Let us all thank the Blogadda contest for making me shake of the post exa lazinesss and resume my blogging. So basically this contest requires me to post 5 of my best travel photographs and put in a short description with each of them.

So here I go..

This is a picture taken from the Asi Ghat in Varanasi immediately after the total solar eclipse on 22nd July 2009. Lakhs of people – young and old, infants and the infirm – were on the Ghats of varanasi on that day. The sheer number of people overwhelms you and the chant of ‘Har har Mahadev’ resonating across the city gives you goosebumps. To me, this is the image which defines Banaras – the city which is the centre of the belief and faith of close to a billion people.

“Aye dil hai mushkil jeena yahaan.. Ye hai Bombay, Ye hai Bombay, Ye hai Bombay Meri Jaan..”

This picture is an attempt to capture the Bombay far away from glitzy malls; the Bombay which is away from the clutter and the rush; the Bombay I fell in love when I first visited this city when I was 10. (I ended up writing a 7 page description of my 2 day stay in my English notebook.) Taken on a Sunday afternoon near Flora Fountain, this is my favourite Bombay picture. 🙂

Beautiful was the thing I could say when I saw the sun playing hide and seek between the cocnut trees. I took this photo sometime in December 2008 while I was on a ‘cruise’ from Kollam(Quilon) to Alapuzha(Allepey). This continues to be my one of my most memorable sunsets ever. This snap totally justifies the God’s Own Country tag.

Divine. With picture perfect fairytale cottages, streams of crystal clear water flowing over rocks smoothened by the wind and the rain and terrace farms just like the ones your artistic Geography teacher drew on the blackboard when you were twelve, this picture stands for all that Uttaranchal offers you. This photo was taken in April 2008 on the way from Haldwani to Mukteshwar.

Classic Lucknow. This photo captures the essence of the city of Nawabs and Kababs. I clicked this one in November 2006. You can see significant portions of the Bada Imambara and Gomti river in the background. Just so that you know, I took this picture when I was lost in the famous Bhool Bhulaiya. 🙂 I seriously wish Mayawati and her sidekicks put in some money to clean up the city. For, Lucknow is one of the most beautiful cities in India.

Those were my favourite 5. I hope these photos help  in showing how beautiful our country is. So next time you pack your bags for a trip to Europe or Thailand or any other exotic foreign destination for a holiday, ask yourself if you have seen the best that India has…

Indu 🙂




She stood there. At the edge. Looking down at the lights and the people. Fighting the cold winter wind and her own mind.

Just one step ahead from there could take her away from all the pain, suffering and humiliation. She would no longer be a victim. She would no longer be taunted for her ‘loose’ character. And if there was something she wanted, it was this freedom.

But something was holding her back. Maybe there was still some hope. Maybe justice would be done. Maybe she could start life anew. Maybe her family and friends would come back to her. Maybe she still had reason to live.

But that couldnt happen. The last 90 days of her life had consumed all the optimism she had, all the faith she had in people she loved – her parents, her friends and  him. She was and would always remain a dark blot on the people she knew. A blot which had to be washed away forever.

Maybe she could run away to a different place. Live with a different name. Build a new identity and a new life for herself. Maybe she could.

Just when she had some hope for a new life, destiny took over. And as she was floating down into the next world, her next life, she smiled. She smiled for she realized that to live wasn’t her destiny. She had to die. This wasn’t the world where she belonged. She smiled for she knew she was going to the place she really belonged to. The place where happiness could finally embrace her. Death.

Going by the set rules which define one’s ‘matrabhumi’, I am a Malayali. But I choose to call myself a Gujarati. I was born here and apart from a period of 7 and a half years, I have lived in Gujarat all my life.

I was 9 when the riots happened. I had come back to Anand a year ago and I had started hating Gujarat for it was here, that I went through the most scary times of my life. (Click here to read more about my riots experience.)

All the coverage which Mr. Modi has been getting is making people from outside the state believe that we Gujaratis are a very intolerant, fascist lot. And this is absolute  bullshit. Yes, bullshit. Look at the tweets by this certain @AkhilRana . Scroll down his timeline. Most of his stuff is bizarrely funny and misinformed. I mean, Mahatma Modi?? Seriously WTF stuff. But 1 particular tweet of his, in which he said he was proud of Gujaratis because they were protecting Hindutva, disturbed me.

This is not what we are. We love our God. We pray to him. We celebrate him. But we don’t fight and kill for him. The 2002 riots were an exception, not the rule. You don’t believe it? I have lived here for 10 years and I have started from hating the people here to loving them. That means something, doesn’t it?

There is a chain of bakeries in Anand called ‘Everfresh Bakery’. They owned 2 out of the  5 odd shops right outside the Jagnath temple here. During the riots, one of their shops was burnt down. The reason was obvious – the owners were Muslim. But this wasn’t Gujarat.

