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.