Thursday, December 31, 2009


On the last day of every year, since I was in school, I've been making journal entries that sum up the year : mostly things I'm grateful for, experiences and people that propelled me to the next level of personal growth (or were just a lot of fun).

For some reason, I'm unable to do the same thing this year. Not because I'm not grateful - this year has been singularly life-affirming, the ups and downs have been monumental but not catastrophic and I feel as though I've surfed through them and emerged more intact than I was going in. So it's not lack of gratitude, rather it's the insistence of two words, buried deep inside & dying to come out, that makes me do things differently...

The first is Fear. For as far back as I can recall, this word has held me in a vice-like grip. So much so that I'd started to believe it was inseparable from me. Fear in speaking my mind, fear in liking what I liked, fear in living the way I wanted, fear in reaching out to other people, fear of allowing others to reach me. Fear of the dark, fear of the outside, fear of the new, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of everything I didn't immediately understand and fear of myself. Last year, I began to grasp where this fear was coming from and how it had sometimes saved me from myself. This year, I realised it was time to let it go. Fear had served its purpose and now it must leave.

2010 then, must kickstart the, the Decade of No Fear. It must be one where I speak my truth, live the life I know I was put on this planet to live and be the most authentic version of myself as I possibly can. I'm excited.

The other word is Trust. It's come up a lot in the last two weeks, more in the context of 'lack of'. I hurled it at someone and had it hurled back at me. When I launched my 'No Trust' missile, I meant no harm, thinking it was nothing more than armour to protect me. How could it ever cause damage? But when it was lobbed back at me (meant, I'm sure, to innocently graze my shoulder and whizz past) I realised just how explosive and destructive it could be.
Trust, I realised, isn't this flaky tool of the weakling or the naive. It isn't detrimental to my inner strength. It doesn't take away from my ability to protect myself. Trust, in fact, allows me to experience everything I've been too chicken to experience all this time.

I don't know...things are still a bit jumbled up in my head. When I say I'd like to trust, I mean it. And I also know that like 'Love', it is more an action than a word. I have no idea how I will allow this word to become a living, breathing organism. As for today, I guess I can start at the very beginning. I can start with trusting the process of life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


If ever anyone - especially a woman - gets the opportunity to listen (live or in illegal download) to Ani Difranco perform her poetry, she must take it.

"My I.Q." - Ani Difranco

when I was four years old
they tried to test my I.Q.
they showed me a picture
of 3 oranges and a pear
they said,
which one is different?
it does not belong
they taught me different is wrong

but when I was 13 years old
I woke up one morning
thighs covered in blood
like a war
like a warning
that I live in a breakable takeable body
an ever-increasingly valuable body
that a woman had come in the night to replace me
deface me

my body is borrowed
yeah, I got it on loan
for the time in between my mom and some maggots
I don't need anyone to hold me
I can hold my own
I got highways for stretchmarks
see where I've grown

I sing sometimes
like my life is at stake
'cause you're only as loud
as the noises you make
I'm learning to laugh as hard
as I can listen
'cause silence
is violence
in women and poor people
if more people were screaming then I could relax
but a good brain ain't diddley
if you don't have the facts

we live in a breakable takeable world
an ever available possible world
and we can make music
like we can make do
genius is in a back beat
backseat to nothing if you're dancing
especially something stupid
like I.Q.

for every lie I unlearn
I learn something new
I sing sometimes for the war that I fight
'cause every tool is a weapon -
if you hold it right.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Girl Before A Mirror: A Facebook-ish Critique

Having already been told by Facebook on an earlier occasion that I would meet my maker via lethal injection and that I have a couple of secret admirers pining for me somewhere on this planet, I didn't expect much from a quiz called 'A Painting That is Me'.
But then the Girl Before A Mirror by Pablo Picasso popped up claiming to be, well, me.
After the ooo-look-at-all-the-colours reaction (I love visual art but am not the most educated about it), the next thing I noticed was her body. Shite! How does Facebook know about my tummy? How does Facebook know that horizontal stripes look like crap on me? How does Facebook know about my struggles with my hairdo? And how does Facebook know what a non-traditionally great looking babe I am?
Then and only then did I turn my attention to (forgive me, Pablo) the mirror and the fact that she stands opposite it, not just looking at but reaching out to her reflection. According to me the actual girl is way prettier than her reflection (a fact she'll never know, so focused is she on what she sees, thinking that this is what everyone else sees of her as well). I love the half moons of her face - much more serene than her reflection. There are powers this girl possesses that her reflection never will. Yet, she clings to that reflection.
I've been doing a lot of 'mirror work' recently. It's a meditative process of sorts, a highly charged and extremely powerful way to get to the core of oneself and make changes at that elemental level. It involves chanting positive affirmations to oneself while looking deep into your own eyes. It's a completely no-bullshit technique, you can't hide from yourself. If you feel ridiculous, there are things to uncover, if you feel resistant there are things to uncover and if you feel a deep sense of sadness there are things that need to be healed.
And then one day, you look into that mirror and you say something fabulous to yourself and your insides don't fight it. They vibrate with the recognition of the words you're saying. The reflection and reflected come together.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reveal yourself, mysterious blog-appreciator

