Thursday, December 2, 2010

All hail Juno

Not for the first time, I'm thanking my stars I have super cool parentals and grandparentals who let me get Juno. I read this interview of Gul Panag, and it struck me that she said riding a bike isn't so much about being cool, but much more about the independence and freedom that comes with.

I now know exactly what she means. Juno doesn't yell at me for ten more rupees. Juno doesn't play terrible songs very very loudly, or smoke stinky bidis. Juno doesn't guzzle more fuel early in the morning, or around siesta time, or late at night. Juno isn't fussy. Juno will not try to kill/kidnap/rape me.

Of course riding a bike comes with its own share of miseries. But at least you're in control.

So many women in college are coming and asking me little questions about Juno. Its awesome. I really do think that your height is the only thing that can come in the way of being 100% comfortable on a bike. Not your weight or your strength. Men ride bikes because they think they can, they're cocky about it.

They're not necessarily always stronger, they don't necessarily have fighter pilot reflexes. They're just cocky, they think they belong on a bike. And their feet reach the ground. That is all you are needing, I say.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Itch

GAHHH. I have NEVER hated Sundays. Except this one. I'm itching. Physically and metaphorically. (Sari mummy :P, its not my fault the best law school in the country can't provide 24 hr hot water)

I'm itching to be off somewhere, doing something, riding, eating, coffee drinking, even just sitting anywhere but in this tiny room with the tiny bed that I've spent too many hours lolling in.

Which is why I think I'm either a busyness junkie, or a workaholic. I don't think the latter is too likely, I'm not crazy, I have a life that isn't my work. But nothing beats that weird buzz when you're doing something you care about and you want desperately to make it happen; for it to turn out well.

Which, in turn tells me two things- 1) I've got to do what I like and 2) I've got to do a lot of it and 3) I've got to also be able to chill, eat out and ride my bike.

Monotony + having nothing to do- cannot be taken. This is why I'm such a bad candidate for a nose piercing. I got bored of my little stud and pulled it out, (intending to replace it with something else) and now I might have to get it re-pierced for the sixth time. Ouch.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where is the Rock?

Driving back from Chandigarh yesterday, I was super excited to have the player belting tunes from my pod and so on and so forth, till the paternal figure posed a relevant question. (Something Mr. Roy from Brunch often comments on) “This is music from our generation, what do you guys listen to?”

So then I explained how these days it is
1) either ear wormy-but-not-much-else-pop, or
2) heavy, heavy metal, or
3) emo/alt rock, or
4) indie stuff, or
5) techno/house/what have you, or
6) all of them slammed together.

And my dear chaps, where IS the rock? Almost nowhere, and hence the obsession with the songs of yore.

I think.

Do tell if I’m missing out on the great rock experience of the new millennium, I implore you.

A reponse to "Kannadigas, stand up for Karnataka"

Maybe I’m mental, but there is something very odd and disturbing about Arvind Adiga’s recent piece in the Times. (

Your Delhiwallah might associate virtues like modesty, thrift, and hard work with the Madrasi, but in the south we have always thought of Karnataka as the ultimate locus of these values.”
How much more clearly could you demarcate boundaries between us, and them? YOUR, and but IN THE SOUTH. I mean, Jesus Christ.

“Film stars did not rule Karnataka (as they did Tamil Nadu); Naxalites did not over-run parts of the state (as they did in Andhra Pradesh); and strikes did not cripple its economy (as they did in Kerala).”
Oh hey, wait. Here he is, doing it more clearly.

Now he’s talking about the political crisis, there he is, trying to pin the blame on the money flooding the state from IT and other sectors, but particularly from mining interests in the North.

At this point, I’m thinking, ok, the man is going to talk about the need for accountability, for the proper exercise of democratic rights, about governance, transparency and all of those seemingly relevant measures.

But oh NOO! Lookee here “Culture, in the south of India, has always been a bulwark against money”
A bulwark against money? You want to bulwark-ize your money? What did money do to you, man? It doesn’t force itself down your throat and make you lose sight of what is important. It doesn’t magically acquire propelling powers and push you towards a Louis Vuitton bag when you think the money would be better off growing fat in a bank account.

