What is Love?

Posted: December 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

I had known Kaveri amma as a valiant fighter and a strong headed woman. I would often meet her at the old book stall or while I was out for a stroll. She was mostly accompanied by her dog, an old Labrador, who would walk along with her or walk around people who would stop to have a word with Kaveriamma. Kaveri amma was always seen with her dog and I don’t know if that animal had another name but Kaveriamma called it ‘Dog’.  If it loitered away too far or if a child was scared of its friendliness, Kaveri amma would call out to the animal in a stern voice “Dog, No” or with a “Dog, come here.  Now”.

In her early 70s, Kaveri amma would often take an evening stroll in the society park. At times alone and most times with the dog. It was during one of my evening strolls that I saw her sitting alone on the park bench. I walked to her and asked how she was and pointed out that the dog was missing. She asked me to sit by her side, and without answering my trivial questions, she asked me “Jay, you are somebody who can tell me what love is.” I was not sure what that meant but with certain uncertainty I answered “Amma, I am not sure what the answer should be but I am sure love is an excuse to be with or not to be with someone or something”

She patted my back and chuckled as she spoke “Cut the philosophy, tell me what exactly love do to you. What does it feel like to be in love?”

Instead of answering her question, I asked her why she was asking me these questions out of nowhere and then she told me something that is etched in my thoughts for a lifetime.

“Dog died this morning. The pet care centre took him away. I know I have my children but I don’t wish to leave what is left of my memories with my husband. He brought me in here; we lived and loved each other in this apartment. I grew old with him and before he left, he brought the dog. I named the dog Grumpy but he would call it dog and soon, even I started calling it dog. We were retired, old and happy. 5 years ago when he passed away, he left me the dog for company and memories enough to last until I leave this world. And this morning it all changed. I am not sure what love is, I am not hurt because Dog died. People die and so do animals. Today, I am afraid of losing our memories one after the other. Dog was one of them and now when my children ask me to come and live with them, I will lose this house and everything that belongs to our memories”

I looked at her as she spoke, tears brimming in all four eyes. She stood up and I helped her, she spoke as she walked “I was sitting here and was wondering, if love is all about being together or if love is all about spending time and being loved. I might be too old to say this but I think love is all about ensuring you have enough memories of being together. And we connect these memories with words, people, things, emotions and even an animal that was part of that moment”

I nodded in agreement with what she said, as we reached her building. She once again patted on my back and said “Dog was just one of the moments of us being together in my memory. I have lost dog today but I hope the memory survives. And yes, I don’t know what love is. Hope this is it. And if you have a better answer do let me know” and she walked to the lift.


Another Love Story: The Beginning

Posted: December 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

I walked into the empty house knowing there was nothing more that I could have discovered from how I left it; rather we left it. Even the thick wild grass outside the porch and the withered petals of the bougainvillea lined on the sides of the veranda looked the same. I could hear the silence of my unspoken words echoing in my head. It had been more than 2 years. We were in love then or we thought so.

Every story has a beginning and ours had one too.

I had decided to spend a week away from the desk job where I was forced to write ideas, words and forsaken wisdom so that somebody else would sound intelligent. I was happy to be unknown but I always had this wish to write for myself. So walking back home, like most days, I dropped the bag on the sidewalk and sat there. Watching the sea and jaded by the feeling of being nothing against its vastness, I decided to travel to the mountains. All I had to do was call Akash and tell that I needed some time off for I had been working for the last 8 months without a single day away from churning out whatever and whenever he had asked me to. He suggested I travel with some friends but I thought of otherwise. By the time I reached home, everyone from team had called me, including the 3 month old intern who was still a student at NIFT. A solitary trip had turned into a group holiday and everyone was either confused or planning the trip with me as I walked back home.  Of all the people who called, I just knew Shakti. The only friend I made in those cubicles of work and words therefore it was easy for me to tell him the truth. I told everyone that the plan is to travel in the midnight train to Abu Road. I will be boarding the train with regular tickets and then bribe the TC for an overnight journey. I knew it would be a lonely journey, the way I had suggested my plans to them. So I reached Andheri station about 15 minutes before time and sat on the last platform flipping through an old issue of the week. That is when I got a call from the intern, I was about to answer the call when it got disconnected and the next thing I saw was the last thing I wished to see. She was standing right in front of me and looked perfectly ready for the trip. It took me sometime to understand the shit I was in and the only moment when I hoped that more people showed up.

The TC took us through three sleeper class bogies before allotting two seats to us. She was the most excited girl a depressed man could have ever come across. In the darkness of the moving train with total strangers sleeping around me, I realised I was travelling to the place I loved the most with an almost stranger when all I wished to do was travel alone.  Destiny is indeed a bitch. Heartbreak a bigger one.

