To 2011 and all the possibilities it holds.

I'm feeling optimistic tonight.


My mother in all her glory.

- Why do you have to lock your door? What do you mean you need privacy? Don't I give you privacy? Alright, so I barge in occasionally. I gave birth to you. It's alright for me to see you naked.

- Why is there a stain on your carpet? What stain is it? How can you not know how it got there? No, it's not water. I know it's not water. Don't lie to me. You think I'm stupid? It's COKE. [She meant Coca Cola, not the other one, by the way].

- I've thought of what you can do on your birthday. You can have friends round for a drink. And high tea. We'll make egg sandwiches. No, you can't have a late night party. You have to leave on the 3rd and you have exams on the 4th. You're partying too much. It's time you buckled down and worked. Everyone has to be out by ten. What do you mean ten's too early? AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH EGG SANDWICHES?

- Stop smoking in your room. It's disgusting. I don't care if everyone does it. What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you kids? When I smoked, we didn't know it was as harmful as it actually is. I stopped when I turned thirty. I stopped because I got pregnant with you. I STOPPED FOR YOU.

- No, I don't care for her. She's flighty. She's FLIGHTY. Let her hear me. I don't care. People's opinions don't matter. Stop being so bloody self conscious.


- You drink too much. Don't you know alcoholism runs on your dad's side of the family? No, I'm not going to be home tonight. I'm going out with Pixie and Nan for a drink.

- It's alright if you don't want to date him. You don't have to be in a serious relationship. Just be...friendly. What's friendly? A few kisses here and there. Don't tell me he's going to expect you to be his girlfriend just because you kissed him. What are boys coming to nowadays? When I was your age...

- No noodles. No rice. Eek. So many calories. Eesh. Hello? Excuse me? THIS BEER ISN'T CHILLED ENOUGH.

- Stop sounding like your father.


Another year.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?

- Manali with Mawii; Stratford upon Avon and Lake District with Izzie. I've never holidayed with just friends before. 
- Drank my body weight in alcohol (not really) but still did not throw up. 
- Learned how to roll a joint. 
- Saw an opera. 
- A Dutch mistake.
- Climbed over a landslide. 
- Got drunk with my mother.
- Midnight run on the beach with a stray dog. Very poetic, it was. 
- FINALLY saw the annual summer exhibition at the Royal Academy, the Tudor portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, Antony and Cleopatra, and...the list goes on. 
- More Firsts but I can't talk about them here. 
f2. 2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't. I will this year: Read more, write more, work more.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

England, Thailand.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More focus. And the usual inner peace which continues to elude me. 

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

Summer: for good reasons and bad reasons. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Nothing particularly concrete. But there have been achievements. Important achievements.

9. What was your biggest failure?


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Vitamin deficiencies, bird attacks, and random bruises that were the result of inanimate objects failing to realise their inanimateness. 

11. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Mama, again. Minnie, for finally doing something she should have done a long time ago. My own, because I'm so cool yo. 

12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

No one comes to mind.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Cigarettes. Alcohol. Autos. [This hasn't changed from last year's answer to this question!]

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Travel. People.

15. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Wake Me Up by Wham. Only because Mawii and I became slightly addicted to it and played it over and over and over again. 

16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Happier. Much happier.

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?


18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Smoking, biting fingernails, cutting off hair. [This hasn't changed from last year either].

19. How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas is over. I spent it getting very drunk with friends, but there was also tree decorating and mince pie eating and family loving. And presents. 

20. Did you fall in love in 2010?


21. How many one night stands?

Like anyone's going to truthfully answer this question. 

22. What was your favourite TV programme?

I didn't watch any television.

23. What was the best book you read?

The Shadow of the Wind. Not because it's particularly great literature but because it was probably the only unputdownable book I've read this year. And the translation is very good.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

A few new bands/singers. And the fact that I can sing in bathrooms. But no one believes me. 

25. What did you want and get?

Happiness in Delhi.