Mr. Adiga, I wish you’d thought out your argument, for I feel unable to respond appropriately, being unable to see ANY logic underling ANY of your assumptions.
So tell me two things- 1) what is it about money coming in that is so very dangerous, and how is it responsible for the recent debacle in the legislative assembly? 2) how does culture, dancing, costume, food, language etc, how does all of this protect you from these evils? How would my knowledge of Kannada prevent said debacle, or even stabilize the situation?

“…the Kannadiga sees his language and culture being eroded everywhere”- it’s called being a cosmopolitan city, sir. And yeah, that “erosion” accompanies the money. For heaven’s sake, do you know that this country’s Constitution celebrates diversity? Change your vocabulary, get a little less resentful. Call it “multilingualism” instead of “erosion”. Call it a wonderful amalgamation instead of dilution. Or stay there, in your little houses with your steady, stagnant, income, we’ll take our business elsewhere.

“There is money, but there is no pride in Karnataka any longer.” Oh no honey, you got pride alright. It’s actually starting to resemble jingoism. You might soon start giving Maharashtra serious competition, if you keep on like this. Won’t that be a day worth celebrating?

“New malls are being built, but serious issues lie untackled: deteriorating infrastructure, environmental pollution, and tense Hindu-Muslim relations in places like South Canara.” Ah, yes, and my knowledge of Kannada and the great Kannada poets is going to fix all of that.

“Part of the problem is that many of us have divided loyalties.” DIVIDED LOYALTIES? Are you hearing yourself, man? You don’t have to tell me about pride in one’s history, language, culture. But to put that down in this manner, to say that if a person speaks Telugu and another speaks Tamil, their LOYALTIES are divided, why, you might as well set our pretty Preamble on fire right there. Call me crazy, but a writer with a following should really watch his words more closely than that.

“If you live in Karnataka, you are a Kannadiga; and your children are the inheritors of Krishna Deva Raya and Professor UR Ananthamurthy.” So I am to lose my sense of identity as a mongrel with blood from ten corners of the Earth and say that I’m ethnically a Kannadiga? Call myself a proud resident of beautiful Bangalore with all the pubs and the great, sweet people, I’ll do gladly. But call myself a Kannadiga, I won’t, and I’m not so sure Kannadigas would appreciate it if I did either. THAT might be seen as dilution too, ye know.

“Please develop some sense of ownership and belonging in Karnataka — for the sake of your own children.”

Now this might be the first sensible thing he’s said in this piece. Yes, a sense of ownership and belonging helps make better citizens, people who care about the city and its advancement. But does knowing the language necessarily contribute; or put differently, is that the ONLY way in which to develop a sense of ownership and belonging?

A person feels like she belongs if she is made to feel welcome. If you’re going to wrinkle up your nose at me and say ohhh chee north Indian, look she doesn’t know ANY Kannada and her family throws huge parties and wears their gold where it’s visible, hell no, I won’t feel like I belong.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against promoting vernacular languages, and preserving our dances, culture and costume. I’ve studied Kathak for six years and I understand why my Tamil friends get angry if they’re expected to know Hindi. Hell, my mother tongue isn’t Hindi either.

However, what I do not appreciate is being told that if I am to live in a particular state, PAY for my food and board and actually help said State’s economy by consuming its services and what-have-you, I must learn the local language and culture.
Let us come to you.

The more you raise a hullabaloo, repeating learn-my-language-learn-my-language over and over till our ears are bleeding and we feel like clubbing your varied and beautiful languages into one big bracket that we call the jalebi languages; the less respect for said language and culture you are going to see.

And if you were truly confident about your culture and identity, you would be feeling too damn superior to ask us to learn Kannada. You would be thinking- his loss, this is my language, it is beautiful and I feel privileged that I am of a select group of people that speak it. Yes, Adiga says that the Kannadiga is in the middle of an identity and culture crisis. Dear sir, its not just Kannadigas, its everyone from anywhere in this country. And that’s for y’all to figure out. And not by counting on us to speak broken Kannada with awful Punjabi twangs, eh?

Trust me, I came to Bangalore and loved it- for the trees, for the weather, for what I was told was a city full of nice people and yes, for the filter coffee. Yet more and more, I am irritated at being told repeatedly to learn the language. If you’d just let me be, I’d pick it up myself, I’d even come to you all excited and want to know how to say “I hate you, you thieving autowallah!” in Kannada. But now, I’d rather eat you first.

