12 November 2012

No Country For Ambulances

Something happens to Chennai at around 6 in the evening. As though someone rang a giant school bell over the city, students, workers, teachers, parents and kids dash out onto the street, and simultaneously rush home. And like most people, I ended up in the passenger seat of a car, peering out at the endless pair of glowing red backlights in front of us.

Just as I was about to rant about the traffic, a faint wail caught my ear. I strained for a moment, until it became louder. An ambulance siren. My friend glanced at the rear view mirror and chuckled, perhaps more out of sympathy than apparent sadism. “That guy is screwed,” he remarked.

02 November 2012

The Quickest Way To Jail

It was a clear Friday morning, with the clouds chivalrously concealing the sun, helping bring down the boiling temperature for as long as possible. With an extra spring in my steps, I settled down in front of my laptop. For those of you who are unacquainted with this ritual, let me explain. Since starting Laptop Diary as a blog, my laptop and I have had several interactions. Who says machines don’t have a heart?

Me: A splendid morning to you, Tosh!

Toshiba: (absentmindedly) I’ve told you, I don’t like that nickname. Toshiba is my surname. My actual name is Satellite L755.

Me: Fine, fine Tosh, don’t get worked up over that. Say, what are you busy reading anyway?

[Toshiba minimizes the Google Chrome page before I can glance at it...]
Me: (mischievously) Ah…what were you looking at?

Toshiba: (curtly) Let’s not go there, alright? I still have last week’s web history saved…

Me: (hastily) Right, anyways, back to work now. I’ve made a new resolution, Tosh!

29 October 2012

A Big Lesson From A Little Girl

By now everyone in the household was familiar with my vacation routine. Establishing base at the computer table, systematically emptying soft drink cans, conducting marathon viewing sessions of Big Bang Theory. It was standard protocol.

On a perfectly relaxed, lazy Saturday morning, while the kitchen was bustling with breakfast preparations, I was perched next to the computer, staring at uTorrent like a compulsive horse race gambler, willing my precious downloads to perform better. Just then a call rang out.

Paging Musthafa, please report to the bedroom.

I sighed, knowing perfectly well what the situation was. My two year old niece Zara had burst into tears, apparently traumatized at being denied permission to venture out into the hot sun. And since all hands were on deck in the kitchen, it was up to me to pacify the little girl.

13 September 2012

Children At The Diner

The fan blades creaked around,
lazily following the routine,
as bartenders and drunkards swooned,
soaking their blood in whisky and rum.

None moved, for none thought,
about dreams, hopes and desires.
With souls chained to beer bottles.
They drowned out their remaining hours.

02 September 2012

Twenty Minutes to Sun Rise

The first time I saw Athirapally water falls, the sequence unfolded in surreal fashion. Walking down the wooden pathway that rises steady and then comes to steep downward slope, the trees surrounding the pathway suddenly parted, bringing into view the entire panoramic shot of the waterfall leaping off the cliffs. As though nature had invited me to walk through the tunnel and into its version of a hallowed football stadium. The sound of water rushing over rocks rumbled across the air, non chalantly assuming the duty of providing a sound track for my moment of epiphany.

23 June 2012

Borrowed Love

The residents of Apoorva Colony flung open their windows, welcoming in the cool morning breeze as children rushed from bathrooms, dodging mothers yells while pulling on clothes and combing their hair quickly. Before the morning sun had firmly entrenched itself in the sky, nestled between thick white clouds, the streets were crawling with people, talking animatedly as they walked towards the nearby park.

Large wooden beams had been erected the previous evening, along with banners and silk tables clothes, adorning the previously bare green park with countless stalls and counters. The annual bake sale was about to begin, and if the warm caramel smell wafting through the air was any indicator, it would be bigger success than last year.

Walking through the crowds, along the paved sidewalk, beneath the foliage of trees was Ananya Mohan, her pale face occasionally illuminated by meek rays of sunlight. Her long, thin nose, creamish high cheek bones and angular jaw seemed to have aged rapidly over the past few days, leaving her with a face that seemed to inflate her actual age.

02 June 2012

Letter To My 14 Year Old Self

Dear 14 Year Old Me,

I know this might sound weird, but this letter is being written by your 20 Year Old version. Now, don't mock me, I'm serious. I know of everything that's going to happen to you from now till....well, now (my now - the-6-year-in-the-future-now - try to keep up). Alright, alright, don't close your Hotmail yet! I have proof. First off, the Geography project your struggling to complete right now? The good news is, Lakshmi Ma'am wont collect it tomorrow. You and all your friends are going to have till Sunday to complete it. Happy?

Good, then pay attention to me. It's not often that you get to read a letter from your future self, so better make the best of it. There's so much I want to tell you. First things first. Those pimples? Chill, they'll go away on their own. I'm serious! I couldn't believe it myself! But they do. Within two years, all of them are just gonna fade away, though if you do use that product Mom bought last weekend, your suffering will be extended by a few months.