Sunday, October 30, 2005

Is there hope?

I usually leave work at 7: 30 pm. I park my car (Joe) in this parking lot behind my building. It’s like a football ground. That’s the only place where there’s free parking in that area. You’ll find a lot of vehicles there from land cruisers and cars to pickups and trucks. It’s not very well lit, and you won’t find a lot of people there at night. So I try to park as close to the road as possible. This is not easy, since everyone wants to park there.

Yesterday when I got to work after lunch, I had to park somewhere in the middle of the ground, in between two trucks. And after work when I got to the parking lot I saw that my car was right in the centre, with the two aforementioned trucks on either side, a land cruiser in front and a pickup behind. How inconsiderate! What the hell was I supposed to do? There was some space to squeeze through by reversing to the right. But it would be difficult. I didn’t have a choice though. And I got into the car, went left, reversed to the right, went left again, reversed … and got stuck. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t see how far back I could go, so I had to keep getting out of the car to look. After 10 minutes, I was so frustrated that I went and kicked the tyres of the stupid pickup! That’s when 3 men walked by. I could tell they were Pakistanis, cos they were wearing the traditional shalwar-khameez. They were truck drivers. They offered to help; I thanked my lucky stars and said YES PLEASE! They took over. One of them got into the car and another helped him from the outside, telling him how far to turn, when to stop etc. They freed Joe. I was so thankful! They just smiled and left.

Having had the advantage of living in a multi cultural environment, I know that it is the people that matter, not their country or religion. I drove home thinking about how kind those men were, how I had trusted them to help me, how they could have harmed me but didn’t. I drove home thinking about how India was sending across aid to Pakistan to help the earthquake victims, and how good it was that the situation between the two countries was improving. Cos it was all just politics anyway, people and their attitudes never changed. I’ve had Pakistani teachers and friends. And they never hated me for being Indian. And now these kind drivers. I drove home happy, thinking that there was hope for humanity after all. When I got home I saw the news. Bomb blast in Delhi, Pakistani terrorists suspected. If that was true, all aid to Pakistan would stop.

Why do they ruin it for everyone else?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Wanted: A Life!

I’ve had it!
The routine is killing me!

Workhomeworkhomeworkho.. AAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGHH!

And I have to do this FOUR times everyday (I work spilt shifts)! That’s 8.5 x4 miles everyday! Minimum! I drive fffast, but where am I going anyway? I’m like a yo-yo. No purpose. No aim. I just keep going back and forth and back again.

During the weekends, the options are malls and movies. But really, I’m sick of them! I don’t wanna shop all the time (I can’t afford it!) and I saw No Entry and I’m still recovering from the massive headache I got for suffering through that stupid movie. I can’t imagine why it’s a hit! I don’t think I’ll ever go to the Cineplex again! Ok, I take that back. I think Pyar Mein Twist is probably good!

I wanna go someplace. Go for long drives to Fujairah where they have mountains and beaches and date farms. See something new. Talk to people about stuff other than hardware and software. Meet people.

But I can’t obviously. Cos of the pbvious reason: parents. They don’t wanna go to Fujairah (takes too long), and they won’t let me go alone (too dangerous).


Monday, October 24, 2005

Ever been in a fight?
I don’t mean those fights in the ring with gloves and rules and a referee.
Not the kind where there’s so much control.
Not the kind where you just lose or win.

But a real fight, with no rules to stop you from getting killed, or killing. The kind of fight where you’re fighting for your life.

You’re senses are heightened to such a level that it makes you feel like everything has slowed down, so that you can get every detail in. Anything might help you survive.
Even the fight itself slows down. Every punch, every scratch, is detailed.

You don’t really start to feel pain. Not yet. Not till the fight’s over. You just keep hitting.
Till it’s over.
Till somebody stops you. Or you stop.

