there for the client
but never just there
for me
and i feel abandoned.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

wise mouth, shut up please

it is nice sometimes
to not hear a voice
that says wise things

it is nicer still
if the voice is yours
and it perennially got you in trouble
because of its apparent lack of connect
with the working part of your brain

it is even nicer
because you really do not like how your feet taste.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The what ifs

Life is full of yes-es and no-es
and a few what-ifs

The yes-es have their own stories
The no-es, their own endings
But the what-ifs,
they are like undigested food
stuck to the craw
arising occasionally
as acid burps.