Monday, December 10

Anniversary Time! Whoo hoo!

It's my Bloggy Birth Month. My blog is Capricornian. How awesomely perfect is that? I have to admit I feel a little guilty. I have (and there's no nice way to see it) neglected the Flaffster. Left him cold and dry. Dropped him like a hot potato, in fact. I am overcome with remorse. But, on the bright side, my life is so fun right now. And blogs are a girl's best friend. They're supposed to be dumped on and then forgotten. The next time I'm at home on a weeknight, trying to avoid school work, with noone to talk to (cos nobody loves me, I'm nobody's child) I'll just come right back and dump some more. I'll make up more ridiculous stories. I'll even write more theory posts (talking about which, I have a great new theory on How so many Grad Students have Issues). I'll complete that Grad School Freak Show thing. I'll go back and read up all the old posts on my favorite blogs (by which I mean yours, half pint). And I'll comment obsessively and contentlessly on every single one of them. But till then, people, be patient. Show kindness. Love me.

Sunday, December 2

It's that time of the Year

There is no need to get flustered, dearhearts, because Flaffy hasn't disappeared. Flaffy has just temporarily gone on a Real Life Binge (where she picked up this ridiculous habit of referring to herself as Flaffy). The thing about this whole Real Life deal is that it has consequences. Because there's all these Real People and they have Real Feelings. It isn't like being here. Where anything goes, because when it comes down to it, you can always cut and run. If you think someone's getting too close, or crowding you or rushing in where angels fear to tread you needn't reply to their comments/messages/e-mails. You can just pretend they don't exist and voila they will disappear. At least they will, eventually. If they're not really psycho stalkers. And as y'all know this blog never attracts psycho stalkers. Ever!

Maybe that's the difference between the internet and real life. The internet's so much more convenient. It has built-in safeguards. And sometimes those safeguards themselves can make you do stupid things, say stupid things or be stupid things but still at the end of it, those safeguards will still be there (unless you're abysmally stupid and take it off line). I don't know (have you noticed how so many of my posts are about me explaining how i don't know the answer to almost every question in the universe? seems to me to be a recurring theme). I don't think that the internet's helpful in bettering social skills, it's a lukewarm medium of communication and at best a means of sporadically keeping in touch with people you don't really care about with as little investment of time and energy as possible. But I do think it's a lovely place to pretend that life has no consequences. Just when you need a break. Like the Bahamas.

Since it's that time of the year when we talk vacation, I thought I should put this out there. An advance Christmas thing. Hope it helps (especially all of you who get exactly two days off for Christmas unlike some of us who get a month off - just saying).

Saturday, November 24

Another Theory Flash

Noone who has the capability or best fit to be in grad school would want to go into military training. Not just because war is clearly an archaic monstrosity that should have been abolished by now, but also because a person who has the mind of a prospective PhD candidate would pose too many questions to be a propah militant.

My sample size this time is a little bigger than my last theory-flash (where n=1), so I await reprisal with a quiet, optimistic confidence.

Saturday, November 17

Theory Flash

As y'all are well aware, I hate being controversial. But still. Theories have to be given their turn in the spotlight. So.

Two things men think with: one, everyone knows, well established fact and whatnot. Two, their feet. This is why (one figures) men don't normally think about much when they run (except hot chicks if they see any - which further proves theory and acts as corollary). And this is also why, conversely, women think a lot when they run. Cos women use only their brains to think.

What dya guys think? Do I have bases covered?

Sunday, November 11

A Who's Who of Freaksville - 1

"Ooh there'll be extremely intelligent people here", I thought. "No more having to be bored during conversations so retarded that you want to claw your own eyes out with your bare hands", I thought. I even might have chuckled a little bit and rubbed my hands together (or not. but I could have). But this was three months back (or was it four?). Now, one term and a half later, numerous tests under my belt, jaded, weary and this close to being cynical, I have had to face up to the truth.