26. What did you want and not get?

Some friends I wanted to see more of. Meat (that's being resolved right now though). An iTunes library that works. Certain films and certain books. Diligence. 

27. What was your favourite film of this year?

I saw lots of good films, but no favourite comes to mind. There must have been. I will think about this, and return.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I spent most of it in bed, being sick and feeling sorry for myself. Turned nineteen.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A different college syllabus. I dislike most of the stuff we've been studying this year. Next year should be more promising. It would also have helped if I'd managed passing Hindi. 

30. What kept you sane?

Friends who have more common sense than I do. 

31. Who was the worst new person you met?

I didn't meet anyone particularly horrific.

32. Who was the best new person you met?

I think, most probably, Friend.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Debts have to be paid, and they always cost more than you thought they would. I'm not talking about money.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.




I'm in such a good mood. 

I don't know why. I was feeling okay-ish this morning. Sort of apathetic. Then I got a phone call, and some plans were made, and I am now feeling...uplifted. 

I'm going home in a week. A WEEK. I haven't been back for more than a few days at a stretch since May. And even though I'm going to be there for a short time, it's going to be a good time. It always is this time of year. I can picture long evenings on the terrace, surrounded by beer and music and conversation and familiar friends. My low bed, with its thick mattress and multiple pillows and crisp, clean sheets. Bouchi's steaks and brandy pudding and the wine Mama keeps stocked for me, me, me. 

And the friends. I can't wait to see Aditya and Varun and Siddharth and Shourjo and Jahnavi and Diya and Tanu and Jayatri and Kimi and Arjun and Prateik and Rohini and the list just goes on and on and on and on. And more than anyone else, Minnie. I'm going to hug her until her face turns blue and her eyeballs fall out. Sort of. 

I know I'll have to study for exams. That's fine. Despite what Mawii thinks, I am going to wake up at five - or, at a stretch, seven - every morning and study till lunch time and then gallivant till the wee hours of the morning. It's cool. I've got it sorted. I'm going to have a brilliant time and ace the exams in the process. They're just exams. Big deal. So what if Chaucer is still a foreign language to me. I'm good with languages. Alright, I'm not. Like I said before, big deal.

I'm rambling now. I'm getting more and more excited as I type, because I'm picturing all these lovely things in my head and they're getting jumbled up together to form a big ball of light that's making happy noises, and I should stop (I can imagine Friend shaking head condescendingly at my blither-blathering) but I won't stop because this is my fucking blog and I'm fucking happy and it's a cold and wonderful Saturday afternoon and I really like the word fuck. 

I feel like jumping on my bed.
I will jump on my bed. 

I'm back. I jumped on my bed. Unfortunately I didn't know my glasses were on it and I heard an ominous sort of crunch and I just put them on and they're crooked and if I bend my head even slightly they slip off my nose. Whatever. They were already broken anyway. I'm still happy. My mother won't be if she reads this, but she doesn't read my blog because I won't let her so it's all good. 

Ok, I was going to write something else but I got distracted. What was I going to say? Something ridiculous and pointless so maybe that's why I can't remember. How annoying. I want to remember. 

It just occurred to me that I must be really annoying right now. Like, if I read this and I was in a ho-hum sort of mood, I'd think to myself, man, this girl's annoying. So in a way I'm glad Mawii isn't here because if she was I'd be jumping on her and talking incessantly and making her cut even more of my hair off. I annoy the poor girl enough anyway. 

But that's okay. She loves me. I'm annoying, but I am also adorable. Yes, I am. I am adorable. I can feel my adorableness bouncing off the walls of my room. I'm overcome by my own adorability. I'm going to go and recover now. 

PS I sent Minnie a text, telling her how adorable I was. The reply I got? "Yuck". 


The Soldier.

He sits on the floor, at the feet of his father, looking up at the feared, beloved face. The fire flickers gently, bathing both faces - one lined by time and conviction, and the other, full of naked longing - in a dance between flame and shadow.

