Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Tablet Saga

17th August, 11:30 pm
My client is on my ass for a clump of articles that I have been promising for the past month or so. I gulp my dinner and finally sit down to finish them off. All I need is 2 hours of uninterrupted silence so that she leaves me in peace for the next few days.
I know, I know, I have been procrastinating but there was much to do in office. That ass of a boss, Malhotra has been keeping me on my heels for the last few weeks and I couldn’t be seen doing freelance work there! I need the money so I can buy myself a proper laptop. Plus, the tablet “could do light work”, the girl at the electronics store had said. All I needed was to type in a few hundred words.
11:40 pm
I switch on my tab. Or rather, try to. I have been pressing the ‘Switch’ button for the past couple of minutes. Nothing. Dear Lord, please help. I paid 15K for this tablet and it’s not even been a month! Of course I could call their customer support; I called them the last time. They sent me a long email citing technicalities I did not understand. I press the button hard another time.
“Zzzzz”, the tab groans back to life. I sigh and get back to work.
12:00 am
I have 5 tabs open in my browser. I need to consult various websites for writing. But as soon as I open one of those tabs, everything I had typed in the other tab vanishes. Like magic!
‘No, no, no, no, no, no……”, I scream, “Come back, come back, back, back”, I cry out in terror. I had pressed ’Save’, but where did all the data go? Luckily I remember most of what I had written and I am able to reconstruct it. Well, somewhat. But the keyboard is hung. I type and type, nothing happens. So I wait patiently while the tab takes a nap, like a lazy pot-bellied government officer. After about 5 minutes, the words appear. There are spaces where I had not put any. Is my tablet possessed?
But no time to think of it now, my client just messaged me on my phone asking about the articles. The exorcism will just have to wait till another time.
I finish the articles and press ‘Send’, all the while chanting prayers. Thankfully, my tablet doesn’t throw any more fits.
18th August, 7:00 pm
So Tanya said she had uploaded our photos on Facebook. Even asked me to check what Rohan had commented. Something about my hair. Dimply curly-haired Rohan? About my hair? I can’t wait. As I throw my bag on the bed and take out my tablet, I am bursting with excitement. I unlock it and…unlock it and…unlock…why wouldn’t the darn thing unlock? I slide the ‘Lock’ symbol again and again but nothing happens. Damn you, silly tab, I could be in a smart-ass comment thread flirting with my love interest right now if not for you!
I throw the dumb tool on the bed and grumpily watch Arnab screaming his guts out. Someone should put my tab and its makers on that show. Would serve them right.
19th August, 3:00 pm
I logged into Facebook during lunch today. So Rohan likes my hair, hmm.  I wonder how I will wear it in the next office party. May be I’ll part it to the right. Or no parting at all. “So Miss Dasgupta”, a voice booms from behind, “Where are we on the content requirements?”.  
I almost fall off the chair as my arch nemesis, the Amrish Puri to my love story, the Voldemort to my Hogwarts: my boss, asks cheerily. “Client to revert”, I gasp as I barely close the window.
“By the way, nice hair”, the voice of Doom smiles before wandering off to the far side, presumably towards the direction of Rohan’s desk. Rohan’s desk! That cheeky devil. Reason why I never surf Facebook in office. Thank Heavens; he’s not on my friends’ list. Even so, he has now seen Rohan’s comment.
I need to be more careful.
And get my tab fixed. Today.
7:00 pm
“Madamji, hum sirf laptop aur computer thik karte hain”, the shopkeeper says in his heavy Haryanvi accent.
“Kar dijiye na bhaiyya, please?” The desperation in my voice is apparent.
He pulls open the rear cover of the machine and fidgets with a pin. If my tablet could feel, it would be feeling a lot of things right now. And it would know better than to ever cross me again.
As if it could actually hear me, my tablet trudges back to life. I swear I haven’t been this happy since my dentist fractured his hand in 2006.
I check my mail. Rohan has just sent me a PDF file. The subject: For You. I download the attachment but it won’t open. I try a variety of software programmes, even download the Adobe Reader but apparently, my tablet is too snobbish. At this point, the only thing keeping me from throwing the tablet away on the dusty roadside is the faith that someday, all of this will make sense. And of course, the obscene amount of money I paid for it.
I call their Customer Support again. They ask me to bring it to their nearest service centre. Which is 2 hours away.  I don’t have the time.
They have sent me a mail again. A longer one, this time.
As I begin to read it, my tablet shoots a warning sign. 4% battery left. 4%? Impossible. I haven’t even used the tablet for 2 days. But, even though it was hung over, the battery was ‘on’. So the power has depleted even though I haven’t used it.The tablet reminds me of a pet elephant; it takes more than it gives. Much, much more.