Gujarat is the place where the shop re-opened and they moved to a place twice as big in the new shops constructed by the same temple. Gujarat is the place where the upvaas food is bought from Everfresh Bakery. Gujarat is the place where every year, a Ganesh Pandal is erected right next to the oldest mosque and madrasa in the town. Gujarat is the place where the Tazia during Muharram is erected with the wall of the Swaminarayan temple as a support and the Muslims in the locality light up the sculpture put up by the people from the temple as well. Gujarat is the place where everyone buys fruits from the Pathan simply because he is the best in the business. Gujarat is the place where two sons of the caretaker of a Mosque are hailed as the pride of the state.

What I am trying to say is that what happened in 2002 was nothing but a bunch of sickos in positions of power who figured out that the fear in the minds of people could be conveniently used to gain some political advantage. The average Gujarati is only concerned about the well-being of his family and his neighbours, his food and the money he saves. He is a man who loves peace. But he is also a very vulnerable man, quite like all of us. And it was this vulnerability of his which the saffron and non saffron vultures feasted on.

My appeal to anyone who reads this, is not to see Gujaratis as a bunch of paranoid people who swera by Hindutva. Because we are not. We do not like killing people of any faith. We like peace.


PS: Let me clarify, I am not justifying 2002 or supporting Modi, or any other accused. I strongly believe that all those accused must be tried and even hung to death if found guilty, irrespective of their post, position or power. Just don’t be so judgmental about Gujaratis as a community.

It’s all NCERT’s fault. They make the textbook so boring and the teachers so stupid that nobody ever pays attention in their English classes, even our dear Ms. E. So, she gets her English all screwed up and doesn’t quite understand the words she uses to describe herself. And being the angel I am, I can’t quite help but do my bit and teach her what her English teacher, or English language teacher, as umm.. well.. *somebody*(I do have a lot of words I could use here, but lets just leave it like this)  likes saying it, should have.

Ok, Ms. E listen pay attention here. Stop admiring your nails.

Lesson 1: Straight-forward != Rude: Being straight forward doesn’t mean you have to be rude to everybody. You cannot hurl abuses at someone and say that you are being straight forward. Straight forward is when your intentions are not ‘tedha‘. You get the point right? And also, straight forward has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. So get that word out of your orkut profile.

Lesson 2: Diplomacy != Sycophancy: Let me use the very same example teachers use to confuse you, to clear your head. Not being nasty about the dress your friend wears on her birthday is not being a sycophant. It’s just being nice. Diplomacy is saying the truth an a civil, polite, well-mannered way to everyone, even if they are not an influential teacher. And sycophancy?.. Remember the time you told a teacher she didn’t look 40? That is sycophancy. So next time you accuse somebody of being diplomatic, remember me ok?

Ms E, will you please stop thinking of new poses for your new facebook profile picture and listen!

Lesson 3: Happy-go-lucky is not about showing your teeth when you top the class: Happy-go-lucky, carefree, bindaas babe and all other synonymous words are probably what you love using in the ‘describe yourself in a minute sessions’, right? Even if it is after you have just come back after crying in the washroom or cribbing over how the other person cheated and got more than you in the unit test. You can call yourself happy-go-lucky the day you actually smile after failing a test. So that’s another thing you have to change in your profile, right?

Ms E, this is it. You are still fantasizing about the various romantic possibilities you could have with the tall new boy after he agreed to get a picture taken with you? You can go on and make a complete fool of yourself. I am not helping you out anymore. Aakhir main bhi to insaan hoo. 😉

Actually, go ahead. You are an angel. You are a gem. You are perfect as you are. Nobody should ever change you. After all, you are my only steady source of entertainment and humour. 🙂


PS: I was unfortunate enough to have been audience to XYZ’s how-i-got-chased-by-dogs-at-4-in-the-morning story this morning. Sad. If you are clueless, read previous posts.

PPS: Dont think of names of girls starting with E. I know none.

This was one of the two reasons I really liked Navratri. The other being that I could stay up really really late. Staying up late was exciting because those days, I would be in bed by 9.

Coming back to Mumbai Thi Gaadi Aavi Re. It basically an action song. Like ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. But done in Garba style. Its usually the kids who participate. But you always have Aunties, who are 6(or maybe 8 ) times the size of Kareena Kapoor and share attention seeking behavioral patterns similar to Himesh Reshamiya and Rakhi Sawant, who jump in to do what they do the best – act stupid.

We used to have a competition for ‘Mumbai Thi Gaadi Aavi’ in our campus. They weren’t actually competitions. The big people in the XXXX club would move around with a notepad and would pretend to write down things. At the end they would give all teams a ‘prize’ which would a ten rupee note in a colourful envelope. Yes, just 10 rupees for a team of like 15 kids. Such stingy people they were (and they probably still are).