And then, if you’re still alive, you start to feel other things.
You’re heart refuses to slow down for the next 10 minutes. It’s been thumping like hell all the while, but you just didn’t realise, cos the body was too busy focusing on other, more important things. And then, when the adrenaline finally subsides, you start to feel the pain.
You remember that you had hit your head on the wall, which explains the bump on the head. You touch it gingerly. And pain shoots down your neck to your shoulder and hand is all tingly. You slowly start to feel all the cuts and bruises.
You lie there for the longest time thinking about it.
Wondering if was worth it.

So, ever been in a fight?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Will I ever learn?

Do I care ?
I mean do I really?
Really really?
No, I don’t. I don’t care at all.
Then why bother.
Mebbe I do care, a bit.

Oh fuck!

I care.


Sunday, October 16, 2005


Having lived in Dubai most of my life, I don’t really find it weird that everything almost stops working during the holy month of Ramadan. But for people who are new to the country, I guess it is kinda amazing. My manager (a Brit who has been in the country for about 6 months now) was shocked!
"All businesses close early for a whole month??!"
“ Closed during the day, yes!
“And you’re not supposed to eat outside until…what’s it called? ”
Iftar? You’re requested not to, yeah.”

It’s no big deal really. I love Ramadan! So the restaurants are closed during the day. So what? You can still buy food from any of the hyper-marts and eat at home if you don’t wanna cook. And they really aren’t as strict as in Saudi Arabia or anything. Cos here, nobody forces you to fast. If you do, well and good. If you don’t, that’s ok too. Islam is not like the terrorists make it seem. Ramadan is the month of tolerance, charity and understanding.
This Arab client came to the office and I wasn’t sure whether to offer him something to drink or not, so I asked him if he was fasting, he said yes, but he also said if I wanted to have anything, he’s ok with that. I didn’t even drink a glass of water till he left. That’s what Islam is really about! All religions say the same things anyway. I feel they just have different practices cos of geographical differences.

Anyway, back to Ramadan. Work timings are cut to a minimum. Which is great! My dad works for the govt and his timings are from 8: 00 am to 2: 00 pm! School timings are cut short too. I remember when I was in school, each class lasted hardly 20 mins!

The best part of the day is Iftar of course! Even if you’re not fasting! *grin*
The food is awesome. Dunno the names of the food, but what does it matter, it’s all delicious! Of course, if you’re fasting, you can’t really start eating everything all at once.
My sister was invited for an Iftar party. She told me everything about it. The traditional way is to start with dates and sherbet. More fruits follow – apples, grapes, pomegranates etc. Then you go onto bigger things like samosas, cutlets, puffs, strudels, pies and loads of other stuff. This is then followed by dinner which can be biryani or harees and other traditional dishes. She came back from the party with food coming outta her ears! Why the hell don’t I have more Muslim friends?? Oh right! I don’t have any friends! (Not in this country anyway) Going out is like torture now. My conscience keeps shouting dire warnings about my ever-expanding waistline, while I’m assaulted from all directions by traditional Iftar food just waiting to be picked up and devoured by my greedy self.Groan!

Can’t. Say. No.

And then there’s Eid!

Sigh! I guess I’ll just have to exercise.

Ramadan Kareem!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm not sure if I should post this or not. I wrote this when I just woke up and was groggy with sleep and still feeling a bit scared. It's a bit tedious. And quite possibly boring.
You have been warned!

It’s 5: 07 am by my pc clock. My arms are still aching from the pain of having curled into a fetal position for so long. I had the weirdest dream and I’m putting it down here so that I can remember it.
I’m putting a * to some bits that are not a part of my dream, but can make you understand the people and my relationship with them better. All names have been changed except for Rahul.

My Dream:

It’s the day before my graduation. I’m apparently at my home in Kerala. But the house looks different. I call up my friend Sarah and her mum picks up the phone. *Her mum doesn’t like me. Feels I’m too independent for my own good.
Then I call Lena, I talk for a few minutes but don’t get what I want. Then I grudgingly call Mohan, cos I’d been avoiding him for some time now. *He loves me. I don’t. I had made that clear from the beginning. Though his feelings for me don’t change, we both try to make an effort to be good friends.
I have to go to college.
For something.
He either offers to come with me, or he is the one who wants to go to college and persuades me to go with him. And since I’m not doing anything else, I go with him. Dunno, but we set off in his car to go to college.