His father speaks, and his voice is deep and slow and measured. The things he speaks of are familiar, he has spoken of them before and he will speak of them again, but the boy listens, entranced, as if hearing them for the first and last time. 

It is an education that grounds itself into his mind at school, in the park, but most of all, here, at home, with his head only a few inches from his father's all knowing knee. The words wash over him, and a few float lazily in through his ear, rooting themselves firmly in the darkness he sees when he closes his eyes.

And so, when the boy grows up to be a bigger boy, he discards his black sweater and blue jeans and puts on a uniform of khaki instead. He cuts his hair short, watching with no regret as soft, dark curls fall to his feet. He puts his arm stiffly around his crying mother and shakes his father's hand, seeing only the pride in his eyes. Not the fear, not the doubt.

He leaves his home, along with boys who look just like him and think just like him, to go to a different country that is both hotter and colder than the one he left.

Some of the other soldiers cry at night - he can hear them, as he sits on his hard cot, alone, watching the smoke from his dying cigarette curl its way lazily to the ash cloud that hovers above him. His mouth curls in contempt: he never cries. How can he? He is anchored, he is secure. He knows, he has always known. His father - his fathers - have taught him well.

It really isn't difficult to shoot the enemy. He handles a gun with grace and his fellow soldiers, torn and shattered, envy him his calmness and strength. They don't notice that he never looks into the eyes of the people he kills.

Certainty is a safe umbrella, especially when it comes under words like honour and patriotism and courage, but human eyes...human eyes are something else.


I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand and the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep and there are no words for that. - Brian Andreas, StoryPeople. 


An Episode.

I decided to spend this weekend with my aunt. This was because of many reasons. Affection, comfort, and food were the primary ones. Also, I had no plans and Mawii was busy with her cousin and the thought of staying alone in my pg, in my (short circuited) room, for forty eight hours was slightly unbearable. Oh yeah. And I wanted to see Harry Potter and my aunt's a Harry Potter fan so I thought I'd be able to persuade her to take me to see it, which I did.

Anyway. This is about what happened last night after we came home, having seen Harry Potter (Oh, Dobby). I called a friend (I need a nickname for this friend, who is fast becoming worthy-of-having-nickname-on-trisha's-awesome-blog, but I can't think of one right now. Difficult friend to nickname. Maybe for now, Friend). Anyway, so I was talking to Friend and because I get restless when I'm on the phone, I moved from my room to the verandah (my room opens onto it) and shut the door behind me.

It was cold outside so after a while I tried going back into my room. Pushed the handle down. Handle moved down. Door didn't open. Realised, with a sinking heart, I'd locked myself out.

Friend: How did you lock yourself out?

Me: I don't know! I just shut the door. It locked by itself. I don't know how it did that.

Anyway, so I banged on the other door - there's another door that connects the living room to the verandah - and yelled for my aunt who heard me (along with the rest of the neighbourhood; I found out the next day that her Man Friday came running out from his room downstairs, armed with a lathi) and let me into the house.

No problem, right?


I tried going back into my room from the living room. Turned the handle. Door didn't open. Realised (a night of revelations, it was) that I'd latched the door from the inside before going out to the verandah. What did this mean? It meant door-connecting-room-to-verandah was locked-from-the-inside, and door-connecting-same-room-to-living room was also-locked-from-the-inside.

Hastily told Friend I'd call back and went to aunt to tell her the bad news.

Aunt: Didn't you realise it's a godrej lock?

Me: What the hell is a godrej lock?

Aunt: *embarks on lengthy explanation that basically means a godrej lock is a lock that locks if the door is merely shut*

Me: Shit. I didn't know that. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT. Do you have a spare key?

Aunt: The key's inside the room.

Me: *silence*

Aunt: We'll figure it out in the morning. Sleep in the other room tonight.

Me: At least I keep your life exciting, right?

Aunt: Goodnight.

Anyway, I went back to the verandah and started examining the door. Called Friend back and explained the entire sad and sorry situation.