These ‘competitions’ used to be big things for us at that time. There were fights over who is to be included in the Gaadi and who is to be made the leader and all that typical nonsense kids usually fight over. I remember one particular fight which had this snobbish girl 4 years elder to us fighting with another girl who wasnt all that sophesticated saying that she didnt even know English. See, I always said we were breeding snobs in our school.

Then there was this really creatively stimulating challenge of naming the Gaadi. After some 20 mnutes of ‘dimaag ke ghode daudana’, we would usually decide on either ‘Gujarat Queen’ or ‘Flying Rani’ or ‘Navjivan’, all of which are names of real trains. But they sounded fancy then. No, Navjivan wasn’t fancy. It was special because it shared the first 3 letters with Navratri. So that was it.

The song kept repeating the lines ‘Mumbai Thi Gadi Aavi Re… *insert some gujju giberish* ‘ and then sing paragraphs and paragraphs about various things the Gaadi did. And all Gaadis would go around in a circle following the actions of the leader who tried her best to invent new steps by looking around at what others were doing. So creative no?

In the beginning, the pace would be slow and the Gaadi would do all boring things like stopping or going slow or blowing the whistle. Then the madness would begin. The trains were made to jump, do Bhangra on ‘Ye Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka‘ and what not. The guy who was singing the song could make us do anything then, absolutely anything I tell you. It would all culminate with the Gaadis being asked to run.

‘Gaadi Jaldi Jaldi *sthg* Re’

This was the bit I enjoyed the most. Everyone would just start running. Running like a herd of cows who were scared by a firecracker or something. The Gaadis would get all mixed up. People bumped into each other. Quite a few kids would fall down. And the very young ones would just stand and start waling till the elder sibling pulled his/her hand and he/she could join the madness as well.

And then at the end we would all hunt down our team mates and wait eagerly for our result. Yes, we used to be really excited because those ten bucks meant we could get Centre Shock, which used to be ‘the’ thing.

So thats the story of Mumbai Thi Gaadi Aavi. One of the most fun things I did as a kid.

Here’s a video so that you get an idea of what this actually sounds like.


PS: You must know that the use of Mumbai, and not Bombay, has nothing to do with the Tiger or his warring cubs.

The Stereotyped Species

Stereotyping is bad. Very  very bad. But its fun. So here is my list of 7 ‘species’ of people you would come across most often in a typical high school.

Why 7? Because 7 is a good number and my creativity is limited.

This is list is extremely biased and is based solely on my personal opinion, dislikes and grudges. Any resemblance to any person living, dead or in my batch is purely intentional. If you happen to be among the misfortunate jokers, feel free to comment. You are only giving away your identity. 🙂

1. The Cool Dude

  • Calls himself dA dUDe who is kEwL
  • Takes the Axe/Zatak ads too seriously and always smells of either of the two.
  • Talks about himself in third person like our Suresh Gopi. Only the names he gives himself will be in english and will necessarily contain some or all of these words – Trouble, hell, Dude, Guy, Sexy, Charmer.
  • Will watch MTV STyle Check to find out what is hot and what is not.
  • Is sometimes also found watching Gtalk (yes, that stooopid show on MTV). The stated purpose is to ogle at the sexy legs but I know better.
  • Often found wearing T shirts in vivd hues with self praise things scribbled all over.
  • Have a fetish for the playboy bunny.

2. The Paris Hilton idolizers

  • Dumb dumb dumb
  • So dumb that she wont know who Paris Hilton is.
  • Frets for a week over what to wear for her Bday party.
  • Real appearance is not known for all visible parts of the body are caked with a whole bunch of funny sounding and smelling chemicals.
  • Listens only to Akon, High School Musical, Twilight, Jonas Brothers and thinks its all cool
  • Her orkut/facebook profile will contain words like princess, rockstar, queen of hearts.

3. The not-so-gaudy Dudes

  • Will look down upon everyone because they speak English with a little less accent.
  • Tend to feign rebellious nature by creating orkut communites. But this is a mere tactic to keep people from seeing his real scared self.
  • Use pronouns while talking bad about people, which by the way happens to be his hobby.
  • Thinks LGBT jokes are funny and is convinced that cracking such jokes elevates his status.
  • Will scorn at everything that is ‘down-market’.
  • Will cry more than the most sissiest girls you know. He cries when he is scared, upset, angry – just about always.

