I am sorry for that phone call

Sorry for that phone call.

Ok…! Let me explain. I really did not mean to phone you today morning (or night your time). After struggling hard for years to suppress the urge to hear your voice, this is not exactly how I thought I would hear your voice again.

You understandably did not have my number and you struggled to recognize my voice. I talked to you as if we always talk, probably in memory of the time when you were the most frequently contacted person on my phone. Ironically, you still are in the top list. My social life hasn’t exactly flourished after you left.

Here is what happened. I had a dream. A dream with you in it, not the fantasy one in which everything has a fancy glow to it. This was a brutally realistic one like one of those O. Henry short stories. The house looked fancy though. It had elements from various houses I have lived over years. I have finally finished the photo wall I wanted in the left side wall in my bedroom. Photos from the trips all over the world were pinned in rough chronology on the jute string grid with wooden clips. You were downstairs. I was downstairs with you. I am not sure if it is the same house or two different houses in the top and bottom floors. We were having a conversation in what appears to be a living room. You had a gray apron on. Were you dusting behind the couch? I see that there is a growing patch of moisture on the corner of the room. I suddenly remember that I had a tap running on the top floor bathroom. I run out through the stairs (they were outside the living room and hence I think they may be separate houses) and reach the floor above and when I pushed the bathroom door open, water gushed out. The floor somehow looked wrinkly.. like how our finger tips feel like after spending hours at the beach. You came running upstairs and was helping me cleanup.

A Gallery Wall with images clipped on to a series of strings
Gallery Wall from here

There was no accusation of me being irresponsible. There was no worry about the damage water did. There was no screaming. You were trying to help, no questions asked. I remember thinking to myself, that is so unlikely. In real life, this would never happen. That is so unlike you. This thought jolted me out of the dream.

I sat up in the bed gasping for breath from a dream that felt so real. Saw a photo of us together at the beach and thought what the hell, I am going to call you anyway. Took my new phone that I had set up yesterday. I noticed the clock widget. The four timezones I added on the clock widget somehow failed migration from the old phone and it just showed my current timezone and yours. That I thought is a sign to call you maybe.

I dialed your number. You picked up. You did not have my number nor did you recognize my voice. I spoke like we always spoke- with no introductions or explanations. We spoke about your baby. We spoke about friends who are still in touch. We spoke about friends who are not friends anymore. We spoke about time. We spoke about meeting in October.

Then I woke up again. The thought of meeting you after all these years sent a chill down my spine and it woke me up. I realize that I had a dream within my dream. I was talking to you in my dream. The flooded bathroom was from a dream in my dream. The left wall was empty. The photo wall is not done yet. The attic window threw a faint morning light on that empty wall. Then I heard your voice. I noticed that the phone was pressed to my ear. You said a hello again unsure if I was still on the line. It took me a while to realize I had actually dialed you. The phone call was real. I can hear your voice for real. My voice got stuck in my throat. I mustered up courage to speak to you fully self-aware. I have no idea which part of it was real and which was not. Been 6 hours and I still have no idea. I didn’t mean to call you.

I am sorry.


Does time heal wounds?

I had set up an ask-me-anything-anonymously page on qooh.me website and found it pretty good.

About a year ago, someone asked me a question about wounds and I typed in what came to mind as the reply. Today while nursing an old scar on my soul, I remembered this and found it as a little self help guide.

Here it is.

Does time actually heal the worst of wounds?? And if it does, why hasn’t my wound healed?

Time might heal some wounds reasonably well. If your wound is not healing to your liking, there might be a lot of reasons.

1) Have you given it enough time to heal? Some wounds run deep. Some of them run wide. The deeper ones take longer to heal.

2) Did you let it heal? Or did you keep poking at it in rainy nights, long journeys and when in wayside cafes in far off places?

3) Do you have a wound really? Or do you just feel the itch where it was once present? May be you see a faint scar and imagine the wound all over again. Scar lasts a lot longer than the wound and might never go off; but it is not a wound anymore unless you make it one.

Your body and soul can heal wounds if you let it. Some takes longer, some fester, some get infected but they all heal. It would take more than just time. Sometimes you need to nurse it to heal better without leaving a scar. Stay strong.

So if you want to ask anything anonymously, ask.


Easy Love

I once narrated a strange incident that happened to me to my Gurukul Friends… Bhuvan liked it so much that he wrote it down on my behalf.

