Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2007

Old Is Gold

Thanks to a good friend and a country cousin, I have been building my collection of Manipuri folk songs and old songs sung in archaic Manipuri that I am tempted to pick up the phone with each song and ask my uncle (who is heavily into translations and writing), what the lyrics really mean. He helped me with some, in the past. Well, this is my means of staying connected to my roots. It's like a lesson in my other world combing, sometimes, through the the tons of cassettes and CDs my mom gave me -- most of which were to save herself from the torrent of western songs that she was subjected to whenever she used to sit in my car. My sister in Australia pines for all things Manipuri, from food to entertainment. One of these days, maybe I will send her some music from my new collection. That will take care of at least one of her needs! I remember once, walking into the annual crowded Suraj Kund mela in Delhi, with mom and the entire family in tow. The theme that year was North-east. And


It was 11 a.m. In a tearing hurry to reach work, I quickly reversed my car out of the gate, quite a tight spot, and hit the ring road at a fairly good speed. Just as I was about to take the compulsory left turn, I saw a woman [in her mid-40s] under an umbrella frantically waving. Of course, she was no long lost friend. Almost screeching to a halt, I scrolled down the car window and looked at her, questioningly. She requested, “Madam, if you are going towards India Gate, could you drop me off to a point close by?” Having inculcated the habit of viewing every stranger with suspicion, the plea put me in a fix. Seconds later, I thought, for God's sake, she’s only a woman desperate for a lift in this hot weather and can’t harm me in broad daylight. So, I opened the back door, not in all wiseness. As soon as she got in, she asked me which way I was taking. I said ITO. She said bingo. “I also work around that area. Khuda ne bheja aap ko mere liye ” [You are God sent]. Well, not really fl

Caught In Time Warp

WORDS TO SEVEN SISTERS A proud father sent his only daughter in Delhi to make her IAS/IPS, but she returned back as drug addict, promising boy landed into police case for drunken brawl, late night parties with loud music landed six youngsters into police case, revealing dressed up parties lass was molested and thrown out from moving vehicle badly bruised after being outraged. Land lord threw out four youngsters for lasvious behaviour of living together, some residential colony refused to give rent to youngsters from North east. Gullile leader was cheated by unscrupulous housing society a tune of Rs. Four lakhs. Hundreds of students were on road, when their high sounding school was sealed. List goes on... This forms part of a booklet or security tips, as he calls it, from a police officer of the north east region. It is meant for the hundreds of students from the north east who have come to Delhi to study. It adds: students should be more "mainstream like" in the way they dr

Minutes Of A Meeting

When it comes to meetings, my office takes the cake. We have one every two hours these days. But Friday meetings is the mother of all meetings. We have a long video conference with the Bombay team and the South bureau joins us on the phone. Thats when stories ideas are thrashed out and brain stormed. These days, a new word is introduced: deadlines. Pretty hi-tech too, with the deskhead sitting on his laptop and keying in the dates promised. So, unlike the past when reporters sit on stories for months, now they have to deliver on time. Good in a way, helps us build a bank of stories and close the issue on time. The good part: everybody is doing their best to respect deadlines. Under deadlines, sample this: "Your story on xxxx was due two weeks ago. When can we have it?" "Give me time till Tuesday. I haven't figured out what to work on". "But we have a deadline for submisions." "Monday I have my first meeting, and then I will tell you". "

Z Category

"Please, please, clear the blacks fast... " Except for this, for most part of his speech, we don't know what the words are. And they are best left unheard for reasons known to us. I shall not name him, but lets call him Z for discourse. Z gets to everyone's nerves but he is very, very amusing, I tell you. Z joined us amid much fanfare. Lots were said about him prior to his coming. Well-read, grammarian, perfectionist, and a little ummm... -- you know the stuff great minds and men are made of! So we were mighty eager to meet this someone who was above the run of the mill. Day one: I saw him and felt a little sorry at how much at odds he was with us the noisy crowd, and me the worst of the lot. Natural that he did not warm up to us, and me, immediately. I sensed things wont be so easy for him. True enough, he had a tumultous beginning. He laboured hard, sentence after sentence, para after para that the pages looked like incricate works of art. Coma here, fullstop ther