4. The look-i-am-so-cute-and-inocent gang of girls

  • D E S P E R A T E
  • Makes a desperate effort not to fit in, to be different.
  • Phenomenally talented at pretending remorse, grief etc.
  • Calls herself a ‘tomboy’ and shows off how much she hates dressing up but will secretly imagine herself as the hot chick.
  • Obsessed with black nail paint.
  • Snaps on orkut/facebook will fit in perfectly with the ads in the classifieds for ,well, you know who.
  • Loves the attention she gets especially from members of the 3rd species when she behaves like her skull is empty.
  • Proud of her stalker count. (I have a feeling she stalks herself and then tells us all about it)

5. The i-wanna-be-cool dudes

  • Pretty similar to species 1 and 3, but hasn’t attained the required proficiency at mimicking them.
  • Is the butt of all jokes.
  • Feels good about being the joke and being kicked around.
  • Any popularity is good popularity.
  • Will have a dumb Chinese phone which he (and only he) thinks is stylish, classy and technologically superior.
  • Will wear fake Aviators in an AC room.

6. The Compulsive Flirt

  • Has an opposite sex detector is always hanging around the largest group of  guys/girls.
  • Is armed with a collection of subtle(??) pick up lines which are cheesier than the cheesiest Govinda dialogues.
  • Took Karan Johar an Kuch Kuch Hota Hai way too seriously and hence befriends every hot and not-so-hot guy/girl and make filmy promises of friendship.
  • Sends what he/she considers flirty yet subtle shayari SMSs.
  • Blushes way too much.

7. The Heartbreak kids

  • Will try hard to look really sad.
  • Write emo poemscopied form the net  in a secret diary which he/she makes sure is passed on to everybody.
  • Often found claiming to have slit his/her wrist with the blunt side of the knife.
  • Sends SMSs about incomplete love at 12 in the night.
  • Bribes you with chocolates to give a Valentines day gift to his/her beloved.
  • Any mention of someone in love will evoke a response that goes something like this – ‘Kaash mere paas bhi aisa koi hota

That rounds up my list. I have refrained from using swear words and abuses because I guess I didn’t want to be too mean to you guys. And please, if you do fall in any of the categories, please dont change. You will take away from me, the sole entertainment in my life.

What? Which category do I belong to? I choose to be the outsider – someone who is at the center of the madness, doesnt have to be a part of it and blog about it when she has no other ideas. 🙂


PS: Anyone who can come up with drawings/cartoons/illustrations for each of these species and can help me out with it is welcome to contact me.

The Beauty Obsession

I am confused big time.

X is a girl. Not particularly pretty. But presentable. She goes to the beauty parlor every fortnight. Correction. Its not a beauty parlor. Its a ‘salon’. (I am not mentioning how the thieves at these salons rob you of her her boyfriend’s not-so-hard-earned money.) Ok, so she goes there. Once she gets her hair cut short and curled. The next time she gets some extension put on. Then she comes back again to get the hair straightened and colored some  funny shade of brown. And to complete the cycle she comes back and gets her hair restores to normal. That is her hair cycle. She also has a similar cycle for her skin – bleaching, tanning, bleaching, tanning….

X here is nobody in particular. She is the epitome of the entire crowd of girls who think they should dress up like the bride in every marriage and plan their beauty parlor, no, salon appointments a week in advance for their high school farewell.

I understand these things are a matter of individual choice. But I am only wondering what is the big thing we have for looking beautiful.

Beauty, I believe, is nothing more than a trait with which people are blessed in different proportions. Just like intelligence. The X breed of girls are absolutely ok with being less smart than other people. They are ok with being less artistic than other people. But having a figure that is a  little less sexy than that high headed girl living in the opposite block or having hair less trendy than that girl trying to woo your her boyfriend is such a big problem.

What is more, they think anyone who doesnt indulge in such pointless pursuits, is abnormal. I know that better than anyone else in the world. A certain biology teacher was always ready with her packet full of advices about taking care of the body by going to the salon every week because this is the age we should do this. And classmates who were  hardly friends were always quick to tell me how I should grow my hair to something more ladylike than my Priyanka Gandhi style right now.

Why, why, why cant you be happy with how your genes dictate your appearance? Unless you are Miss India, it makes no difference right? Correct me if I am wrong somebody.


PS: The X breed of girls are also blessed with a funny sense of valuing money. They will happily dish out 500 bucks for denaturing the keratin on their head. And if on the way back, the autorikshawala asks for 30 bucks instead of the usual 20, they’ll fight, argue, abuse and give the poor chap 20 and walk back haughtily. Any mention of giving 5 bucks extrea will be met with this – ‘Indu, tune duniya nahi dekhi. Paise ki bhi koi value hoti hai. Aise hi thode de sakte hai in jaise choron ko.’ Keep going X.

PPS: Does a Javed Habib Salon in Anand give you the services of the Habib guy himself? No? Then why is everyone so jumpy about it?