Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yeh aankhein, uff tauba!

Eye hospital visit. I've been on these rather a lot seeing I got my first pair of glasses at age five.
Since I became responsible for my own appointments I rarely make them very promptly, and then only when I'm nagged to do it. But the naggers are gone - my mother, who would have worried me till I went or taken me herself, and my sister isn't in Hyderabad either. My specs broke on my travels last week and I thought I'd get a new prescription while I was at it. And while I'm going that, I might as well have my eyes checked thoroughly. The general ophthalmologist has looked at it and the retinal specialist is keeping me waiting rather long. I'm sitting here, with my pupils dilated, seeing everything in a haze. They've stopped putting in the dilation drops and I'm afraid they're starting to shrink again. I'm not being good either because it's more entertaining to blog this minute than close my eyes.

Ok, so I hailed one of the busy people here and she tells me my name was called and I didn't respond because I had my eyed closed and earphones plugged in. So she just moved on to the next patient. But the guy at the previous consultation room tapped me to get my attention, I said. Clearly that is not a service the retina department thinks necessary. That is your problem, she had the tactlessness to say. I have adequately given her grief over it, but she is going to keep me waiting, I know it!


I'm done now. Some spots, some opaque lines, blah blah blah. We'll keep an eye on it, come back next year. Ok, thank you and that's that.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hong Kong - Trip Report

  • Just back. The schedule wasn't rigorous as it sometimes can be, but I feel the world moving and juddering every time I close my eyes. I need some sleep.

  • And while it's not Indian Chinese, Hong Kong does very decent Chinese too - I'm missing them 'shrooms already. Noodles, I had a surfeit of, and they were really good to my very temperamental stomach. But glad to be back home. My father asked me if I'd like some Maggi noodles today. I looked at him over my spectacle frames, so he chuckled and proffered the idlis instead.

  • In other news, I can now assert that my 'Top Five Samosas Ever Eaten' includes an aloo confection by a Nepalese man in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hong Kong Diary - 1

It's been a few crazy days in Hong Kong. Normally, on a travel assignment, I get rather isolated. No news of the outside world trickles in and when I get back, it feels like ages even if it has been only a few days.

But this is Hong Kong where there is wifi in every street corner, almost. Plus, my fellow travellers include a couple of film journalists as well and they have a ear to the Bollywood floor. So, in the middle of a tour of the sights, we know about the royal birth, about the Really Big News in which Salman hugged Shah Rukh at an iftar party.
Everyone is so excited, I became infected too. The video doesn't seem like much, hmm? Just the polite thing to do. I don't see what the deal is.

Many thoughts on India, culture, chauvinism, cultural divides, Indians, the Chinese, their food, values and yes, (general human) moral corruption. Not bad for two days, eh?

Saturday, July 06, 2013


The restlessness that gripped me this morning has lasted all day. Unfortunately it has struck on a Saturday, which means I cannot do half the things I have pulled towards me as part of my 'to-do' list. My bank shut at 1pm, so I can't harass them. It's the weekend, so people who owe me money are probably lounging in lounge chairs by the poolside, surrounded by mint juleps and cool friends as I fret about the cheques that won't come.

But I need to get something accomplished, so I can go back to my state of innocence. I think I'll clean a shelf or two.



Woolly headed and vaguely anxious. There is nothing to worry about - except perhaps there is something I should be doing if only I could remember what that was.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Dil garden garden ho gaya

Midlife navel gazing having passed, it is time for this to come down. 

my car radio
on scan
--Christopher Patchel

But, in its stead, I have nothing to say.
My days fall into a pattern these days. At about five in the afternoon, the day has cooled enough and I rush to gather the jasmines that are blooming a riot on our creepers. The 'sanna jaaji' buds in particular tend to open by 5.45 and if I must weave* them into a small garland, I must get there early, or I get the half-opened flowers which are not so easy to handle.

Then with two baskets of flowers, I sit making these strands.The fat mallis take well to being strung by the needle but the juhis I must tie by hand: their stalks are too tender for the needle I have.

There is no way I can reach all the flowers. The bushes tell the tale conspicuously by wearing a cloak of white in the areas just beyond my grasp. As night falls, the air is redolent. As I eat my dinner, and as I follow the travails of Anandi, the Balika Vadhu, or the feisty Madhubala, these perfumes of Arabian jasmine waft in. But of that, as I said, there is nothing to say.

scent of
night-blooming jasmine
words get
in the way
--Thomas Martin
*does one weave garlands? what is the right verb? It is poNsodu in Kannada.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


How nice it is sometimes to sit in unlit rooms as night falls... night shadows everywhere. Light from a bulb in the neighbourhood comes in at an angle, the window grills throw sharp shadows on my walls, magnified here, curiously altered on that one. The leaves of the alamanda sway in the breeze, but I see only their obscure dance on the cupboards. A passing scooter throws a pane of light that flits quickly across the roof and goes away. The light reflected off some glass, bouncing off goodness-knows-what surfaces. Car headlights flood the room momentarily, their glare too bright for this mellow moment. Air stirs the curtains, bringing hints of jasmine and frangipani.

All this happens every night. Every night. To come alive, all it needs is my attention.