Thursday, July 21, 2011

Names, Faces And Other Odds and Ends

Sixth standard. My sister and I had small chubby holes in the only cupboard at home. Hers was filled with bangles, earrings and necklaces, each in ordered sets that matched the various frocks she owned. Mine was a mess, Hotwheels cars, vying for space with springs, wires, bits of junk and broken down clocks. My favourite car and my fledgling collections of coins occupied pride of place in the farthest corner, away from prying hands that weren't mine.

Nearer to the opening of the hole were the odds and ends and the small box that held my proud collection of knick knacks. Coloured aquarium stones, pieces of glittering, coloured plastic that fell of my sister’s assortment of jewellery and a piece of glass crystal that had once adorned my mother’s necklace, now in my proud collection as the clasp had broken. I showed it off proudly to all who cared, claiming it was my diamond which I would sell once I became big and make lots of money. Lots and lots of money.

I saw her at church when I was in sixth. She was walking with her friends. laughing at something. I was with mine. I had a green grasshopper in my left and in my right I had the dried head of a a thistle that I was getting ready throw at my friend. There were already three sticking out of my t-shirt, stuck were they had landed after being launched by enemy hands. Only two of my thistle heads had managed to stick to Arun's t-shirt. I needed to land this if I had to draw the game. Still laughing she walked into the church. The grass hopper somehow wriggled free at that moment, i don't remember how I let go of it, and jumped onto the neck of one of the girls in front of me. In the ensuing confusion and the screaming (stupid girl), I lost sight of her and lost the game.

I got him the next Sunday, but I didn't see her again for some time until I saw her again at school, again hanging around with a few other girls. I knew the others. They were from the 7th standard. My cousin's friends. Seventh. A chechi. I dont know why it hurt, but it did. A dull ache somewhere in the region of my chest. It went away by the next PT period, when the first football rolled past me into the net I was protecting. I saw her two or three times after that. I never knew her name. But I think of her sometimes when I'm at that church or I see someone that resembles her. Not that I remember how she looked. I barely saw her for more than three minutes, in total. But I have a picture of her face somewhere in my mind. The face of my first crush. Well that’s what everybody says she was anyway.


High school was exciting in more ways than one. I wore trousers to school now. Not shorts. And I actually had to tie my tie. It was now a long piece of cloth and no longer the shorter version with clasps that you fastened around your neck. The residential address on my school hand book had changed, so I travelled by school bus. It was the time when I had just gotten over Pokemon tazoos that came free with Cheetos, but was still hooked to Pokemon, Digimon and Beyblade -the one where they battled with tops. Samurai Jack came and went, so did Dragon Ball Z. Batman became my favourite superhero. We get shuffled around after middle school. So I was in a whole new class with a lot of people I was barely acquainted with.

 She was there in class. I really liked the way she read out her 'My Summer Vacation' essay. She had a nice voice, clear and soft, and she read it with enough sing song in it to be cute without becoming irritating. And she was pretty, fair with a really nice smile. Long hair - not straight and sleek, not smooth and curly, but springy and thick. So much so that sometimes it looked like hay. But I liked it and she was pretty and I was not the only boy in class who thought so. There were others.

One of them was so obsessed that he once asked me if he could keep one of my Steadtler pencils as she used the same kind of pencils. Another of them had the audacity to 'propose' to her. In ninth standard. As one of my friends told me "Whaat da?. Loosu wonly. Does not know the difference between filums and real life" Apparently I did. I talked to her, every chance I got. I smiled with her, laughed with her but never in all the time I knew her did I ever give any inkling of how I felt. She is now my friend only on Facebook. Another name on my friends list under the heading School.


College was just like school. It was still school technically -  Pre-University College. The only saving grace being that there was no specific uniform. Just a strict dress code. A very strict dress code. And there were more people of my age in one place than I had ever seen before. My tastes for music changed. I started growing out of cartoons and growing into movies. I connected the ganja that I read about in the Crime section in newspapers with weed and pot. I went for tuitions and coaching classes like every other person I knew. I saw friends becoming ' we're together' and then becoming exes. I blew up test tubes in the lab and started checking out to-be juniors who queued up during admissions. I learnt how to headbang and sang Hey There Delilah at the top of my voice in class. I met a lot of people there.