I'm tormented by a single anonymous comment on my blog.

What if it's a secret admirer (of my feminine charms and not just the writing)? What if it's a rich & powerful publishing tycoon who could potentially secure me a book deal? What if it's the boy I've set my heart on but who remains elusive? What if it's my first celebrity co-worker, who googled my name and stumbled upon this blog; and who knows a rich & powerful publishing tycoon who could potentially secure me a book deal? What if it is a friend whose birthday I forgot and who deleted his profile from facebook so that I couldn't message him (as opposed to calling him which I didn't have the energy to)?
What if it's my sister - the only one I have, the one who lives on the opposite side of the globe but somehow manages to make me feel loved when I need it the most.
She's the only one I know whose smileys are =) instead of :)
Perhaps my work here is done.
24 hrs later: I was wrong. My work here is not done. Oooooh, this is driving me stark raving, cross-eyed batty....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Between Cup & Lip

I woke up happy this morning. I made a plan with my mum to go watch a film. Then had the world's best cinnabun...the kind that melted on my tongue the second it landed on it. We proceeded to see Julie & Julia - possibly one of the happiest films I've seen in a long time. Meryl Streep's joy was infectious; every cell in my body was laughing with her.
I thought I'd blog about how good I felt but then I fell asleep.
Woke up feeling unsettled, restless and dying to get out of the house but without the fight of finding an autorickshaw and wearing thirty layers of clothing to protect from the cold. I struggled between these two conflicting emotions, feeling more and more frustrated by the minute. The familiar, helpless loneliness (always, always waiting in the wings, waiting to swoop in when I'm not paying attention) descended.
Suddenly a near-perfect day had turned into one of hopelessness. As if a switch had been turned off.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Somewhere between navigating the galis of Nizammuddin, dodging crowds and protocol at the dargah, praying amongst the faithful and being uplifted by the qawwaals...
Somewhere between the umpteenth argument with an auto-driver, walking into the swanky Park Hotel in CP to attend a 'high-society' arty event, where the food was great and the drinks free...
And riding back in a rickshaw at 9:30 pm as the fog began to wrap itself around India Gate and the Parliament, as my nose and eyes began to water in the startling cold that rushed in from both sides of the open vehicle, listening to Norah Jones in my Ipod...
I fell absolutely in love my New Delhi.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Keep It Simple Stupid

Have money, will spend
Have time, will write
Have friends, will laugh
Have rhythm, will dance
Have song, will sing
Have gravity, will jump
Have love, will make
Have breath, will live

(Please don't sue me,'s just that you're so good)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Covert Operation

It was a routine reconnaissance mission; one that Agent P had completed scores of times before. The sector was a known one, the layout of the premises imprinted upon her razor-sharp brain. At precisely 1900 hours, she tightened her boot strings, braced herself against the chill and set out. Little did she know that she had forgotten to take the most important precaution one takes in such weather conditions.

At first, the sortie went as planned. The disguise was impeccable as usual and no one, least of all Agent P, could have suspected what lay just a few yards ahead. And then it struck...
A piercing, neural sensation emanating from the nether regions of her anatomy. A not unfamiliar sensation - one that struck her most typically when ensconced warmly within layers of blankets on a bitingly cold night. It was not just an unwelcome sensation but a highly inconvenient one. It would require swift thinking and daring that the young (and strikingly hot) Agent had never been required to summon up. On this dark and moonless night, well into enemy territory, surrounded by old aunties & joggers in shorts, Agent P realised, she needed to pee.

'This is what they trained me for," she thought. She recalled her days in the trenches when she learned the elite-force survival technique of clenching & unclenching ones muscles 'down there'. One time, she went as long as 24 hrs without feeling the need to visit the trench next door (the designated Leak Zone on the mission). She was sick for days after that, but it'd all been worth it in the line of duty.