We don’t go to college, we go to the nearby mountain and then.
Then, I’m what I’ve always wanted to be. A journalist, not an engineer. But a journalist. And I am trying to get information on some drug racket by interviewing one of the people. There’s me and Mohan and this fat photographer.

But the guy who I was supposed to interview does not come up. He sent this other guy who claimed to be a cop. He said he’s going to have me arrested for something. And I’m trying to explain to him he’s got the wrong person but he doesn’t listen. He asks all of us to get into the jeep.

And then I died.

I don’t know how or anything. I’m just dead. And I have this vague feeling that the cop killed us all. I’m in a car with Mohan and the other photographer guy and I’m feeling very guilty cos I feel like it’s my fault that Mohan and the photographer is stuck in the car. And I’m not sure if anyone knows we’re dead. I have no idea of how much time has passed. I feel guilty cos Mohan is close to his mum and I’m imagining his mum waiting for her son to come back from college, the son who’s going to graduate the next day. And somehow I get us all killed cos of my interview. But Mohan is happy cos we’re still together. And I’m still in the car and I’m talking to both of them like I’m not dead. I’m not sure if we realize we're dead.

We’re parked in this lonely street. There’s nobody else around and its night. Maybe it’s the night we died. Suddenly, this other guy comes up. It’s Rohan, my ex-boyfriend, and he’s always been the jealous type. I know he would be angry that I’m sitting in a car talking with two other guys.
He is angry. And I’m scared cos I realize he’s dead.
And he’s angry.
And I get out of the car. And that’s when I realize that till then, I was sitting in the car without really wanting to, but I couldn’t get out. Not till Rohan came.
And I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t get out.
And the car wasn’t even an obstruction for Rohan, he just plain walked through it and I saw him and just jumped up and got out of the car without opening the door or anything. And suddenly I’m out of the car too. And I walking with him and I tell him that it’s always been him. And he’s happy and we’re walking together in that empty street.
There are houses on either side of the street but everything’s quiet and somehow I know this is Mohan’s street and I know his mum is in there, in one of the houses, probably cursing me, cos it’s my fault her son’s not with her.
And then Rohan is talking to me and we’re talking about death cos I’m new to death, I don’t know anything about it. Don’t even really know that I am dead.
And he’s telling me everything about how I died. Seems that man wasn’t a cop and he had killed us all. Killed us and dumped us into the gutter. And when he said this, the gutter at the side of the road started overflowing. And the lid came off, and I see a body there. The same thing happens with the gutter on the other side of the road, another body appears. I can’t see the faces, cos they’re both floating head down in the water. But I know it’s Mohan and the photographer.

And then, I finally hear the people in the houses. They’re coming. You see, they hadn’t discovered the bodies till then. And I know Mohan’s mum’s become old and that’s she hadn’t even put her son to rest. He (his ghost or watever) was probably still in the car.
I dunno.
I had just gone off with Rohan.
I feel selfish.

I was horrified with the bodies, cos I wasn’t really even aware of being dead. I was just finding out. And Rohan was telling me. Then the place gets crowded with people. Lots of people. And now the streets seemed like Delhi, and not Kerala. The same streets, but a different feel to it.
Felt like Delhi.

I’m walking around; trying to understand the fact that I was dead and that no one could see me.
Rohan tried telling me I was dead. But I wouldn’t believe. I kept walking and looking at everyone hoping that at least one of them would look back at me.
And then it happened. A little girl, maybe 4 years old, *She resembles my neighbor from Kenya who left the country years ago.

