Romancing the text


we’d moved from flirting

to sexting

in a few fluid texts

the crossing was fraught

with real promises and

imagined reciprocations

now, as i wait with waning hope

for the third day in a row for an alert,

i read of 20 year olds

who complain that dating apps

make it ‘too easy’

of a ‘hit-it-and-quit-it’ attitude,

of ‘coldness & rudeness’

i smile because my problems

are so youthful


Confessions of a new lover

The handful of guests at our tea sat in silent communion, allowing each to admire the beauty of the ceremony and mutual courteousness. In the warm calm of the afternoon, it occurred to me that if everyone were respectful to each other, there would be no hostility.

A true-blue south Indian from India’s largest coffee growing state, coffee has been my go-to drink. Making the perfect cup of coffee just the way it should be (add coffee to boiling hot milk, don’t boil the two together) is the way we lavish love on our families and guests at home. Tea was a rare drink and drunk strong and sweet with spices until about six years ago, I took to drinking  green tea.


I slowly started appreciating the merits of silver tipped to single estate to Sri Lankan to Assam and Nilgiri teas. Of late, the romance has bloomed thanks to the unending varieties of teas – from the rather sweet strawberry to the light vanilla to the exotic rose -in-bloom. Now my days begin with homegrown lemongrass- infused tea. And when something bothers me, I treat myself to an extra large serving of tea in a gorgeous and large cup. There’s a deeply aesthetic satisfaction to it.

On a recent afternoon, I was invited to a Japanese tea ceremony at a restaurant owned by a friend. It was a bit of a makeshift affair as they didn’t have the entire paraphernalia. But it was such a beautiful presentation with a measured pace that I could hardly cavil about anything.


My impression: The person who made the tea was completely focused on doing everything aesthethically – he took several minutes to arrange the pot and the cup, folding the napkin ever so delicately that it seemed like a special ritual in itself.

Before pouring the tea, he washed the cup in warm water, wiped it carefully before pouring the tea and served it reverentially. The guest thanked the server equally respectfully and took the permission of the neighbour before drinking.

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The tea was served to one person at a time, and the cup was to be held in both palms, turned around twice before the cup was emptied in three delicate sips. The whole process of brewing the green tea, whisking it with a tiny broom and serving was repeated until all the guests had their turn.

I don’t know if the tea drinkers in Japan are a quiet lot ( they can be quite rowdy at a bar) but the handful of guests at our tea sat in silent communion, allowing each to admire the beauty of the ceremony and mutual courteousness. In the warm calm of the afternoon, it occurred to me that if everyone were respectful to each other, there would be no hostility. Politeness is an under-rated virtue, sadly.



five months can be a lifetime.
21 weeks
152 days
3652 hours each as long as a month.

far too long for lives to remain the same.
to want
to feel
to speak the same words.

but, five months aren’t long enough to change.
the situation
the will
the motivation

five months back
we spoke
i waited
you too? perhaps

for five months
we sidestep
like dancers,
without words

five months on
we agree
not to speak
it’s clear

the more things change, the more they remain the same.


AAP & the art of gentle persuasion

 imagesEven as AAP comes to grips with the reality of governing, like several others, I find myself willing that it comes through as more than a loose conglomeration of well-meaning people.

We’ll have to wait and watch if it will repeat its Delhi triumph in other places, but I am immeasurably cheered by the wave of optimism that it has infused amongst the ‘aam aadmi’. I do not agree with the statement that the AAP is a party that has come to power on a wave of ‘negativity’ which can’t last.

The media hails Kejriwal one day, denigrates him the next – it seems it can’t make up its mind. After all, media people are among the ‘empowered’ class in this country.

I heard Prithvi Reddy, AAP national executive member and Bangalore-based industrialist, speak last evening. I will not report his entire speech here but suffice to say, he speaks quietly, but surely. He’s firm in rebuttals but not aggressive. He answered questions, some of which would have made seasoned politicians squirm. Prithvi Reddy did not impress with his panache, he impressed with sincerity.DSC_3386

For example, a journalist asked him, “AAP seems to help only the Congress by taking the spotlight away from BJP’s prime contender.” Prithvi replied:” Do you want to rid the country of the Congress or corruption?”

I asked him if AAP had criteria for members, he said since there were thousands of applicants, they could not screen members, but were definitely screening office bearers and potential candidates. I pointed that among the top business honchos, there is at least one, if not more, who have huge business debts. He promised that such aspirants would be in for a surprise when the list of candidates was announced.

For a contribution of Rs.50, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, her driver and her office boy, can all get to wear a badge that says, “I support Aam Aadmi Party”. So is there is a classless Socialist Utopia in the making? Will we all, like worshippers in the mosque, share an egalitarian space?