But those days were long gone now. Bladder control had not been required of her in the longest time. She feared the skill had been lost. She realised she would need to employ another strategy. So she called upon the memory of her comrade Agent N. Agent N had been a legend in the Force. She'd watered every high-foliage location in & around New Delhi - from high-security zones like the Hyatt Regency lawns to the vast farmlands along the Agra highway. Agent N had shown her that it was possible.

"Yes, I can!" exclaimed Agent P (albeit, silently) and with a quick scan in both directions, jumped behind the nearest bush she could find. Once behind said bush, she realised that she could have scouted the area for a better one. This one, while leafy enough, had one serious flaw - it was along the boundary wall of the park, leaving Agent P ass-exposed to the high-traffic road outside.

But it was too late now. Speed was of the essence and so down came the pants. As the passing cars' headlights periodically illuminated her behind, Agent P tried to stop her racing heart from jumping out her chest. Some of the walkers had begun to look in the direction of the bush, perhaps drawn to the sounds of 'Death and all His Friends' emanating strangely from it. "Shit!" thought Agent P, "I should have switched my ipod off!" Nothing to be done, though, but wait for nature to take its course as she vowed never again to drink 3 cups of green tea just before venturing out on a mission.

Deed done, Agent P rose gingerly from her crouched position. She scanned the perimeters once again and then made a mad dash for the main pathway. A few passersby did glance suspiciously for a second, but so nimble had been her recovery that they carried on with their business.

The rest of the recon was a breeze. No longer battling the su-su feeling; bursting instead with a rush of adrenaline, Agent P realised - this was perhaps the most courageous act she had ever performed in the line of duty. She wished Agent N had been there to witness her daring feat. "What else is there to achieve now?"

And so she turned back towards home base. It was time to debrief. Literally, because she'd sprayed herself a little while peeing...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

YOU hit the gym!

I've always been a big girl. I've always been the heaviest kid in class. I've always had just a little too much paunch and chin for most to handle. I've always been on the wrong side of the 60 kg marker on the weighing scale. I have been on every diet known to woman, since the age of 14 and have tried pretty much all forms of exercise (except krav maga) devised by humans. I have been desperate to the point of tears, I have allowed the excess baggage to be an excuse for not living a full life. I have felt ugly, have cursed my poor body even as I heaped gobfuls of unhealthy food into my mouth. I have treated my flesh and bones like aliens, here to destroy me rather than help me get to the next level of self-awareness.

Something changed, this last year. As Jane Fonda says in her autobiography, I 'took residence back in my body'. I made friends with it again - tummy, double chin and all. I decided it was awesome how it had stood by me through thick and thin, even when I treated it like shit. I felt it was time to treat it with the respect it deserved.

So I stopped starving it. I stopped ignoring the extreme backpain I was having as a result of jogging on the uneven track in my neighbourhood. I decided I didn't need to be at the point of death to feel worthy of that square of Cadburys. I decided to listen to my body.

My body wanted to go for walks with my ipod. Some days it wanted to be the fastest walker in the park. Most days it wanted to walk for at least an hour. Some days it wanted to stretch and open up its back muscles. And sometimes it just wanted to vegetate.
I also realised that my body didn't want as much food as I thought it did. I let it decide amounts based on how much physical work I'd done through the day. It enjoyed chocolate but realised that after two bites, the thrill was gone & everything tasted the same . I listened and gave it what it wanted.

As a consequence, I've put on muscle mass, dropped a couple of sizes and am off all my various meds. I recently survived an intensive 2 day shoot schedule, where I was on my feet from 5 am to 10pm - a near impossible feat just two years ago. I am still not thin but I'm fitter than most people I know and have more stamina, energy and sheer joie de vivre than I've ever had...

....And yet, such is the brainwashing that society has inflicted upon us all that when I go out into the world, I am still seen as someone who has no self control, who has let herself go and is somehow a lesser form of being than most others. Assumptions are still made on the type of person I am. I am automatically disqualified from being a sexual entity, a woman in all senses of the word. And sadly, when it comes to men, I am still considered an embarrassment by many.

There's nothing I can do about it. I can only focus on myself and my health. I can only acknowledge for myself how great I think I feel and look (and I really, really do). Luckily, having endured this kind of mindless prejudice since a young age, I have learnt how to deflect it before it affects my psyche. Now when someone tells me to hit the gym, without bothering to find out if I really need to or not, I'll know that the problem lies not with the slice of pizza on my plate, but with the mounds of ignorance sitting on theirs.