Friday, June 14, 2013


One day I spread my palm
Out to the powers that be
And asked for a friend (or love)
Who would know me inside out
Love me for who I was
And be there when I needed a helping hand.

It rained that day on this hand
On my arm, on my palm
As I stood there in foolish hope that there was
A power that would be
Willing to drag me out
Of my misery, with a friend (or love).

Is there such a friend (or love)?
Is there peace, is there deliverance at hand?
Is there a way out?
Is there hope in the lines of my palm?
Is there one who will not let me be
Till I am again what I once was?

Once upon a time, there was
I remember, no need for a friend (or love)
'Cause I was as happy as one could be
Happiness had held my hand
And love traced patterns on my palm
What needed I care when all evils the door kept out?

Now that door is shut, and I am out
What no longer is, is but a dream that was
Like the rain water that dried on my palm
Like the tears that missed a friend (or love)
I could only miss what no longer was in my hand
What no longer is, and never more will be!

"What will be will be will be":
At long last the secret is out!
What then do I do with this begging hand
In which still lingers the touch that once was?
No hope then... is there? for a friend (or love)?
Only pain! Whiplashes of pain on this wretched palm!

Why then foolish, hopeful hand do you gaze on the future's 'To Be'
And bare your palm to the harsh world without?
Come away, forget what was, come away, there is no friend (nor love)!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bon Appétit

To those of you familiar with the beautiful French language, the above lines might serve as a reminder of fancy, soft-lit restaurants, and exquisite dining experiences. Hold that thought, and take a quick tumble warp back to the present before you are too far gone! For now, we speak not of British breakfasts of soft bread egg-and-cheese sandwiches, and steaming coffee; nor of princely Bengali lunches with five different kinds of curry: gently teasing shaag (greens), begun/potol bhaja (fried pointed gourd/brinjal, chingrir malaikari/ilish bhapa (the first is a prawn delicacy prepared with coconut water, and the latter could be roughly translated as steamed Hilsa), followed by murgir/pathar mangsho (chicken/mutton), and something slightly sweet after; not least of all of festival-time dinners of biriyani, with a side dish of Rizala! No, no, Oh no! I have done it again, haven’t I?

Before I bumble along further down the hallowed halls of Edibles-Elysium, let me quickly splash some (much-needed) cold water, and drag you to the present. Specific location: A cute kitchen of a sweating, cursing, wish-I-had-ten-hands, first-time cook! Yes, this blog entry is all (or however little there is to it) about yours truly venturing into the small 10 feet by 10 feet (I guess) golden triangle of sink, induction stove, and NO fridge, armed with bread, eggs, salt, a little mustard oil, and nothing much else!

Now I am not entirely ignorant when it comes to cooking, I mean, I’ve read Cooking for Dummies cover to cover (duh!), and seen my mother, and aunts cook! Having said that, it is also important I mention that I have never actually cooked anything before! <sheepish grin>

For those of you who don’t already know, I am now a resident of the small town of Nuzvid (also Nuzivid, and Nuzividu), approximately 50 kms from Vijayawada, in Andhra Pradesh. My contract-based job as Lecturer at RGUKT (more popularly known as AP IIIT) has given me, in addition to about a thousand students (some of whom are older than me!!), a 2-BHK flat to call home. And in the space of these three months, I have purchased quite a lot of stuff, mostly books, and an aquarium, but also the afore-mentioned induction cooktop (which came with a wee sandwich maker), and last week, some vegetables, a packet of butter, and some much needed cutlery.

These have been adding beauty to my kitchen space for at least a week now, and I have often wandered in (I tend to do that a lot, while spinning long-tailed yarns in my over-imaginative head), and wondered if I could actually whip something delicious out of my meagre supplies. Sometimes I have also stridden in purposely, head full of recipes and images of Spanish omelets, roast turkey (sadly, yes), chocolate mousses, and muffins (courtesy Cooking for Dummies), ready to wow the world with my hitherto unknown culinary skills! These generally ended in a quiet trip back (Please insert the ‘tail between the legs’ metaphor here) to the clichéd bachelor world of lying around, and listening to heavy bass tracks.

This morning would have been no different had I not suddenly remembered on my way to the mess (which, by the way HCU-ites, is way better than HCU!) that Tuesdays are the fateful days when they serve Lemon Rice!! No offence lemon rice lovers, but trust me no matter how good the mess, you do NOT want lemon rice; it actually makes you realize why a mess has been so (and aptly, might I add) named.

So, I trudged back to my quarters, and took a deep breath, and picked up a bread slice in one hand, and a Chef’s knife in another (Sorry, but nowhere in Nuzvid could I find a butter knife.) At this point I would like to quickly enlist the sympathy of all those who have ever gone into the kitchen with absolutely NO ONE to help you (Hint! Hint! You ruthless judging types!) For those of you who can’t even imagine what I am talking about (Really?!), think of this as an exam: No matter how well-prepared you are, it always gives you that queasy feeling in your stomach.) If you are the type that never understood what the big deal about an exam was… well, you are too far gone to help, anyway.

Now, and come back to my kitchen, will you? While you have been wasting my breath with infinite argumentative possibilities, the 8 o’clock version of myself in the kitchen has almost moved on to the sunny side up egg! Quick!

