Monday, September 29, 2008


My daughter just said DADA!! Not once not twice but again and again and again!! WOOOHOO!!

Will write something coherent when my feet hit the ground.
There is a special series in the Guardian on how to write which i found very interesting. It's a must read for wanna be writers (like me).

Cross posted at Live Journa's India Writing Community.

(h/t bluespriite)

Strong Medicine

At work, some days are good, some are bad and some are really bad. I had couple of those really bad days last week. I had two days of being on the road on work, quite literally, having to contend with lack of sleep, a bad stomach, motion sickness (bumpy roads!) and all the while having to field one crisis after the other on the phone or in person.

To add to my woes were a couple of lunch meetings, which meant rich food and with it instant indigestion by the second day I really couldn't bear the sight of the road. I've never mastered the art of sleeping well in a moving car and since most of my two days were spent in a car, I started hating the very sight of it.

I don't think I'd be travelling in a Toyota Innova again pretty soon.

Don't get me wrong, I like the hustle and bustle of a busy day, I like the buzz but sometimes when your body isn't quite there for you, the mind doesn't want to meet the challenge either.

Eventually towards the end of the trip, I was stuck in another long journey towards the coimbatore airport. I distinctly remember looking out of the window and feeling trapped in my world. I badly wanted to get home, crawl into my bed and sleep for a few years.

Just then my phone rang, it was my wife and she had a crisis that she wanted my help with.

My lil 5 1/2 month baby had been crying non-stop over the last hour and my wife wanted to know if I could maybe talk to her and calm her down.

Then my wife placed the phone next to my daughter's ears and I could hear her cry on the other end of the line. I started talking to lil Shifrah like I do when I'm at home, and in a couple of seconds I could hear her quieten down.

The one sided conversation went on for about 5 minutes and then my relieved wife told me that everything seemed to be OK now. We chatted for sometime when I told her about my day etc.

After I hung up I felt a little drowsy and before I knew it I was fast asleep. For the first time in that trip I slept through the whole bumpy journey and had to be woken up by the driver.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Craig Ferguson

I knew him as a funny guy from the drew carey show but little did I know that he was the host of the Late Late Show (too lazy to put up links, google it yourself will ya) and a pretty darn good one at that. We don't get this show here in India, I think we should!!

Just to show you how good he is, I'm putting up a monologue from his show.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What I did at lunch today

This is a short story written while chomping on my lunch coz well the topic was very interesting. This was in response to a daily/weekly (i dunno) Flash Fiction (under 500 words) Sandbox, at the india writing community at live journal. Now what it is, is that people are given a scenario and they've gotta come up with a story under 500 words and post it there. The scenario that intrigued me into writing this story was,

Flash Fiction sandbox - writing prompt 4- Here's your scenario.Your protagonist has just discovered s/he has AIDS. S/he is meeting her lover in a cafe. S/he must, by the end of the story, have asked her lover to marry her/him. And the lover must accept.You have up to 500 words in which to pull it off.

This was my attempt, whatchu think?
"I've got AIDS", he told her. She choked on her coffee and blurted "Whaat?"

He flicked his cigarette impatiently in the vicinity of the ashtray and repeated "I've got AIDS, I'm HIV fricking Positive".

He turned to the side and fixed his attention at the window.

She was dumbstruck; she felt everything freeze around her. "You, you aren't joking right?" she stuttered.

The morose look on his face gave her the reply his lips were to proud to.

What? How? Who? When? Questions flooded her mind but she knew better than to ask any of those.

She struggled to fight back the tears, suffering the news in silence.

"So the marriage is off or are you still gonna marry me?" he asked as if he was taunting her to reject him in his face.

"Yeaah" she replied dazed.

"Which is it?" He asked.

"I dunno, not really sure what I'm thinking" she replies looking down at her cold cup of coffee "One of the two, I guess".

He shook his head and turned again to the window, angrily flicking his cigarette.

