My Madras

19 Feb

My storm. PC: Sivagnanavathy Ksk, Roll on Two Studios In frame: Amrutha Srinivasan

The city of Madras is an alluring mistress, earthy & soulful. She grows on you, seemingly without evoking anything from you. To me, she smells of sea-breeze, hibiscus & vadai from Rayyar’s mess. I hear salangai & saavugraaki in the same breath.
I picture her in a turquoise cotton saree, soft & smelling of spices & sweat, with the pallu unpleated, paired with a blouse the colour of vermillion. What is it about six yards of cloth, worn by brides, laundry women, teachers & dancers that give them that elusive grace & poise?
She stands upon rocks weathered by her seas, having seen the advent of colonialism & the mutiny spearheaded by men like Bharathiyar. She has on her ocean floor lost letters, bottles, ships, missing shoes & lost anklets. The wind is her sentinel; without the concept of personal space & with the loyalty & memory of an indie dog, whipping her hair, gleaming like the slates I practiced my alphabets on. She turns around & her eyes are brown; darker than chakara pongal, but lighter than melted jaggery. Her gaze is vulnerable & fierce. With a gentleness that comes from falling into a depth that was terrifying & having learned to resurrect, going as far within as with her seas.
Her gaze told me what Rukmini Arundale saw to establish the Kalakshetra Foundation, what Vaali wrote about & what he didn’t, the stories along the Cooum & the broken bridge. The gentle tinkle of her silver jhumkas calms the wind & she lets out a full-throated laugh. She is my thatha’s jibba on warm summer nights & throwing together outfits prioritizing comfort over fashion from school through college until now. Her smile is being comfortable in my own skin, enough to wear what I want & carry myself with the self-assurance that shines like her lighthouse just as the bells chime over the Kapaleeshwar temple, with badam halwa wafting from Karpagambal, and butter popcorn from Sathyam. She is coexisting among differences much like cotton amongst vast repertoire of clothes. She isn’t yours to take, but hers to give.
It is the scent of Liril & camphor, with curd rice in steel dabbas. It is that hug after tuition & the quiet walk along the beach when you couldn’t word. Madras is a home you walk into to see yourself reflected everywhere & in everyone through time.
To know Madras is to love her.
© My Rickety Typewriter, 2018; Vintage Ink.
No part of the text – partial or complete – may be copied/ reproduced or transmitted without prior permission from the author. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.


7 Aug

Yearning crashes against my shores
Anarchy and sobriety duel for supremacy
Checkerboard replaced by storm clouds
Don’t stick your hand out, they said
You will get burnt
And so I soaked up all the sun I could
The warmth flows through me
Fire and sun meld
Warning me like no other
Temptation sleeps in my eyes
Awake in my dreams
The winds are picking up
The guards are a changing
Blurred is the looking-glass

Through a maze, lungs burning
I try out running myself

Built around the light
I yearn to rewind
Choices, decisions
And explore differently
Without the stars
Wash it away,
Wash it away

In my quest for stillness
I take a step, then two
Embraced as I am by the water
She moves around me softly
Eddying in my wake
She holds me safe
In the eye of the storm
Reducing the tempest
To a gentle, cheeky drizzle

I know not where she drew it away
I see no carnage in her path

Radiating outward from my plexus
She washes away my fears
Trailing down my nape
Making my secrets, hers
As I trace her journey
Over thousands of miles
Inking me, invisible and tangible
Flourishing supplanting thriving
Break free,
Break free

The Falcon traces the curve
Coming into my own


© My Rickety Typewriter, 2017; Vintage Ink.
No part of the text – partial or complete – may be copied/ reproduced or transmitted without prior permission from the author. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.

The pigs are rising!

16 Feb

Chennai, a town in Southern India has made international headlines for the last few months over various issues. I doubt if the daily soaps managed to sustain their TRPs for at least 5 months now, with the heavy competition from the administration and the ruling & opposition parties. 

Democracy: A system of government in which the citizens exercise power. Meaning, the people vote for someone because they want to. 

Here’s the catch, I shot videos for a living before becoming cosy with the Chief Minister (CM). And now after her death (which is still a mystery), I want my chance to sit on that chair and open a slot for the next caretaker for the residence with the career prospects of becoming the next CM. After all, I am nothing if not generous and with forethought. If you have any doubts, I just gave my nephew an important post in the party to look after our family, with nary a look at his qualifications or actions. I also fired people left, right and centre for talking against me. I have no experience in politics except for what I came to know through observational osmosis. I haven’t given a single interview and I read speeches written by someone else. I made vows, reminded people about J’s famous last words and pretty much acted as though the state is mine for the taking. I also brought back the very family that was expelled while J was in power, because who can stopr me now? I also threatened the governor while we are at it. 