When was the last time you experienced a Hollywood style topsy-turvy moment? You know one of those moments wherein you are going on with your ordinary life and out of the blue something (or someone) comes up and pushes you into chaos. I had one such moment recently when I received a letter from my lost umbrella!!! Now don’t start thinking something dramatic like the Harry Potter saga but this was real enough to make me question the irrational.

I woke up that day with an odd feeling that something big was impending to happen, but I could not put my finger on what it was exactly. So I was passing my day like a zombie when suddenly Zing – Zing the mobile vibrated against my skin. Even before I could reach out to open the message, I had an eerie feeling that the answer to the unfounded anticipation that I woke up to that morning, lies here. So with a mystic purpose, I slowly slid it out and read the message. It was a sentimental note from my long lost umbrella. Forgotten umbrella

Now I know what you must be thinking and as any rational being would, I first suspected that it must be one of my friends trying to pull a prank on me. So I went about rounding up all the usual suspects. But none of them had a clue as to what I was talking about. So instead of just going after random guesses, I sat down and really thought about my lost umbrella. You know how in life sometimes people identify you with an object. For example, your big spectacles or some special bright dress you wear. Well, my exclusive identifier was my umbrella. It was this huge one which completely dwarfed me and I think probably if there was a wind strong enough, it could lift me away like how Mary Poppins did. But unfortunately, one day I left it somewhere and forgot all about it. Now 3 years have passed since this happened and I get this message out of the blue.

Do you remember me? It was a rainy day like this, when you left me leaning against the wall and walked away, I was looking at you with a heavy heart… what else could I have done? How can I shout or even cry out loud? I am just an umbrella. I don’t have a voice and my silence- you never hear or understand. That day I cried a lot and prayed with all my heart that you would turn back and come and pick me up. You didn’t. You never heard my silence and it didn’t matter to you because it had already stopped raining. Every passerby saw my tears and no one helped. No one told you that you were leaving me behind. Everyone mistook my tears for rainwater and eventually that dried up too. Now only the stains of these tears remain and this will never get washed away in any rain.

Every monsoon after that brought back memories of the wonderful times we spent together. I hear the raindrops speak in your voice and spent many a sleepless nights dreaming that you would come back. But it never happened. Now I am getting older, my joints pain as they are all rusted. The cloth is all dirty, wrinkled and with dark spots all over. Oh! Forgot to tell you, the shopkeeper tricked you- my wooden handle cracked up. But then he did not assure you against termites, Did he? What about you? You may have found another umbrella for yourself. I would never know and I don’t want to.

After a really long time I got out into the rain today when someone threw me out in the garbage. I felt again what it is like to be in the rain. I envy the raindrops. They relive their life again after coming crashing down to Earth. They travel all around the world and know everything. They also told me about you. Now I can happily wait for the garbage truck. If they ever bury me, I hope they dig the grave shallow, so that I can still feel the rain.

Your umbrella.

So here I stand with this predicament. In a world where we are eternally deciphering the mysteries of love and considering that we live in an age of digital isolation where true love is hard to find, is it really so senseless to believe that magic and miracles do happen. Even if we are lucky enough to actually decode the mystery a little and find someone close to the heart, is it really necessary to cross-check if it is ‘sensible’. Can’t we just spread our inert unlimited love encompassing everything? After all as Mary Poppins herself says “Never judge things by their appearance… even carpetbags”
or an umbrella it seems….

(Originally written for Gurukul Magazine, Infosys Mysore)

At Swim, Two Boys

Just like almost everything else in life, if you look closely, there is a pattern to seemingly random events. Or rather, without much strain, you can see that there is pattern to events that are supposed to be wildly random.

Almost a year ago, in July 2015 when I was in Chennai, my friends group from Trivandrum made a short notice plan to go explore Pondicherry and before we knew we were already in Pondicherry having fun! And weather made quick plans like us and a rather sunny day turned rainy as we watched (I should have taken a hint at that point about the Dublin visit). To escape from the rain, we ran to the nearest building which happened to be a book store. Among the books that captured my interest that day was a book that inspired a dance by Earthfall I somehow came across and looked interesting because it is set against a backdrop of a waterfall and the stage is a slowly filling lake- At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill.atswim

I bought the book.

