Sunday, December 29, 2013

Farooque saab

Met Farooque at Dehradun airport in September, and told him about this article that my friend had written.
He was a pleasant man. Spoke to him for 2 minutes at the bookshop at the airport, about how nice the said interview was, and about how simple people are difficult to find.
He died yesterday.
Such is life.

What struck me today morning while reading the newspaper was how fondly people spoke of him and remembered past events. And I thought that, well, that's a life well lived isn't it.
Nobody cared about how much money he made, or how big his hits were, or whom he bedded.
People just remember his lucknowi chikan kurta and his nodding smile.

I was visibly sad when I read about his death.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Life at 26

A lot has changed in the time that I have lost the will to write; somebody crazy has entered my present and promises to mold my future. Am not sure how this came to be; is this what I hoped for? Sure it is. This is an amazing place and I have not felt this breeze in a while.

8 months ago, life seemed alright and drudgery was beginning to rear its head. Somehow, my work life has drastically improved - to the point where I can't distinguish between within and without.

It's a scary time this, because my road seems to have changed; the dense, beautiful forest has given way to vast plains of new shoots. My troubled past seems to be overwhelmed by this change, and parts of me which had been lost are finding themselves again.

This country has evolved to the point of acceptance and withdrawal. There are many far-fetched thoughts in my head, all of which seem attainable, and if not, then worth the endeavour. Suddenly, everything seems to have become exciting. Sure, there is deep fear that I will be disappointed and broken. And if I am broken again, I wonder where my soul will wander off to. 

I wish to study again
I wish to live away from India for a year if not many
I wish to allow room for changes in my insolence
I wish to read ever more.

Friday, August 9, 2013


And I just deactivated my facebook account.
Feels oddly relieving.
Like pooping after a long time.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Who are you supposed to be?

The other day a friend spoke of gender biases - "he allowed her to cut her hair."
"What did he mean by the word "allowed"? And why doesn't that happen the other way around?"

To this, another interjected and said that it's not a question of gender but of a partnership - one often seeks another's approval, either sincerely or just to keep the swords sheathed. (No pun)

So, I think today that, quite often, who we are is a resultant of who we are with. That said, at a certain age and at a certain stage we choose those with whom we would like to be associated. We shed the lipids and we bulk up on the protein and vitamins. At a certain stage, we proclaim to ourselves that this person is who I am and this is how I choose to go along on my journey henceforth.

The big caveat here is - do we have the freedom to do the said? That freedom is a choice; it's another thing that most people choose to live in a creation of the large society around them, and that they believe that they are left with no choice.

As the Oracle had said, there is always a choice and we have already made the choice - it's up to us to understand why we have made that choice.

And then there are the hedonists. The purists. The egoists as portrayed in Ayn Rand's creations. Mr. Rituparno Ghosh seemed to have lived for himself - he lived his way. There are many who decide that they don't have to subject themselves to categorisations as accorded by society - the religious badges have begun withering away with many classifying themselves as agnostic, which, for me seems to be "I dont know, I dont care and it's none of your business"

This brilliant piece for Ghosh, who died last week, written by my friend, says a lot about the man. He created for himself at times, they were parts of human life which were easily glossed over. He looks (looked) weird - may be a man, may be a woman - but the point is, does it matter?

To end, it is difficult enough to tolerate much of what is thrown at us. There is no need to torture oneself by ignoring the choices that we indeed have. There are things which are beyond us and there are things which are very much within our locus of control. Had written about this 3 years ago.

And on that note. I shall eat some meat.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The glory of travel.

It has only been 3-4 years old for me - my thrill of traveling.
Many of my stories are unknown to others - isn't that just brilliant. In these tech-know-everything times, to have secrets; not dark secrets but glorious gems hidden away in your mind and in your diary.

A brilliant article about the glory of travel

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What if we all died at forty?

A thought-provoking post on Marginal Revolution.

Death has always been intriguing.
People believe that they will continue living and they will continue remaining healthy; and then we throw a spanner (pile) in the works. Bam!
It's over.

Hence, what if everyone started living as though they would die at 60?