I met her at a Rotary leadership camp. We became friends. She asked for my notepad during the second session. She wrote my name where it should have been, skipped the two pages where I had scribbled notes of the first and in neat, precise blocky handwriting took down notes. I don't remember what we did there at the camp. I remember her though, and the smile when she gave me back my notepad. She was from my college, studying two floors below mine. We hardly met again for the next two years. Every time we did though, she had a bright and bubbly 'Hi Jerin!' She is no longer in Bangalore, just like me.


I used to debate in school. And she was my partner for some of them. My opponent in others. My senior. She was pretty. Short frizzy hair and bright sparkling eyes. She always got into fights during debates and with teachers in class. Tough as nails. My senior again in college. She asked me if I wanted a partner for the debates there. I already had one.  By the end of the year though, we had hosted two programmes together. She came to me one day, a month before she passed out , with a thank you card and nice letter. She said I was one the best friends she had and she thanked me for being there.

On their last day, everyone went around taking pictures with everyone else. Towards the end of the lunch break, she came up to my class. She looked resplendent in a creamy white saree. She asked me for a picture with the two of us. My friend had the camera. We stood next to each other. Smiling. I brought my arm up to put it around her. She did the same. We hesitated, looked at each other, laughed and went ahead with it. That evening on the bus back home, I thought about a debate in school when we sat together in the audience, laughing at the different teams that came up on stage. Until it was our turn.


College was very different from junior college. Getting used to washing my own clothes and watching three hundred episodes of One Piece. Playing Age of Empires for five hours straight. Getting wet in the rain at one in the morning and watching the sunrise at five, savouring the warmth of the first rays while standing knee deep in frigid, sandy waters.

She was there at college, she smiled, every time. I smiled every time I saw her too until one day I saw her with another guy.

She was from out of town. We went to get a burger. She asked me if I wanted some ketchup. Before I finished saying 'Yes please', she dumped half a bottle of chilli sauce onto mine and ran away smiling mischievously. She went home that night. It was one thousand eight hundred kilometres away from the place where I stood and said goodbye.


We were surprised to see each other during summer. It was at an event at junior college, a year after we had passed out. We had worked together, had known each other for three years. She was tall, willowy, bright and cheerful. We exchanged numbers. She called me the next day. Told me she was angry with her dad and didn't know who to talk to. We talked. She laughed. I laughed along. We texted regularly for three weeks. I told her that I was coming to a book shop near her place. Would she be free the next day? She said she had an exam. Okay. I’ll see you some other time then. Good night. I'll talk to you later. Two hours later, she sends me a message telling me she has to buy a birthday gift for her boyfriend.


During my summer vacations I went for yoga classes with my dad. We woke up at quarter to six, reached the place at six thirty and in a room full of middle aged women trying to lose weight, my dad and I learnt yoga. The class would get over by eight and we would stop for breakfast at one of two places. Our usual stop was the Udupi Sagar near the Tanishq at Jayanagar. There I would gorge on idly vada soaked in hot spicy sambar while listening to distinguished old men in shorts and t-shirts debating politics and sipping hot filter coffee after their morning walk. If Udupi was too crowded or we felt like we needed a change, we would go to the Davangere Benne Dose down the same road. It is a small eatery where I would treat myself to the benne dose or the benne masala dose, dripping with butter, with very spicy coconut chutney on the side.

She stood at the bus stop in front of Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. She was thin, with shoulder length hair. Dressed in a salwar kameez, with a bag hanging off her shoulder and earphones plugged into her ears, she would stand there with her arms folded, waiting for the bus. She looked frail, but pretty in an anaemic sort of way. I would slow down and take a little longer to finish my coffee if we were a little early, and renounce coffee altogether if we were late, just to catch a glimpse of her. I would enter the car after draining the coffee, switch on the radio and tune it to Radio Indigo, and wait for the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital to appear on my right.  Sometimes, she would not be there and I would curse the guy who took the last idly, making me wait for the fresh batch. Other times we would reach there as the bus pulled away and I would watch the end of an orange duppatta disappear into the bus before the doors gave a banal hiss and hid her from me.