There is something to be said for relativity. While enlightenment never felt as good as on the sands of the Marina, after a 40 minute segue with the spirit of your mentor, definite credit to Paneerselvam for speaking up. Many were naive at this point and thought people started going to his camp after his speech because they believed in his ideals and in a legacy. See, I can almost see you cringe. Yeah, well.. Recently came to know that it all boils down to the exchange of money in C, as is the lingo around town. Whichever camp can give you the money immediately as opposed to installments. The only C I know of is 29C going from Besant Nagar to Perambur. 

How does someone who was th poster child for “Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir!” aspire to be and is nearly crowned the Chief Minister of a state in a democratic nation? Is this the time for people like Trump to rule the roost? But that’s not even the worst part.. Members of the Legislative Assembly in retaliation to the mass public protests said something along the lines of how they are okay with it and so we should too. One question: Who elects these MLAs?

Not one person of authority or someone who has substantial reach did anything to rectify the situation. The Prime Minister, the president.. Nobody. Their reason? Whatever was happening was in keeping with the constitutional laws. I apologize, I didn’t realize we were seeing a second innings of the same soap opera. Who were the stars the last time? Do you have by laws with contingency plans for situations like this? What would have happened if the judgement didn’t come out how it had?

Forget the constitution. What about people in position of power? Film stars, media people, sports persons? It’s not enough if you guys mark an attendance for the protest on the Marina and say how you didn’t know what PETA stood for. Because all that happened is that, you showed up and got a white tee after joining. Is there a study on how starring in movies with plotlines born from hangovers is directly proportional to number of active brain cells? You didn’t know what PETA stood for? What are you? Six years old? I am sorry. A 4 year old knows to use Google. You couldn’t use one of the many fancy, swanky phones you endorse to figure it out before you joined? 

I am digressing, but well..

Film stars. Kamal Hassan is a lot of things, but he stands up for what he believes in. How long will you people hide behind the cloak of neutral ground? You have such a huge fan base. Particularly people like Rajnikanth.This is beyond appalling. This is as much your state as mine, and if the most you can do is make crappy movies with zero sense, or even awesome movies, but not even lift a finger when there is a genuine need then what good are you?

A mafia clan is being forced on the state and nobody so much as breathing out loud. Does nobody care? This is not the city that it was barely 8 months back. People in power can’t get away with whatever they want simply because they have the money and have mastered bullying. This is not a school yard. 

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question now what has happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.”*

*Animal Farm, George Orwell.


19 Aug

How do thoughts travel? From a lifetime of memories that make me feel like I am being forced into a matchbox to trivialities to making me soar across the endless vista of clear skies towards a thousand wishes and dreams…

2011. The world dissolved around me and I thought I could get it whole again by sheer force of will. I went through the motions. What is the appropriate behaviour when you are offered condolences? I still don’t know. I looked at the sea of people and wondered what is that they see on my face. People I haven’t seen or known of. I envied our cat crawling under the bed. I recall not being able to cry. I wanted to do something to replace the strange vacuum I was cocooned in. Bits and pieces come to me about the week that passed. I walk around in a daze. I find shirts and other knickknacks. They still smell of him. Of comfort, filter coffee and incense.


2012. Not seeing him around is confusing. I keep thinking he is bathing or lying down. I am able to look at things he loved and while my throat clogs up, I think I am getting better at not being a wreck. There is a strange sense of deja-vu as I see people I saw last year. Some laughter tinged with tears, lots of memories and plenty of photo albums. I find myself talking to him and writing letters. I am clearing things up and I find an unopened bottle of his shaving cream. I look at his stamps, his books. Those accounts he kept of what and how much was spent where. There are random scribbles of his. As I look at the familiar scrawl the knot loosens a little.


2013. I am in a new place. New faces. A few idiots. I remember being angry with him for leaving. I am writing a letter to a friend. We go for a drive in the evening and there is a tense cold silence, shifting and moving. Suddenly we are near a small school and I talk while the dashboard is being subject to a stony glare and swear words. Suddenly my eyes are being shielded from the fierce glare of headlights with a palm. The heat coming off is gentle, like the fire warming your house. I smell his soap, the chocolate we shared and air freshener. Throughout the walk back home and after reaching I feel my heart galloping and I wonder if they can see in my eyes.. How my world faded away …


2014. This year has been awful so far. I think about how events would have played out if he were still alive. I wonder if the vacant expression on her face will vanish if he comes back, just for a moment… Or has she forgotten him too? I think about that moment when a fairy tale came to life and I wonder if I dreamed it up. I wait for the cold to dissipate and for the blood to start flowing again. I remember feeling guilty that I was feeling this .. this giddy… happy on the same date I lost someone. I am seeing with fresh eyes and yet I am longing for familiarity. I wish I didn’t have to write letters or talk alone as I try to bridge a distance that is insurmountable. I remember hearing that he was glad that the date wasn’t one of only loss anymore…


2015. I am wondering about DNA. Life. The entire day goes by and I remember rather late what the date is. Existential crises continue to swirl in my head when I look at the mirror and see that people who have gone, aren’t as gone as we think. That maybe their legacy will live on vicariously in you, even if they aren’t around anymore. That sharing their memories is how keep them alive. And I realize that even though it has been four years since I spoke to him I remember the finer details. Like him leaving paste over my brush after he brushed. The bottles of cold water. Groundnut candy. An anthology. I ask him why he left, swiping at stray, traitorous tears absent-mindedly. Amidst all this there are snatches of normalcy. Me being a fool in love.