Away from faces I knew or what they call family; I had grown up in those hills a decade ago in a gurukul surrounded by strangers and stranger stories. Mount Abu was not a new place for me; I had discovered those hills long before the ocean swallowed me. I had slept through the day and that night I stepped out in the cold darkness walking the streets that I had explored and experienced once. As I was leaving my room, she walked out of hers and joined me. I smiled and nodded because all I could do was that. Right across the mist covered polo ground; we found comfort in the warmth of a tiny tea stall. I could the smell the beauty of the tiny earthen pot each time I sipped the hot tea from it and right across me sat a woman who, in that moment, I thought was beautiful. I wasn’t attracted, just found her to be beautiful in that moment; or I felt so because she had the blitheness to accompany a total stranger who didn’t wish her company.


Anecdote: Surviving or Saving

Posted: June 28, 2014 in The Things

She walked up to the edge of the platform to find what the four legged mother and her young puppies were staring at and I followed her. Right under the train, between the track and the platform was another young one. The wheels of the train touching the tiny strands of its hair. She looked at me and I knew what I had to do but not sure how to do it.
She asked me to quickly do it.
I jumped down between the compartments and pulled it out. I got back on the platform and minutes later the train moved.
I looked back at the mother as she licked her young one endlessly. With a sense of pride of being a savior and certain fear of possibilities, I walked along with her and that beautiful smile on her face.
As we walked out of the station, I asked her in jest.
Me “What if I something had gone wrong?”
She “I knew that you wouldn’t let me down and more importantly you just saved two lives. The young puppy’s and yours”

I wasn’t sure if I was a savior or a survivor.

Pondicherry, November 2013.

Due to my drinking habits and my screwed up linguistic ability I haven’t made a lot of friends in Kerala and therefore my social circle is restricted to handful of people from work, young people who are photographers, musicians or cinema lovers and some foreigners who don’t judge me for my drinking habits.

I was recently on a look out for a new house as the Mrs was planning to move in with me and therefore I was regularly on calls with a lot of real estate agents from and around Kochi. Around this time I was introduced to this 18 something young photographer from the city. Young, vibrant and very good at capturing moments on his camera, this guy often used to chat up with me and we used to discuss lot of things.

About a week ago, I was with this real estate agent who was taking me around the city to check suitable places for myself. Sitting in a rikshaw, having travelled half of the city and totally pissed for not being able to find a good house and that is when this 18 something friend of mine popped up on the chat. He asked me about my whereabouts and  I informed him that I was a bit busy. He asked me if everything was fine. And then this was our conversation.

Me “Da ninaku Ernakulathu  nalla parijayam ondo?” (Do you have a lot of contacts in Ernakulam?)

He “Avishatil erre onda, JK para JK’kyu enda vendiyada”  (Enough and more. Let me know what you want)

Me “Eda Nalla Weedu noki erangiyada, onnum kittanu illa” (I am out searching for some house,couldn’t find any)

He “Machchan, tension adikyenda, njan opichu taraam”  (Buddy, you need not be worried. I will arrange it for you)

Me “Thanks da. Will catch up with you later


I went ahead with the house hunting only to be disappointed and come back home. It must have been around 9 in the night, I was indulged in a book, and that is when I heard my phone calling out for my attention. I lazily walked across and answered ‘my photographer’ friend’s call.

He: “Hello Machcha. You home?”

Me: “Yeah. why?”

He:  “Open the door; I have got something for you. Good news only. Open, no”

I smiled thinking about the ‘No’ as he used it and opened the door. He was standing there smiling wide and his hands extended.

I was wondering what it would be. A lot of thoughts ran through my house hunting occupied head. A key to some beautiful house, somebody’s number who has a house or might be some simple gift were some of my guesses.

I reached out and he slowly placed what was in his hand into mine. I couldn’t recognize what it was until I smelled it. Strongly smelling like weed, tightly packed in a plastic, light and very much confusing.  This was confusing because he knew that I was neither into drugs nor into alcohol and giving this to me definitely didn’t make any sense. The confusion on my face was evident and his smile faded away.

He asked me with a frown on his face “Machchan alle paranje, nalla Weed’u venam enu” (Buddy you told me that you wanted some good weed)

And I could not stop laughing

We Willie Winkie

Wee Willie Winkie
Runs through the town
Upstairs and down stairs
In his night gown

Rapping on the windows
Crying through the lock
“Are the children all in bed
Or they stripping on skype and Gtalk?”


There was an old Woman Who lived in a shoe

There was an old Sonia
Who lived in a shoe
She had so many ministers
She didn’t know what to do
She gave them some ministry
Their Scams are now a Mystery
She owned them like a boss
And now we have a nation at loss


Row Row Row your Boat.

Drive drive drive your car
Gently down the potholes
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Coz the politicians are assholes.


The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
Spider survived but our Roads were washed out.


Teddy Bear Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear
Turn around
Teddy bear Teddy bear
Touch the ground
Teddy Bear couldn’t coz he was fucking fat.