I wondered one day what it would have been like if we were studying together. Would it have led to something?

Yeah right.

*chechi - elder sister, Malayalam
*those of you who don't know what the rest of the words in italics are - Shame on you. Go Google/Wiki them.

This post is inspired by true events. Any similarity to people dead or alive is probably intended. If anything in this post has offended someone, please let me know. This series of unfortunate events has also spawned another post, Rocket Science. Do read and comment. One last disclaimer. I do not stop and stare. But I do appreciate beauty. And not in any way that offends anyone.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you're just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.

 Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There's the little empty pain of leaving something behind—graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There's the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There's the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn't give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn. There's the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.

 And if you're very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realize that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last—and yet will remain with you for life.

 Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don't feel it.

 Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it's a big part, and sometimes it isn't, but either way, it's part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you're alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.

                                                           - Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden,
                                                             Jim Butcher, White Night 
                                                             Book 9 of the Dresden Files


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Grandpa Tree

Winter mornings in Bangalore are quite cold. Not cold as in ice-cream freezer cold. But cold enough to make you wish for an extra layer of clothing inspite of wearing a halfsleeve woollen sweater over the white and blue school uniform. At least makes you hope you had a full sleeve sweater instead. But knowing fully well that I looked better in the one I was wearing currently, I would scrunch up my face and brave the chill with a big wide smile. Better to suffer a few hours of feeling a little colder if it avoids having to wear a drab blue monstrosity of a sack with two sleeves.

    But then huddled together with fellow travellers on the road to Christ School, in a bus filled to the brim in white shirts, navy blue ties, navy blue trousers, navy blue sweaters and black shoes with matching navy blue socks is quite warm. Not black socks mind you. Black or white or any other colour (Pink!! God forbid) earns you a telling off from the PT master. So in a bus filled with all assortments of blue and white clothes and people wearing them, I would sit bundled into a seat for two seating five. Around me, as the puttani* girls played some game where they sang some song and flapped their arms about a lot and the peekiri* guys played hand cricket and rolled around in the seat when one of them lost, the older kids learnt poems byheart, filled out handwriting books, read for a class test, or like me, lazy bum that I am, stared out the window.

    I was not ogling at girls. Let me make that clear. Like I said its too cold for anyone to be about unless they are all bundled up. And anyway, I was just a kid of 13 years. Poor innocent me. I was just drinking in the sight of Bangalore waking up. One of the things that I would wait for though, was the sight of the Silk Board flyover bathed in mist. Bangalore does not have fog. It has mist, thick and heavy in winter. Its like the whole world has been painted white with shadows appearing out of nowhere right next to you. The sight of the flyover bathed in mist on a morning like that is quite beautiful.

    To the left is the Central Silk Board with several silver oaks peeping through the mist. To the right though is a tree that has fascinated me since I saw it for the first time. The grandpa tree. There are a lot of trees in the vicinity of the flyover, especially in that big plot in the corner where Sarjapur Road meets Hosur Road. No it’s not on the side which has the huge open drain. Its on the other side. In the days when we used to go to school, that plot had a pond in it and in an outcropping into the pond was this big old dying tree. On eerie winter mornings, it looked like a thin emaciated hand clutching at the veils shrouding it, a dark spectral shadow we saw through the mist. It presented a different story though when we came back home all sweaty and tired after a day at school. A tree with bare, dark and gnarled branches spread out and a bit of foliage at the top. Looking like a comical old umbrella that has seen too many storms; tattered and torn with bits of cloth hanging to the stained frame.

    On clear sunny mornings, the sky over the flyover would be dotted with large numbers of birds, Black kites and eagles gliding along high in the sky or diving down on each other while crows wheeled about cawing their displeasure about the presence of these predators so close to their nests. It was not an uncommon sight to see these majestic birds being chased away by a couple of very agitated crows. The grandpa tree on the pond was one sight I looked forward to seeing on such days because Brahminy Kites usually roost on these trees and It was such a beautiful sight to see them. Brown with a white head and breast, they sat serenely upon the dark boughs of the tree; some preening themselves slowly or others just sitting. I always thought they were enjoying the fresh morning air while it lasted before going out to begin the day’s laborious flight.