Grad school is nothing but one big, fat romp of a freak show. Freaks apparently abound in the corridors, pop out of fountains and lurk under the trees. There are (to be completely candid and scientifically detached about it) different levels of freakishness. Some are just severely socially retarded. Some are borderline normal (if you met them on the road you might even think "Awww how cute" and smile at them (but be warned. this is dangerous. hungry grad students should not be petted or smiled at. and all grad students are by definition hungry), or casually say "Have a good one" - shudder). And if you closed your eyes and pretended you were an arts major you might even believe they're normal (you'd have to close your eyes really tight, though).

I feel, you, my blogging public, requires a revue of these weirdos that populate my world (only for your own good, because I'm noble and selfless, not because I want to rant. the idea!). So, part 1 of the Who's Who of Freaksville. I introduce the One Who Scares Me (aka Nice Guy).

He is a nice guy. This is true. One of the nicest guys in class. One of the nicest guys I've met. Even, I'd go so far as to say (staking my integrity on this) that he's probably one of the nicest guys in the world. But people, people, a walking social disaster. It's not the sweatshirt that he's owned since the beginning of time and which smells distinctly of mothballs and some unidentified odor that I quail to investigate. It's not the unkempt hair which has seen neither scissors nor comb since it first sprouted out from the baby boy's bald head. Not even the mewing (he mews, apropos of nothing - which at least is normal because what could mewing be apropos of anyway unless you were talking to cats in an alley, behind a trash can) which is very unpredictable and can take you by surprise if you don't see it coming. I'd even go so far as to say it isn't the knocking over, tripping on, flailing hands into everything within a ten meter radius of Nice Guy. Lots of us sit at a coffee table and immediately knock over one glass of water, one cup of coffee, a chair and a newspaper in quick succession with fatal efficiency (well, not really, but maybe if you had some involuntary muscular contraction thing happening - one does not mock physical disabilities on this blog - ever). No, it's none of these things.

What it is, is the incessant, furious typing in class (furious as in the professors sometimes have to positively yell into their microphones to make themselves heard over the racket he makes), the ear phones in his ear playing music so loud that people 3 rows below and 3 rows above in a ten-seat-on-either-side bloc can hear Mana singing Perdito (I used to quite like the song. sigh) and worst of all his belief that everyone else is similarly endowed with blaring music and ergo, his screaming (yes, actual screaming) of comments about the lecture to the people sitting next to him, complacent in the belief that noone can hear him because (wait for it) he can't.

Once, I sat next to him. Never again. At one point the professor shone his laser beam at us and made comments about the 'bearded gentleman in the back who is typing what I'm sure are my lecture notes, furiously' (true story). I thought I'd die of sheer embarrassment (at least I hoped fervently I would) while Nice Guy through all of it (it felt like a lifetime, I'm reliably informed it was 20 seconds) didn't notice that the professor was highlighting his forehead with a red dot.

Course he didn't notice (what was I thinking). I fear I cannot get out of grad school unscathed. Really. A deep, disemboweling fear. Wait for the next parts. You haven't heard nothing yet. This should have been a Halloween launch (in all fairness to the grand tradition of Halloween) but I was battling with my fears about then (and visiting various shrinks for help, dear god). So, think of it as an honorary Halloween launch. We'll just have a Halloween party all by ourselves. Bring the punch, I'll bring the gossip.

Thursday, November 8

It's Called English, Pliss to Learn to Spikk it

There are many meanings for the word squeamish. I don't know how many of you know this (or care) but squeamish not only means that you are the sort who gets sick at the sight of bloody intestines on the road, it also means that you are excessively fastidious. Excessively. Which is why when I say stop being squeamish, you listen to me and stop being an idiot. Not tell me that I'm using the word wrong and I'm a dork (which I'm not. i have character witnesses ready to take the stand at a moment's notice). Or wait maybe, maybe you just do what I ask you to in the first place and then I wouldn't have to use the word squeamish and we wouldn't be having this conversation. I say come sit with us, and you come sit with us. Simple, no? What is this business of oh, someone else is already sitting next to you. What are you, the Queen of Sheba (or in this case the King. Who was the King of Sheba anyway, and whatever happened to the chappie?)? When you then make a fuss about it and say you can't kick someone off their seat and whatever other rot you happen to be thinking at the moment (I didn't ask you for your opinion, which you would know if you were listening to me, which you clearly were not), and then I accuse you of being squeamish, have the grace to admit, accept and move on.

