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Showing posts from August, 2007

Getting Hold Of Yoga

Cargo pants, a cell phone and a bike. That's the new age yoga teacher, and mine too. A few years ago, I had gone to enrol myself at the only yoga school somewhere in the vicinity and the teacher who met me then at the government school where the classes were conducted, was a typical, dhoti clad, long haired guru mouthing everything in a language (perhaps Sanskrit) I half understood. He was so miffed at my turning up late that he yelled at me. I never returned to his classes. You see, I am not a morning person, and as my sister would say, every mother-in-law's nightmare too! Anyway, the fact is, I am glad I fhave found a flexi yoga teacher who has spared me all the morning rigours. I am into my third week of yoga and I feel my joints are getting well oiled. I run twice a week but looks like these weren't enough. All these stretching exercises and yoga asanas make me realise how unfit I was. It's too early to tell the benefits but it helps. Not an exaggeration this. One

Sa Re Ga Ma

I am hooked to Zee's Sa Re Ga Ma these days. Melodious singers, very entertaining judges and a very cute host called Aditya Narayan. The theme, the concept and the global participants, especially from Pakistan, add to the spark of the whole programme. I think Sony's Indian Idol and Star Plus's Voice of India pale in comparison. In the latter two programmes, I think the judges are too busy emulating the acerbic Simon Cowell of American Idol, tearing to shreds the participants and it leaves a bad taste. I mean as judges, you have the right to be critial but there has to be a limit. These judges cross the limits with each episode and distract viewer attention. If this was meant to entertain, it doesn't help since the programmes are not about them but the singers who are showcasing their talent. Oh, but there is a certain Amit Paul from Shillong in Indian Idol. Three reasons why I am rooting for him -- he has the voice, he is cute and he is from my hometown. I didn't

Unearthly Hour

At the Wall Street Journal , my friend who's just had a stint at this Mecca of journalism, says every story is edited and edited rigorously even if the story comes from a top editor. Simple logic: a story even if it is re-written for the nth time will still show flaws when seen by another pair of fresh eyes. Not a reflection on the writer's skills but speaks a lot about the practice at WSJ . And that’s the truth about writing -- there is always room and more room for improvement and collective thinking. So that's the journal for you, the benchmark of the highest practice in journalism today because of its writers and the desk, both of whom work in unison to create the brand it is. Reporters in India are a set of personalities. Uptight, rigid and conventional about changes to their copies. Pointing changes is something they cannot wallow in their stride. The result: loose ends in sentences, jargon, overly flowery language -- are all passed in the name of 'writer's v

Grim Predicament

Some lives can be utterly depressing. Take the case of Poonam. A village simpleton married to an army man. I met her in a sea of strangers. Found out she came from the same village as some of my relatives and our friendship grew after she became my neighbour for a while. She took care of my yen for indigenous food. Her stock of fermented fish and bamboo shoots never seem to dry up. Now that she has shifted into another locality, I seldom meet her. The dinners too are few and far between now. I met Poonam after eight months today. We had last met when she came to meet me after she learnt my mom (who also quite fond of her) had passed away. I got a call from her yesterday saying she was just back in town after a five-month stay in the village. Meanwhile, her husband, too, has been transfered to Ganganagar, Rajasthan. But she is not going there with him. Instead, she will stay on in Delhi with her two younger brothers who work in Delhi. I called her for dinner today -- I always wanted

Phoney Guy

I am tempted to write about this one. It's not a breach of privacy because I am not taking names. For the past one week, I have a young friend staying with me. Friend is heartbroken. She couldn't bear the heartache alone so she packed her stuff and came over. She even bunked work the whole of last week and was cooped up in my room with the TV for solace and me for company. Every night the talks would veer from calm and nostalgia to emotional outbursts. "I am leaving this city. I am going home", she told me in between her sobs. Am not good at handling the latter, so while my friend wept I was as blunt as could be, "What will you go back and do? Leave the bastard, don't take his call." I think it helped in a way. Friend no longer sobs. It's a familiar love story that began at a birthday party. Friend meets guy. Exchanges numbers. Guy pursues her. Friend gives in. Six months into a rollicking affair.Then enters a third person into the scene and all he

These Are For Real

I got an SMS today. It was among the many 'happy friendship day' ones. It said, "Each day wid sum1 new, i do luk and find another new. D world is full of ppl, i know it's true.Yet no 1 cud ever equal, d one i found in u. happy f-ship day." Sweet. Came from a girlfriend. Somehow, I have never been a great believer in the celebration of these so-called mother's day, father's day, donkey's day et al. I think they are all driven by a consumerist society. But because today is friendship day, I have found my fodder for this space. To talk about one friend would mean doing injustice to the rest. In short. I would just say that without frieds oops friends, my life is incomplete. It's one of the things you realise when you have been really ill or down the dumps. I have gone through this and so I value friends at all times. But do I need a friendship day to make my friends feel special? Not necessarily.I think you can do so in the most ordinary of circumsta


It’s 4:32 am. And it’s pouring cats and dogs outside. My colleague, who has just left office, called to say I should take the office car home and not drive by myself as the roads are clogged with water. Thoughtful of her. But right now I think I want to commit murder most foul. My sister called. She said Dylan has bitten into my laptop screen and made a hole. I want to kill them both. I asked a colleague if a laptop screen can be fixed. But instead he answered, "Oh he could have been killed you know because of the liquid crystal display (LCD)." Right, do I care just now? I admit I hate such answers at times. I wanted to know how much the bloodi thing would cost to repair. The laptop is such a lifeline for me after the mobile phone. I don't know what I will do to the two of them when I reach home. Nowadays, most Wednesday nights I have become an owl. With a new boss at the helm, each and every story is written, re-written and re-written till it achieves a level of perfec

Make It Clear

As the clock strikes 12, Teresa walks into the conference room. Only 2-3 people are seated, but that doesn’t stop the journalist-cum-teacher from starting her class on time. Slowly, the class is interrupted by the creak of the door. One by one, people trickle in with a loud “sorry” and reach out for the nearest chair. It is only by about 12:30 that the class appears settled. By now, Teresa must be used to this scant regard for timings in India. Hmm… I am a typical case in point. I really have no excuse except that I am plain lazy. Day three into training. I have discovered I quite like Teresa. She is amiable and soft spoken. In fact, so soft-spoken is she that I have to strain to catch her words. I try hard to remain glued to the goings on -- of her power point presentations and written tests. In fact, I quite enjoy these because then I don’t have to struggle to remain awake. Otherwise, the moment she drifts back into her sea of words -- I find the going tough. As expected, I had no c

Long On Short

Another week of classroon training in office. This time, the teacher is Teresa Castle, a seasoned American journalist. Like Teresa, the first question that came to mind was: why do we need this all over again? An over enthusiastic colleague thought he had found the answer, "To refresh ourselves and do a check of our own writing and see where we are headed." I'd imagined Teresa to give a thumbs up to that but she was like "Er, well, yes that but we also have to think about the audience we are writing for." So the session is all about learning how to tell stories with simplicity and elan and how to develop that style. Clearly, a skill that most writers need to hone. Now I spin into panic whenever I face any kind of teacher. You see there is this age-old problem with me. Having been a back-bencher all my life, I have problems concentrating. So when the teacher is teaching I am looking for ways to entertain myself. In school, it was reading all kinds of books other