Personal by Tony Hoagland

Don’t take it personal, they said;

but I did, I took it all quite personal—

the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,

the wet hair of women in the rain—
And I cursed what hurt me

and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.

The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,

and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.

Enjoy it while you can, they said of Happiness
Think first, they said of Talk

Get over it, they said
at the School of Broken Hearts

but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I don’t
believe in the clean break;

I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,

I believe in saying it all
and taking it all back

and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I’m-Sorries

like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.

Oh life! Can you blame me
for making a scene?

You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.

I was the dog, chained in some fool’s backyard;
barking and barking:

trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.


“A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western…. divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire. The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”

-E. Shafak

love always,


Flawless or Not.

Photo: Happy 50th to Sandra Bullock.

Just too many times in a day we find ourselves pointing out flaws in others or ourselves. And it eats up at our reserves like nobody’s business. Now our energy is not like the cash in our wallets for us to actually realize how much of it we spend, where. What I mean is, we cannot really measure it all the time. We just waste it upon unnecessary obsessions and thoughts.

Be it tweets, status updates or captions…I find this collective sadness taking roots in everybody’s lives. One thing my Mother once said to me (when I was moping about my many troubles, haha) was:

We often don’t understand the difference between being in trouble and feeling troubled. Trouble itself can be simply set aside from our mind-track and we can make an attempt to rise above it and feel happy.

When we voluntarily choose to stay in that condition and feel angry, dissatisfied, unhappy, betrayed or whatever it is…we just manifest more of it and end up at a worse pedestal. Just set it aside and think around it. If its a solution you’re searching for, it’s probably just hanging there with your name written on a board, waiting to receive you. But instead of getting down the escalator and walking to the lobby with the luggage in your mind-airport, you decide to jump out of the window, instead. Boom.

Anger is a bitch. I couldn’t put it more subtly, I’m sorry. Somber and delicate are not my consistent virtues, I’m afraid. I state it raw and honest, for y(our) own good. What it does is, it blows up things out of proportions ….all in our heads…make us dive into an ocean of self-pity and everything that follows is disastrous if we cannot find a way out of it.

I’ll give you a simple anecdote, true nevertheless. Today after my folks left for work, I was busy making aloo paranthas for my Grandpa and when I’m cooking, I’m all over the place. Searching masalas, fetching utensils, whisking dry flour all over the place and God-knows-what-all…the point is…I have a perfect recollection of where things are in the kitchen after I leave.

And after breakfast when I returned to put away the dishes, I noticed an alien bowl of snacks lying around. My maid was there. And I asked her, ‘Did Rhea (my younger sister) leave this here?’

And she replied instantaneously, ‘It must have been her.’

Sadly, I remember seeing the unopened packet just minutes ago and contemplating whether or not eating a bit of it will make any changes in the weighing scale. And my Sister is not the snack-binging types. Not early in the morning at least. That’s more like me.

It stings when people lie to you. But I kept quiet and left. I could have reprimanded (not really, I’m a gentle person to everyone but my little sister :p ) the maid but I knew that its her little granddaughter’s last day here (the kid had been roaming the halls earlier today) and so she must have given it to her. Some of you may say it was wrong of her to open a new packet of snacks and use it. Oh, if this were to happen in the Downton Abbey… Good Lord, haha.

Sorry, what I mean is…its really okay sometimes. I mean, its just snacks. And we can only hope that’s the last of things our dear lady enjoys. All I know is, she aids Mum in the morning when Mum has to make food for the entire family and pack lunches, get ready for work, herself et all. And if my blaming the maid leads to her not coming to work anymore, that would be a disaster. And for such a small issue. Just forget it, sometimes.

Okay so my anecdote turned into a short story. The things is flaws are in all of us and we either fix them or live with them. Anger is a flaw, betrayal of trust is a flaw….actually their tendencies are. Not editing articles before publishing them, like me, is a major flaw. But you live with it if you don’t fix it.

So why not just make peace? Let go. Laugh at it and let it disappear. Be happy. Abundance is within your heart. You just have to make peace with yourself and your situations and love what is.

Arrividerci Amigos.

PS: Unruly mixing of languages is another mighty flaw. But that’s just me, *winks*



The Fault In Our Stars

As promised, here I am. As I write this, my mind is simultaneously trying to decide what today’s major topic (that could probably give you a buzz) should be. Whether to write about my recent love for Music for the Independent Soul or Shah Rukh Khan’s recent interview by Anupam Kher (whose work I love reading, myself) or about an impending trip to Andaman and my expectations from it (Summer love is definitely not one of them) or my recent experiments in the kitchen or Superwoman and Inkquisitive. Bah. 

Fault In Our Stars

If not twitter than the newspapers or some Nerdfighter in your neighborhood must have gushed to you about this or you may have read it on a Whatsapp status or seen it on a timeline. And wondering what this new ‘Okay? Okay.’ wave is all about. Well, if you do, kudos. And if you don’t….fret not.

So my school friends decided to have a little reunion which started with an early morning visit to the Marina Beach (longest beach in Asia) where we, besides clicking trillions of selfies as the trend is nowadays, had a crazy time playing with and in the water. I, for once, was not worried of drowning especially with my track record of being almost swallowed into the sea. Be it Mahabaliuram (Tamil Nadu) or Kovalam (Kerala). So you know why I’m a little apprehensive about the Andamans. Anyway, we did have a great time. Many sweet memories and good pictures. All was going well until the translucent crabs started appearing. After that it was all screaming and running. And rolling with laughter as we got attacked by sprinklers in the gardens.

