Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Plus size or plus one

I think I'm a good catch. I'm intelligent, well-read, interesting with a good job and am even mildly well-adjusted. And I know the answer to the most inane and arcane trivia. I mean I would be the friend everyone calls during the phone-a-friend hint of who wants to be a millionaire. But what I'm not is happy with the way I look. I say that with an air of not caring when I distinctly do care.

What am I doing about it? Nothing. And as I continue doing nothing, I also continue to feel that my real life (as it could be) may be passing me by. But reality seems to be just out of reach. I feel like I'm a toxic and potent combination of pickiness, high standards & low will power. I also have a lot of second hand experience with relationships all around me that go nowhere really fast.

Everyone around me is having babies or getting married or crying about how horrible it is to be single or going out with just anyone because they really don't want to be alone. This is my every day. I see the death of hope and the rise of cynicism all around me. But there is always a kernel of hope that stays alive somewhere in the depths of every heart. I know there is one in mine.

I see the world move around me as I stand still like in a video montage. Going out and actually being a part of life feels insurmountable and sometimes it doesn't even feel like its worth the trouble. I see the drama, the misery, the constant pull and tug of people who want more but won't give enough; the hurt of broken expectations and the despair of not being able to let go.

But then there is the rare occasion where I see the magic that sparks into life when you see two people who are everything that people write songs and poetry about. Everything that people look for in the eyes of their casual date or - in my case - in the eyes of anyone interesting who can hold up a sustained and intelligent conversation. Yes, that's how low (or high) my bar is; but as I grow up I notice that intelligent men are a very rare species. Also, men get intimidated by super women or slightly intelligent women and the ones who don't, get snapped up immediately by women who (wisely) refuse to let go.

Is love worth all this trouble & strife? But is that really a question at all considering I am writing about it at 3.49 am?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Games Children Play

You can only know your future when you can see where you've come from. My road to here hasn't been an arduous one in the truest sense & not many books would sell off of it. But it has been interesting.

At home, I was the little girl who was never quite as good as my sister, this was true of school too. I was regularly looked down upon in school until I made my first friend. One of my first memories of school is getting friendly with one little girl who was kinda left out because she was the smartest while I was being left out for being new. That was it.

Another girl then joined in to this duo followed by another making it a quartet. This is the story of two of those girls : they were beautiful, intelligent girls who I always felt slightly dumb around. They were girly with hopes and dreams & fun parents who treasured them. I always felt 'lesser than' but was amazed that they still liked me. They never made fun of me or my shabbiness or my not-so-great grades.

They were good girls, the best kind. They had the true smiles and the genuine hearts. Smiles that didn't stop unless in a hospital bed, hearts that accepted my every flaw. Even when I made other friends, it was the first two that were always home for me. All through my rebellious phase & my weird stunts, they always had a spot next to them for me during lunch.

Their lives moved on and those beautiful ducklings turned into even prettier swans. As I write this, I am aware of how much of me is shaped by them. They were such a big reason I made it through school without a completely broken head and heart. I have blocked so many memories from school because I felt tiny & insignificant (inspite of my girth). Most of the memories I have today is of sharing my lunch with those girls and playing weird lunchtime games, sitting with them during assembly and talking about hating one teacher and loving another.

That life seems a different person ago, a girl who was so determined to never be made fun of again. A girl who was more than just a sum of her parts, a girl who was so inspired by her two best friends that she knew she'd be more than just another girl from Wadala. There are people who inspire you without them knowing why & sometimes you don't really know the reasons either. All I know is that two little girls held on tightly to this little girl's heart & refused to let go. And somehow, that just saved my life.

Both of them are married now and never tell me any of the things people say married people say to single girls. One of them is a mother and I wish everyday her mom was around to see the wonderful woman she's turned out to be. The other remains my shining light, who somehow knows to reach out to me at my lowest & bring me back. I am no longer a big part in their lives but for me, they are my childhood.

PS: Dedicated to Asha Krishnan Bhojani and Smita Sridharan Somani

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Do I make you smile?

I see you stopping by. Stay a while, won't you?

What is a storyteller without someone to tell the stories to? I want to make you smile, that kind of smile that bursts across your face when you have a mental A-HA. When you hear something that's so very you that every part of your self identifies with it. All storytellers want to captivate you in, bring you into their parlours, but I want more, I want you to stay a while. Won't you?

