She feels she needs to leave

16 Sep

She’s running, slipping away from us. The monsoon. At a 40% deficit, we’ve had an absolutely disastrous season. I do feel a bit odd typing this as it’s pouring cats and dogs behind me. It’s been lashing down for two days straight now, but it’s been like an afterthought – almost like some last minute attempt to give it one last shot, with all it’s got. To say the monsoon has been dismal this year would be a serious understatement. And as with all the other completely expected and predicted weather variations, the monsoon too has taken a beating. We had an awful summer, hotter than hot, so of course the monsoon had to follow suit. And fail.

Let me not look a gift horse in the mouth. Der aaye, durust aaye and all that.

It’s been a beautiful few days, washed clean after the horribly hot, oppressive weekend. And I’m not talking about the weather alone, there. The skies were clear blue, with soft wispy clouds painting patterns across in wide streaky shapes. Like whipped soft peaks marbled into pale blue souffle.


The clouds looked like they were making an effort to cheer me up – I really needed things to look up for me. Ironic how one usually associates rainy weather with grim, damp, cold days and the shining of the sun usually heralds happy times again. But I was done with the sun beating down relentlessly.

I felt the need to leave. I wanted to look away, hide and stay covered until there was some respite. Because there was no cloud cover to speak of, it was bright, blindingly so. And hot as hell, with not so much as a light breeze.


Finally there was rain. On Sunday night. I usually feel like its some kind of reboot. Everything gets washed, wiped down. The haze clears, the cloud over my head had burst. And it hasn’t stopped.

As if on cue, I turned the music back on. Loudly. Connected my laptop to the speakers, as I worked. It was turning everything back on after hitting pause for four days. My mind, my body, the music, life – everything breathed again.

And here’s what I’ve been listening to. Thanks to the new (is it really new? or have I only just noticed it?) autoplay feature, and what seems like some spanking new algorithm that really knows how to hit the spot, youtube has thrown up some gems over the last three days. Mixes, playlists and general gathering of some of my old monsoon favourites, some new discoveries and the music hasn’t stopped.

VC has had it hard. Waking up to loud, but mellow rain music. Walking in to the home and saying hi, but not being heard above the din. Going to sleep to the strains of music he doesn’t know and doesn’t get, but that he tolerates nonetheless.

Junip with their beats and basslines that dig into your brain and embed themselves there. And that dream-like voice that Joze Gonsalez has. This has been the list that played the longest and loudest.

Old (forgotten), monsoon favourite: Zero7 + old-new (forgotten) monsoon staple: Bonobo = this playlist. A whopper with 70 tracks. I barely forwarded through this one and that is a rare thing.

I have no idea who Robert Glasper is or what this Experiment is all about, but it has been a pleasant discovery. Good loungy-ambient-electronic music with touches of other stuff that makes for good background music. Listening to this is like being in a cafe while trying to work. Works perfectly for me.

Ihave this massive dump of Bonobo that I’ve had for about five years now. The kind of giant chunk of music you never get around to fully weeding through. You find your favourites and you keep with them, until suddenly you discover a gem by accident, or youtube autoplays it – whichever happens first. And then you go back and dig out the album and realise it’s awesome. That.



“She feels she needs to leave
When the fields are all covered in frost
And the dreams begin to breathe
Opening the partly open locks

While the others start to disagree
On returning to rough and moving grounds
And if I should come to be relieved
Would it be without you?”

Random things I’ve thought about today

15 Sep

I am completely incapable of taking a compliment gracefully. I never know what to say or how exactly to react, most often resigning myself to the fact that I must end it all with a foot placed awkwardly, but firmly, in my mouth. I’m usually in awe of those who can and I wish I could learn the subtle way in which you accept a compliment like it’s the most natural thing in the world. There’s that. And then there’s the unique ability some people have, to pay someone a compliment, but to do it in a way that leaves them wondering if you’re insulting or appreciating them. That is a most special skill. One that I do not envy and hope I never pick up.


Something about the weekend from hell (mentally, speaking) that I’ve just had, has strengthened my faith in VC. Actually its not just something. It is his ability to stand his ground and be his own person, despite everything his family has taught him and brought him up to be. I always knew he was quite the rebel at heart. Dead sure, almost cocky. Firm, determined, obstinate. Unwavering, digging his heels in and sticking to his guns as far as his choices and reasons for making those choices goes.

For all the times I go on about being brave, decisive and owning up for what is yours I cower in the face of potential confrontation or unpleasantness. I’m quite happy doing my thing as long as its not causing too much discomfort to those around me. If it does, I choose to go about it anyway, giving any hint of displeasure I might perceive a cold shoulder and not paying it the least bit of attention. I’d rather pretend I don’t see it, rather than face it and address it. I’m conveniently passive, like that. VC on the other hand, has turned into the true kind of bold, take-me-as-I-am soul. Of the kind of intensity I didn’t think was possible. And that takes a special kind of confidence, I’ve realised.