"The worst part is," I said, crouching in front of the door, "I can see the fucking key."

"A hairpin," said Friend. "Don't you have a hairpin?"

"Do I look like I possess hairpins?"

Silent assent from Friend who then, inspired by bad films, tells me how I could slide a newspaper under the door and jiggle the key out with, if not a hairpin, then something. The idea had already occurred to me (I didn't grow up on Enid Blyton for nothing, y'know). Went to the other room, found a pair of tweezers. Tweezers didn't go through the keyhole. Found a long, thin screwdriver. Gently placed newspaper under crack of door.

Friend advised me (quite uselessly throughout).

At first the screwdriver wouldn't move the key. Friend kept warning me to be gentle, lest I shove too hard and cause the key to fly backwards beyond the reach of newspaper. The key refused to move. I got annoyed and, ignoring Friend's advice, jammed the screwdriver into the keyhole and jiggled it vigorously. The key fell out.

But had it landed on the newspaper?

Heart pounding, I drew the newspaper carefully, oh so carefully, out from under the door. My heart sank when I didn't see the key. But then I heard a sudden clink and all of a sudden, the key was by my knee.

The key was by my knee.

The key. The key. Was by my knee.

Making triumphant noises, I picked the key up and inserted it into the door. Nothing happened. Turned the key. Nothing happened. Turned it the other way. Nothing happened.

Ran yelling to my aunt who looked at me with resignation and informed me that it was the wrong key. The godrej key, the key that could unlock it, was inside the room.

"Don't you have a spare?" I said, in despair.

"Yep," she said. "It's inside the room as well."

I looked at her.

"Listen," she told me, "I've never come across anyone who's managed to lock themselves out of that room. Most people, you see, don't tend to leave the other door locked, when they let themselves out onto the verandah and close the second door after them."

"It could happen," I said.

"Only to you. Now go to sleep," She looked thoroughly fed up with me and I couldn't blame her.

"Do you still love me?" I said timidly.

"I suppose," was her grudging reply.

Gave up then, and went to the other room, despondently plucking at my eyebrows with the tweezer. The lock, I had to admit, had won this round. I comforted myself with the thought that it wasn't any old lock that had defeated my ingenuity, but a godrej lock. It helped a little.

Today we have family coming over for lunch. This story is going to go down in the Annals of Family History as Yet Another Stupid Thing Trisha Did. Whatever. I've gotten my own revenge. This morning, when I woke up, I found my aunt managed locking herself out of her bathroom.

And anyway, all the doors were broken open this morning (by a locksmith who evidently thought we were all insane), so all the locks are now unlocked.

The (Happy) End.



The bells have been ringing now for a long time. As sweet as ever, the sound they make, a sound that floats through the dusk and fades into the disappearing heat of the day that is done.

She has been listening to them, unable to tear herself away. Hoping, hoping, hoping, that they will ring only for her. She wants, not just to listen, but to possess. She wants the people - the old woman selling sad apples, the young man with milk cans clanging against the wheels of his cycle, the flustered girl with her hair slipping out of a messy bun - to know that the sound is hers. Her sound, her bells, her music, though they too are being allowed to hear.

And one evening, just like that, she turns around, shabby slippers slapping clumsily against the hard, indifferent, dust covered concrete, and vanishes around a corner. Tired of wishing, tired of waiting, tired of hoping, tired of wanting. Tired.

The bells keep ringing, undisturbed and unruffled. They ring for the old woman and the young man and the flustered girl and even for the rat tailed, wonder eyed puppies who live behind the garbage dump. How typical really, that she who loved them the most, disappeared to where even their silver songs couldn't reach.


The Great England Trip: Volume the Last.