The blazing fire ball had drowned into the sea, like every other day, aftering itself out into a red giant ball. Kaaka, for a long time, used to wonder who or what threw this ball up into the sky from behind the mountains. His curiosity got the better of him; he flew up in the sky. The moment he flew higher than the mountains, he realized that there was nobody behind the mountains; he saw that the fire ball came from far away in the east.

Those were the days when Kaaka was new to flying high and used to get tired quickly, struggling too hard to stay afloat and eventually falling on the ground with a thud. Nothing much has changed except for him giving up sooner, avoiding the struggle and the painful fall.

Sitting on the rope, watching the vast sea and these featherless animals chasing the ball, Kaaka was reassuring him. The ball, unlike the giant one that drowned before the dark, was beaten up by these featherless animals but it never tried escaping. He wondered if what he has planned could be called escaping.
He was waiting for the darkness to engulf the shore. He had his plan in place; he would fly away over the sea and to another land across the sea. He would meet new people out there and come back flying with stories to share. This whole idea of  travelling across to another land was in place because it had made his father a hero. The stories his mother told him seemed fresh as he sat waiting to conquer his fears and find his glory.

As the story goes, his father flew across the sea to a land that was unheard of and some place nobody else had been to. Travelling on the ship’s mast and then flying across the vast ocean he reached a land unknown to and unheard by many.

His father returned after a long time, he had taken up the life of pilgrim and therefore he refused to accept his mother and him as family. He loathed his father but nonetheless he was hero for many, he had stories about the land far away. He had to prove, and not just to his father, even to others that he was not just one amongst them but he was worthy and worth the respect he never got.

He was seeing lights of hope as the darkness engulfed him and the tiny ball went away with the featherless animals, which were until then trashing the life out of him. Such are the strange ways of the world around him, he thought.

So one of my house mates, the beautiful (now a celebrity after her debut as an actress in the Malayalam cinema) Dominica Mencel has planned to go back to her country, well she is Polish. Oh yes I live with two white chicks and a brown man (I am darker shade of grey so have to respect the superior race or some shit like that). We have a beautiful house, thanks to our beautiful landlady Parvathy Janardhanan.

So to the story, Dominica informed me that she is leaving Kochi this weekend and so she wished to cook dinner for us, also wishing to spend the evening with us. We were game, even after having known her for a long time, because we still have that rush of excitement every time we talk to these white chicks. (Blame the Porn effect or Pron as Varun-the brown guy often pronounces). I was unnaturally sad and soon realized that I would miss some of her funny questions in her beautiful accent. When I say funny questions, I really mean funny. To cite an example “What are you doing with your coconuts?” in a heavy Polish accent that emphasized so much on the nuts. The only thing you can do is to stare at her in disbelief.

So this sadness had to be overcome and so I decided to give her a surprise or more like buy some cake for ourselves to eat after the delicious dinner she had promised.

So, while at work, I call up one of these Bakers and ask them to prepare a cake and make sure that the cake is completely white. The conversation

Me “Please make sure that the cake is completely white”

He “This will be the best cake saar”

Me “Thank you and also, I want  ~Good Bye Hot Chick~ Written on it”

He “Just a minute, let me write it down”

Me “Sure, it is ~Good Bye Hot Chick~ and put that in red”

He “Got it, just come and collect it by 10:00 PM”

Me “Yes, I will but do you want me to send you ~ Good Bye Hot Chick~ in an SMS”

He “Whaaat sir? You will get the best cake tonight”

Well that was an assurance and sounded very promising.

So she cooked the food and all of us were sitting together about to have dinner, suddenly the Promising Baker calls me up and tells me that the Best Cake is ready.

I jump off the bean bag and rush to get the cake. Tell them that I have to meet a friend; the usual Tanya (the other white chick) comments come pouring down on me for being rude and asocial. I ignore her ramblings because she happens to be one of the closest people I am with and I know she can be ignored if and when needed.

I drive to the baker’s and see this guy standing there, he didn’t seem very promising. I tell him that I am the guy who has come for the ‘Hot Chick’ cake.

The cake is packed in a box and with a plastic knife stuck on it. I am impressed but out of excitement and curiosity I ask him, if I can see the cake before I take it home. The guy nods and cut through the thin tape and opens up the ‘Best Cake’ to me, I am not so sure if words can describe the disbelief

This is what it opened to

I am not sure what I was supposed to do; I took the cake and left because they were waiting for me. I wasn’t sure about the reception I would get back at home. I knocked the door and Dominica was happy to see me bring a cake. Tanya was surprised and Varun appreciated the gesture. I asked them to open the box. The only thing I remember is Tanya and Dominica bursting out into a nonstop laughter. It turned out to be the Best Cake Dominica had ever had in India and Tanya has got something to pull my leg for. As for Varun and me, we will go back home today and finish the White Cake sorry the Best Cake.