Something about the weekend from hell that I’ve just had, has raised my acceptance and appreciation for just what it takes and means for him to stand his ground. And to stick by me despite what his family may think or feel.


I’m having such a surge of work, calling it a good run, a healthy spell seems inadequate. I’m also afraid to talk about it too much. I get sceptical and superstitious at the weirdest junctures in my life. I keep thinking I should create and update a work section here, so I can link up all the varied kinds of writing I am now doing, but something has stopped me from doing it. There is finally enough of it to show and more importantly, none of it is marketing/advertising and I think it’s important for me to document that, for myself more than anyone else. Last week, when I turned down an offer to sign a retainer for a monthly marketing writing gig, I knew I have finally reached the next milestone in my professional experience.


This has been a year of almost perpetual wheels on my heels. I’ve travelled more for work and for myself, entertained a string of guests, been on the run even when I’ve been in Goa and it’s truly been a hectic nine months. So hectic that I honestly don’t have a clue how I’ve landed smack in the middle of September. That customary omigosh-this-year-is-zipping by feeling has hit me again. But this time, its not with the usual panic of not having accomplished much. This year, I’m satisfied. I’m pleased with the way things have turned out – it’s been a good balance of work and play and I’m happy to be riding the wave while it lasts.


I’m going to be in Bombay this weekend and next month again travel beckons. I’m already slotting out my work for the next eight weeks. And this feel strange. I have never had to plan my freelance assignments so much in advance. Heck, I’ve never had a calendar that’s filled up so far into the future. Somedays I work longer hours than VC does, and some nights when he has to beg me to turn the computer off and come to bed, I know how the tables have turned. Is this what finding the sweet spot feels like?


Four-legged friend

9 Sep


Her eyes were so eager, set perfectly in the square of her fuzzy, subcutaneous-diseased face. Pink spots seen through thinning fur, with eyes that beamed like she was smiling straight at me.

It was meant to be a leisurely walk. It was anything but leisurely. As this little madame tried her very best and did everything in her power to romp around with her. She walked beside us, in front of us, at our heels, so I nearly tripped over her. And finally when she realised none of it was working, these humans were here to do everything (run, walk, watch footballers, skip over streams of sea-water, meet and avoid people they didn’t want to encounter on the beach, laugh, take pictures of the sunset) give this little mutt any attention at all, she retreated.

She was gone, and I looked at VC and said, phew. A couple of minutes later, a lick on my finger, and the same eager face, smiling eyes were back. So finally, I gave in. Talked to her. Asked what she wanted, and she just looked on, the same energetic smile straight back at me.

It seems all she really wanted was some attention. A few words, some time, and perhaps a little conversation too.

I named her Relentless Rani.


8 Sep

Dear VC,

I could get really repetitive (and predictable), say that it seriously feels like we only just started dating yesterday. But I’d be lying. Because the truth is, I feel like I’ve known you for every single day of the 10 years that I have indeed known you for a lifetime. For the most part, it feels like we have this figured. There is a natural rhythm to the way we function and the various separate moving parts of our lives dance around pretty seamlessly to make this work for us.

There is comfort in that predictability. In how I can predict your every move. And this is the part that sometimes makes me sit up and wonder if I have indeed known you for a lifetime. I can predict the way your trousers will always lie in that exact same pile on the sideboard. I can tell by the happy noises you make while eating a meal, just how much you’ve enjoyed it. I can gauge your level of worry in the way you always tell me to watch out, be careful when I go out dancing, like it’s the very first time. The way you plan every clandestine purchase, and yet pass it off with the most nonchalant shrug, like I hadn’t just seen you research the bejeezus out of it for only like the last 9256 days, Yeah, you’d rather believe you surprised me. Worse, you believe you had me. Every time.

I like the way your eyes light up when I decode the expression on your face and tell you you’ve had a shitty day even before you begin to slowly tell me about it on your own time. I love how you try so hard to do little things to surprise me, but I’m usually two steps ahead and know about it anyway. It’s also funny how I can almost predict the way events will pan out, circumstances transpire and things will happen, and I advise you on what your actions should be. You’re sometimes defiant, sometimes completely understanding, sometimes thoughtful. But you’re always sure of yourself and go on to do what you believe is best, with or without incorporating what I have suggested. But you’re also gracious in admitting that I am right 9 out of 10 times. I love the irony and the exasperation in your voice when you exclaim “You’re not allowed to know me that well!”

I rarely feel like I wish there was room for surprises. Because I take comfort in this predictability. I like that we have this down pat, for the most part. It’s endearing to know that being with you takes little effort. Because that’s what 10 years of being with someone so easy does, I guess. You flow, there is rhythm and it becomes just…easy. Comfortable. And if predictable is a byproduct of it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You’ve always told me your motto in life has been to cut the fat. I’ve imbibed it at various points in my life, when I’ve dealt with painful issues, hiccups and situations that caught me off guard. But I think I have only realised the full depth of it, the true way in which you live by it, in the last year. Whether it is work, your relationships, dealing with people, assessing potential difficulties or even dealing with emotions, your ability to give everything just that appropriate amount of attention and nothing more is alarming. I realise it is just that ability that makes being with you such a joy.