All I want is a tablet that will not die down on me. Is it too much to ask for a decent battery life even when all you use, consist of Whatsapp and Chrome? Here’s a revolutionary thing for a tablet to do: reading documents!
And when a tablet has aced these basic functions in an overcrowded but below-average Indian tab market, I’ll think of outrageous things to do.
Like illustrating ideas. An orangutan smoking cigarettes, a cat flying, a fish sitting on a tree branch, a chihuahua taking on a great dane.
And checking mail in the crowded Bandra local. And while taking showers. (You never know when an important notification might come up!)
I want a tablet that can do freaking handstands. Because really, why would you need a cumbersome keyboard when the best things come in small packages? And of course, it would help to have a stand mode for the recipes when I'm being the next Nigella in kitchen. I wouldn't want to serve ham in plum cake again.
I want to be able to lay my tablet down, without bothering about the sleek screen the next time nosy Sarita Aunty decides to sneak a peek at the community gala. (So I am a bit of a showoff, sue me.)
It would also be amazing if I could click photographs while skydiving. (Why not?)
From what I hear, the new Lenovo Yoga Tablet is pretty kickass at each of these things. Three modes, the stand, tilt and hold make it a versatile user-friendly machine. Coupled with a good battery life, the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and Dolby enhanced speakers, this tablet is a power-packed toy of fire. I was going through and the discussions there seemed pretty interesting. Lots of people, same as me, totally clueless and disappointed with their tablets have found this a fun forum to share their woes and queries with the Lenovo team giving prompt replies.
I wish I could teach my tablet to read and aspire to be more 'yogic'. Sigh. It might be late for me, but as they say in 'Yoga', 'never lose sight of hope'.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Occasion

As I stand lazily soaking in the winter sun, I see a monkey in the distant roof, doing the same. A closer inspection reveals a Ma monkey followed by one-two baby monkeys, with another monkey chilling in someone's balcony. 'Hee...bador bador', I gleefully observe. The Ma monkey then climbs down the grill, just like Spiderman. The young ones follow suit to join their Chacha (I'm guessing) in the neighbouring balcony.

Still giggling, I come down the stairs to find a wolf strolling about, in the guise of a dog. It seems to have enough fur to shield the neighbourhood for the winter. I share biscuits with the dumb blackie but those 5 biscuits vanish before hitting the floor. Finding I have no more biscuits to offer, it now decides to settle for the next best thing.

It begins to wag its bushy tail, I pat it a little. Two pats, and the wolf seeks to climb till my shoulder, like a chipku guy. 'Durey thako, durey thako', I order the wolf which probably weighs more than me. It calms down but still keeps on looking through the iron grills long after I have closed the gate.

I go back to shoot the monkeys on the roof but they have long since vanished. So I shoot the next best thing: Myself.

Gurgaon is a chiriyakhana. I like it.

5:30 am

5:30 am- That unearthly hour that marks the short interval between the dying echoes of night and the first whispers of dawn.

5:30 am- That whimsical muse who whistles away at the last few hours of a person's sleep; him desperate to finish the dream before reality faces him, once again.

On such a 5:30 am today morning, I decided to go for a walk.

Yes, me. The nightcrawler, the sun-hater.

I can't remember waking up so early except while catching trains.
And that one time, I climbed a mountain (or was it a hill?) in Rajasthan. I was very small, so even a hill seemed Mt. Everest to me. And how proud I was when I climbed it before the elders, right at the speck of dawn. I got a pack of Uncle Chips as reward. Something about the chips tasted even finer, I tell you. 