Ben Okri once told me, "Once you take away all the fillers, what remains in your writing is your voice." (if you can start off your writing with a Ben Okri quotation, you cannot go wrong. All you have to do after that is hope people read it in a James Earl Jones voice.)

I don't know if my writing has a voice; but I know I have something to say. I have a few war stories of my own, though I usually like to hide them. I'm an introvert at the best of times but more often than not, I'm the most social in a conversation where people are trading experiences. It's simple. I'll show you mine if you show me yours, our stories are our currency. They are the measure of our worth. Most of my closest friends are the ones who inspire me with the rich and varied lives they lead.

Stories are entertainment for those who have longer attention spans than 140 characters. Stories are for those who have a curiosity for the world. There is so much to absorb out there, no one person can do it all. That's why we have books and that's why a storyteller's job is never done. We all want to write our books, have someone play us in a movie. We all want our story told & there are so many stories that deserve to be told.

You cannot sell anything without telling its story. The whole world of business is based on that premise. Everyone needs a human connection, between people, between products, however diluted it may be. There is a reason why everybody checks out reviews before trying out a movie or play or restaurant or even a book. This is why people want to be famous, all they want is to be seen, to be heard, for their stories to be told.

Hear my story. I want you to stay a while. Won't you?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hindsight canonizes the demons of my past

Ever had a conversation with someone who is delving into your shared past but somehow you're thinking, "That's not how I remember it!"? In my personal opinion, while fact may be stranger than fiction, memories are always so much stranger. They stick around like unreliable & unwanted acquaintances who always seem to be right there, in the periphery of your subconscious.

Neurologically speaking, memories are nothing but a shoot of energy and chemicals. But man, do they hold power over us. A simple scent or a reflection in the corner can take you back decades in a single instant. The trick is being able to know that you can't stay there -- how much ever you may want to. 

That's the marvelous part of hind sight; somehow like magic, you only remember the reasons you wanted to stay & not the reasons you wanted to leave. You remember the funny things they did but not how much they annoyed you. In fact, if you're lucky, you remember the smiles so clearly that maybe, just for a minute, you forget the tears. Sometimes its just so easy to hold on to the best parts of our history & use them to canonize the demons of the past. 

We can easily remember the castles of sand but not how long it took to make them or how they were swept away in the first wave. Isn't that so much easier than reliving the heartbreak & the sadness (which is usually locked away in a different corner of the heart)?

Somehow, for me, the most interesting part of it all is how people seem to remember us. As I grow older I see that people don't necessarily hang on to the last or the best memory of a person. Its usually just a random moment, something said without much thought, something the sub-conscious didn't really register as a landmark at all.

People remember me by something I said to them in school, or by something I did in college or by a weird little remark I made about life. So many times, these examples have not even stuck around in my mind & the fact that they define me for someone else is, in equal parts, unnerving & humbling. 

The memories I hold on to dearly are all about people that have come to my life & touched it in some way or the other. But the best memories aren't always the most elaborate or the most well-planned. It could be a smile, a simple touch or a kind word. As I wrote in a long-forgotten poem once, "Its not about the money, its not about the fame. It is about how many people smile when they remember your name."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No one I know

Celebrities are not really important right? We're considered spaced out TV idiots or sorority chicks if we indulge in checking out celebrity magazines. But many more of us do it than we'd admit. Having said that, I'm not one of the crazy fans that idolizes people but I do like following up on what they do.

I also love TV shows; they're the only thing that keep me company on nights when I can't fall asleep, or when the dark clouds come a-calling. One of the shows that always cheered me up was Glee. Maybe I wasn't a complete G(l)eek but I did love the music, the characters, the storylines & the actors.

All of this has been changed forever though with the death of Glee's biggest star, Cory Monteith. He was just a month older than me with a great & amazing life ahead of him (or so it seemed.) His life story just seems so sad & frayed because of his addictions & stints in rehab. He's been through so much & seemed so brave about it, but its all over now.

Now the fan videos & the remembrance videos & the tweets & slideshows just serve as a reminder of what a beautiful life he had & will never be a part of it anymore. His relationships with his girlfriend & friends seem real & bittersweet in hind sight. Its all gone, just like that.

But things like this don't really happen to anyone we know, right? How many of us are struggling with life everyday? Aren't we all at some point faced with a turn in our life where just a simple "The End" tagline is all we need? I know I have been, more times than I'd like to remember; thankfully having my friends & family around has always shamed me into trying to fight away the darkness.