There is rarely a problem so huge it needs working on. Or a talk that’s been put off so long it becomes a confrontation. If there’s a problem, fix it comes so naturally to you, we rarely get to the stage where we have to sit down and have a talk or decide to take steps together to make this right again. You make it flow, like life. And this is why knowing you and being with you feels like wearing that one utterly comfortable night shirt we all have. We prefer to call it well-worn rather than old, even though that’s the truth – so many years down, its the one that’s old, riddled with holes, stretched out of shape, but that fits like nothing else does, feels perfect against your skin and nothing and nobody can ever convince you to get rid of it. Knowing you and being with you is comfortable. And comforting. Despite the years gone by, the holes that may have appeared, the shapeless way in which the age shows, the predictable and unpredictable ways in which we amble along, this feels like that best possible way to do this. Because you make it effortless. You make is just so damn easy.


You’ve spoiled relationships for me, for good. Because now I expect that all of them must be as effortless, as easy, as simple, uncomplicated. You’ve set the benchmark so damn high. Effortless (not to be mistaken for the flipside of lazy or shirking hard work) has become quite the norm, in my life. Because there are enough things that demand hard work — work, for example. Getting better at what we do. Learning new skills, figuring adult stuff out. Or exercise. Or managing funds. Or sometimes just being an adult.  There are enough things that make us work hard, sometimes going against the grain. And sure we sometimes emerge a better versions of ourselves at the end of it. But you’ve taught me that marriage shouldn’t be about hard work. It should really be the most effortless thing in the world. Because if you can’t have that ease with your spouse, what’s the point?


So yes, while most days I have a hard time realising we’ve known each other ten years now, and been married for seven, I slip back into the comfort of feeling like I’ve known you forever. Because you make it that comfortable. With your kindness, your sense of humour, the freshness of your spirit, your willingness to try everything once, your encouragement and unfailing support. Your ever-ready hugs.

And your Sunday breakfast eggs.

I don’t think I could have so seamlessly fallen into marriage, being a wife and growing up, as effortlessly with anyone else, as I did with you.

You make it wonderful. For the both of us.


Six, five, four, three, two, one.

Sunday shine

7 Sep

Sunday ends, aglow

But not without a trail of

Shimmery moments.




Saffron and green messes

1 Sep

Monsoon Messes

Light-speckled moments

They come entangled with a

pretty monsoon mess.

Goa blues, they come

31 Aug

Slowly, but surely, I feel myself inching towards saturation with life in Goa. Every day brings with it a new challenge. The internet one day, cellphone network another, perennially useless roads, deteriorating power supply — with alarmingly large amounts of my daily time being spent fixing things. Dealing with service centres, talking to customer care, trying to understand the idiots who drive around this town. Every day, I find myself tired, exhausted and craving a little order. Where things just work. And I can focus on being productive, and less on trying to make everything work so I can be productive.

A large part of this has to do with the changes I’ve brought on for myself, really. For weeks and months, the sound of a sabbatical coming to a close has bubbled beneath the surface. A gentle murmur, never clamouring above the din. But steady, present and always making itself heard has followed me around. I’ve listened and steered along, doing the best I can to address it, feed it, satisfy it. It’s actually worked. And after what feels like aeons, I’m finally feeling back in the groove of the work thing. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I’ve been on a roll. Working longer days than I did when I was employed, having publications come back to me asking for work, getting closer to knowing my potential and the value of my words. And all that could be 3x more if I didn’t have to deal with so much staggering inefficiency on a daily basis.

And that. Is finally getting to me.

Goa blues, they come. I’m increasingly frustrated with the infrastructure, constant chaos and just how difficult it is to be a work-from-home person out here. Every other day I’ve caught myself wondered how long I’m going to be able to sustain this before I decide I’ve had enough. Several times a week, I imagine what life might be outside of Goa. Nebulous questions that spell out w-h-a-t-n-e-x-t when I sit down and patiently disentangle them, loom large and heavy like tantalising gray monsoon clouds that refuse to burst.

And yet for every few days that I brush aside mundane irritants, grit my teeth and plod on, a day like this comes along and wipes that slate clean, like some kind of natural re-boot.


And some days when I’m wandering higher, in places I rarely go, I look out and realise just how much of this green, green place I have yet to explore. I don’t know how much longer this will remain – how long will green patches hold off?

Goa blues, they come.


Already large chunks are making way for concrete dreams and an altered skyline. How long before we paint the town a dirty shade of grey? How long before we wipe down all evidence of character, history and a time gone by? How long before I decide I must up and go?

I’m here now and while the going may not always be good, the internet is mostly shit and my work takes 3 times as long as it really should, I remind myself that I still have the view.

Goa, you’re a frustrating, annoying thing. I do love you, but you’ve got to get your shit together, man.


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