I looked at her, and I saw her looking right back at me. So I go to her and hold her little face in my hands and I can see my reflection in her blue-black eyes. And I ask her “Can u hear me, little girl?” and she says yes, and she knows who I am too.
She smiles and says “Rahul was bending over at the riverbank there (she points to her right) and he sees your reflection in the water, and he got married to Her (dunno who Rahul is, dunno who ‘Her’ is) so that you could be with Rohan. "

And it was like I realized for the first time what had actually happened.
That I was dead and had been for a long time.
And when that realization struck it was so amazing and frightening that I woke up, immediately. But not with my eyes open. It’s like I just came back into consciousness and I’m back in my bed and my eyes are still closed. And that’s never happened before. I always open my eyes before I wake up. And I thought everyone did. But not this time. I woke with my eyes closed. I kept lying in that position and was too scared to move and my eyes tightly shut. I stayed that in that position for what seemed like a long time. Till I heard the Azan.
That’s when I finally relaxed. And then opened my eyes. And shifted my position to relieve my cramped muscles.
And now I’m here. Writing this, trying to make sense of this dream.
Rohan is the rebound guy. We broke up. But we’re still friends. I was chatting online with him yesterday night, so maybe that’s why I dreamt about him. I don’t know really.

It’s all really confusing and it’s been over an hour that I’ve been writing. And I’m tired. And I still have to go to work. I’m sad somehow. Don’t know why Rahul , whoever he is, had to get married to someone so that I could be with Rohan. Feel really selfish, cos he saw my reflection in the water. He saw me as a ghost. I haunted that place I guess.

I don’t feel too good.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Who would you call a mad person?
Who would you consider mad enough to be put in the mental hospital?
And who the hell gave you the right to do that anyway?

I know of this lady from Trivandrum (Kerala, India, for the uninitiated) whose in-laws drugged her and put her in a mental institution for months on end cos the lady had asked for a divorce. They preferred to have their daughter-in-law in a mental institution rather than suffer the disgrace of having a divorce in the family. She escaped and wrote a book about it too.
It actually happened!
When I read it, I was horrified. Imagine being put in an institution where no one believes you. Cos everyone thinks you are mad!

I recently read in the paper ( I tried looking for a link to the story, couldn’t find one) about this man who had locked up his daughter in a room for 25 years. He says she is mad. And the police say she isn’t mad!
Twenty five freakin years!!

There is a very thin line between the sane and the insane.
How can you decide who really is insane?
Who is telling the truth? Who is lying?
It’s a scary thing, feeling that you are SO right about something, and everyone else will condemn you for it, or call you crazy.

There’s a movie in Malayalam, it’s called Thaniyavarthanam. It’s a heart-breaking story about a sane man ( I’m not using the word perfectly sane, cos I don’t think anyone is) is considered mad for no reason other than the deep-rooted belief among their family that one male from each generation will become mad cos the hero’s uncle became a mental patient after being separated from his lover!

Now who's crazy there??

But there is flip side too. Some mad people seem sane. They’re smart as hell, so they can hide it. Which is scary.
This incident shocked UAE and has been in the papers for quite awhile now. The man slits his wife’s throat (ok, that happens), then all of his kids’ throats one-by-one (heartless brute) and then his own!!?? Ok, he’s gotta be nuts. No one in their right mind would do that right? So he was a nutter right? But he had all his friends and colleagues fooled right? They might have thought him to be suicidal and depressed, but I’m sure they didn’t think he was dangerous. If they did, they would have complained. For their own safety.
But how do you get to that point?

How do you know?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Down and Out.

Wanted to write about how I had gone to the beach three nights in a row.
Wanted to write about how amazing it felt just floating in the water and looking at the black night passing by.
Wanted to write about how nice it felt when my sister kept following me wherever I swam cos she wanted to "be around me, just in case".

But then.

I checked my mail today. And everyone in my gang of ten seems to be getting married, or engaged. to their boyfriends.

Two are already married (arranged marriages, but they're both deliriously happy!)
The others are all getting engaged or married to their boyfriends in the next few months.
There is another one who has just left for Scotland, and her boyfriend is in India. And she obviously misses him badly. And then I read this line that she wrote.

"What's the use of having everything if you don't have anyone to share it with?"

And now I'm depressed.