Seeing these ‘White Headed Eagles’ as I called them at the time usually made my mornings all the more brighter. I had this theory that if I didn’t get to see them in the morning, then something bad would happen in school. And it inevitably would. I also thought that the more of them I saw, the better the day would be. So when the bus began the slow climb up the flyover, I would football tackle anyone who stood between me and a clear look out the window and when I saw atleast five of them, I knew that the day would be perfect. Of course, it never worked out that way, but seeing them in the morning made me feel so good, that I was ready to take on anything and even if I did forget the Kannada homework that day, it didn’t make me feel all that bad.

    I resolved then that once I became a big man and had lots of money, I would buy that plot from whomsoever it belonged to and ensure that that pond and the tree remained like that without being marred by the next multi-storeyed corporate monstrosity. During my years in Christ Junior College, I could not take the liberty of football tackling random people on the BMTC bus, so I became content with the brief glimpses I got when I managed to get a window seat. Moreover, I was in college now, studying science and going to become a doctor or an engineer, I knew kites could never influence how my day went. But still it was with growing sadness I saw the pond getting choked by weeds. After a year came the lorries with their loads of mud. The pond was covered up with soil and fearing the worst I started forcing myself to stop turning around to look at the tree. By then the only sign of life on the tree were the kites roosting on it. So gradually, like the rest of my school days it got stacked into a shelf in my mind, dusted off and taken out once in a while when I felt like going back to school again.

    Last week, sitting on a near empty Volvo bus on my way to watch Transformers 3, I was as usual staring out the window. I noticed the plot again. It was almost the same. No corporate monstrosity had come up and the red mud that had buried the pond now sprouted a couple of year’s worth of undergrowth. The trees were still there and were all green and fresh after two days of rain. The grandpa tree though was no longer there. I don’t know what happened to it. It was just not there. There was a space there, a patch of blue sky speckled with rainy grey. When I came that way again the next morning, I looked again, just to make sure. The new patch of sky was still there. The eagles and kites were still gliding around the open drainand there was a lot more cawing than I remembered. The Brahminy were also still there roosting on the silver oaks at CSB. My tree wasn't.

*peekiri - tiny in malayalam
*puttani - tiny in kannada
And yes, I love the word monstrosity

(It turns out it was not just me who told fortunes basing on the Brahminy Kite. Google tells me that this kite is the Bird-God of War for the Iban of Malaysia. The Brahminy Kite's presence is an omen to guide them in major decisions such as warfare and house building. For those who want to know more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


  I shall be very frank. I wanted to write this post because then, in my list of posts, this post would appear as  'Tatteredemalion by Tatteredemalion.' I like the sound of that. Oh don't worry, I'm not a pretentious, self obsessed wierdo. Well no one has said anything to that effect to me at least. This is not an autobiography. I don't think I'll qualify as autobiographical material. I haven't come on TV. My story is not a particularly inspiring one. Unless this blog inspires someone to invent a virus that hacks into nonsensical blogs and hits delete. Nor do I  have any scandalous insights into the lives of someone famous that I can use to sell my life story. Well, not yet anyway.

This post is about a series of books wrtten by Chris Wooding and titled Broken Sky. The story focuses on twins, Kia and Ryushi, whose idyllic life is shattered when their village is destroyed by the forces of their king. Then it has follows the usual hero and heroine joining the rebels to destroy the evil king. But the twist here is that the king, Macaan rules two worlds and not just their own. And of course, since its fantasy and has to involve special powers, the people in their world have access to spirit stones, which when augmented into a persons body, gives him or her the power to manipulate nature, heal sicknesses, or augment skills - depending on the colour of the stones.

The two worlds, Kirin Taq and the Dominions have only one link bonding them - the Resonants. They are people with the ability to shift across the boundary between the worlds. The name 'Broken Sky' comes from the myth which says that both worlds were once one before the sky was split and they became two. Macaan maintains his iron fisted rule with the help of his army and his secret police, the Jachyra. They are former Resonants who have been forcibly augmented with technology, distorting their power. Though they are now extremely fast and agile killing macines, they cannot travel between worlds anymore; but now have the abilty to travel between mirrors. Yeah, i know, pretty stupid, but its kind of cool too. This allows them to effectively spy for Macaan from any reflective surface.