Dork, he says. Idiot.

Tuesday, November 6


I can see why you'd want to clean your gun in school. If I stretch my imagination. Maybe you're one of those people who are anal. You didn't have time to do it this morning so you brought it along to school, took it to a classroom, spread your stuff around and cleaned it. Decided to take a coffee break and left everything behind, ended up forgetting about it. Maybe. It could happen.

I can even see how someone would do it as a hoax. Maybe to get out of a test, a committee meeting, a conference, a meeting with a particularly obnoxious PI. You bring just the cleaning kit and the empty shell box, arrange it on the desk in one of the classrooms. You sneak away. Someone will eventually find it and there, problem solved.

If I try really hard, I can see someone deciding to kill themselves. You have OCD. You need the gun to be clean before you can use it. So you sneak it into school, find an empty classroom, clean it, leave the cleaning stuff behind (it seems pointless to lug it along with you), find an empty toilet stall, lock yourself in and shoot yourself. Maybe a med student who failed a year.

But I have to actually attempt an out-of-body imaginative exploratory venture to see why someone would want to shoot random people down. You're not happy with your life, so you decide to clean a gun, load it and kill a bunch of people you don't know from Adam? Go figure.

Sunday, November 4

Another Sunday by the Pool

There was a garden lizard at the bottom of the pool. Quite, quite dead. And had been for a while by the look of it. The death of a lizard is a puzzling event. Should one feel sorry, solemn, maybe even a little grave? Or is it an incident that doesn't concern one? Should it just be shrugged off and forgotten? After all, it's just a little reptile. There are tons of them around. It's not like they're an endangered specie that you'd have to care about and show appropriate feeling for. Nor are they filled with fragile beauty (a herpetologist might disagree but whatever).

I stared at it for quite a while because I didn't know what to think (isn't it unsettling when that happens? I can deal with the whole thinking one thing, then the other and having a raging argument in my head thing but the sohowexactlydoireacttothis feeling is one I loathe).

I fished it out in the end. Trekked to the security guard office, got a fishnet from the maintenance man, waded into the pool and fished it out. This is going to sound peculiar but I followed that noble gesture by burying it. Somehow the thought of just throwing it into the bushes where ants would swarm around it and maggots grow out of it didn't seem right. These lizards (the American ones, I mean) are so fat and disgustingly well grown. Alive, they frighten me but dead like this one, I feel sorry for them. So stupid.

Why would you jump into a pool full of chlorine when you labor under the weight of a body that cannot adapt. When you're pampered from birth with everything you need, the sudden appearance of a chlorinated pool in your path does nothing other than invite you to take a refreshing dip. Nothing wrong with that. Try it out, be adventurous you think to yourself. But then you end up dead at the bottom of a pool. Because adaptation is a skill. And the only way you can acquire it is to be up against a wall. It just can't be inherited or bequeathed or bought. It has to be earned the hardest way there is. Mostly, by death.

An Indian lizard, one feels, would definitely have jumped into the pool. But then, an Indian lizard would not have flinched at the chlorine. An Indian lizard would not have ended up at the bottom of the pool. Toxic schmoxic, it would have thought and swum right along.

I think that's why I buried it. I might have some deeply hidden guilt for the unadapted ones. I just might.

And *ta da* this is the 150th post. Who'd have thought.

Thursday, November 1

He Ate a Slice of Wonderbread

Isn't it weird the number of things we forget? I figure if we count the number of things we've forgotten (which of course, logistically, we wouldn't be able to), we'd find that they far, far outweigh the things we remember. It doesn't even seem biased towards happy things. Right? We forget with equal frequency sad things, happy things, important things, trivial things.