PS- as for the economy, the infrastructure, the state of the government, look elsewhere for more concrete solutions, “m’kay, pumpkin?” Maybe my broken Kannada ain’t gonna fix that, maybe you’d have better luck with proper planning, accountability initiatives, citizen involvement et al. And I promise you, as a RESIDENT of Bangalore, I’ll be there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

LIfe decision, MADE!

This question has been haunting me for months now, and ironically, it has been resolved at the weirdest, most unlikely forum in the company of the most unlikely people.

I went into my boss's office to ask the simplest of questions, and as the discussion veered toward's intellectual property rights, the boss started telling me about his experiences as a litigation lawyer. At the time, I was reflecting on how chatty he is, and thus how very different from my other bosses. But as I took the elevator down some hundred floors, I started getting excited. I realised that litigation makes most sense, and the decision has me euphoric, surely a good sign. Here's my pros list

1) I. do. not. have. to. think. about. what to wear. Its penguin suits all the way, and though that would be depressing for some, for me its a god send.

2) Its like LSC on speed. I might've mentioned this earlier, but I get a monumental kick when I find something to help an LSC client, and imagine doing that for a living!

3) Arguing. Muahaha. Shredding arguments to shreds. Favourite pastime, turned profession.

4) Barely any money, so no tension about where, how to spend, how much I earn in comparison with peers (I know I can afford chai biskoot, thats good enough)

5) Since its supposed to be difficult for women to litigate, OBVIOUSLY I want to :D

6) I won't have to sit at a desk all day, I'll be going to court, standing in lines, getting frustrated, driving long distances and THEN sitting at a desk

7) High pressure, totally exhilarating.

8) Caffeine addiction, and I will prize a day's vacation. Perfect.

9) Nice blend of dull, unthinking work and really intense work involving lots of creative thinking. Again, perfecto.


10) I know that after having gone through law school, I will want to actually apply the stuff I learnt, and the image of the black robe billowing behind me as I stalk corridors with my head whirring and arms full of books and papers is aaaa so exciting.

11) I can't stand central air conditioning. So no office job for me until I get my immunity nicely built up.

12) This feels nice and desi, you know. Sweaty, hard work, dhaka muki, this is the kind of work that will make me feel like I made my place in the world, so I can look back and say, boss, bahut dhakhe khaye the. Whats the point of entering the adult world with a nice cushy job and all possible comforts? How will that help you prize what you make for yourself?

And boss tells me the career graph for people who take regular corp jobs is something like this- start HIGH, plateau, keep plateauing, and then enjoy gradual growth. He says even if you choose to go corporate firmy later, you'll make a better lawyer, know more and seem like you know more, so you'll do better faster than your contemporaries. Which means that when I'm a little older and wanting to rest my behind and have had my share of excitement and sleepless nights, I can do a firm job (if I decide to stick with law) and get meatier work AND a nice chair and awesome view. THIS IS SO PERFECT.

13) And if I decide I've had enough of pure law and want to do some policy type work-my experience as a litigating lawyer will expose me to a wide enough range of issues, government policies, degree of implementation, manner of implementation etc, which will help me be a better analyst. Sooo perfect.

14) I really like IPR and tax. So I had it listed as one option, to work with an IPR or tax firm. But I was listening to boss talk about how TM is fun, but "kitna karoge" and it got me thinking, it might be true, you know, much as I like IPR, too much of it would probably make it run of the mill and mechanical as opposed to being a breath of fresh air to enliven my days of drugdery, bail applications and miscellaneous petitions. I mean, litigation will be like the first year at grad school abroad, you dabble in a range of things and discover what you're truly passionate about, then you specialize.

Yesa. Versatility, a degree of independence, a feeling of impacting someone's life, being responsible blah blah. Yessir.


1) No money. Meh, big deal. If after two years, I find that I'm not a good litigator, I'll go abroad, study, come back and turn to my other love, policy and make enough to be comfortable. If I'm good, I'll eventually earn enough.

2) Er... Long work hours, lots of pressure blah blah. All pluses for me. Heehaw.

Can't think of other cons.

