Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One more time, Frost

Chanced upon my favourite poem from my favourite poet one more time.
I guess I never tire of reading this one. Here it is.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Write in the morning

I wonder why I write. I wonder why I don't. I wonder how my day begins and ends - I don't really know sometimes what happens between waking up and going to bed. Sometimes I almost kill myself writing. Sometimes, there’s a hardly ever a word that jumps off the tip of my pen’s nib (Oh yeah, I write the old way too). Not writing anything is a worse death. I truly dread that.

15 years on since I first started scribbling for a living, I go on. And I am not bored of it yet. I thought I will, at some point. But I am not. I have met people who quit. I have met those who quit to do better things. I have met people who are bitter because they quit. I have met people who gave up because they found business management. And me? I write and I also do a whole lot of other things that include running a business and a home. 

I guess the question is, what am I writing today?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Elephant watching of another kind: Catching Kuzhi aana

They introduced him to me as Kuzhi Aana. Kuzhi aana is Malayalam for ant-lion larvae, Kuzhi means pit and Aana, elephant. The reference to the elephant is probably from its dark hard outer shell. The creature is also known as doodlebug. He was tiny, bigger than an ant, but far far tinier than an elephant.

Ant-lion larvae or THE KUZHI AANA

31 years after I first stood amazed by the diminutive creatures and was seduced by the little guys ambling on top of the soil and digging themselves into pits, I was more than amazed when I got to witness the same yet again, the only difference this time being that the intrigued kid was my 2-year-old son. It was something like ‘history repeating itself’. It drove me back to a vision of myself again, from 31 years ago, sitting on the sand in front our ancestral home in Aroor, watching the many little Kuzhi Aanas digging themselves pits in order to hide and catch prey.

I observed my son watch and dig them out one by one from the many pits along the side of the verandah of our ancestral home. I watched him gather them all together on a large leaf of the jack fruit tree. And just as I was about to stop him from hurting the little creatures, I saw him dig one big pit and drop in the creatures one by one telling each one, ‘you go in’, ‘you too go in’. He dropped them all in the same pit so that, in his own words, ‘they can all be together’ and ‘won’t have to miss each other.’ ‘They can hug-hug now, mamma’ he said. He sat there talking to them for some time and then stood up, brushed the loose sand of his shorts and sandals. With a quick ‘let’s go’ in my direction, he was ready to leave for his next adventure with nature and newer learning experiences.

This will remain a moment I am never going to forget. In my wonderment and lack of readiness to shoot, I never got to videotape it. Next time, I shall stay ready.

This is an entry for Kissan 'Nature's Friends' contest under their 'Welcome to Kissanpur' promotion along with Indiblogger.

Thursday, March 06, 2014


I am dead.
Then I am not.
If I can see and feel, I can’t be dead?
Or can I be?
What counts however, is what’s happening down there and around.
So can we all just stop being ridiculous and listen?

Oh, they are talking about the guy that died last month. He had AIDS? Really? AIDS? I thought he had leukaemia. Anyway, he’s dead. Oh well, so am I. Thing is, these people knew!

Hold on, that’s my dog. Poor creature. Looks like he’s missing me already. Oh, Bullet, Bullet! What? Stop. You crazy dog. You can't befriend him (trash collector). You are going away with him for that old trashed bone? Seriously, doggy? Whatever happened to mourning?

Aunt Ciny had a crush on her neighbour Victor? Now that they are both dead as well, what do you call their union? Heavenly?

Okay, fine, there’s way too much to listen and handle right now and I’m in a bit of a hurry. Deadline for this post is in 20 mins. Typing from the grave isn’t that easy. You must try sometime. Like that chick Uma Thurman who tries to get out of her coffin by punching her way out in Kill Bill II. Could be your new pastime. Gotta check on the husband. Beer already? You gotta be kidding me! Who’s the untouched mug for? Me? You really did that? How sweet, my love! I remember how you always bring me my mug. And today…(tears, tears + smile).

Bloody mosquitoes. They don’t even leave the dead alone, do they? Get the hell outta my coffin.

This entry is written for #BackFromTheDead on IndiSpire, #Indiblogger 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Love it? Dove it.

It’s a beautiful February morning. There is no office today. Yay! I can lie in bed all I want and soak in the serenity of the February spring interrupted only by the calls of the early morning birds and the howling dog from the vacant plot behind my house. But I can’t lie in bed. It irritates me. It’s not the bed, it’s not the pillow. Problem is my hair. It is dry almost like grass drying on bare fields after harvest in the sun. To me, nothing can be more irritating than dry hair grating on the pillow early in the morning. I can even compare it to the annoying sound my made by the kitchen grater when carrots are grated on it. It’s just that bad. Aaarrrrgh.

I possibly cannot love my hair. I am embarrassed by it. I have been so embarrassed by it that I have tried every recipe in the book, followed every single tip by friends, relatives, neighbour aunty, why even the woman who brings us fresh greens - on making the hair soft and shiny! Seriously my dear Dove, you tell me how someone with hay like hair will ever feel like playing with it? That is impossible. That I suppose is reserved for girls with awesome soft, manageable, huggable hair.