Would people become more innovative at work?
Would people spend more?
Marry earlier and produce offspring earlier?
Travel more?
Quit people and work more easily?

We earn money under the pretext that we will have enough money after retirement - hmmmm.
Oddly, nobody can see themselves at 60 when they are 30.

Shouldn't we all be living as though there are only a few days/ weeks/ months left?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Climate Change

So, how often do 28000 rivers go missing?
It seems to have happened in China

And, with 9 million people to bury every year, China is running out of space in their cities for burials. Duh.

And India is not alone in its annoying superstitions; apparently, an old Chinese custom declares that a dead woman should get married to a deceased bachelor.

Amazing eh. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dutt to Jail

Funny that this blog is called 'khadda' which means hole. Modeled after Galt's Gulch.

Yesterday, Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to completing his 5 years in jail for possession of an AK47 blah blah. Indians know the story - kinda. This is today's article - very thought-provoking view of how one ought to think of what happened to the man.
The story is simple - he used to be a wild child who loved guns and drugs. Of course, I am saying this based on what I have read which often is garnished with a lot of rubbish.

The points are:
Luck is a strong force; many celebrities and powerful people have gotten away with worse.

A bad decision can haunt you forever. Quite often, what these biggies say is that , 'hey, now we have changed ... sorry for what happened.' Which is quite the conundrum eh?

How do you repent the things you have done?
What is the cost of a life?
How strong is money really?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


This song by The Kings of Leon is one of my favourites by them:

But everybody says this place is beautiful
And you'd be so crazy to say goodbye
But everything's the same, this town is pitiful
And I'll be gettin' out as soon as I can fly

It's the story of our lives in India :P
We live in the city in which we grew up; off late this trend is changing because work takes Indians to another city and they move there.
Bombay-ites love Bombay, largely because of inertia. They become comfortable with their friends, neighbourhoods and the functionality of the system.
At the thought of moving to a city like Pune or Bangalore (let alone Hong Kong), the conversation is like the 4 lines of the song mentioned above. 

It's not easy to leave a city like Bombay which provides some of the things we like having around - this could be a pub, a good restaurant, egg bhurji at 11pm on the road, taking a train to churchgate and of course, our friends - which makes me wonder, could it really be a product of our grooming?

The Indian social setting is based on friends and family; inevitably, people get married and then they are stuck. I don't mean it in the derogatory sense, (but all married people look similar into their 30s) I just believe that people get stuck with the concept of family and friends - there is a strong sense of attachment and duties and how things ought to be.

A friend recently told me that what the urban Indian yuppies want nowadays is easy money, a good social setting, a sexy wife (or husband) and home cooked food available at will (just like it was when living with the parents); they want to move out and create their homes the way they want it but want to live near the parents, they want to travel the world but can't imagine being away for too long. 
The West has spoilt us with choices I think. 

I don't understand the concept of marriage and I hate being tied down. Compromises are OK, but not when stretched to an extent where it changes the fibre of who I am. I don't like loud people, I don't like taking pictures of a monument, I hate traffic, I love my space, I love open spaces and I enjoy good company. I love the mountains and I enjoy my fair share of nature. I like new foods and new drinks and new people.
I don't understand what marriage or a relationship has to do with 'stability' or an anchored physical location to live at.

All these thoughts are spewing forth because of a dear friend (who I miss terribly - and that I mean) left her home country and work city and moved to another country which is culturally similar and moved in with her boyfriend.

Digression: I think live-in relationships are the way things should be. It gets rid of the legal and societal hassles (and burden) that come with a marriage. 

So, she moved in with this dude she hasn't known for too long but long enough (the time, I mean). She quit her job and is studying for an exam and praytell, what is wrong with that? Moving to another city is not a life changer - it could be a simple temporary move, one can just take it as it comes. Indians care too much about how others see them (don't roll your eyes, I know it is true) and the new Indians like to live life as though they are self-centered, but the truth is that they are torn between these dichotomous strains. 

So hey, as I had mentioned earlier and as the Beatles said, life is very short and there's no tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime for fussing and fighting my friend.
This town is pitiful, and I'll be gettin' out as soon as I can.

Until then, let the beer flow.