Tatteredemalion is the head of the Jachyra. His identity before the change is never revealed in the books. What we do know is that the Jachyra hate Macaan for what he did to them, stripping away their humanity and turning them into machines. But to ensure their loyalty and of every other subordinate in his employ, Macaan has implanted a certain type of spirit stone in each of them, that is attuned to a trigger stone set in his forehead. This enables him to kill any one of them or everyone of them with a single thought. Inspite of this, Tatteredemalion joins forces with the rebels in the end, even faking his own death to fool Macaan.

He convinces his fellow Jachyra to join him and aids the rebels in the final battle, only to die. No blaze of glory, no valiant last stand, no fighting off a hundred foes, no taking a bullet for love and honour. One minute he was alive and the other minute dead and noone even notices his death because its so sudden and quiet. One of the bravest people in the entire series and he dies for nothing except a token display of defiance.

I read this series in classes four, five and six. I really enjoyed it, desperately searching through the endless multicolured tomes in the school library trying to find the next book. Small books, the size of your typical Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, with a lot more to it than many of the modern fantasy, thriller series. My favourite charecter, by the end was Tatteredmallion. Even after he died and the world was saved, I just could not get him out of my mind. He was one of the bad guys till the very end, but I felt he deserved much more. From what is quite obvious in the book, from the way Macaan is killed in the end, it was a hair's breadth of a win for a good guys. The Jachyra being with them didn't help them very much. But their absence from his side definitely hurt Macaan.

And if they had been with him, and he had won, obviously there would have been no fulfilling end to the story and this post would never have happened, but they would have remained as some of the most powerful and feared entities in their worlds. But instead, they renounced it all and turned against their master for nothing to look forward to except death. Nothing else awaited them. How do you take such a decision? How can you give up everything you have for a cause when you know that when you start fighting, all that will happen is that you will keel over and die. And even if by some Jupiter sized quirk of fate they did live through it, what is it they had to look forward to. Reviled and hated by the people, they were the beasts and monsters that haunted tales told by mothers to scare children into obeying them. Less than human and no more than animated machines, they would have been shunned and stoned by the very people who they helped. Is it worth dying for this. To be abandoned on the field of battle, lying in the corner of a room, forgotten by all except a one character - a traitor and a scoundrel - who says "I kinda liked that Tatteredemalion guy."

Tatteredemalion did that. And he was one of my biggest childhood heroes. Everytime I come to a situation where I have to either do something very tough or take the easy way out, I think of Tatteredemalion. I dont always do the right thing. Atleast, when I think of it, I am shamed into accepting that a lesser than human mechanical assasin turned out to be better at this than me. Someday, maybe I will get the courage to become idealistic again. Someday, maybe I can go back to adoring Tatteredemalion and believing I can take decisions like that too. Someday, maybe I can stop stop hiding behind his name and actually do something like he did because I believed in something.

But not today. Today I tell myself I'm a fool to try and emulate a figment of someone's imagination. I tell myself that I'm not acting my age, that I need to grow up and start thinking like the 20 year old I am. Today I tell myself the real world has no place for idealism; that it too lies dead and forgotten in the corner of a room. Today I shall go to bed thinking why I cant go back to being 11 years old.

(Btw a tatterdemalion is a child  or a tramp wearing tattered or ragged clothing. Kind of fitting as all the Jachyra wear rags. And if you are curious, he's the little blue guy with the red eye on the cover of book #2 in the picture above)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Egg and Cheese Sandwich

I have read several blogs where the blogger goes "Its been a long time since I posted...". I've always wondered why. But the answer came to me today in a blaze of self realization. Its been a long time since I posted. Three drafts. Each with a couple of lines. This has been the state of my blog since December of last year.In my defense, I could say that I was part of three plays this year and all of my creative juices were spent on those productions. Or I could just accept the fact that I was plain lazy.

So I opened my blog the other day and checked on the drafts that have been waiting for me for several months. All of them are quite interesting. Brimming with a potential that rivalled all of my other posts. The first brush strokes of a collection of masterpieces. And so I chucked them and sat staring at a fresh page and listening to Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield.