This feels right. :D

PS- I have to say that the great Mr. Mohan has always been an advocate of my litigating, but like the decision to quit smoking, something like this needs to be figured out for oneself. Non, Ayush?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thoughts on riding Juno (my Pulsar 135)

1) She’s beautiful. Lovely flank (fuel tank), nice cuts like on the Apache
2) Prettier face than the Apache’s, which was my problem with said bike
3) Sounds GREAT
4) Makes me huppy when I ride, feel weird if haven’t ridden in a while
5) Taking helmet off is always fun, in a melodramatic-wait-till-I-shake-out-my-hair kinda way (J. k. Not really.)
6) Only the tip of my big toe reaches the ground when I’m trying to manoeuvre. Trick- to get off and wheel her around, or risk severe discomfort in the crotch area from trying to produce momentum from... nothing.
7) Can get her on centre stand, woot! Absolutely not about brute strength or anything, all about the right angles and little tricks, or physics, for the less romantic
8) Sponge stuffed shiny blue horse keychain- nice statement, but stinky. Sponge doesn’t dry post rain. In Bangalore, always rain.
9) Weird noise when riding fast-ish with visor up. MAJOR whistling in ears. (not from bike, from wind)
10) Shifts to the first gear not always crotch friendly. Especially for the guy sitting behind you
11) As with most other things, a lot about being confident
12) Earrings will poke, hair will escape and get in nose and mouth. Will get cold, must carry jacket at all times
13) Full tank for 300 bucks. :D Great mileage, tis awesome.
14) No up when going up, no down when going down. (Err, gears. Moving on)
15)Excellent for learning how to- stop caring if you’re embarrassing self, learning self control and crisis management. :P :P

Why is it that when its 1:35 in the morning and there’s nothing left to do but sleep, I feel the need for a book to read, a movie to watch, someone to text? Are we, as a generation, unable to occupy our time with our own thoughts, and with doing 'nothing?' Why the need for constant distraction? Woe the inability to focus on one person/thing for any length of time, because of the constant pinging in the background.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Such a good feeling

Being on Legal Services Clinic gives me a high. It sounds corny as all hell, but the sense of purpose and excitement and I don't know, its just awesome. Teeheee!
But its not just the work we do, or try to do. Its also being around people who care about the same stuff, who are positive and looking to make things better. Such a good feeling.

On being a rockstar (for just a minute)

The LLP that I went for yesterday didn't promise to be very much different from the others I've been to. We went to Christel house (good place that does good work, will not bore with the details) and spent ten minutes wishing we'd gone to school there, such was the prettiness of the place. The LLP went as they usually do, skits, questions, explanations, skits questions explanations skitsquestionsexplanations. In the middle of it Nidhi and Nishita looked at me with this expression on their face and told me the teachers wanted us to talk about sexual harassment, something we've never covered in our LLPs, EVER, for fear of offending or being thought of as "corrupting" influences.

So I went up and said something or the other, with the able aid of Nidhi and Nishi and came away feeling like I must've made a fool of myself. We took pictures with the kids, read their feedback with no little amusement (they didn't hold back, some of them, in the communication of their view that we were very boring. Most of them did love us, though) and made our way back to the bus. And thats when it happened. Two girls, then another girl, then two boys came up to me, said they liked my "speech", that I spoke very well and made sense, and that they'd wait for me to come back to their school; and I felt like I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hijabs and Why-are-women-frisked-inside-cabins?

Went to UB City today. Part of the hunt-for-the-hijab. What stood out, apart from the slightly silly interior decoration, was the public frisking of the ladies. Which got me thinking, why do women get felt up inside the confines of a cloth tent? What warped sense of modesty makes it okay for a man to be frisked in public, but necessary for a woman to be shielded from public eyes when being thus treated? Very, very odd phenomenon.

On the one hand, women are treated as visual ice lollies; and on the other, their lajja must be protected, they must go forth into the world armed with modest clothing, mace and spiky stuff, and be frisked only inside a tent. I. do. not. understand.

Also, Ayush the perceptive recently remarked that it was a sad commentary on the state of our society how I saw my dooshang (wooden-hair-keeper-upper-thingamajig) as a convenient weapon to blind a gropey man; and how it was even sadder that as a society, we've made women so jumpy that often innocent men get lambasted for having looked in the wrong direction at the wrong moment.

I agree. Its almost heart breaking.

PS- Anyone who thinks all Muslim women must hate wearing the hijab would do well to just google it once. is a starting point. contanis some interesting arguments for the hijab, which might make some of us think twice about how liberating it really is to strut about in almost-birthday-suits. I'm not arguing this way or that, just saying that there are people out their who love being hijabis, and who see hijabs as an expression of their identity and as a shield against lecherous men, and regressive liberation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Logistical update + on boredom

Boredom or a lack of things to do spells depression for me. Buh. Also is an awesome comic.

