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Talent and Bad Behaviour

Originally posted on The NITK Numbskulls Page:

Growing up, I was subjected to Carnatic music classes, like most children in my neighborhood. I grew up resenting it all.

I don’t as such hate the music part of it. I love what I’ve got from Carnatic music… the ability to keep a tune, to not be tone-deaf and to be able to understand and appreciate all genres of music. But when it came to the teachers, most if not all of them weren’t very nice people. And I noticed that the more qualified they were, the more crazy they got.

After years with this neighbor of mine, who was just a nice lady who taught music for extra income, and didn’t push us much, the time came to shop for a new teacher when this nice lady found love and happiness and moved to the other end of town. The proper music school in my neighborhood had an…

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My snake growls,

my cat chirps,

my bird roars,

my dog moos.

I’ve got Multiple Animal Disorder,

But to simplify things,

I just say I’m MAD.

Do Something Pointless

Originally posted on Chris Shelby:

Do something pointless for 20 minutes this week.

Do something devoid of meaning, devoid of effectiveness, something having little or no sense or purpose.

That may be tough for you to pull off. Our American culture has always been purposeful and effective. We pushed West to get more and more land. Manifest Destiny filled our scruffy settlers with meaning and they pushed. Full of purpose and meaning, we pushed for bigger and better and faster and more. We made cars. Then more cars and bigger cars. Rockets were even faster than cars. We shot upward full of purpose into space. We planted a flag on the land of the moon, that beckoning frontier. We have always been an active culture, pushing effectively for bigger-better-faster.

Our wages grew the whole time. Our success grew and grew, we were effective and purpose-filled. By the 1970s we led the world in many ways…

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The Lost Art

A Twitter Conversation

A Twitter Conversation

School days were full of competitions. Every activity had the potential to be competitive and one of those things was ‘writing’. In fact, there were handwriting competitions in Class 1, and students used to prepare hard for it. Parents would hold their child’s hand and make him/her write in the most cursive and clear fashion possible. Ironically, most of these parents had drafted illegible balance sheets, office documents and leave applications. Nevertheless, 80s kids were taught to write beautifully, in its literal sense.

Then there were pen-friends in the early 90s. Along with the words, children used various coloured pens to add more joy to their communication. Many tried to draw, scribble or pasted stickers to seal their friendships. Also, there was a kid’s version of ‘Chain Letter‘, where one had to make ‘x’ number of copies of a letter they received and pass it on to different people. Today, we can hit the ‘forward’ button and send it to thousands of people in a matter of seconds. Can we imagine a world when people had to do each letter of the text with their hands? From children bribing other kids with better handwritings, to write their letters, to hacking into each others’ accounts to steal private information; we have come a long way. Or have we?

There were books on handwriting studies which established associations between each letter, serif and the angle of text to people’s personalities. So many of us worked on our writing to improve our personalities!*giggles* Investigators in those days used to rely on handwriting experts to unveil lying suicide letters and solve murder mysteries. These days, we have computer experts digging through huge database management systems to uncover intelligent yet less artsy crimes.

What’s funny is that with each passing day we get more paranoid about our privacy, and even more impersonal in our communication. We have better ways to guard our secrets, but build fickle relationships; we use laser cutters to design aeroplanes and don’t know how to make a paper-plane; auto-correct makes our stories clean and yet, we struggle to scribble words on the paper. Oh, it’s still art, we say. The art of writing personal stories, with a tap of a finger and the press of a button.

Not a butterfly

“I think we look like a butterfly when asleep.” He said.

“What? No!” She said.

“My head’s there, your butt is here and we are curled onto our own sides. Of course, we look like a butterfly.”

She picked up her brush, sat in front of the canvas and spent over 45 days, to create a theorem.


“Hence proved!” She said.

“Butterfly!” He said.

Mortal Kombat

“Presenting, Mortal Combat by IGIT!”

As soon as the announcement was made, we ran to the stage, the nine of us and began our dance performance in my college festival. We wore bell-bottomed black pants, with black spaghettis and a satin off-shoulder tank-top. The tank-top was in various colours – blue, green, red. My team had practised and had worked hard for months, choreographed the show together and we had also designed our own costumes. Oh, I was so thrilled about the entire show.

It was a minute after we started our performance that I felt something snap. Soon I realised that my bra hook had given away. Four on the right, four on the left; I was in the center of the group. My friends in the audience clapped for me, even as I was horrified about my clothing. I had to decide, in that split second, to walk off the stage or to go on. I wanted to live that performance; after all, there were eight others who would be hurt if I walked out. I continued and in the next few seconds, I could feel something slipping off my chest. “Oh my god, I am wearing a strapless bra!” But there was nothing more to do, we just had a minute or so to perform. I kept at it, ignored the slipping modesty and finished my part as a team player. As I walked out of the stage, I was glad that it was over.

“Here, It was lying on the stage!”

Tears rolled down my eyes, as a fellow dancer handed over my inner wear. My friends from the audience came to meet me backstage.

“What happened?”