P.S. I crave Korean Food.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The power of media

Something is changing in the world and we are not noticing it.
The speed with which information is now shared makes lemming behaviour come to the fore.

A good article here about how 1 photo went kinda viral on the net and nobody knew who shot it, where it was shot or when. And eventually, the truth surfaced.
But by then, everybody 'knew' where it was from and didn't care about the correction.

This kind of behaviour is all-pervasive now - we talk about things nonchalantly and care lesser about the things that matter. The need to be heard is becoming all the more important, which shows itself in the need for facebook, facebook stalking, blogging, twitter-ing (or as is called - tweeting), whatsapp chats and group chats.

The first time it happened was during the age of hotmail - the first few years of free email - when people loved sending forwards and exchanging trivial information.

Oddly, the need to be connected is now so strong that stronger, more wholesome relationships are breaking down in favour of shallow, short-lived relations.

We live in interesting times. 


Mortality must've hit you right? Instead of seeing yourself dying at 70, you see yourself dying 5 minutes from now.

Don't know why people believe in living for others, because living for oneself ought to come first eh? The Indian society is structured in a way that the family and the community comes at the expense of the self and now the new yuppie indians want the best of both - they want mummy's love and they want a super sexy wife.

Why hasn't euthanasia been legalised yet?

Why don't we have good sanitation for the general public - is it really that expensive if property rates can be easily north of INR 5000 / 20000 per sq ft.?

Why do you work for INR 100k per month if you have free family wealth of INR 5 Cr?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Building demolition

Now isn't this awesome. Plain awesome.

The Japs have created a way (someone else?) to demolish a building with lesser noise, more cleanly and much more beautifully.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Farooque Shaikh

My friend's post about her meeting with Farooque Shaikh.

Loved it - people get blinded by the pursuit and eventually start tripping on it.
It's important to take a step back and take it all in, see things in a simpler light and slow down just a tad.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To be Indian?

Interesting article, would also call it nice.

When did religion become so important?
And oddly more people around the world are agnostic or atheist than ever before (after religion had spread its tentacles) I think.

"As a female Muslim atheist, this is the kind of society I want to live in. And I don’t want to have to cross the seven seas for a little bit of respect. I want it here, in this country I love despite itself, and from people I love, regardless of their beliefs."

I do get tired of this country's nonchalance, nepotism, bureaucracy, and zero-sum policies (political, legal and social). 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Travel now.

I like my dentist. For one, he is really good and secondly, he loves traveling.
The second reason is a good one eh?

He looks like a normal old-ish Maharashtrian gent but last year he was in NZ and this year he is going to go Cambodia.

Anyway, he said today, as he has said before, "one should travel as much as possible, only so much that you can save money, and when you save it, you start worrying about investing and losing and taxes and thievery. What's the point re? And travel young, it's difficult when you're older - but oddly, you have more to spend when you are older."

When young people travel 'too much', they are branded as careless, hippies or loafers, unambitious, ingrates - and when old people travel, they are called cute.

Fk this all. Traveling is happening babay. Travel I shall.

Olive Ridley. Patagonia. Mountains. Forests. Antarctica. Mountain lodge. Good food. Good sex. Good health. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


So, House: Season 8 Ep 9
There is an asexual couple - not celibate, because celibacy is a choice - and House, of course, is intrigued. He bets 100 bucks with Wilson that he will prove that the patient is not asexual.
And of course, he does. The guy was asexual because of a tumour, blah blah which interfered with his libido and his member's ability to sit up - and his loving girlfriend, and then wife said that she too is asexual.
All's well that ends well huh...

Wilson: "I think they were happy, even if it was based on lies..."
House: "Most happiness is."

However, the episode was more interesting because of a patient who had Alzhiemer's. His wife takes care of him and is emotionally attracted to another guy, which makes sense, but she continues with the marriage - may be out of duty, may be out of love, who knows...

Anyway, towards the end, she says that she has had enough. And yes, one would right? What's the point of taking after someone who reboots his memory every 15 minutes or 1 hour and barely remembers you? And what if you can't form lasting memories with that person? Why should one be stuck to another just because of a religious custom, social dogma or a legal shackle?