But Dove? Dove. Dovvvvve! The only thing I haven’t tried yet. Don’t know why I didn’t consider it so far. But not today. There’s Dove on the shelf today. Something I picked up on a whim from the supermarket yesterday. I have to shake off feeling bad about my hair early in the morning. Let’s do this babe, I tell myself. The hair awaits its new fate. Or would it be luck? Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Shampoo is soon followed by Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner. This is the last experiment I tell my hair rather loudly. What I didn’t know then was that it sure was to be the last experiment I would do on my hair.

IT WORKED! It actually worked. After drying and setting, when I checked in the mirror I saw what I wanted to see. I saw what I have always dreamt to see. Lustrous, smooth and shiny hair that I can toss and run my hands through! Mom is not going to believe this. May be she will make me carrot halwa today (Yeah, I will have to put up with that carrot-on-grater noise).

I can’t resist resting my head on the pillow to check the end result. I toss, I turn. But there’s no grating noise. I double check. Yes, there’s no grating sound.

Since that day, I don’t shampoo my hair anymore.

I Dove it.

I don’t condition it anymore.

I Dove it.

Dove. That’s my new love. So if you love your hair too, you should

PS: Now I can do all that the girls in this Dove commercial do. Anytime. All the time.

Proud and in dove love,

This post is being written for Dove Go Play contest presented by Indiblogger.


I will tonsure my head if it doesn’t work this time. I announce as I return from work this time. Without further explanation my family knows it’s about my hair. While I do have lengthy, dense hair, it is simply bad looking, rough, dry and creepy to say the least. My family knows the threat is real. They had to force the razor off my hands the last time. They pray silently. I oil my hair a bit, hang around the TV, grab some coffee and start reading directions on the Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Shampoo and Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner packs.

Armed with usage instructions I march off to test the last bit of my patience and the new combo - Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Shampoo and Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner. By the time I come out, the electricity if off and everyone is out on the street playing. While I bond with my siblings over street-Frisbee, I can feel my hair starting a new bond with me. It jumps with me, falls with me, grabs me in a hug so soft when I turn, plays chase as I run. Gotta be dreaming, I tell myself. Then the best thing happened – as I try to force it into a knot, it felt silky smooth against my palm, it slid from between by fingers. That can’t be right I think, I pass my hands over again and well, again. It is silky smooth indeed. An irrepressible smile escapes my lip. I have never smiled about my hair in a long long time. The electricity is back, but street-Frisbee continues. Someone is clicking pictures. I definitely look fab, the hair looks like a million bucks. I will send you some pics real soon, Dove.

Tomorrow on, it’s not another day. It’s Dove day.

May be you could also take some inspiration from the DovePlay commercial below. I did. 
And go tell the world to Dove it, baby.

This post is being written for Dove Go Play contest presented by Indiblogger.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Inspiring India's youth to vote using social media as a tool

How would you inspire and mobilize India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014 using social mobile apps?

How would I?

Before running into my lecture on how we can tap the youth force to vote in the country’s general elections, I propose that we analyse the youth psychology and psychographics attached to this segment. If you want to get the youth in your fold, you need to work them, just like big and small brands in the market beginning with underwear to nail polishes to denims and sneakers do.

Selling India to its youth is not so much of a difficult proposition but getting them to vote is a slightly more painful job. The primary reason being they don’t feel any compelling reason to go vote. Indian kids are brought up around red tapesim, told to keep quiet, not have opinions, to listen to elders - including having others decide on careers for them. Voting is a responsibility – like flushing the toilet after you use it. It is a right – like demanding pocket money.

While young minds are adaptable, trainable and inspirable, what is important to know is that they are also overloaded with information. They see, listen to, speak and process information at the same speed. With social media usage at an all-time high, to say we are in the right space at the right time would be more than appropriate.

Young minds are self-inspired. So to kick start the campaign is getting people to voice their opinion in a public forum – like twitter and facebook. They need to be made to come forth with what they feel from within, they need to be made to identify the issues surrounding them politically, economically, in education, science, environmentally and take a stand. Different forums will be formed, discussions, arguments and resolutions will follow. That will give them the courage to speak their mind, form opinions, get opinions, and get together. Step 1, over.

Step 2: As with any cause, what is most important to make them torch bearers of the change they want to see; to be prepared to fight for their cause. Social media needs to cleverly bring together these youngsters in to physical groups/gatherings wherein they will meet others who have been only sharing their online lives. Talks by those who matter in the real world, sharing of ideas and stressing on the fact that only voting will make any difference to all their talks and efforts this far should be driven in. Every participant needs to plug in and create and group even while the conference is in progress with his absentee friends and others on his friends list and create buzz about the conference and the resolutions – in short each participant will become an online ambassador for our cause - inspiring and mobilizing India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014. Social media being social media, thoughts ideas and discussions will be shared, commented on, retweeted and a bigger buzz created. Leaders will emerge. They will lead further campaigns with smaller forces. Eventually, winding down to the d-day #VoteForIndia will lead by inspiring all to flock to polling booths and getting the ink down on their nail.

Target achieved.

And this is how I will do it.

This blog post is written for an indiblogger contest in association with #Voteforindia and @WeChatIndia