My mother joined me for my last week in England. It was the first time in years we’d holidayed together and it was surprisingly wonderful because apart from occasional squabbles (usually very loud and in public) we get on very well together. We saw plays and went to art galleries and became slightly addicted to white wine spritzers and blueberries. I remember we went to the National Portrait Gallery and I got very excited when I discovered the Tudor wing. I shared the history of each and every portrait with her, sometimes getting a little carried away. She didn’t really listen to me but that never stops me from talking, so I talked anyway. And looked.  And absorbed. It was heavenly.

The last week passed slowly. I remember it well – how could I not – but I won’t go into detail.

This post is about the journey home.

Getting to the airport was slightly hilarious. My uncle was flying to Hong Kong the same evening – our flights were only an hour apart – and he is paranoid about getting to airports on time. My mother on the other hand, is paranoid about getting to airports too early; she can’t bear it. Besides, she has a natural penchant for always being late.

Five minutes after we’re supposed to leave. Uncle paces up and down. No sign of my mother. Sue, Pria and I are ready and shuffling around because we know what is going to happen. And it happens.

Uncle: *banging on door* MIMI! MIMI! MEEEEEEEEEEMEEEEEEE!

Mother: WHAT?





*Uncle goes away. Seven minutes pass. Uncle returns*





Uncle: *speechless for a second* Makeup? (He even forgot to shout).

Mother: *thinking he’s calmed down* Yes.



Uncle: *clomps off, unable to think of a reply*

Another five minutes later.

Uncle: *bangs on door again* MIMI!






Uncle: BUSY? YOU WERE LOLLING AROUND WATCHING TELEVISION! *bangs on door harder. Door opens*

Mother: *shoves a bag at him* I’m ready.

We drag our suitcases to the car. Uncle flips out again once he realises there isn’t enough room for all the luggage.





(My uncle has only one small roller and a backpack).

Sue, unlike those warring siblings, possesses that rare (in our family at least) quality: common sense. While they were fighting, she motioned to me and Pria and we quietly stacked the suitcases on top of one another.

Mother: Oh wait. Where are the tickets? The passports? The –

We got in the car eventually.

At Heathrow, we said our goodbyes (my uncle looked relieved) and walked through security. There, when we were waiting to put our bags through the X ray, we realised we needed transparent little plastic bags that were being handed out to passengers outside, and which we’d ignored. Why did we need it? For my mother’s various lotions.

“Run outside and get one,” my mother said to me.

“But I’ll have to go all the way through security again,” I whined, “and they’ll make me take my sneakers off. I don’t want to take my sneakers off. I don’t like airports. I want to be on the plane. I’m hungry. I’m really hungry. And-“

At this point, a man kindly gave my mother a spare bag and a pitying look.

We went through security. My mother had to take her shoes off as well.

“But this floor’s so dirty,” she said in disgust.

“You’ve got socks on,” I said, not unreasonably.

“I don’t want to get my socks dirty,”

I looked at the floor. Pristine blue carpet. Then I adopted the wisest policy, and ignored her.

We got to the area where all the shops and things are. I saw my mother’s eyes light up. Duty Free is one of her hobbies.

“I’m glad your uncle is such a pain. We have time to shop now,” she said.

“I want to eat first,” I said, and I dragged her off to a coffee shop.

Now, before we’d left the house, Sue gave us some really delicious biscuit-tart things which my mother had in her bag. We ordered our coffee and looked at the menu. I got a sandwich.

“I feel like nibbling something,” she said, and took the bag out.

“You can’t eat that stuff here,” I hissed. We were sitting at the counter, not tucked away in a corner of the shop.

“Why not?” She said aggressively. “I’m not going to pay for food when I have my own. I ordered coffee didn’t I? It’s not like I’ve just wandered in for no reason.”

“But it’s embarrassing. Why are you so embarrassing? What did I ever do to you?”

“Oh, stop being so self conscious. You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to.”

But she didn’t, I noticed, put the bag on the counter itself. She kept it on her lap and surreptitiously broke off a piece now and then.

“Why are you eating it like that?” I asked curiously, leaning over and helping myself to some.

She shot me a pained glance. “It’s embarrassing.”