And now this. 

Another of my attempts at something new and different in the last 4 months.
Being healthy? Nah. The early bird? You're preaching to the owl.

And as the last shadows of night kissed the earth goodbye, we began walking. Talking, laughing, discussing everything and more, this bunch of crazies walked playfully. Shivering in the cold, I followed them first. Then, irritated at the slow walking, I began pacing fast. And faster. The way I usually walk. Like I was in a walk-a-thon. Walking under the sky, amidst the shrubbery, looking at the 18 to 40-year olds who had also gathered. To play, to walk. Who wakes up so early?

The early bird. The milkman. The driver. The working man and woman. The sun, for God's sake.
Certainly not me.

I liked walking with you today, Dawn. I hope to do more. But I am bad with promises. And as long as nothing's defined, it's still full of potential, innit? Pregnant with hope. So let's just keep it that way.
May be we will meet again. May be not.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Deal with the Devil

Pen and paper beside
Endless thoughts brewing on my mind
Let’s see, how to begin
Oh look, there’s a notification!

Listless faces, infinite stories
Such overwhelming information
Might I just take a minute’s break?
Any likes or comments- a quick check.

Time passes, months fly
The summer winds gently sway
This raving demon consumes my soul
It carries me up and away.

Such a possessive spouse,
A more obsessive partner I haven’t seen
We are in a co-dependent relationship.
We’d have to go to therapy
But ah Facebook, only you have understood me!

Now you love me, now you don’t
You make me feel pretty;
You make me sound smart.
I’ve never met anyone like you
I’d trade every reality for this illusory you.

It’s true I haven’t read a book in eons
Not even made a friend- a real one that is.
But it doesn’t matter you see
My Facebook friends are more than 450.

We are closer than you think
We talk everyday, sometimes by night
And when my neighbour (some name I forget) commits suicide
That’s what I put up as status.

My FB friends are very concerned
They shower me with affection
I know they care and they do.
I’m not lonely as that neighbour too.

Morning to night, I search
Crazy anecdotes, curious sightings, whatever I can find
To impress my invisible friends.
But the day my status gets less than 10 likes,
I gasp. I stare aghast, afraid
To acknowledge my worthless existence.
Why does nobody love me?
Am I that repulsive, that boring?
What would it take to just ‘like’ me?

Because you see, attention is a transient drug
Keeps you high till the effects wear off
Very soon, 10 likes aren’t enough.
You need more and more. As far you can go.

His photo got more comments than mine.
Does that mean he’s more popular, more charming?
Ah Facebook you bitch,
You have created a pool of contagious narcissuses
Each feeding off the popularity of other
Distracting us from the real world.

Attention keeps us high, in a vegetative state
We’re all kings and queens here
Just a reflection of our true selves.

So take my home, my pen, paper and soul
Take my beauty, my vitality, my youth
Take my knowledge, my urge, I care not
So long as my profile is ‘followed’ the most.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


My head hurts. The wall I have been banging it into for the past few weeks, refuses to break down. My head's strong. It refuses to give up. So does the wall. 

It's not pretty being sandwiched between an inanimate wall and an overanimated brain. I try coaxing it into finding another way, a better way. Something that doesn't involve me taking a bunch of painkillers. 

Climb it, perhaps? Fly over it? My head, like a tunnelvisioned bull, refuses to listen. Climbing takes time. Flying requires wings. 

"I know, I know, but do you think you can just stop before you break your bones?" I say gently, with a slight hint of indignation.

"There are no bones in the brain, you idiot", my brain hisses nastily, as it collides with the wall again.

"C'mon, I meant the are breaking it!" I retort desperately. "Anyway, why are you so angry? I thought the brain was supposed to be the calm reasonable voice. Being emotional is the heart's job". 

"Try hitting yourself repeatedly and see what it does to a calm rational voice", it mocks me.

"Well...hello!" I put out my hands, in exasperation. "Clearly, this pain is making you dumb. Maybe, if you'd just listen to me for a while.."

"Why don't you try telling your heart that? How many times have I told it that ideas don't like to be pushed out? If you've hit a block, try finding another route. But, it never listens." My brain desperately shouts the last words as it crashes into the wall.