What of those of us who don't have that? There are too many of us just holding on to the hope of tomorrow; as if that magical word will make it all better; when all it could have are darker storms. We keep turning away from the demons we see around us, pretending that we aren't affected, much like ostriches with their heads in the (Dubai?) sand.

It's easier to pretend all is ok; that all is good. It's always nicer to think that true love is just around the corner & that hope is all we need. All of us want that, don't we? An easy road to happiness, of any kind. But what we actually get is a headful of sand & the ability to just do the best we can & leave the rest up to chance.

I keep feeling that's all life is; a game of luck where true gifts are given to (sometimes) least deserving & all we can do is watch in envy as someone else lives our life. And sometimes, all we can do is stare in shock as someone truly good & noble is the one whose life is being played with.

There has to be some pattern to this madness; or is wishing for that to be true, pure madness too?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

London -- where I leave my heart & my money

We all have these places that feel like home even though you're not born there. For me, that's London. I do love the magic that is Paris, but London... that's where I feel the most alive.

I could never afford to live there; unless I had Jon Makinson's job I suppose. But the sheer love for history, the openness of the people, the plays, the shopping & the street markets & the sense of humour all comes together to ensure that this city is where its at.

I've never been able to actually take some time & see the city from a tourist-y angle; so this time that's exactly what I did! While I was still there for work; I managed to go on a bookstore tour around the major stores in London. I feel so humbled seeing where the book retail industry really began and where its almost ending...

I finally got some time to myself & the first thing I did was to go off to the Portobello street market near Notting Hill Gate. The beautiful vintage shops (authentic or not) make me go off throwing my money in people's faces! The Covent street market is another place I give my money away happily; not to forget the life-sapping Harrods! I also got to experience the British Museum & the British Library & of course their gift shops. A Pride & Prejudice bracelet is now my pride & joy. The changing of the guard left me unimpressed; but the Evensong at Westminster Abbey left me in tears. I have never been able to give full justice to the West End plays; but its good that I have something to look forward to I guess. Maybe next time I'll even be able to catch a show at the Royal Opera House?

I also LOVE the food in London, the Spanish, the Mexican, the pastas, Jamie Oliver, the soups, the English breakfasts, not to forget the amazing Chinese! Every meal is a chance for me to try a new explosion of flavour!

Don't neglect to observe the fact that all the other experiences cost money too. But I don't mind, because every part of London is special to me. Everything feels like a memory in the making. Every experience feels like a story that needs to be told. I want to take it all in; brand it on my memory. This ability to travel to my dream city once a year without paying for it feels like a dream that could disappear in a puff of smoke anyday. Till that day comes, I will have to work extra hard to lock away as many memories as possible. Memories that will help me get through lonely days in the future where my books just don't fit the bill.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Certain Chaos

An Ikea catalogue once asked me, "If nobody sees chaos, does it really exist?" and since there was no one who'd hear my answer, I thought I'd write about it here.

I live in a constant state of chaos & I enjoy it. It is caused by a combination of laziness, pack-rattiness & hoarding-ness that I'm loath to change anything about (note I already talked about the laziness.) And while the former statement is about the physical nature of things; I have noticed this about my mental state as well.

I tend to sit by & watch while my head accumulates piles of things that need to be done, things that need thinking about & even reactions that need to be made. This chaos builds up around me & just when the pile feels like its just about to keel over; that's when my survival instinct kicks in & saves my ass.

My sister says I can only work under deadlines. I think that is just an extension of this behaviour. I also don't think I'd be very good at being my own boss; because I'd never be able to push myself to be self motivated. This is also why I am not good at getting things done before they really really need to be. I also think that's why I am horrible at following healthy habits, even though being fat dooms me to a future where I am 'forever alone'.

But if it is my chaos & I accept its certainity; is it truly chaos anymore? Isn't it true after all, that the center is the calmest part of a storm?

So I am the eye of the hurricane, the mastermind of this giant vortex of chaos that consumes everything around me but leaves me virtually unscathed. What has it cost me? A chance at love, two relationships (which may have been doomed from the start) & my self confidence. What am I doing about it? As I write this, almost next to nothing.

But everytime I start thinking that I may be failing at life, I remember that I have this... that I'm writing again. That there is something I'm doing which I never used to do before. And that there will be a way I will be able to relive my past. And that makes me feel like atleast I've started to leave a mark out there in the world.