If you've been wondering (my scant readership) where all the feminist stuff is- its all on the facebook group I created, called "Discussing Feminism". Check it out here- Its fun, promise :)

PS- I can't figure out how to embed links. The insert links feature had somewhat invisible results Help?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Misc Observations

Daddy doesn’t talk unless he has a glass in his hand and/or everyone's eating
Tumsa nahin dekha inspired him to dance around nani
Fluffy is now old and doddering a bit, but food still gets her excited. (There is photographic evidence. In daddy’s words- “paagal hoi phirdi hai”)
I think I’ll be the same when I’m old
Doctors are sometimes like bad lawyers. They don’t listen to clients, and they’re quick to provide “solutions” that might or might not be appropriate.
Manna Dey and Mohd Rafi are awesome fun. Indians are MENTAL, but in a good way.
The BRO has a sense of humour that helps them do a decent job at telling people to slow down along the roads in the mountains. Some gems- “If eager to last, then why fast?” “Better late than Mr. Late”
Your family is the only group of people you can relax and be utter slobs around. They'll love you anyway and they've seen you in every possible state and mood you're capable of being in.
I'm sick of how American my music is.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The youngling's manch pravesh

My little sister is kathak graduating today. In a sense. She's performing at Stein auditorium at Habitat Centre, and doing a choreography my guru ji (the best guru ji in the WORLD, btw) calls jaan leva. As I type this, I'm waiting for the nail paint on her very tiny little fingernails to dry off. I never knew her finger nails were that tiny until I did this. Its such a typical elder sister younger sister thing to be doing, and we've never done it until today, the day of her big performance, and a couple of months before she leaves for the foreign lands.

I'm even wearing a magnata (magenta, as pronounced by my maths tutor) sari to mark the occasion. Sigh. All senti, this post.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Caste Consensus

Should a caste consensus be carried out or not? The Headlines Today anchor says that it reinforces the relevance of caste in our society today, something we say we want to rid ourselves of. I think that that’s a real pity, because the argument in weak and crude; in fact, much stronger arguments could be made against the caste census, such as the ones in this piece- What we do need is a census that highlights the real economic and social depression of alleged backward classes in India. It would save this country and its people a lot of resources and internal conflict if reservations went to the deserving. Some of us have been crying ourselves hoarse, asking for economic reservations rather than caste based ones, a properly conducted census with clear aims and focus is what we need. Not some inflammatory and miserably under thought rhetoric on national TV. You, the media, have a powerful tool at your disposal, please use it constructively.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


My father is to blame, really. He’s the reason I can’t get any place on time. There’s something magical about getting ready with music playing in the back. It’s so personal. You, your clothes, your chosen tool of de-odourisation, your appearance, your music.

That’s how I remember getting dressed for Air Force parties as a child, mum ready well before time, tightening the screws on her big earrings while pa sashayed from one room to the other, head bopping to the dulcet tunes of some or the other song, winding his big pagdi round and round to the beat of JJ Cale, or maybe BB king. Occasionally, we’d play tug of war with the long winding piece of cloth that seemed to magically end up on his head, secured only by five shiny all pins. The smell of talc and Chaps in the air, mum giving herself a once over in the mirror, straightening pleats and perhaps mumbling under her breath, sneaking peeks at the clock while papa confidently assured her he’d be ready in five.

It might’ve lowered mum’s life expectancy a wee little bit, but it’s given me a store of wonderful audio visual olfactory memories. There is something very poignant about your parents lightly bickering with each other about stuff like being late for parties. How the papa will try and make it up to the mama by complimenting her or maroing some old hindi dialogue, giving us little ones good reason to giggle in the backseat.

That whole unchanging sequence has left behind a legacy where junior-senior Sodhi takes about twice as long to get out of the house as strictly necessary. How can you bring yourself to stop Nothing Man, or Three o Clock Blues, or Us or If you think you need some lovin’ half way through? You can’t. And I don’t want to.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Humanity of Dawn

At the twilight hour of dawn
The two legged beasts
Become less than-
Reclaim the land they built
With their human, feeling feet
Lunge on forlorn park benches
Feeling air instead of exhaust
Stand under trees, look up at leaves
The axe resting a while
The molestation put on hold

The humanity of dawn
Doesn't last very long
But the two legged beasts
Become less than