Bang, bang. Bang!

"Ok, enough. Everyone listen. Brain, for the love of everything rational, STOP! Heart, what the hell is going on?" I cry, exasperated. The pain was becoming too much.

"I will overcome this. I will, I will. Nobody, nothing is going to stop me. I will overcome writer's block", my heart speaks breathlessly, for the first time.

"Stop..stop. You are killing us. Look, may be if you just took a break...". My eyes start to go blind.

"You won't stop me. I will overcome this block, I will keep on busting my head, till it breaks down..."

"The head or the wall?" I gasp one last witty reply as the world closes in on me. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Fingers on his chin and head slightly bent, he looks at her silently from behind those big round glasses.

She stands, scared. A huge pile of papers in her hand and the expectation of having to perform weighs her down.

"Next idea", he silently murmurs.

"Umm...umm, so this is about a woman who brushes her hair with cactus..."

"What's the brand?" He inquires.

" softener", she mumbles.

"Oh..done", he says quietly.

"Already?" Her disappointment thinly veils the nervousness she feels around him.

"Hmm...yeah", he goes back to watching Breaking Bad on his computer screen.

She comes back to her desk, banging her head against the imaginary wall, for a millionth time.

"Be smart, be confident, be brave", she encourages herself.

"You know, it's been a while. Doesn't make sense for you to stammer so much in front of him. So, he's your boss. So, he's cute. So, he's witty. So he's intelligent. So what? You are not dumb. You are clever and funny and talented."

"And he's so remarkably down-to-earth. I didn't expect a celebrity to be like this".

"You're starstruck".

"Dearness, I'm crushing on him at the rate of 2 icebergs per second. Just last day, he was running down the conference hall like a child while explaining an idea. And yesterday, he was cycling. In the office. He's always teasing me. And, he talks ..I mean, really talks to me. You know I'm shy and I don't talk much with people. But he comes everyday just to talk to me. I mean, who does that?"

"All it takes to impress you is for someone to be nice to you".

"Dunno. But he's not just nice or talented. He's a good human being..."

"Or so it seems."

"I wish...I wish..", she began dreamily.

"Careful what you wish", the stern voice warned.

"Why can't I get guys like that?"

"Coz you become dumb when it comes to guys you like. You are smart and sweet and funny. But when it comes to guys you like, you act like a total retard."

"And now it's affecting my work. I mean, how on earth am I supposed to think of ideas when he just stands there being so cute, so friendly, with such an adorable smile and accommodating personality?"

"He's flirtatious. And you, are an idiot. You never learn, do you?"

"Apparently I don't", she mused grimly.

"Is this the first time a guy has been so charming to make you fall hard, and land with a thud on the floor?"

"No", she said quietly. Underneath though, she was thinking of his suede shoes and lime coloured watch. The fancy hat. The twinkle in those eyes hidden behind big glasses. That indomitable spirit. That sly smile. That seriousness with which he listened to every idea she had, no matter how flawed, how trivial. The poems she had written on him. The way he flirted with her, but still treated her considerately like she was his sister. How much he loved his daughter. His beautiful wife. And how, he was still so warm with her. And everyone around him. How he helped everyone. Even those who could do nothing for him in return. How straightforward he was. Blunt but never rude. How he found beauty in the tiniest of things. How he was frank with her. Fancy saying that her writing was like a 13-year old. How it had angered her. How she was so terribly terribly intimidated by him. Because of his down-to-earth behaviour. Would she be able to live up to his expectations? Did she deserve so much kindness? As she thought this, her eyes became watery.

"But you know", she continued, fighting the knot in her voice, "he's different from others. He genuinely helps people."

"So? Your job is to work so you can better yourself. Then find a new job. Don't you think I know why you did not leave even though you had other offers?", the stern voice thundered.

"Weh....Well, I thought I could learn from him", she stammered again.

"Sure you thought that, but you also liked spending time with him", stated the stern voice matter-of-factly.

"Yes, well who doesn't?" She smiled. His thoughts made her feel shy. 