Wet and sand-struck as we were, we decided to change and go for the Movies. Thankfully, my friend Jimmy, could get tickets for a Movie I was hankering to see since I first read John Green’s Paper Towns. My twitter feeds were flooded in praise of the movie and so was my weheartit and tumblr. And so, we went.


This is not your cliched romance flick. Nor the sob-sob flick. This is a gutsy, ironic, mad, beautiful and heart warming movie about two survivors and their respective battles in life and how they find each other and transform each other’s life. And oh Good Lord, none of those words can do justice to what I want to say.

Hazel Grace meets Gus at this Cancer-Survival Group that’s somewhat like a drug-rehab or Alcoholics Anonymous group. He’s down the moment their eyes meet. And he won’t stop looking at her. He doesn’t see her like the others do. He catches her attention with almost everything he did and oh, did he have peculiar antics. He’d press an unlit cigarette between his lips and act casually.

 “Its a metaphor, see: you put the killing thing right between your teeth but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”

One thing leads to another and they start exchanging music and books. A certain book that she’d asked him to read gets them both going crazy about it until they decide to go to Amsterdam to meet the Author to find out what happens to the character in the end as it’s ended abruptly. And their genies allow them to do so. The point is, their magical visit brings them closer. Until soon its time to say Good bye forever. But who says it to whom? 

Gus brought hope to Hazel’s life while she transformed his by making him realize what really matters.

The story shows you how fragile we all really are and what we choose to believe. What really matters and what we are running behind. And how beautiful and selfless love can really be without the mushy stuff that we are so used to reading and watching. 

Gus even has the cheek to make Hazel write a Eulogy for her. He is simply a honey-bear I’d hug if I ever found someone in real life. So much of cheer and hope…enough to free Hazel of her inhibitions. Charming.

The pain of letting go. The pain of accepting. The pain of love, in a way, as never explained before.

Personally, its shown me the depth of a relationship and what one should yearn for, in terms of love. So subtly, through jokes, anecdotes and simple gestures Green’s taught us all what we are capable of experiencing and expressing. An the beauty of it all.

This movie will leave you rethinking your relationships and probably your entire your life, if you allow it. And yes, the music is amazing. And so is the acting. Real mellow with worthwhile comedy and heart-breaking scenes.




The heat and sultry weather are two things Chennai assures you the moment you step into the city (Or out of the train/plane/bus/ship) but its Home to me, in a way and thus I actually said the words, ‘Mummy, I’m embracing the heat,’…much to her puzzlement as to what had gotten into me in the 6 hour-train journey from Bangalore to Namma Chennai.

To my misfortune, I was wearing a black puma hoodie and black pants (Bangalore Junction Station at 6AM is kinda chilly, you see) and the heat wave just caught me off-guard as soon as the Paati-ma (Old Lady/ Grandma) opened the train door.

Why? Just for some extra treat for your grey matter. I was wondering if they have a term for the door in trains. Apparently not. If I’m wrong, please do let me know.

I had to lug my suitcase (filled with books, I may add) upstairs…like some 3 flights of staircase…not cool and finally we reached the car. Okay no more travel details.

So basically the past two weeks have been pretty mundane. Of course, I’m relieved and relaxed now that I have no deadlines and cut-throat issues to deal with. But, staying at home has its own challenges. Especially if you’re a hostler and are too used to the ways of life of a single-roomer-dorm-student. Because folks like us have the dual benefit of privacy in a single room and all the hostel fun outside that door within the building with our friends. So, no eyes glued to any kind of gadget; no pajamas during the day, no-pant casual strolls within the room is banned, no late-nigh frolic, no secret hostel fun, no staying-without-showering; no skipping healthy-boring-food; no-watching-Korean-drama-endlessly; no-talking-in-geeky-GoT-Sherlock-Arrow-HOUSE-lingo and no walking around the place in socks and littering. On the brighter side…abundant funding, television, home cooked food, old friends (scanty this season because their college reopened); kids all over the place; liberty to experiment in the kitchen etc come with the word Home.

And then you get to tag along to high-teas, dine-outs at posh places and unlimited KFC (in my case none of the foodie privileges apply because I’m supposedly cutting-back).

Experimenting with vegan cooking and loving it. Made amazing sauteed soya chunks with onions and blah-blah for lunch the other day and it was so damn good you won’t believe me. But you must. I’m leaving you no option there. Started using this multi-grain bread with the grains actually sprouting out of it…flax and god-knows-what-seeds just stick out of the crust but it tastes palatable when toasted. 

Also Dosas (south-Indian Ground-rice-batter-fermented-with-a-pinch-of-salt) turn out crispy without the extra teaspoons-full of oil if your tawa or non-stick pan is hot enough (not to char it ,though)

My reading is going pretty well. You’d expect I’d say I’ve finally started Dickinson or Wodehouse but I meant I’m back on the Heroes of Olympus – Rick Riordan Series. Now, I’ve been following that Percy lad for far too long to just let the sequels disappear from my to-read list so I’m back o it after a hiatus of 3 years. Mark of Athena- half way through. Need to know how they put Mother Gaea back to sleep.

Also some other meaningful reading going on. And what else? I’m just waiting to clear up this attic of a brain of mine so I can begin something serious before its too late. 

Well, that’s that. Time to pack up and sleep. yet another Home thing this early-to-bed-early-to-rise thing is.