2016. Now, it’s been five years. I thought I would never be able to get over the grief. And yet, here I am. I miss you terribly and I know it’s something that I will always carry around. As I am typing this, my eyes go to the clock as it ticks closer to the end of three years… I am opening random apps on my phone and grimacing at my impatience. Loss is a funny thing, isn’t it? You think you will never be able to get over something or someone who was so deeply entwined into your life. And yet, it morphs and it gets easier to breathe with time. Like a battle scar. Love is confusing. With each passing day, you are less sure of how to define it. Comes along when you least expect it, shakes everything up and leaves behind a flavour you will never be completely free of. Then again, do you want to be?


© My Rickety Typewriter, 2016; Vintage Ink.
No part of the text – partial or complete – may be copied/ reproduced or transmitted without prior permission from the author. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.

Why Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was disappointing

1 Aug

Okay people, I am going to rant and grow mushy (I am feeling sentimental, bite me!). If you are planning to read Harry Potter and the cursed child, close this window.

I grew up reading the Harry Potter series. In fact, I used to read them so often (everyday, really) that my father used to say that I knew the books word for word. I did. It was no surprise that I read Harry Potter and the cursed child.

I remembered the excitement and the endless possibilities that came with Rowling’s imagination. There was nothing that couldn’t happen. I remembered discussing with my friends the rumours and speculations that were nearly mandatory in the months leading to the release of a new book. We used to play Harry Potter word building that used to last several days until we had run out of words.

I have read fan-fiction and many of them were achingly beautiful. And so I reminisced while at work before I curled up on my bed with hot chocolate and read the latest book on Harry Potter. I was done in about an hour and a half and I was confused. I didn’t know how to judge it.

In most cases, when a book is nearing the end, I get excited or antsy. Sometimes, both. Excited because the book is going to end so we know how the plot turns out or there are too few pages to find out and so we have the miserable wait for the sequel. In this case, I felt like I had just fast forwarded through a story without any character development and I didn’t know the book had ended. I was waiting for something, more… solid.

The style of writing was okay. I would have obviously preferred JK’s more, but well you make do with what you have Albus and Scorpius have been fleshed out decently, but I thought it was overboard how Rose doesn’t speak to them. You would think two decades after the war, there wouldn’t be any more of this nonsense. It was why the war was fought. Their reasoning to rescue Cedric is shaky at best and ridiculous at worst. There are so many other people they could have chosen, but my point is it’s too random. So, Amos shows up and cries and they decide to jump off the train?

In what universe does Harry talk like that to McGonagall? This is the woman he cast an Unforgivable for. And why didn’t she just ask him to shut up? Why does Ron seem like cotton head?

And and and Delphini? Say she does stop Voldemort from attempting to murder Harry. Where exactly does that leave her? Something as simple as losing a task causes Diggory to become a Death Eater, so what’s the guarantee that stopping this killing won’t affect her? Harry being unscathed would alter the entire timeline. There is no guarantee she would be born. And even if she is, there is nothing to show that she would grow up the same way. (I always knew Bellatrix was crazy, but this just takes the cake.) In what world is Voldemort capable of having any feelings that can be categorized as sexual? AND HOW DID THEY GET CHANNELED TOWARDS BELLATRIX?

And how does Cedric turn into a Death Eater? JUST, HOWWW?

I felt I was reading a Fan Fiction from an amateur writer. And that is putting it mildly. (Read avial* of first drafts and half-baked ideas with tenuous premise)

Just, no.

It’s probably better to watch as a play than simply read the script (Giving you the benefit of doubt, Jack Thorne). I am ranting because this is NOT Harry Potter.

Maybe it was just that the HPverse has expanded so much over the past few years that I have set the bar too high.

I am going to go on a HP marathon and read all the books to get rid of the after taste. Because The Boy Who Lived deserves a better tribute than this.

JK, you owe us another book.

*A traditional dish of different stewed vegetables garnished with coconut and oil.


© My Rickety Typewriter, 2016; Vintage Ink.
No part of the text – partial or complete – may be copied/ reproduced or transmitted without prior permission from the author. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.

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