Apparel Dilemma

"Have we met before?" she asks, her western suit all prim and proper. Holy cow no, come to the point, I felt like telling her. I am not very good with PR guys. They are doing their job alright but they can be downright bugging. Even more bugging is this: you can identify their black pants and white shirts from far and you cannot maintain a safe distance from them. Technically, the press and PR actually work hand in hand, but they have a tougher job, which is, hounding journalists for some sacred space while their clients give them sleepless nights till they get their due publicity for the money invested for that purpose. I can't imagine working in a PR firm! But what is it about western outfits and women in the media these days? I am a little curious. Why do all of them dress the same? I am sure, the same was once asked about Indian journalists with their trademark kurtas and jholas ? Clearly, today's journalists are going for an image overhaul. You don't see th

I Am Sad

I am at low ebb right now. After scripting what I thought was a good SOP, I was pretty optimistic about IJE. Now I think, it’s not without reason that I rechristined the SOP to SOB. Some people seem to have all the luck when they set a goal. Not me. I didn't have immense expectations. Still. It's not a good feeling. OK. This is not career cul de sac. There are other things to look forward to in my life I think, especially towards the yearend. But I was hoping I would have added a feather to my cap before I bid my career a temporary goodbye. For the moment though, it feels naturally sad and a feeling that upsets has the tendency to overstay its welcome. In the midst of all this I am having an intense conversation with a colleague on quality writing and professional life. Talk of a therapeutic effect on the brain. [When all I want to do just now is howl and wince into a little girl till the sobs put me to sleep.] People cry, even men do, when they put their heart and soul into

God And I

This has been one uneasy relationship. For two decades of my life, I was in and out of Catholic institutions. First, it was the Salesian Sisters in school and then it was the Catholic religious order called “The Society of Jesus” and founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in college -- that by the time I graduated I almost became a nun. For those many years, I was a Christian at heart -- praying at the chapel, learning the rosaries, the songs, the confessions... and getting tuned to "time to love God", whenever anyone asked me what the time was, courtesy Sister Teresa. Quite a connundrum. At home, the exact opposite. Two mandirs and devout Hindus for grandparents and mother [my father was non religious for most part of his life, now he does visit the temple regularly, I suspect in memory of my mother], that even keeping the Bible was almost sacrilege. I had to wash my hands and feet every evening and take turns to light the agarbatis and sing bhajans or prayers. There were so man

Mad Rush

After shopping malls, the most crowded place in Delhi is, I think, the passport office. The queues here run parallel to the roads and back and beyond. You wonder, if the entire population is leaving the country like the migratory birds of Siberia. After having failed to lure anyone to stand in the queue on my behalf, I finally made it to passport office, two days in a row, and submitted my documents. Hopefully I should get a new passport by this weekend. This is something I had postponed for August, ideally, but the drive to go to the PP office was coerced by a couple of missed foreign 'junkets'. Missed Germany and missed Singapore twice, because my damn passport expires in October and to travel abroad, the PP should have a validity of at least six months. Tsk, tsk! Don't understand this, in the way I don't understand a lot of other things in life. If one is applying for a re-issue of one's passport, and mind you, this is different from getting a fresh passport, he

Finding Mid-Life Calm

It's July already, and the sense of being in the middle is everywhere, more acutely, mid life crisis, I guess. My dad thinks there is no such condition as mid life crisis. Can't blame him. Given a chance, I would like to trade places with him. His was the golden generation that wasn't swooped down with so many opportunities and, hence, worries in life. Come to think of it, I think he's had the best life --coveted government job, nice accomodation, nice working environment, happy big family to come home to and devoted wife at his beck and call. Plus a relaxed retired life now with the pension flowing. But life being life, my mom is not there anymore. To repeat my grandmother, 80-plus and still so jovial and quite fit, God gives you something and takes away something else from you. Alright, I don't know if mine is a common mid-life crisis. To be suddenly caught by the bug to do something different after slogging it out for over a decade in one profession which I love