People

Trains

A train song

We have lost people to distance. A part of us gets up, packs up its bags and leaves. However sweet the goodbye. Or brief the quota of time we had with them. It’s still as though something is broken. It can’t be fixed, no matter how hard we try. We may know that things will be better soon. And we may move on quicker than what we think is possible. It doesn’t mean that we can forget the sound of it.

Whenever someone important to me disappears from my life, I hear the passing of a distant train from a bygone era. Even if they are taking the bus, going to the airport or walking down the road, the squealing of an old steam horn beseeches me. And I feel safe and warm.

(more…)

Northern Pintails (male), Chennai

Catfishing in digital waters: What the quack?

It is worthwhile to note that sometimes even if it looks/smells/ swims/quacks like a duck – it may not actually be a duck. Maybe it hid by the river and stared at a duck for a really long time and thought to itself “hell, I could pretend to be one”. Perhaps it went to a duck university. Or ransacked a duck supermarket.

All the duck juice – shockingly, just gone. And now the world is convinced that it belongs to the Anatidae family.

Not shocking whatsoever is my understanding of human behavior that some people hide more than they let out about themselves. Especially, in the digital world.

(more…)

Rufous Treepie. Thiruvanmyur

Freedom in speech: Rufuous Treepies

There are several Rufous Treepies in Chennai. During winter, many of them visit the guava tree in my neighbor’s backyard. They sound like singers with speech impediments. But people just don’t seem to notice them.

I struggled with a severe stammering problem for about two decades. I could barely speak a few words without a prolonged stutter. Unlike the treepie,  I drew attention to the muffled staccato notes. It was the first and last impression that I left people with. Nobody could see past the stuttering, including me.

I never thought of it as a major issue. But it was a time when stammering was poorly understood in India. People assumed that this condition was a malady of the mentally-challenged.

(more…)

Kodaikanal

Let’s talk about death

What if you could bring back to life
a loved one in small portions?
Would you pick a nose hair
or a toenail or saliva stains
on a glass of chai?
Or would you need something
more wholesome to remember them by?

(more…)

Spotted Owl, Vedanthangal

4 ways to lose your friends and alienate your acquaintances

Spotted Owl, Vedanthangal

Spotted Owl, Vedanthangal

1. Turn into a Tom Hanks

A Tom Hanks is someone who is a flat-out good person. A pillar of strength, loyalty and benevolence. The booming echo of reason in a cacophony of indecisive voices. A person who will step up and take charge when everyone else is covering their own posteriors. Just one problem though. Such a person can be annoying to deal with on a daily basis.

Turning into a Tom Hanks is a bankable strategy to drive people away. It can be unbearable if one behaves like a reasonable person all the time. It seems strange enough to warrant suspicion even. Do they look back on their lives like they flip through pages in a Mark Twain story? Has the world been so kind to them that they need to help others think of the world as a gentle and giving space? Or have they been wronged so much by the world that the only way they can connect to people is by correcting the wrongs in theirs?

(more…)