"You are fooling no one except yourself. This is your life, YOURS.Whether you want to run it or ruin it, is up to you. Remember, a lot is riding on this."

The stern voice subsided inside her, telling her what she always knew. Just a young girl with big dreams, trying to make it in a big city. Did such feelings even have a place here? 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Cast Away

I hate being ignored
Much less by you.
I hate being rejected
Not by anybody; never by you.

Despicable, tyrant of a heart
Says it improves my art
My tendency to rhyme
Is a farce to many; an obsessive crime.

I'll rhyme when I want
I'll write when I want
I'll feel what I want to feel
And you, Sir, are not going to change that.

You know what I hate?
About your whole bloody sex, I mean.
You make others care for you
Only to reject them right away.

What is this sadistic urge?
This destructive drive
To make people love you
Only so you could ignore them?

Now look what you've done
Made me hate myself
For falling into your charms
Only to be turned away.

Time and time again

Friday, September 27, 2013


It should be a crime to be so genial
And touch mountains high
It should be a crime to be so gentle
To shine as the bright blue sky.

You are a ray of warm sunshine
Gloomy days shy away from you
Burning so brightly,
You enchant all around you.

You smile and the world goes round
Your talk makes the rain sounds sweet
Your voice is like a string of pearls
Playfully creating their own harmony.

Now look what your charm did
Playfully nibbling away my thoughts
Been thinking of you all this while
And wrote a silly poem.

Don't lose your optimism ever
Don't ever lose your shine
You see, your light inspires millions
And you, my friend are pretty fine.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gurgaon Chronicles

With gleaming yellow eyes, the rat took a step back and brought out his sword. Those devilish eyes squeaked as I recognized a faint smile lurking behind his moustache. I closed my eyes in horror. Darkness.

When I opened my eyes, I was lying on the floor and the little rodent was staring at me, the same squeaky eyes smiling evilly. Unable to breathe, I closed my eyes again.

The morning after, my head felt heavy. As I got up dreamily, realisation struck; Rats! My PG was full of them. Now I love animals, but to have them licking my food is the last thing I want.

I have been in Gurgaon for roughly 3 weeks now. I still remember the first day I got down on Delhi station, with no idea or clue whatsoever, no hotel or PG, standing amidst a sea of porters and cab drivers, each shouting at the top of his voice. My knowledge of Delhi was based on the news the media presented; most of which revolved around the fact that it wasn't a safe place for women. 

I took a cab to the nearest hotel, kept the luggage and took a Mega Cab to the jungles of Gurgaon. The first time, it was eerie and I was awestruck. After the somewhat lengthy journey, met a PG person who showed me PG rooms for 2 full hours before telling me that they were all full. Then after explaining to him, that I was, in fact looking for a 'vacant' room, I finally got one. 

Cut to PG problems. 

Washroom woes added to an arrogant PG owner and to add to that, I saw a rat playing hide and seek under my tiffin box. But it's been interesting till now.

Met a lot of wonderful people (yes in Gurgaon, imagine that!), saw a big monkey (yay!), made friends, met some stuck-ups, a lot of helpful people and it's all been one exciting adventure till now. 

I guess, you never realise your full worth until you start living alone, solely on your capabilities. And I have surprised myself. I like that.

There's still a lot to do, a lot more to learn but if there is one thing I have realised in these past few weeks, it's this: I'm awesome.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Oh Lord of the Land with your arrogant belly
You are no better than the bed bugs silly.
Greedily feeding on my toiling blood
Like a parasite, you suck and suck.

You'll get a taste of your medicine, loon
Justice will be meted to you pretty soon!
You will die a dog's death
Burst by shrapnel, torn to shreds.

Your family will be forced to beg
In hell, you will weep and crave
The same craving that I have now
To get out of the hell you bestow

Mark my words, you filthy little man
My wrath curses you, see what it can!

