August 17, 2009


I woke up to the vibrating buzz from my phone. I was having a very interesting dream. The anchor had just announced my name and amidst thundering applause and a standing ovation, I was walking towards the stage to collect the National award for the best director (also my fifth award for the night).

“Paati Mob”, the screen screamed and I knew this was the real thing and smiled. The call got disconnected in three rings, the time it takes for my Paati (Grand mom) to realize her mistake and cut the call.

The scene began to change. I was smiling with pride and had reached the stage by then. Mani Ratnam was standing there with the award in his hand, he smiled as I approached. As I was about to put my hands out to collect the award, the phone in my jeans began to vibrate. Then it starts ringing again and the sound was resonating everywhere. The anchor was staring at me with her mouth wide open. I could hear Big B and Junior B sitting in the front row twitch and squirm in their seats and curse me for not keeping my phone on silent. And then it rang again. And again. Three rings and it got disconnected.

“Paati Mob”, the screen screamed and I knew this was the real thing and smiled. The call got disconnected in three rings, the time it takes for my Paati to realize her mistake and cut the call.

My Paati has a new mobile phone for the last four months. But she’s still trying to understand how it works. She had always been great with numbers. Be it the ones on her sudoku board or remembering phone numbers. She was good with statistics and scores of cricket matches too. In fact she learnt Hindi listening to the commentary on DD. Her understanding of Hindi numbers is better than most North Indians I know. I remember the time when she used to wake up at 4 in the morning to watch India play Australia in Australia. The match always started at an ungodly hour. She would be up and ready with her kaai- kari (vegetables) spread across in front of her while she settled down to watch the match right from the pitch report and toss. She knew for a fact that I would also be up to watch the game and immediately after the toss; she would call me (I lived in the next house). And would then discuss the strategy of the game and tell me her views on what the wicket looked like and what it might do for the team batting first. I would always tell her that she should have been the coach of the Indian team. Imagine a madisaar clad old lady sitting in the dressing room in front of a laptop making notes during a match. Now that would be a sight.

She loves her 7 children, 8 grand children and 3 great grand children. She is a Rock star. She sings like a dream. She distributes Gokulashtami Bhakshanams in a way that would put mathematicians and statisticians to shame. She loves her TV serials. She loves her cricket even if the match is between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. For the last four months, I wake up everyday to find a couple of missed calls and a few blank messages from her phone. My name is the first on her address book and she is yet to figure out how to use her phone. It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up to those. Brings a smile on my face.

Paati has a flair for languages. She speaks Tamil, Telugu, Hindi & English with absolute ease. She picked up Telugu from her neighbor in Karakpur. This little girl who stayed next to her house would drop by her house everyday after Thaatha left for work. I still remember the day when I brought my friend home and my paati’s eyes lit up when she knew she spoke Telugu. For the next half an hour the two of them were at it and paati was in full form. Even now she keeps asking me when I would get that friend home again.

There is so much more to my Paati. I could talk about how she religiously gets up in the morning and finishes up the Sudoku from every News Paper. The way she meticulously draws the boxes onto a sheet of paper before she begins to solve the puzzle, the way she makes her thakkali (tomato) rasam, the way she walks around her garden every evening and plucks the jasmine flowers, the way she counts them and walks over to my house to talk to her daughter (my mom) and proudly tell her the count, or the way she calls my mom if she is not in town to tell her about the flowers, the way she sits right in front of the TV so that she could listen to the dialogues better, the way her skin feels all wrinkled and soft, the way she spends time with her grand kids, the way she talks proudly about her grand kids to others.

To my Paati- the most amazing woman I have ever met.

“Paati Mob”, the screen screamed and I knew this was the real thing and smiled. The call got disconnected in three rings, the time it takes for my Paati to realize her mistake and cut the call.

August 05, 2009

Exploring possibilities

the music was blaring
it made him deaf
over and over
and over

movement, motion, kinetic
potential, position, promise
sacrifice, sanctity, salvation
over and over
and over

the hurdles in the prose
were making it difficult
but he was not going to
stop this rush that was
more than a suburban train

relax hold


understanding this ain’t
going to be easy as i
thought it would be
considering the fact that
i don’t know this at all


P:S Thanks so much for the inspiration Ranj. And I give full credit to you and you only for the italics idea.