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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.

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.


20 Jun

Someday you will miss me. Someday when I stop hoping it will happen. When I stop holding on even when you aren’t looking back.. Someday..

Not like a ton of bricks, love. No, not as simple as that. It will start small. You will wake up one day to your mundane routine. You will probably find out too late you are out of bread or batter and you will just decide to stop for a quick coffee when you will feel it first. A small whiff of that mix of incense, sweat and hibiscus.

You are going to stand dazed and shocked, in a drunken stupor even as you wonder if I passed by you.. It will follow you around throughout the day. You will gather courage and go look at my profile. You will probably trace my features, lingering over the dip and curve of my mouth, even as memories show you just how much I smiled.. Kissed.. Touched …

Nothing will be free from me. Not even that blue shirt you got last week. You will envision me wearing it, sleeping disheveled and smelling of you, as you wake me up to a morning of languid exploration. Someday you will know, the gaping vacuum in me. That which stings for all its emptiness. Someday, you will miss me, just as much..

And your eyes will fall on an old, forgotten photo where I am looking at you, smiling like you were all I wanted. You will hold your hair and scream my name in desperation, much like an addict for his fix.. I promise you, you will collapse unable to bear the onslaught of memories.


© My Rickety Typewriter, 2015; 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 Silver Lining

3 Aug

What you are feeling now, shall pass.
For what goes around, comes around.
And run you shall, like a brook,
Cool and crystal clear.
Journeying through lands you had dreamed of
Soon, my love, very soon.
Until then stay still and search for your opening.
The skies above show you the possibilities,
For no rock ever stopped water.
Drops or gushing waterfall, we always come through.
Just as the clock ticks,
The water too shall find a way..

© My Rickety Typewriter, 2014; 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.


2 Jul

“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!” – Emily Bronte.


When the wind caresses your cheek and plays with your hair, uninhibited and free as only it can be, do you think of her? When a passing girl smiles, her eyes lighting up in silent invitation, do you remember a girl who waits thousands of miles away? When you cross the road, do you think of holding her hand? When you fall back on your pillow, do you wish she was there, holding you close?

When the heavens open up, do you wonder if she sent the clouds your way, asking them to wash away all your worries until it feels like she taught the rain the secret of her touch? When you read a book do you run your fingers over the letters, memorizing them, knowing instinctively where she cried. laughed and gasped? When night falls and the stars peek out while the moon stands guard, do you marvel at it and seek her in the sky?

When you pull on a shirt in haste and push your arm through the sleeve do you remember how that one button came off? When you walk past places with the smell of coffee do you smile as you think of her excitement if she were there? When you taste her favourite ice-cream, do you imagine if it would burn and taste the same down her throat, choking her up with memories and making it difficult to swallow?

When it is a little too cold do you gaze at your jacket and wonder how adorable she would look with the sleeves rolled up? Does this always follow with the thought of you to be wearing her warmth, after she gives it back?

When you breathe, with every breath you take, with every colour you see, do you think of her at all? Because she does. And her heart breaks anew every time she wakes up to an empty bed.

© My Rickety Typewriter, 2014; 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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