Monday, September 16, 2013

When you're not here

This world dies a little when you're not here Flowers cry a little when you're not here The sun's mood darkens a tad little. The office becomes gloomy, a tad little. Eyebrows depress, a tad little Monotony drags time, little by little Ideas get lost, in a mess little This office feels lonely, a tad little. The stairwell gets dizzy, the elevators limp The yellow ceiling light becomes a tad bit dim So you see, it all becomes very very grim. This place misses your big wide grin. So come back, my dear, my funny quirky man. We'll make rainbows and play, as much as we can.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Frog who wanted to Fly


The leaves were dark wet green
The water was light wet green
As his mates pranced in the rain
Crock the Frog was barely keeping clean.

Tumbling rains, relentless thunder
Crock was being torn asunder
He longed for dry warm land
Instead, all he got was a swamp.

His dream made his mates laugh
“Did you forget you were just a frog?
Ain’t no such thing as dry land,
This is our life- this old swamp!”

And so the water poured in realms
And as Crock was lost in dreams
Something soft, something silky
Poked his wet hind limbs.

Dazed he opened his eye
And to his surprise, saw a Dragonfly
Her soft wings were wounded
And she was terribly frightened.
But before he could say anything to her
His friend, Droopy called from afar.

“Mate you seen a hurt fly?
I had my tongue on its thigh
But that darn thing vanished in the night.”

“Crock looked at the injured being
“It’s not here”, hoarsely he cried
Those silent eyes stared at him
And suddenly his heart beat inside.

Thus began the best of days
He nursed her wounds and guarded the ways
Before soon she was able to speak
And he heard her lovely squeak.

“Thank you,” she gratefully smiled
But he was lost in her big black eyes
Not seeing him reply, she nervously smiled
And softly mumbled, “You are kind.”
“You are beautiful”, he suddenly blurted.
And for the first time, those black eyes trembled.

Diane the dragonfly was a free spirit
Up and away as she flew
A thousand brutal things she saw
But in this world of fly-eat-fly
This grounded frog was a pleasant surprise.

And so began an unusual story
Full of love, in this world of gory
Different beings, united by feeling.
Belief, hope, dream
Made their ghetto gleam.

Diane hummed stories of distant lands
Where trees touched skies
Orange sun colored the days
And stars whispered at nights.

Crock listened in wonder
His awe astonished her
Soon his mind began to wander
He longed to escape the swamp.

The time came for the swamp’s Platinum Anniversary.
The day when Crock’s ancestors had found this land
Crock made a plan
To escape with Diane.

Now there were eyes in the camp.
Eyes that upheld order and maintained law
Eyes that stabbed questions
Eyes that saw.

Love with an outcast!
How preposterous, how foolish!
Clearly Crock was leaping overboard
A frog’s place was in his well.
When would he understand?

They had hoped Crock’s instincts would kick in
Flies are not meant to be kissed but eaten
But since that didn’t work
It was time for a lesson.

It was a time of festivity and cheer
The Platinum Celebrations marked the year
And as Crock and Diane overcame their fear
They got ready to leave the marsh.

She could not fly past them
So he would carry her in his mouth
And as soon as they were out of sight
She would lead their new life.

It was the night of full moon.
The swamp was illuminated
Frogs were feasting everywhere
On algae salad, weed, spider caviar.

Quietly Crock slipped out
Quietly to the other side he hopped.
The moon smiled, his heart jumped.
The stars shone, his bones thumped.

Finally they reached the other side
“Thank heavens”, Diane flew outside
“I am out of the damp dark cold
I pray I am never stuck in mold!”

“Prey, you say?” A heavy voice grated.
Turning they saw to their horror
The fat community heads seated.
Too lazy to hunt
They made policies all day.
And when they tired of making laws
They lashed their tongues at each other’s jaws.
And when that tired them out
They ate delicacies by poor frogs.

Before Crock could do anything
One of these tongues shot onto Diane
And gulped her down unceremoniously.
Not a chance to scream or cry
To run or to fly.
Crock stared in disbelief
As the old fat toad chewed indifferently.
“One day you will thank us”, said the vermin
“Now let the celebrations begin!”

It was midnight now; the crickets chirped.
Glow worm lighted the bushes
The moon was a delightful sight
As Crock stared into the night.
Too puzzled to believe
Too shocked to think
Too mutilated inside
Crock’s tears had dried.

And the Earth rotated again
The moon fell asleep
The stars went indoors
It was time for some heavy rain.