One of the oldest memories I have is of walking in circles on a tire that had fallen over on its side in my school play ground. With this other boy from my class (I don't even remember his name). It was a 15 minute break between classes. We didn't talk. At all. The whole time. We just balanced on that tire for 15 minutes (it was a large tire, I think from the school bus, we both could walk on it at the same time, easy). I can remember that 15 minutes of my life in graphic detail down to the grains of sand around the tire. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Obviously. For whatever reason. But that's it. That's my enduring memory from something like the first ten years of my life. Neat, no?

I remember my first kiss. Also in graphic detail (but it's not because it was perfect-which it was- because I also remember some awful kisses - the sloppy kind, eww- and it's not just because it was a kiss (I'm sure I've forgotten quite a few)). I remember everyone in my high school class hitting this fat kid (not really hitting, but kinda fooling around with her). I walk up to her and go "Are you ok?" and she bursts into tears and when the biology lady comes into class all concern, promptly accuses me of bullying her (you can see why I'd remember that, my first taste of the injustice that is life). Several dramatic things happened in my life around the time. And either my folks or my friends from back then are forever going "Dya remember.." and I invariably go "Nuh-uh, I don't. What did he do again?"

After that it only got worse. Those were the good years, memory-wise. Maybe as you get older, things just run into each other. You don't know if you went to that really cool taco place at 4 in the morning this weekend or last weekend or maybe last year. Where A threw up. Remember? Oh no wait wasn't it M who threw up and then S carried her home? And wasn't that in UK?

Memory cues still work. But again for the most random things. I associate This is the Last Time with a snowy Saturday morning that I spent in my dorm room (dreadfully depressing) sitting on my windowsill. That's it. The whole story. Nothing happened. Noone came. The cute Brit boy whose window opened out on the opposite side of the square from mine didn't stick his head out the window and wave. The carpet lady didn't dust her carpet out into the square. Nothing. Just me, the snow, the windowsill and the radio.

The point though (should I write this in bold for all of you who skipped the last two paras?) is that we do remember life lessons, by and large. Maybe the human brain is wired to forget details (like names and places and people and bfs and bffs and phone numbers and the time you thought you'd die because you were so embarrassed and could never show your face in school again) but to remember the big picture. The thoughts, the theories, the major mistakes and why it's important to drink tons of water when you're six vodka martinis down, they stay. Could that be the way it works? Maybe not. Because I know lots of people who do remember the details, every last one. Is it a question of recycling? Maybe, if you have a job that makes you think a lot your brain accommodates by letting you clear up headspace. Maybe this is the difference between thinkers and doers. The thinkers forget and the doers don't.

I don't know the answer. I do know, however, that the most persistent guilt I have is the one associated with not remembering people who were really important to me at some point in my life. Or only vaguely remembering them. Or remembering them but not remembering why I do. This, I know (and yes, I am also aware of the random youtubing in this post - I have three words for you: It Was Fun). The cure, for the curious and the similarly afflicted, is to abase yourself at the altar of their injured expressions with disarmingly candid admissions of ignorance. Always works. And once they remind you, you generally tend to remember.

Reconstruction is a marvelous thing.

Tuesday, October 30

When You're Back, You're Back

There are times when you hit peculiar patches. Lots of things seem to happen in a rush and then all of a sudden, nothing. Standstill. Halt. And just as you get used to the peace and the quiet, it starts up again. Like a runaway horse down a mountain slope, eyes rolling, tail flying, frothing at the mouth. In a single day, there's good news, there's bad news, there's good news that seemed like bad news but later resolved itself into good news, there's news you just don't know what to do with. The works. You tend to work around it, though. These peculiar patches. Learn to stand still at a point and refuse to move until things sort themselves out because otherwise you're just going to go stark raving mad. This is good, right? Everyone needs those standpoints. I think.

Some of us find other ways around it. A routine, a habit, a schedule, anything that gives structure to the chaos. