Sunday, November 2, 2008

its like constantly being on acid...

I have never taken acid in my life...but I think this is how it would be...
My life is constantly out of that a phase? Or is it particularly is my case?
I break friendships like as if there r all’s like I don’t have the time or patience for nonsense and I do feel people have been giving me a hell lot of nonsense. So one day I am not talking to a friend...and again I am.....and then again I am not. and if I ever get too tired of it, there is always 'flooded floors', 'bankruptcy', 'maid didn’t come', 'water didn’t come', 'no food in the house'...
I think god should decide: either domestic problems or personal life problems or professional problems. All together is always bad for health.
All my life I thought I don’t want a routine life; it makes us lazy and mundane. Now suddenly I crave for it. I crave for routine, where every day I don’t have to wake up and dread what the whole day has planned for me... from nowhere will pop a forgotten job offer from people who never bothered when I was desperate, and just like that i dont need certain untimely confessions in the personal front will lead to earth shattering melodrama which will leave me completely bewildered. I don’t want friends who are insecure and eat away at me all the time. I don’t want to save anyone from themselves or from the world. I don’t want a quirky building which has too little water or too much, and I could definitely do with a little more money. And every time I puff away at a killer stick, Nandini reminds me that it is not stress it is just our insecurities which make pimples seem like stress. That is true, I have major blackheads problems and that gives me stress every time I look into the mirror too closely.
As I grow older I feel my closest friends not respecting me for what I do, and in retrospect for who I am. Because I have chosen lifestyle journalism as my forte apparently í am not taking my career anywhere. or my lifestyle is just be smirked at... Yes, I am sure. Some people are jealous that they are not sorted out in their own heads enough...sometimes...for whatever reason I am too much for them... hell! Sometimes I am too much for myself!! i am who i am so to hell with you doesnt work all the time...
I thought I could never be professional but now I am, I thought I would never sort out things in my own head but now I do, it all works out you see...stress levels, boyfriends and lovers and even pimples. I am not sure about the blackheads but I haven’t given up hope yet. Maybe we are all insecure in our own ways, especially now more than ever before...because choices are more. You don’t necessarily eat healthy Donald’s is a choice that wasn’t there three decades ago. Now you don’t necessarily have your life sorted out before you are at an age where you can think you have choices of which, as always some are bad and some are good. Sometimes you feel like telling the whole lot to f off. And sometimes (esp. if u r me) you tell them too. And yet it all gets sorted out....because there is a greater good and bigger goal to achieve. And knowing that every little choice we make changes the course of our life history, we can’t grey our hairs over each one of them. Though I think the greatest choice that ever was and will be is between what our heart tells us to do, and what are mind tells us to do. Neither is wrong and yet they are always conflicting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

hating men...

a dear friend of mine reminded me of how i have not written for a long time. its true . i havent.
There is not much to write about my life. I am a 24 yr old, nicotine addicted, mildly insomniac woman. I used to read and then I stopped. I used to travel and then I stopped that too. Now my life is about my work which is great though lowly paid. I am unbearably upset about certain issues that are too personal to be shared on a public blog.
I am flatfooted so I shall go through life without being able to wear heels for more than four hours straight. I remember standing out side a club in heels whiel my model friend was standing next to me in a four inch high pair of heels. Gorgeous but painful. I couldn’t care any lessand so I just had to ak “my heels are really painful...dont you ever feel uncomfortable?”she replied ‘its killing me”. There. It was that simple. For beauty we had to sacrifice everything. From hair to body balance, everything goes.
Anyways thats that. So in this pathetic state of affairs, I decided to go out and drink a pitcher of strawberry daiquiri with my girlfriend and flatmate...a. the martini glasses weren’t frosted, and the waiter didn’t even put the sugar around the rim till I asked him to. B. It was followed by a 3 hour chick flick : sex and the city that left us drunk on the Louis vuitton and the pradas...
c. it made me ponder. Why is it that any woman who has done more than one man in her lifetime is branded a slut. How is virginity proportionate to goodness and sex proportionate to frustration? If the right set of hormones are not taken care of at the right time aren’t we likely to be more frustrated? Why is it so easy to brand women? Into sluts and whores and prostitutes and I don’t know what else...while for men it just stops at assholes and bastards and sobs and motherfuckers and dickwads. And trust me its not enough!!!!!!!!!!!! Sobs and motherfuckers yet again is just an abuse for the women.
Arrgh. I hate men.
All of them should be castrated.
By the way for all you imbeciles out there by girlfriend I do not mean a lesbian partner...its my friend so spare me the oohs and aaahs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


the rains are playing truant...obviously after i bought my pretty umbrella. i even got smirked at for not carrying my umbrella around enough. its not my fault, the monsoons decided to suddenly pack up and leave in a hurry.

i havent blogged for long and have been thinking wat to blog about. blog about wat? blog about wat? blog about wat? i refuse to blog about trains, they are just a part of my working life now, when i dont work i dont take the train. simple. trains r still full of rude ugly sweaty with an occasional exception or two. am the exception obviously.

so now everyone who has seen a swimsuit vending machine say aye!

and if u havent..its because your life is incomplete. in Atria mall, Worli, Mumbai there is something which looks like a soda vending machine but lo and behold, it is not stuffed with soda cans but swimsuits....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

it rained so much last night that i was sure that the ceiling will start dripping during the night. the lights went out but it was cold and comfy so i didnt mind.
my friend kept telling me to wish that the train lines would flood during the night but i didnt wish so because i knew the morning would be clearer and it was.
i felt very pretty in the morning. fresh, pretty, i liked what i was wearing, and i enjoyed the admiration i got from some other cute members of the opposite sex.
but then nothing lasts forever, and by the time i reached church, i was sweting like a pig in the train, my scalp was all wet with sweat and my hair sticky but the worst was yet to come.

the worst came by when i realized that i am smelling like foliage.
am not kidding, its the damp smell you get from shrubs and well other huddled up members of the plant kingdom. i still cannot believe am smelling of foliage..
i have stopped observing people in trains. am too busy looking proper and not letting the train journeys drastically change me into a vagabond.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

everyday musings

i cant help it but i have to mention this. i spoke to menaka Gandhi today. yes, just like tht. randomly, cloudnt eevn believe i was speaking to her. on the phone. not tht uphold her, she would hate me: i eat everything tht walks.

rainy days

its been raining in bombay. continously. like a bad leak. not the nice monsoon showers that you can write poems on. the rains here turn the roads mucky and the stations muckier.
the drains overflow and the roads flood subsequentially with sewage water and that drives you nuts!!!! now everyday we stare at our ceiling. first it was a small patch and now its only growing. it has come alive and the day the ceiling drips and the fan stops working we have to move.
i dread that day. one measy dripping ceiling can change my own life around. we will have to move out of bandra because bandra cannot be afforded by anyone who's income is below 1 lakh/month. moving is an overwhelming experience. a different house and again the process of making it our home. streching our limbs, laying down our bed sheets, scattering our belongings...i hope the ceiling doesnt drip.

rain in Colaba is still beautiful. the roads are wide and ancient like the trees that line the roads. you can smell the green in the leaves and walk on squishy flowers.
i had an umbrella but jus-like-tht i decided i needed a new one. a big Mary Poppins one, complete with the handle.
my friend needed the umbrella, i was just feeling frivolous. we went to Ebrahim Currim & Sons , the chatawalla at Crawford Market. a tall, old shop smelling of umbrellas, all that you could see around were umbrellas and humas scuffling over them. one corner were the children umbrellas on the other side were the black ones for those above 45 and then there were the mary poppins ones. i was dazed. i have never been to a chata wallah. the realization of coming to the source of all umbrellas in mumbai was overwhelming. it was raining outside, and i was sweating inside trying to buy an umbrella. there was some funny irony somewhere but i just couldnt put my finger on it.
anyway we both bought the same umbrella because we both liked it...dull pink n blue checks, very subdued, very chic.
so with our chic umbrellas we stomped off. we got onto our taxi when a policeman came running. "ladki ne haath dikhaya, rukh gaya?" he was angry that the taxi stopped where he shouldnt have. thats a great thing about being a woman. taxis whirr past men and stop right infront of you, and they generally never refuse. which is why am never in a bad mood in the morning, i always get the taxi and the guy next to me doesnt. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the kind of books i like to read...

social networking sites or random friends or job interviews, sooner or later the question pops: "what kind of books do you like to read?" then for a few seconds i stare at the screen or the person and this definitely has the worst effect in a job interview.
what kind of books do i like to read? not bestsellers. maybe when the same books age a year or two its worth reading but surely not right ofter its been named ' book of the year'. new books are not charming, they need to age with time; mature into books that have been named 'book of the year 1978, Pulitzer prize winner half a decade ago and all that...'
next, i cannot read fiction online. i do not understand the concept of e-books. i admit it, i do read the New Yorker and i loved the new piece by Vladimir Nabokov that got published but otherwise e books and the whole concept of digitizing everything around us drives me nuts.
certain inalienable truths need to remain tangible. like sea breeze, like literature and like tropical summers. literature needs to be pulled out of bookshelves, dusted and read sitting in the attic, away from everyone.
the reason i havent read as much or as many as my other J school contemporaries is because i re-read a book if i like it, till its engraved in my mind for a little more time.
i remember in my early teens every summer i would re-read LITTLE WOMEN, till i stopped relating to it. and then suddenly MADAME BOVARY made a lot of sense. and then i used to read a host of short stories and translations. one of the best i have ever read would be the HAPPY PRINCE, it was anything but a fairytale. i felt MILLS AND BOONS wronged us immensely, i read one of them and couldn't imagine that we as a species are capable of so much of stupidity. also it morphed my ideas about love and eternal romance. no wonder i am still single.
and then i discovered Camus, Sartre and Remarque and various other short stories till i started reading Steinbeck and Hemingway and the rest...
ours is a Bengali family where literature is served alongside macher jhol everyday. my grandfather was a mathematics professor and a poet. i still have all the birthday cards where he would write us poems. books were to be gifted, to be quoted in love letters, to be discussed over evening tea and sugar-coated biscuits but to be read in company of no one but the self. i loved the attic of my grandparents' house, it had a broken down cupboard full of books and diaries. that's where i discovered the 23 yr old writer that was my uncle and his personal diaries with entries about table tennis and occasional stray comments about girls. did he know two decades later on a lazy Sunday afternoon his niece would dig up his diary? did he consciously never indulge too much? i gave the diary back to him, i was never interested in table tennis. i don't remember if i kept his fiction pieces, i remembered them by heart for quite some time.
after the whole rush of alcohol in the past few years, my memory has got washed away in bits and pieces.
and then there was the wall aligned bookcase. that is where i met Hemingway and Flaubert and even Harrold Robbins. yellowed front pages with the owners name scribbled on, with the year next to it. it was womb like; the experience. the room was dark and damp and i remember climbing on the sofa to reach out to the books on the topmost shelves. somewhere some treasure was always hidden for me to find it.
when my grandparents passed away, the selfish me didn't want anything from there but some of the books. i never got them, somebody else rightfully owned them and took them away.
and then there the ones that i stole from there.
it was like stealing from a library.
ordinary books that i could avail now if i wanted, but i remember wanting only that copy with that font and that feel. i remember especially the copy of HAPPY PRINCE and other stories that i stole. my uncle's name scribbled on top reminded me of my crime like an apparition. but i read and re-read and today even if i had to give the book away, i would never forget it. the feel and the stories......
from what i remember that was the only book i stole. i couldn't bear to own a book with somebody else's name written on it. HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER STORIES was the only exception.
even today when i buy a book, its like a love affair. a sense of possessiveness bordering on gentle obsessiveness. i write my name and the year, hoping someday, another sunny summer afternoon somebody would discover me in some broken down cupboard.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


It is always an epic moment, every time i stand on the platform in my teak-tinted purple glares watching the train stride into the platform. there is a blue circular steel board stuck on the engine which indicates the number of coaches. today it said LADIES SPECIAL...the bright blue paint looking even brighter in scorching sun. coach after coach came in the ladies and i could see the men on the platform expressing their disappointment. they would have to waste another precious minute of their morning waiting for the next train.
The usual scurrying wasn't there. yet the train was completely full. it was crowded but a little less crowded. i got space to breathe. i watched the men and their upset faces as the train blurred them to oblivion.

When you travel by trains everyday for 80 minutes (40 minutes one way), you learn to enjoy certain things. you realize how funny life actually is or how sad. everything is fitted into like cogs of a wheel.
i prefer listening to music but while coming back home, its usually more fun without the usual background music. like yesterday i just couldn't put on the headphones. the ladies were chatting away about travels and shopping and picnics. there was one self proclaimed leader tad darker than her companions (am not being racist!!!! she was very dark) in bright cobalt blue salwar kameez and a gold watch on her hairy scaly wrists that matched her golden hairstyle. did i mention the shockingly-red lipstick? i remember one time i found a lady wearing a earring on her nail...yes, nail piercing...whatever you would want to call it, hanging from the tip of her horridly pink nails. i stared at her piercing shamelessly. it was just downright ugly and i couldn't help it.
anyway now coming back to our self-proclaimed-leader, who claimed to have all the answers to everything while there were the other more innocent ones which asked her questions like,
"so is passport for one country? or as many countries as i would like to visit?"
" all countries. tu banale phir december se tu bhi travel kar sakegi."
i was sitting next to them and almost burst out laughing at the prospect of one passport for every country we visit. but i respected her innocence. and so to divert my attention i looked out of the window, still refusing to put on my headphones. i simply had to eavesdrop!

but that's that about trains for now. i am addicted already as you know. am too new to be bored with it.
and then there are the taxis. taxis in Bombay only traverse in the downtown areas, they do go to the suburbs but suburbs have auto rickshaws which take away all their customers.
i always take a taxi from the station to the office. i refuse to take a share-cab because its my two minutes of luxurious privacy that i get after the frenzied train journey. its needed unless i want to quirk my nerves.
most of the taxi drivers are older, wiser and definitely a lot more polite. today i saw a big red sticker in my taxi saying NO SMOKING: RTO, MUMBAI.
i asked him about it but he phoo phooed it. "sab chalta hain..."
so the taxis haven't turned into non smoking zones yet. with my feminism fed adequately by the 'ladies special' , i was in a happy mood. and my happy moods are a little weird. before i could stop myself, i had already offered gum to the taxi driver who laughed and politely refused. i felt like a bum.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

look what the cat dragged in!

today was not supposed to be a good day.
i was terribly sick for the past two days, so much so that i suspected today will also get ruined in the aftermath.
i still dragged myself through the burnt wednesday morning and reached office in one piece.
and i was musing on the electronic highway, when a sudden rush of narcissism made me google myself.

sohini datta

i typed on the google search bar.
and lo n behold there were some odd 5 to 6 pages linked to me!!! browsing through them i came across one unusual link which bore something surprisingly familiar.

for a minute i couldnt believe it but yes, it was a link to DNA ME a magazine under DNA. which had published my story named MOCKTALES in their APRIL 22, 2007 issue.
i jus discovered it one year late.
i read it, and realized its a stupid story. for a second yr BA student, maybe worthwhile. but now, i think its just a poorly written stupid piece. yet its still one of the most precious pieces of writing that i would probably treasure for a long time to come, because of the way i discovered it.... or rather, it discovered me

Monday, May 26, 2008

variables and constants of human relationships..

i have a frnd named A. he's a constant. and there is girl X which is a variable
=> X + A = eventually nothing substantial.
it all fizzles out sooner or later.
and then the variables get categorized:
x was hot. y was my first love, z was the love of my life, and u know it continues...
lad and ladies that is the true nature of relationships....of whatever kind whether its your petor your girlfriend.
there is always a variable or rather an entire set of variables and only one constant which is you.
and the combinations can be fascinating. while one is the love of the constant's life, the toher can be "jus a fling" and the some other can be " i dont know, i had temporarily lost my mind"...
anyway so almost everyday i hear about a new variable and the consequential relationship was/is.
i am one of the boring ones. i used to have juss too many variables and only one category : "flings".... now i have jus the constant left.

and then something else. he said "well you know, i like to appreciate beauty, so when i meet a pretty girl i go up to her and tell her she is pretty"...
much as he would deny it , somewhere its also taking a chance. after all i know for a fact he found the ex-love of his life tht way. so if it works, well good for ihim, and if she doesnt well, he couldnt care less. you see, 'he's jus admiring beauty'...
gone are the days when beauty was what you were born with and not what was chiselled in a gym or thru the numerous diets listed on google.
so gone are the days when admirers of beauty would write poems and grt literature would be born...

now pretty girls, dolce and gabbana girls, pin-up girls, not-so-pretty girls and outright ugly things...
why is it that the simple fact tht 'pretty is not beautiful and hot is not glamorous...' is something people just done get. is it jus another reflection of your poor levels of education that we suffer from terrible vocab syndrome?
have all the love poems been written ?
nw in the world of accosting strangers to express admiration.......has literature finally died?

Friday, May 23, 2008

a commuter's narrative

as the morning matures, trains get more crowded. people hustling and bustling, pushing poking and doing all sorts of ungodly things just to get off or to board the train. everytime i have to do the same, i feel like quitting my job. the other day i was wondering how utterly dependent we all are on the train. my office is light years away. taking the road in not even an option. even if i had all the time in the world for it, i know i still wouldnt reach.
and mind you my dear lads n ladies, my office is in the mainstream commercial area. i dont even have to change trains! how lucky!!
what i cannot avoid is wondering whether i am going to die of a blast this particluar evening, whether that woman who just pushed her armpits into my face has ever had a bath, or whether my liver will pop out of my mouth due to all the pushing and squeezing in the compartment. i still prefer travelling by first class even tho the pushing and pulling is all the same everywhere. at least i know if i am abused i would understand and if i abuse the receiver will also understand. yes, i admit it i can only abuse in english.
another fact about trains : the fast trains always run slower than the slow trains.
if you are planning to buy a phone you must travel in the first class ladies compartment. in a compartment where there is no place to breathe, you will find all sorts of women; pretty ugly, fat, thin...with fancy phones talking to god-knows-who at that time in the morning. i never rem chatting on the phone at 9 in the morning. its just not usual. and there is always the pathetic radio that everysome loves to listen to. i tried once and realized that for ten mins some man went on ranting to the rj for the whole 10 mins about how he loves the channel, and how he loves his lfie and how he loves blah shah and the rj kept replying "hmm...hmm...hmm" and then he played the most outrageous bollywood song ever. so i waited all 10 mins for that song. i felt terribly wronged but there is no tribunal for such crimes.
and then there are what i call my train musings. today i observed the inconspicuous Hercules (if there was only a plural word for it) of our city and like ours in all other cities everywhere.
i see men gymming away a good part of their lives to lift nothing more than a glass of carrot juice or their size-zero women on steamy nights. and then i see vegetable vendors with their wares travelling in these crowded trains where people literally stand on top of each other. for some peculiar reason people do not let you get off the trains and they dont let you board. and in that process today i saw this fruit vendor with his basket of chikoos getting off. His basket fell with a thud on the platform, his chikoos rolling away in various directions. people stamped over and the chikoos bled their sweet juice. in his situation, i would have wailed and curse all our 108 gods, but he simple looked away. he stood there for a minute to let the train pass and then he collected the ones that were still alive. a man in his crisp white shirt and ironed trousers picked up some the chikoos and handed it over. he even bought some. whether he bought coz he just wanted to have chikoos this morning or because it was his good deed of the day i dont know. i believe it was the latter. he was a good man. i could see the vendor fighting the disgust inside. his was a distraught; arresting face. he didnt want this life and he didnt want to do this. some other lady came up, but i knew she really wanted to eat the chikoos. she picked and squeezed each chikoo till she found the ripe ones. maybe she even bargained. i wouldnt know coz i was standing at a distance watching him and feeling sad. his hands were rugged and his viens bulged dangerously all along his arm. his tension was carried from the darkest corners of his brain to every single cell all over his body.
but that is how life is, in one and a half seconds my train came by and i was lost trying to poke and pinch my way into the train. i left Hercules standing at the platform and carried with me only admiration that i am now finally pouring out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