And I sat and sat. I wanted something special. Something that captured who I really was. Dealing with my identity and conflict. I wanted slices of human life and I wanted to represent them in ways that brought out the different shades in human beings. I discarded the IPL finals where Bangalore put up a miserable effort. I chucked the Lokpal movement because I wanted the identity thingy to be there. I put the fact that i had learnt to make burnt egg and Amul cheese sandwiches in the garbage bin. But reserved a spot for it when I learnt to make chicken biriyani. I stoppered my rising outrage at the fact that PVR charges Rs 90 for tickets in the morning whle its 240 bucks in the night and decided it definitely was not a good topic. Makes me think Chennai is a better city after all with CSK and Sathyam Theatres. Then I struck upon the idea of writing about Chennai and how beautiful it is. But then i decided against it considering the anti-Chennai feel among my friends after the defeat on Saturday. I mean, I'd rather get beaten up because of something more fulfilling than a blog post. An anti-government protest march for my rights or a mass movement against environmental degradation or maybe a mass burning of Twilight books. Yeah blog post on Chennai out.

And so I decided to post about the most excited thing that happened in Bangalore after I came home this month. The election results were very very exciting and was in tough contention with the fact that I had a blast at my cousins wedding. But then the whole hullabolla about the guv's decision to impose pesidents rule made me ponder whether to write about Center - State relations in India, especially after the Indian Constitution course last sem. But then suddenly I remembered that Osama was dead. Of course that was not in Bangalore. But heck its a global village and I am definitely thrilled about the never before seen super stealthy, super secret super helo that the commandos used to sneak in and out of Pakistan. Made me believe in Bollywood movies agian. Wonder whether he  laughed at the US soldiers who trained Pak soldiers outside his house. But then again, I can't claim it changed or challenged my idea of my identity. Just made me question the identity of the people living next door.

And then realisation struck me a second time. Edison's bulb flickered alive after a long period of 5 months with 'An Idea'. I should change it to a Havells bulb. Have you seen the ad where all the bulbs turn on together at the preset time. Really cool. Maybe the one above my head will keep turning on every day at 6 or something.

See three paragraphs into this post, my sister came in and applied Iodex on my shoulder and thats when the idea struck me. What happened to my shoulder? Thats what my post is about silly!

Three weeks into coming home, I had an intense urge to eat egg and cheese sandwich. A quick look around the kitchen revealed the disappointing news that there was no cheese or bread at home. And so I trotted down to the supemarket down the road to buy cheese, sandwich bread and pack of mango flavured Amul icecream (for the heck of it). Its not exactly a Reliance Fresh kind of super market. Just an extra big provision store with a couple of ailes with stuff stuffed into the shelves. No lines and long billing queues. The guy who helped you find where the papad was will bill the entire thing while chatting with you about the weather and what you had for lunch and take the cash and bid you a nice goodbye.

And so I was walking down the main road thinking that the retail scene in India has not entirely gone to the cold freezers of Reliance Fresh and Namdharis when something bowled into me from behind. Well not into me exactly. and no one bowled a motorbike at me. The front wheel of a blue coloured bike crashed into my right leg and spun me around in the air for about 3 seconds (plus or minus a couple of seconds) and sent me crashing to the ground and the next thing I know I'm lying on the ground looking up at the sky. I dont remember whether the sky was light blue or dark blue, or whether the clouds were wispy or looked like the dome of the Sistine chapel. The next to next thing I know, I'm picking up my shopping and dusting off my leg which scraped against the wheel of the bike while the three (THREE!!) guys on the bike kept shouting at me about walking in the middle of the road. I was walking on the side. I swear. That was adding insult to injury wasn't it, so i shouted back in garbled Kannada while he tried to salvage what he could of his rear view mirror. And then random strangers began joining the conversation. Since I was the victime here, they asked me if i was alright and to my great satisfaction berated the motorists. I said I was okay and that my house was right around the corner, picked up the groceries and went home. I washed off the scrapes with Dettol and ate the egg and cheese sandwich that my mom made while watching Karate Kid on Pix. Bill Smith's kid sure can act!

Oh and read the Dresden Files. Makes for better reading than this. Guess its too late now though.