After a pregnant pause, she looked up at him and asked "I need to know more"

He replied "Like what?' without turning.

"Firstly, I want you to look at me when I'm talking to you and secondly, I want you to be FUCKING honest with me and tell me all about it, right now!" She said with eyes blazing

He was shocked, he'd never heard her speak this way and though it angered him he realised that at this point of his life, this was his only chance at happiness, however remote that chance was.

He forced a smile.

"Thank God this place is so crummy that it's empty all the time, eh?" he said nervously, trying to calm her down.

The blazing look in her eyes told him that she was deadly serious.

Slowly he began telling her about his secret life, things that no one knew about him, things he thought he'd take to his grave, things he'd never expect a girl like Priya to even hear.

In the end, he couldn't stop the tears that flowed along with his words.

And when the words ran out, he sat there hunched over with his face buried in his hands.

Minutes wore on and he began composing himself and he looked up only to see her looking at him.

There were tears streaming down her face as well.

"Ok" she whispered.

What?" he quizzed in a hoarsely, not sure of what he was hearing.

"I'll marry you, but remember things have to change!" She said.

"But Priya…" he began,

"What?" she snapped back at him, wiping her tears.

"You don't have to…you shouldn't have to.." his voice faltered.

"I never did have a choice" she replied staring at him resolutely with fresh tears rolling down her cheeks.

He looked stunned.

He felt like he got a glimpse of something profound and suddenly it felt like the earth stopped revolving around him.

He began to see her in a different light, he always thought she was a pushover but now he knew that she was far from it.

He knew what this decision meant for her. She would never be the little girl in her father's house again.

She had blown him away.

"Priya, my darling Priya'" he said , "You're amazing but, but, you see, I can't let you do this, for once I'm gonna do the right thing by you"

He got up, smiled affectionately at her and said "I have to set you free my darling"

He reached forward, patted her wet cheek as she looked at him pleadingly and then turned around and walked away.

(OK I cheated and edited this version since the original I put up seems to have some contextual (my big word for the day) and grammatical (Could you believe even now my first instinct is to spell this word as grammer! Blardy Awful!) errors, now I'm pretty sure this is more than 500 words but what the hey, this ain't for a contest!)

Day Trippin’

(An entry in Caferati's Quick Tales contest. This actually is one the earliest stories that I've written. The original can be found here, it had to be edited to under 500 words so that it could enter this contest. Needless to say that this was written during my footloose and fancy free bachelorhood days, these days I don't make it a habit of winking and grinning at strange women at flights, I swear!)

6:00 AM: Flight to Mumbai, delayed. Curses! Sipping coffee at the waiting area while trying to ward of sleep. Eyes bloodshot.

7:15 AM: Boarding. Bloody middle seat. Seated next to a cute Exec though. Nice perfume! Whoa angry stare!

7:16 AM: Drumming my fingers & fidgeting, hoping it’s a smooth flight. Hate flying.

7:55 AM: Finally airborne, firing up the laptop, start customising presentations.

7:59 AM: Catch a glance and grin at the cute Exec. Whoa, angry stare again!

8:13 AM: Breakfast. Croissants from the last decade. Smelly eggs. Whoops, air pocket. Egg patterns in the tie. Try a cute grin at the Exec. Permanent Stare! It's PMS (Permanent Mad Stare).

09:34 AM: Landing Mumbai. Fresh tie, same grin, same old stare.

9:40 AM: On my way, relishing the cool comfort of the Ford Fiesta. Spot the Cute Exec sweating it out in a non AC rickety taxi. Smile. Is she flipping me off? Ha! Look up skywards! Nice one dude!

10:41 AM: Late for meeting number one. Mistake in the presentation, a gender bender, whoever knew Indu Sharma was a guy? Bad Start. Bad Meeting. Big surprise!

12:00 Noon: Traffic! What a city! Reach Level 9 in Snake II.