Chaos notwithstanding, I have been able to clear out my head & put forward my thoughts. Thoughts that have risen to the top of the clutter, worthy or not. I have been able to wring out the meaning out of the darkness & shine a thin, spidery line of light on them. For that, more than anything, I give thanks.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Travelling: the Oopsies & the Daisies

I'm back from a vacation and I feel like I need another one.

Isn't that always the case? I love my job, I would be very ungrateful if I didn't. There is however always the thrill of the unseen, the not-yet experienced that calls out to the nomad in us.

My mother brought this travelling bug alive in me. She is convinced that I have only lately started liking travelling because whenever she made plans for us to go gallivanting as a family, I'd never be too impressed. I have tried in vain to tell her that was mostly because she insisted on dragging me to religious shrines where I would either have to walk barefoot on hot stones or climb 1500 steps or go down wet caves just because it brought us closer to God.

I felt closer to God watching the sunrise in Muscat & seeing the first rain in Goa & listening to Vivaldi in the Sainte Chappelle in Paris. I even felt the hand of God when I magically got a spot directly in front of the Buckingham Palace gates to see the changing of the guard.

I have always felt the need to not sit around interspersed with the need to not do anything. So I vacillate between periods of intense activity & periods of intense nothingness. It's not a normal life or a healthy one; but it is my own & I rather like it.

But its not like I'm not travelling when I'm sitting still. I'm busy reading or watching TV -- two genuine interests of mine. I am as invested in some fictional characters as much as real people. I don't confuse the lines between the two though; not yet anyway.

That begs the question, am I really ever sitting still? The answer is no. I cannot ever just sit down & not do anything. There is just so much going on in the world and we have such less time here; who has the time to sit still? My friend once described my head as a big railway station with atleast 7 trains of thought pulling in & heading out at the same time.

I feel a strange sense of an out-of-body experience when I'm travelling, even if its for work. I feel my brain shifting into the take-advantage-of-every-moment gear; a gear which is usually absent in everyday life. I'm always looking around instead of staring at my phone, I prefer to walk instead of hailing a taxi & I love shopping so much. No wait, scratch the last one, I ALWAYS love shopping!

I do hate the uncertainities though, the things that invariably go wrong, the weather that turns cold & grey, the car that stops working, the museum shut for renovation. But then, there is always a chance & a hope of that one perfect little story coming out of the trip. The story that makes your friends nod their heads in understanding or make them throw back their heads with laughter.

There are so many stories to be told, so many places to be amazed by; but now that I have been to some of the places I always wanted to go to, I feel a curious sense on being satisfied & being very unsatisfied all at once. This must be the most common of human emotions -- the urge of wanting more while accepting you may have more than you deserve.

So while I don't believe I deserve all the amazing-ness life has given me... Please sir, may I have some more?

Monday, April 1, 2013

First loves

I blame my sister for my obsession with all things word-y. Seeing her engrossed in books made me equate them with magical powers & a lot of importance & imagination. I wanted to read them, I wanted to be important & cool & look intelligent & mysterious & unapproachable.

After a lot of haranguing & nagging & basically to shut me up, she started me off on abridged classics; which was where I found my first love, "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott.

This is a sweet little story by any standards, rising far above The Secret Garden & The Little Princess & Little Lord Fauntleroy which are all books in the same vein. What makes it better? Maybe its the beautiful way the family interacts with each other, maybe its the unabashed joy it makes you feel when Jo gets published or the tug on your heart when Beth gets the piano meant for one gone too soon or the way you get a tear in your eye just writing about the book 20 years after you first read it.

I used to fancy myself as Jo, the protagonist, for the longest time. But today I know I am Amy, the spoilt little brat who was adored her whole life & got the chance to live out her dreams. All this while her truly talented & amazing older sister had to stay back & be the backbone of the family.

It was easy to fall in love with this book, the writing was simple & easy, the characters relatable & empathetic, the story progression slow with gradual ups & downs like a lazy sea. What endeared the book to me the most, however, was that the story progressed on to three sequels so I could let the characters stay on in my life & I didn't have to make up where they went (which is what I usually do with other books.)

What also fascinated me is the poetry that was used almost as a part of the book's narrative. My sister used one of those poems as a basis for a Mother's Day card & till today I can see that card in my hand, I remember those words & the amazing rush of envy, pride & utter amazement I felt that my sister had made it all up out of nothing.