So, after being immortalized for an infinite second forever in Time, with the bread and the knife, I dipped the latter in the butter, scooped some out, and applied it to both sides of the bread slice, needless to say, getting my entire palm all greasy in the process! K I then proceeded to do this to SIX slices of bread! Phew! Before this, I had already diced some tomatoes, and chilies (Do you dice chilies, or do you chop them? Oh, who cares!) I know I could have mentioned the tomatoes first, but I couldn’t resist! You know how they say in Cookery shows, “…now keep such-and-such thing aside, and go back to the vegetables that we had chopped up earlier…” I know its lame, you don’t have to tell me! Put up with a first-timer’s fancies, will you?

Well, after I had greased more than just the bread, I put the tomatoes and chilies in between, and carried the whole (wobbly) thing to the sandwich maker! While I waited with bated breath for the light to turn green, I realized I would need more than just 3 sandwiches to fill my stomach. Eggs, I thought! When the light did turn green, I got the “sandwich” out. Note to self: Got to get the big bread slices next time round. At least, that way, they’ll look much more presentable. When it comes to cooking (or anything at all, for that matter), even if you don't do the MAIN job well, embellishing it with a fancy cover (story?) always works: the pros of a world that judges everything by the cover!

After the last sandwich was out, I turned to the cooktop, and placed my virgin-but-for-noodles Bergner pot <smug smile>, (actually that’s all I’ve got by way of utensils), and poured some mustard oil in. The oil got heated, I broke the egg, and poured it in. Now, I would have LOVED to say it was done flawlessly, but alas! The crack on the egg wasn’t enough, and I had to perform a kind of jiggle wiggle dance with the egg yolk as it clung stubbornly to the shell, and the egg white sputtered in the pot below! It did let go ultimately, but broke in the process, and while it was still sunny side up, it looked nothing like the sun. I sprinkled some salt, and garnished it with a few chopped chilies from before.

Finally through with the ordeal, I carried my humble attempt to the hall, and sat down to eat with a knife, and a fork - for the egg. (For future reference, the spoon probably works better!) Briefly nostalgic, I wished for a brief second that I had a TV to watch as I sat there munching. The moment passed, and with a last loving look at the ‘delicacy’ that lay spread out before me, I tucked in.

And, to tell you the truth, it wasn’t half bad. J

I will not bore you with details of what happened after (the cleaning up, basically), and let you resume your own lives in peace, without further ado. I cannot really ask you to keeping checking this space for more, as I honestly don’t know when I’ll update next. But you never know! This is my first prose update, let me know what you think of it. J

With my first breakfast all gone, I’m tempted to attempt something more ambitious next time. But time and tide wait for no man, and I honestly don't know when I’ll venture into the kitchen (to cook) again. But I am also more confident now. The first time wasn't so bad, now was it? (Now, now! Be nice.)So, if I invite you to breakfast some time, I guess I’ll have to leave the choice of showing up up to you! Till then, Au revoir!

Friday, October 29, 2010


How they cling!

Like deep yellow pollen,
Fresh from the flower -
Onto a butterfly's wing.

Like fish on a fisherman's hook,
Like the yellow of an old, old book -
Like a child's finger round its mother's,
Like plastic, and molten girders.

Happy, gay memories,
Sad, hurt memories,
Foolish first crushes,
Deep-red blushes,
And memories of the day my father died!

They make you weep, they make you laugh,
Warm your heart, and freeze your heart!

Yet curious things are memories,
Keep them close, such memories,
'Cause when someone is gone forever -
All that's left... are memories.

Lines Composed in an Examination Hall

Cold Greenland, a winter by the sea,
The scarce vegetation frozen, darkness enveloping me.
Five cold diggers, out on a hunting spree -
All communications broken, huddled, cursing be!

Into the biting cold they'd come
To dig up Atlantis, maybe?
And now they are dying one by one -
Mercy! God Almighty!

Bombastic words and dazzling dreams,
How silly now they seem to me -
All the rest've been cold for long
Dark night's fallen round me.

And all is calm as I wait to be
Dead by the cold, dark sea!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Life is hell, living worse
Broken dreams, and rhymeless verse.

Agonized screams that no one hears,
High expectations, and ruthless jeers.

Exams, tests and faceless fears
Horrible, scary, deep-set fears.

Pressed and squeezed, duty-bound you see - 
That small skinny lad, yes, that is me.

The edge of a cliff, hands pushing me -
But desperate hope still clinging to me.

Without your love, dead  I shall be.
Walking, talking, but as dead as dead can be.

Please call me back; lie to me:
Look into my eyes, tell me you love me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Death of Lady Hill

Old Lady Hill
Decided to die.
Her phone bills, (she said)
Were very high.

“Phone calls, I,
Very rarely make –
And if ever I do,
A minute do they take.

“Last call I made,
(Was) To my girl at Timbuctoo,
I made the call at one,
And ended sharp at two.”

Ha! What is that you say?
A call from one to two,
That too to Timbuktu!

‘Tis no wonder then
The phone bills that you get
For who would call abroad –
And hang up so very late!

Chided by her neighbours,
And scolded by her son,
Lady Hill decided –
That life on earth was done.

She picked up the kitchen knife,
And prepared to slit her throat,
But at that very moment,
(the phone) Started bleating like a goat!

“First things first”,
Said the lady to herself.
And leaving the kitchen knife,
Went over to the phone’s shelf.

And now my dear reader,
Let me tell you this:
That was very long ago,
And nothing is still amiss!

For Old lady Hill
Is still glued to the phone,
And has been talking constantly,
From morning to afternoon.

The caller is a girl,
And the lady calls her “Poo”
Ah! You are right in guessing,
It's her girl from Timbuctoo!

The knife lies forgotten on the desk,
The sun has set down low.
Oh! For heaven’s sake, madam –
How can you talk so!