12:31 AM: Second meeting. Client delayed. Pace the reception. Client arrives. Good meeting, though long way for sale to close. Hunger Pangs.

1:45 PM: Crazy heat. Small restaurant. Must eat quickly.

2:34 PM: Rush in for the big meeting. This is it! Now or never!

2:59 PM: Price negotiations! This customer is a shark! Haggle on bravely. Stale coffee, 6th cup of the day.

3:16 PM: Sale Closed! Contract signed! Phew, touch and go. Call boss. Whoa! Invited for a dinner at his house tonight!

3:45 PM: On the way to the airport, running late! Pick up some vada paos for the dinner at a roadside vendor. Rush back to the taxi, chewing on the vada pao.

4:50 PM: Finally seated, now next to a Mom, her 7 year old and her life sized doll, trouble! Spot the same Exec sitting in the adjacent row. Karma!

5:01 PM: Flight takes of, Mom grabs the kid, kid grabs the doll, and the doll grabs my face. Did the Exec just smile?

5:21 PM: Open novel. Look at Exec. She looks back. Grin at her, she grins back teasingly, then turns her head and closes her eyes. Felt good. Look down at the book. Shit, it’s upside down. No wonder! Witch!

6:26 PM: Bangalore Airport. Exec stuck in the taxi queue; wink at her as I pass. Get my car from the lot, drive past the foyer, the Exec still waiting. Should I stop? Drive away past her, feeling reckless, send her a flying kiss.

7:10 PM: Getting ready for my first dinner at the boss’ house. Irritating Boss, boring wife. Sigh.

8:01 PM: At the Boss’ door. Ring doorbell. Door opens, standing there is the Exec from the flight. Holy Crap! Perfect!

The Little Black Book

(An entry in Caferati's Quick Tales contest)

That night I stole my wife's diary. Now, now… before you judge me, as you are wont to do, first hear me out.

My wife and I fell in love years ago, when life was an uncomplicated place to be in, and we lived in our own little world. But now, that place seems to have become a strange world where pigs fly and monkeys speak fluent German and the two of us cannot communicate without shouting.
We made a great couple in the beginning. Then tragedy struck and we got married. Our heads, once up in the clouds, came thudding back to ground with our noses glued stuck to the grindstone of everyday life.

Never a day went by without an argument. Suddenly I was the King Slob and she was Ms. (Always) Right.

Everyday she would lament the life she had left, for this life. And I for one could never figure out what the fuss was all about.

In this little black diary, she would write everyday stories of my many foibles, only to read them back to me, when it suited her mood. A sock left in the living room, the time I had a few drinks at her sister's wedding reception (she claims I kept referring to the groom as a ‘poor sod’ to everyone, what rubbish!), everything went into that little book of hers.

For a while, I tolerated this behaviour thinking it was just a whim, till she started threatening to publish it. If it was anyone else I'd have laughed it off, but this was my wife who was also an author of three prior published works.

I shuddered when I thought of the consequences. I'd be the laughing stock everywhere, branded leader of all chauvinistic pigs!

I decided not to take it any longer. I had a reputation to protect after all. So, one night I took her diary from under her pillow. I took it straight to the kitchen with every intention of burning it, but curiosity made me flip through the pages first.

I don’t think I was quite ready for what I found inside. Instead of a list of my (alleged) misdeeds there were pages and pages of how much she loved me and descriptions of many tender moments between us that I had all but forgotten.

I was shocked, flabbergasted, dumbstruck and appalled.As realization struck, I felt that maybe I really was a bit of a slob and probably she had been right (at least a little). And, strange as she was and as pathetic as our relationship appeared, I bet I couldn't find another human who'd love me as much.

Maybe arguing was how we communicated, who knew? I could try and be a little better, couldn't I? Maybe that little book was what had kept us together so far.

I slowly slipped that book in to its rightful place, under her pillow and went back to sleep.