Another book where poetry is an effortless part of the story -- almost a character in itself -- is Alice in Wonderland. That is one book I always find something new in, everytime I read it.

The other books of my childhood were by Enid Blyton. Famous Five, Secret Seven, St Clare's Malory Towers & the Five Find-outers were all my very best friends. The talking toys, the fairies, pixies, goblins, gollywogs, talking animals & Noddy. They all took me to a land of fun & wonder & imagination where all you had to do was close your eyes to make all your dreams come true.

For a girl who didn't have much & who was always made fun of, an imagination was such an amazing tool. It can help you forget & when you forget, there is nothing to forgive. Armed with imagination, you can take on the world, distract yourself from the drama around you & concentrate only on the world you have built for yourself.

I don't know what makes a good book, but what makes me like a book is its ability to not take itself too seriously. I would re-read Little Women anyday over having to read beyond the third page of Ulysses. Or Atlas Shrugged. Or The Alchemist. A-N-Y-D-A-Y.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Missing out

This one's dedicated to the missed chances in life. All of us have our regrets, our what ifs. I don't like regrets; I don't have many.  I don't endeavour to have many either. However, life isn't very good at letting people keep promises.

There are some parts of your life that don't wait till the moment of your death to constantly flash in front of your eyes. (by you I mean me). They always stand around the corner, always just a little bit out of reach, making you question your memory, making you relieve those moments but with a 100 different endings. But the endings never change do they? Its cruel how everything can change except these few stubborn moments.

Being miserable is not a trait I am famous for. I tend to live in a world of denial where everything is puppies & rainbows; except for a few moments of utter darkness. It is in these few moments where my regrets take over.

It is at these dark times when people are said to be at their most creative. What is it about melancholy that triggers a need to create? Is it a deep need to make a mark in the world? To leave something behind that is not as miserable as the rest of our sorry existence? Or is it a simple manifestation of our inner demons? A way to exorcise ourselves?

And with those questions sent out to the ether, I take this opportunity to talk about my need to create. I have always wanted to be able to write. I remember being so very jealous of my sister when she wrote poems & then of some writers when I read their books. The way they could manipulate words to mean much more than they would usually mean would take my breath away.

It was one day after a intense conversation with my first love that I wrote my first poem. I promise it wasn't a cheesy, sappy one about flowers & crowds but it did rhyme. I was so proud of myself. It was the first day in my entire life that I didn't think I was a total failure (I have always had an intense inferiority complex)

It was then I decided that of all the regrets I might have in life; not writing would not be one of them. It is the one thing that always helps pull me out of my deepest darknesses. Even now, as I type this out, I can feel a certain satisfaction at my ability of putting coherent thoughts together. I can feel it healing my stupid insecurities, putting a small bandaid over my thoughts of loneliness.

I can hear the compliments I have received through this blog in a loop in my head; preparing me for battle against the dark clouds that are looming over the horizon. Thanks to all of you, this time I am well-armed. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Land of wishful thinking

We were never rich but my parents worked very hard to make sure we were never left without. There was one thing I always envied though, friends who talked about uncles living abroad; uncles who sent them shiny gifts & yummy chocolates. Oh, how cool these mythical uncles were. I had no such uncle & therefore decided I would do the living abroad myself.

Moving to Dubai was a decision I took about six months to work on; with the help of my friends, then boyfriend & family. I think my main reason to move was that I really wanted to push myself into something I always wanted to do but didn't quite know how. I felt like I was in a lather, rinse, repeat cycle of neverending ennui (I've always wanted to use that word!!)

So here I was in a city that was caught between trying to please both the modernists & the traditionalists & never really pleasing either. From what I could see then, the only thing lacking in Dubai was the concept of lack itself. Nobody seemed okay with not having things. Everybody wanted everything. In an immediate world like this, wanting to hold on for something real & lasting seemed wrong. I was happy being wrong then & am pretty happy being in the wrong for now.

Now that I've been around here for a while, this city is surreal to say the least; from dolls wearing abayas to brunches where parents get drunk in the afternoon with kids next to them. From guys who stay in little rooms but spend their credit limit on D&G shoes to ladies who find the love of their life in a rich, old guy who has no one else.