Will we not need power and/or pelf to process our papers? It’s the dream of such a day that I am sure has compelled the banking and IT honchos who have had their fill of navigating through murky waters, to quit their lucrative careers and join AAP.

AAP does not need conventional media of print and TV; skillfully harnessing mobile and internet tools with the good old fashioned personal meetings at localities is working for it, and this is a strategy that is going to bring it manifold returns.

PS: I have not signed up as an AAP member; I don’t know if I want to be an active political worker but I am watching with hope that it will indeed cause a change not just in the way politicians behave, but in the way we do.

Eyes of the beholder


A couple of months ago, I was shooting for a tv ad.

There were two other women on the sets. One of these young women handled the wardrobe and the other was with the company that had commissioned the ad. Let’s call her the Client; she was around to monitor the tv crew.

The men with me were aged between early twenties to late forties. As it happens at such shoots, we were sitting around idly for long spells while other actors did their parts. I could hear some of the men whispering about the Client. My ears perked up and what I heard was that they felt she was giving them the ‘looks’.

I am sure each one of them was secretly pleased, until he discovered that the other guys also felt that she was interested in them.

I observed her for a while, and found her tolerably pleasant when I spoke with her. I didn’t feel she was particularly turned on by any of them; it wasn’t a come-hither look, rather more like window-shopping. The guys though seemed to be really bothered by then. They started wondering why she kept looking at them openly.

I told the guys “Now you know how a woman feels every time we step out. Random guys check us out brazenly, we feel their eyes raking us from top to toe. If we make eye contact, their gaze lingers on our face, challengingly, suggestively. I am glad you too have experienced this  now”.

A few months before this, I was out for a morning walk with a guy friend.  We had barely entered the public gardens, when he  refused to walk further; “All these guys are checking you out so openly. I can’t take this.” I was amused as I had not even noticed it. Years of wearing an invisible moving curtain has given most women a seeming immunity.

photo courtesy:
photo courtesy:

At the ad shoot, I don’t know if my words sank in or if the men liked what I said. They could not handle being blatantly appraised by the woman.  Whether I would ever do what she did or not, I kind of liked her for doing it.

On a lighter note, I really enjoy the condom ad where the husband recommends the strawberry flavor from the menu in a restaurant, while the cougar wife is checking out the hot young waiter and asks about the flavours he offers.

The subtle sensitivities of Krittika Sharma

Fabrics have stories to tell, and Krittika weaves them well, mingling tradition with future trends, unfolding beautiful possibilities.

Megastar Sridevi’s comeback film English Vinglish could very well be the passport to the big time for textile designer Krittika Sharma, a few of whose saris, the gorgeous actor wears in the film. The saris in the two pre-release trailers – a pink and a blue are both Krittika Sharma saris.


Most of the saris that Sridevi wears in the film are by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, and young Krittika is delighted that some of her saris were also chosen by the stylist for the film. “It’s a great honour. The earthy, organic fabrics and colours look great on Sridevi and I hope it will inspire others to wear saris”, Krittika says.

Krittika studied at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and interned with Abraham & Thakore. She moved to Mumbai from Bangalore for better opportunities for her dual passions- music is her other love. Two years ago she established Brand Krittika Sharma and has steadily built up a loyal clientele of discerning buyers for her handmade saris, stoles, dupattas, shawls and home linen.

Her forte is weaving, block- printing and tie and dye. “Textiles have stories to tell and I travel to collaborate with craftsmen in West Bengal, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh”. She works with a wide range of natural fabrics that include matka silk, tussar matka, Bangalore silk, wool cotton blends, cotton silks, abutai silk, gajji silk, linen and recycled silk.


With a price range of Rs.6000 – Rs.18,000, her customers are the cognoscenti, not necessarily the glitterati. “People who wear my clothes understand the concept of handloom, appreciate that it takes four weeks to weave a sari, like my subtle play of colours and enjoy the story that it tells them”. The comfort of the fabric makes people feel that they are wearing a second skin.

Impressively, her brand is based on a fair trade model where the artisans decide the cost of their output.  “As a designer, I try to educate people about my artisans and my craft. Design is an amalgamation of meaningful beauty and function- a holistic product that comprises of quality, style and value,’ she says.

Music keeps me company as I write this column: the voice is thrilling, layered and pregnant with emotion. The singer is Krittika; she has trained in vocal Hindustani music in the Kirana gharana. She is adept in 50 raagas, including taranas and can accompany herself on the harmonium and the taanpura. She also sings genres like blues, electronica, soul and slow rock. At soirees in Bangalore, we have become damp eyed listening to her poignant rendition of vande mataram.

This is an immensely talented and attractive young woman who has been working hard to make both her dreams come true: of releasing an album and to make her textile design company successful. Both seem on track now, with her debut album due for release in a few months.