fussing over mint flavored cigarettes and occassional unfiltered ones, its time i look back.
there i stand three years ago, as jaded as any 18 year old college kid can be, all that mattered was make up, clothes and rich men.
i was on all social party lists, in a city like bombay i had no worries and i thot i am going to be in college forever.
i was studying in one of the best collgs the city could offer, i was going on foreign exchange programs, i was living the high life.
i lost myself so bad, that now when all that has faded away, i cant find the person i wanted to be.
everybody wants to be someone, i was the fat lil black sheep of the family. and then suddenly i was the pretty thing partying nights away with men swooning at my feet, studying in a collg my mother was proud of.
thats all i wanted and i had already lived it.
i look around and i have a cupboard full of cosmetics, rich perfumes, and expensive clothes: skeletons of that life i left.
maybe life would have been different if i had studied in xvrs. but i wanted to see india....i wanted to see bangalore.
maybe somewhere i might have even been inspired to be in journalism.
where did my days of pink floyd and empty dreams go? i dont rem last time i dreamt of something.
when i tell people i dont know what i want to do in life, they tell me to make a list.
but the point is....where is the inspiration? who do i want to become?
am i responsible for this death?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What happened on Mysore Road

What happened on Mysore Road

They say before dying your life flashes by you. My life keeps flashing by me every time I am on Mysore road. It doesn’t scare me anymore, it only amuses. I have come to one conclusion I hate BMTC buses. I shouldn’t use the word ‘hate’. It’s perhaps the most abused word after love. I loathe; I detest BMTC buses. Firstly they rattle like tin cans. Secondly the conductors are the worst examples of manhood. And now that I have graduated to the status of a fellow traveler on a scooter; I can bet my life none of these drivers have passed a driver license test. That makes me happy. When my time comes, I shall NOT remain unemployed. I shall apply to BMTC, chew pan and sing BORN TO BE WILD and take on the great task of destroying every scooter on the road. As you must have guessed, I ride a scooter. It’s named Damian. It’s not even mine, it belong to my friend lea. I am just the pillion who needs to remain still for the duration of the ride. Any sudden movement can be too high a price to pay!!!! The feeling is almost like being stoned. Nothing else moves except the brain. Life flashes by over and over again. Curses fly every time there is an encounter with a BMTC bus and finally it all boils down to sexual politics: “men!!” bah humbug!!! I must say we are a fast moving nation; everyone at all odd hours is in a great rush. No excuse for being late shall ever be considered. I have witnessed the rush: our traffic leaves no opportunity to be late. Whether you like it or not, they will all honk and poke the noses of their vehicles and basically not sit still till you pick up pace. Lea has learnt now (you see we are rookies) she pokes Damian’s nose anytime anywhere. Our traffic policemen are there only to help handle this frenzy, so more than once; they tend to let go of all traffic all at once. I don’t understand men, thats the only conclusion I can gather.