The book is not exactly gentle in the first 100-150 pages. Jamie O’Neill fishes the most beautiful words from all over the dictionary, cooks them in choicest of, what I assume are, phrases from Irish period vocabulary and serves you with a side of history of Irish Easter Rising. It sure is yummy but it takes a while getting used to. The book is set in 1915-16 Dublin and tells the tale of two boys Jim and Doyler set to the backdrop of Irish struggle for Independence from the British. I would write about this wonderful book and its story of love, war, poverty, self-acceptance and war some other time.

And before I finished this book, I am assigned to a project in the very Dublin the book is set in. What are the odds? At that point I didn’t even know we had projects in Dublin.

I carried the book with me to Dublin.

While walking back home from a cinema last day, I saw a poster for the play At Swim, Two boys. I am like, Whoa!! I ran across the road, clicked a picture of the poster and came home and booked tickets for the next show.

The play is one of the most beautiful man made things I have ever seen. Samuel Beckett Theater in Trinity College is quite brilliantly set into a multi level asymmetric stage where the whole of the play happens with absolutely no break in flow save for the short intermission. Fenna von Hirschheydt who designed a space like that should be doing our public spaces; such a clever use of space. The same set is a pier, beach, bedroom, living room of multiple houses and often simultaneously and you need not be Sabu Cyril to visualize the parts of the scene not depicted in the minimalist set.

But for me without question the best part of the show was the brilliant acting by the lead pair, Jim and Doyler. Or was it their adorable Irish accent? If I was Doyler, I could kill to hear Jim call me Doyler.

Kerill Kelly made Jim such an endearing character. The innocence in his eyes, despite lack of evidence, I would call fake. You can’t look that innocent and naïve at this age. It just is not humanly possible. I have no idea how he does that. A very mature young actor. Intentional or not, I think I saw the whole play through his eyes. Attention to details is amazing. While sitting with legs in water the way his foot plays with the imaginary water was the most memorable part of the play for me.

In no way is other actors any lesser than him, just that Jim is the most lovable character. Theo Foley is brilliant and oozes confidence. Doyler looks considerably different than how I had him pictured in my head.

Anthony MacMurrough convincingly convert the initial slight hatred we might feel to the character to a sort of love and respect. And oh Nancy! Love you! ❤

How did Tim Scott adapt that mammoth of a book to such a short time frame without losing the essence of it? The screen-play, to layman’s eyes, have done justice to the novel.

Would have loved to get my copy of the book signed by the Author and the lead pair!

I think my disappointment of having missed Khasakkinte Ithihasam play in Bangalore has vanished. Seeing a play based on a book you have read is an inexplicable feeling. If you think movie adaptations are good, trust me plays are the best. Remember the childhood days when you thought the actors lived inside the TV, that is how you feel when you see a play. No start-action-cut and retakes. People live the characters right before your eyes.

In one year, picked a random book from a random bookstore and ended up traveling to a country and city where the book is set and see a play based on the very same book. Hmmmm…

Blue Ticks

June- After the first rain of the monsoon, as the remnants of a downpour slowly dripped down the leaves onto the ledge, splashed onto the window in a thousand droplets and slid down into an indistinguishable pool, I thought about you. I remembered the rainy days and how unromantic the rain felt when we were just trying to get home as fast as we can and make some hot coffee and warm our hands on the cup. I wanted to ask you if it was raining there as well. I didn’t. You wouldn’t like it.

July- new city, new people. I remembered how I met you for the first time. Have you made new friends? I wanted to ask.

Continue reading

Contemporary Indian Classical-Western Fusion Music

If you love the classically inclined music with some modern instruments like me, I am sure you love Dance Festivals.

The recent one at Technopark Trivandrum had some amazing performances and a decent number of good ones. But one thing to be noticed is that the Vedic Chants based songs are hit with all the teams ( No Gangam Style not counted, thank you).

Thanks to the Super amazing app called SoundHound (go download it right now. Yeah RIGHT NOW! Oh! You have it already, nevermind) I could get all of them recognized!

All you have to do is let the app hear a bit of the song. It will search its database and find out which song is that. There are options to see Lyrics for many songs. And unlike the similar App Shazam (Which was my favourite before this one) this one recognizes Indian Songs!

Some of the songs I got from the fest are the following: Continue reading

Deferred Dreams

Deferred Dreams

What happens to dreams ​deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

~Langston Hughes

I am touched by this moving piece of pure poem. What happens to deferred dreams? I hope I will never have to find out.

Loved it that I made a wallpaper for my computer.

Deferred Dreams