Dubai is a personification of every high school movie. There are the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the bullies & the bullied. And oh, let me not forget the cliques. Finding your way through the maze of clichés & questionable ethics & subjective morality changes the person you are.

I am not the same person I was 3 years ago. I am angrier, cynical, jaded & a bit more antisocial. But I have been luckier than many here. I found my sanity in some people who tolerated all my craziness & still didn't let go. They held on through my dark spirals & through my ecstatic highs. It was only because of them that I stuck around & now that I have been given the gift of an actual career, this city is now my home.

A home that is built on a flimsy, sandy foundation of expat friends who have made temporary homes here & can leave at any time. I have said my goodbyes & farewells to a fair share of lovely people. Thankfully, I can easily stay in touch with them. But nothing really prepares you for how intensely you can miss someone when they move away. It is completely different from "breakup feelings" because you never really broke up with that person. You still care about them but had to helplessly let go while they made a better decision for their lives. Is this what the empty nest syndrome feels like?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Leaving no book behind

I am a digressor. I am fundamentally incapable of getting to the point or focussing on a subject.  I am a digressor. I tell you that not as a disclaimer of things to come (though it is that too) but as an invitation. Follow me on my mental meanderings if you will, give up control to the uniqueness of travelling with words. Lose your train of thought, accept that you don't see the point and more than anything else, let your imagination fill in the blanks.

And for those who are Mr Grey fans, think of it as some kind of mental S&M where you don't really know what you are going to end up doing but I'll try to ensure you have fun along the way.

Talking about fun, in about two weeks, I will be celebrating a year in this job. During this year, I have been able to live out some amazing dreams. I have also traveled all over the Middle East apart from the two cities that were top on my list (Damascus & Cairo). There have been countries that I fell in love with completely & totally and others I would never go back to voluntarily. Having said that, my love for travel ensures that I still treasure every opportunity I can get to get on a plane & having my passport stamped.

I think I get my love of travel from my mother. Ever since I remember, she has been planning family trips all over India. The thrill of packing, booking tickets, getting everything together, working out the details is something I always looked forward to. While I loved the travel, it was her minute-by-minute itineraries that I just couldn't handle. That & her propensity of finding temples wherever we went!

I had 3 dreams -- of getting a passport & travelling internationally; of getting a new booklet on my passport & going to cities like Paris, London & Venice. In the past year, I got the extra booklet & have visited two out of those three. The more I travel I realise that travelling can change a person more than anything else can. All those clichés about travel opening up your world in more ways than one are clichés for a reason.

Now I have grander dreams, fancier places I want to go to. Spain maybe or Thailand or even South Africa. Putting these dreams out there in the ether makes me want to grab on to them & make them come alive. Come join me?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I need to get started

It started with my sister. She loved/loves reading. I remember seeing her spending her time with her book, ignoring her pesky, much-younger sister & feeling very jealous. I think she started giving me books to read just so I would shut up & stop bothering her. It worked.

I could & would read everything & anything I could find. I remember spending one day during my summer holidays without eating or drinking anything because I was reading a mythology book I'd been able to beg my father to buy. It was an amazing book but I digress.

I have always been an average girl, not too smart, not too pretty, without any significant passions or talents. But with a book in my hand, I was a traveller, an explorer, an adventurer. I had answers to all of life's questions & if I didn't, I could conjure them up from my imagination.

I made very few friends & my own insecurities never let me get too close to them. It was to my books & my dog that I turned to for company. It wasn't a exciting life but it was a simple, happy one. Books gave me dreams & the imagination to hope my dreams would come true one day.

I started off working with books; it was the only thing I could think of doing. It was what I knew (or thought I knew.) I learnt from some of the best in the business. Sanjeev Poojari, who hated the business side of bookstores but had the product knowledge of a bookworm elephant; Sang Mo, a small bundle of energy & go-go-go attitude & Sriram, someone who is still considered the father of modern Indian book retailing.

I briefly flirted with content development & journalism only to come back to square one but on a different board. I was in Dubai, working with books again, starting in Operations, making my way through merchandising & purchasing & eventually landing in sales.

I think this one will stick, I am going to make it stick somehow. Along the way, I intend to write. Maybe about myself, the books I read & the places I get to see. No bells & whistles, no fancy artistry. Just my words, an amalgamation of things I have seen, read & experienced all put together with some spit, glue & a prayer. Hopefully, someone will read it & even more hopefully, they won't completely hate it.

Much love