“You didn’t look like you were into your dancing,”

“Yeah! Your face was off and no smile too,”

“It was a great performance though. Are you alright?”

People flooded me with questions while I tried hard to control my reaction. “Maybe no one noticed.” I thought. “I should not make it apparent on everybody”. My best friend cheered and hugged me tight.

“Girl, what happened?”

She whispered in my ears and I pulled her to a side. Then, I told her about my wardrobe malfunction and showed her the bra.


“Why are you laughing?” I said.

“That’s funny but don’t worry, none of us noticed anything.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes girl. We just missed your usual energy on stage!”

I held her so tight and let out my tears of relief on her shoulders. Just then, everyone in my team jumped. We had won the competition.

Winter is coming

I melted in my shoes, my head started to burn and my clothes began to feel too tight. It was an October day and I stepped out for an appointment. I wore a skirt, a top, stockings and a shrug. I took off the shrug within seconds after I had stepped out and let my body be ventilated. My eyes squeezed while I tried to look around. Everything looked bright and in flames. My feet slipped in the footwear as I walked, I was trapped in them. I got into the bus and as I looked outside, I decided to wear flip-flops, spaghetti straps and shorts to survive through the warm winters of San Francisco.

His Sweet Smell

‘The Musk’ is the flavor that I bought for him, years ago. And he had been using it ever since because it’s one of those things that made me hover around him a bit longer than usual. When we began to live together, his body odour used to bother me. Well, doesn’t it bother everyone? In fact, my own body odour ticked me off. So, there were a lot of experiments I did to find the best flavor for him, and ‘The Musk’ was forever.

However, a few months later, he went away for a couple of weeks. I missed him, oh so bad. I couldn’t wait for him to be home. The morning he was to return, I woke up early and kept the house ready to welcome him. I miscalculated the time and went away to buy grocery and meanwhile he reached home. As soon as I heard about his arrival, I sped up my walk.

I ran, and as I opened the door, the wind brought along with it the sweet smell of him. I felt safe, happy, fulfilled. And no, it wasn’t ‘The Musk’. It was the good old body odour.

Fur Elise

The heart knows what it wants

the mind remembers what it needs to

The fingers know where to go

when I wake up, walk out

sit on the bench, close my eyes

stretch out my arms, and play Fur Elise.


I am with 5 of the most important people in my life; one is my life partner, one – my sister and three of them are friends who set the foundation for all valuable friendships. All of these people are companions, and in that way they are similar but that’s where the similarities end.

G, my partner, is crazy yet extremely wise. He dislikes and doesn’t value short-sighted decisions, is paranoid enough to scare you of the simplest things and despite all this, leads an adventurous life. H, my sister, is a child-like responsible adult, who loves to take care of others to the level of spoiling them and can’t stand people who worry a lot. V, my friend, is an entrepreneur and a child-man who acts naive but understands everything – a bit phony in his outlook but truthful to even his darkest self. J, is joyful, experimental, conversational and enjoys being proper and A, is a mature, thoughtful man who finds it uneasy to explore out of his comfort zone but nevertheless does it.

Years ago, the 5 of us(No G – he came into my life later) used to meet every evening, and discuss life, politics, relationships in twilight. Our individual existence was a response to our everyday exchange of thoughts together. The sense of completeness was so gratifying that sometimes we didn’t feel the need to have anyone else around. However, I noticed the impact of our ‘move together, think together, act optimal’ group-ism, once I moved cities.

I value my integrity and consider it as the single greatest factor that enhances my interaction with my surroundings. In the years that went by without the ‘Hum Paanch(We, the five)’ gang around, I realised that the effect of group-movement can be positive or negative, based on how clear the individual outlooks are. To explain this, I would pick an example. Once, I received a job-offer from another company in another city. I had apprehensions about money, career and most of all, moving cities just 2 months after I had relocated. I was finding it difficult to reject the offer.

“Just call them up and tell that your father’s health isn’t doing great.”

This was the conclusion of our group discussion. I agreed but when the time came to say this, I was shivering since I principally dislike ‘excuses’ and ‘lies’. Eventually, I was able to convince myself that ‘family problems’ isn’t untrue and I was able to handle the situation without getting into specifics. However, at the far end of this drama, I walked out of the company I was working for, in the most outrageous yet honest display of ethics and values. It taught me an important lesson that even when I am tactful, I can’t convince myself of a lie, ever. My future decisions were better – peaceful, honest and the best. I let my heart speak louder than the brainstorming sessions the group had.

Years have passed and I haven’t had the chance to share my life, the same way, with these friends. And I don’t expect that anymore. They have visited me several times, have helped me through some important tasks and were also among my wedding hosts. Every time we met, I was amazed by how easily we were back to where we left.

However, this time, I sense a strange lack of connection. The synergy that we shared seems to have faded away. When I listen for five people, I hear myself and instead of 4 other people, I see one and sometimes, a maximum of two people. When I look for the voice of the five of us together, I still hear one or two individual voices. There is no sound of ‘Hum Paanch’, anymore.



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