Then we attacked Duty Free. I knew exactly what I wanted and so I bought the necessary stuff and sloped off to find a bookshop. Found a WH Smith – a small one – specialising in history books. There were three shelves filled with Tudor biographies. Bought four books, blowing up all my money, and then trudged back to my mother who’d moved from makeup to alcohol and was now busy buying bottles of whiskey and wine. She very kindly got me a bottle of port and then we realised that our flight had started boarding long ago and so, lugging bags and books and whiskey and wine and makeup and perfume, we ran. Or at least, waddled very quickly.

Usually I get a bit wary (terrified) when a plane’s about to takeoff and I usually fly alone which makes it a little more difficult. This time, I was feeling better because my mother was next to me and I thought she’d provide moral support.

The plane took off and began slanting upwards which is the bit I always hate. I grabbed her hand.

“What?” she said.

“I don’t like this bit,” I replied.



“You’re hurting me,”

Later, at some point over Russia, there was quite a lot of turbulence and I became convinced that the plane was going to crash.

“I’m telling you, it’s going to crash,”

“It’s NOT going to crash.”

“Why is it jumping around? What’s its problem? Make it stop jumping around.”

“I can’t solve everything.”

“What do I do?”

My mother reached across and slammed shut the shutter of my window so I couldn’t see the darkness and the lightning.



“Can I hold your hand?”

“NO. They’re going to serve dinner now and I need my hands to EAT.”

Eventually we reached Delhi. Had the afternoon. Spent it with my aunt. Her mother, my grandmother’s younger sister, was in hospital then because she’d been ill and both Mama and I decided that we’d stop by the hospital on our way to the airport  where our flight to Calcutta was waiting for us.

We took two cars (various relatives were going to the hospital) and put our suitcases in an uncle’s car. One  of them went in my aunt’s car. I don’t know why. It’s not like there was no room and we could have been spared a whole lot of misery and trauma but that’s the way the boat floats.

Went to hospital, saw Mashi, gave her a big hug and then Andy (the uncle) offered to drop us to the airport because my aunt (they’re all cousins, not siblings. I don’t know why I find it necessary to point that out but anyway) wanted to stay on for a bit. My mother, who is a suspicious sort of person, looked at Andy dubiously.

“Come on,” he said encouragingly.

“Alright,” she said, with ill grace.  Andy looked pleased, as if she’d done him a great favour by allowing him to drop her to the airport.

We got into his car and went. As we were nearing the airport, my mother told me to check and make sure all three of our bags were there.

I checked.

Saw two.

Checked again.

Saw two.

“Uh, did you say two?” I said.

“No, three.”

“There are two here,”

And then she let out a shriek, a shriek that caused Andy to lose control of the car which swerved dangerously close to a big bus. I closed my eyes, waiting for death, but since divine music did not replace my mother’s loud voice, I reluctantly opened them again.

“I must have left them in Billie’s car,” she was groaning.

“ANDY!” She said suddenly, giving him a deathly glare. “YOU should have reminded me?

“Me?” He said.

“Him?” I said.  


“I’m sorry,” he said meekly.

I sat back, marvelling at the talent my family has for producing such spectacular idiots.

To cut a long story short, my poor Billie Mashi was forced to leave her mother’s bedside and drive all the way to the airport with our lost suitcase. We got it, said our goodbyes (poor Andy was still apologising profusely to my mother who eventually condescended to coldly forgive him), and got on the plane.

I didn’t try holding her hand this time, but when it took off, she reached across and took it anyway, holding it comfortingly until the plane was level in the sky.

Got to Calcutta late that night, staggered into my room, and went to sleep.

And that is the end of my Great England Trip.

I was telling Mama the other day how it was going to take me a year to recover.

“Good,” she said, unsympathetically (unsympathetic, unsympathetic. Why is my family so unsympathetic?).

“That means you’ll have recovered by the next time we go.”

“When’s that?” I said, surprised.

“Next summer.”

Jolly good.