Monday, January 28, 2013


It is a gift - a mind that thinks and questions. As I walked into that gargantuan marriage function after a train ride, I couldn't help but wonder if the 1000 odd people there actually cared for the married couple. I'm pretty sure they didn't. I disdain this show, this farce, this parade for the benefit of an ogling audience which munches on copious amounts of digestibles. I wore a simple kurta and jeans and I saw people uncomfortable in tight clothes of western origin - I smirked as the wind found its way up my kurta and de-stressed me. A few pleasantries exchanged and luckily I met my childhood friend who was getting married; customs dictate that I wait by and get a photo clicked with him and his wife. Luckily, I didn't care for that. He saw me and I had come there because he was a nice childhood friend, who after years away still took the effort to invite me to his marriage functions. I am sentimental (and mental) and I do these things. I hold on to simple memories and I like keeping my word.
I walked out and decided to walk to the station, through people on the pavements, people huddled around a fire, a naked child and the filth of Mumbai metres away from a lavish spread of people. I sang a little song at my lips, crossed the street and found my way back home.
I had accepted a certain fact - that I was going to be stuck here, but something seems to have changed. It may be momentary but my longing mind reaches out to the years ahead and hopes against logic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Sickness can change people. Yesterday, I got out at night for a drive and a walk. Jaundice had kept me away from wonderful Mumbai winter nights and yesterday I pushed myself to get out.
As I walked near my school I thought of all the poor rich souls cooped up in their beautiful homes, tired after a long day at work and an even more tiring back home and I thought to myself - what is it worth if you can't get out at night for a peaceful walk?

What do I think of? Nothing really... times gone by, times ahead, changes in my life and how the moon looks in the dead of the night.

We need the simple things - chai, walks, good food, good rest, good work, good growth AND good health.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Avoiding the Mistakes

Humans are fallible and that makes us special because we can reason.

I'm watching Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey - and he said that, look... I've made mistakes, we all do...
Lance said that the word 'cheat' is for people who gain an unfair advantage over others. Based on that, he was not a cheat, he was playing on a leveled field... this is what he said.
To which Oprah said, but you are Lance Armstrong - you are held to a higher standard.

Isn't that unfair? Just because somebody is more popular, he/ she is not allowed to 'cheat'.
It's an interesting conundrum...

And this goes to the effects of popular behaviour... when many people do a 'something', does it become acceptable behaviour?
The broken windows theory - a run down house has its windows intact for a long time until one day, somebody comes by and throws a stone, breaks a window and walks away... Over time, as other people see the broken window, they believe it's OK to break more windows for fun. Eventually, all windows are broken.

We use this in our lives everyday.
Well, that guy just threw plastic on the street - I guess it's OK to do so.
My uncle told me that only fools pay full taxes - hell! I ain't gonna pay up...

We use reason from time to time and say that, 'Well, it's wrong to do so and so...But... just this once."
We succumb to group behaviour.
People are docile when alone and in groups, they can wreak havoc - think gang rapes, looting, rioting, protesting.

We play a game in our lives where we battle with elements much bigger than ourselves - based on that, it is difficult to win; the best that most can do is to avoid mistakes.

The slippery slope - we are all prey to it. We find ways to justify unacceptable behaviour; it may be unacceptable by your mind, your body, by the people around you or by some other barometers.

'Just this once, I am going to cheat on my diet" And there we go... we make it a habit.
Not paying taxes is acceptable behaviour justified easily by saying that the government does barely anything for us. It's as though we take a democracy for granted. Look it countries in Africa, look at Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka - most of our neighbours - many other countries. We have had a 60+ year democracy without military rule - that is an amazing fact. Very few countries make it.
The slippery slope is difficult to avoid.
We make a habit of exaggerations, white lies, falsifying data, self-adulation.

Humans are fallible and that makes us special because we can reason.
Sadly, most people stop reasoning. It's just too hard.

Angry people become stubborn. They create irrefutable arguments. They make their own decisions which may not make sense. They go through with them because ego rears its ugly head.

Avoid the mistakes.
Stay away from negative influences and use a rational head.
Keep a diary.
Question the norm.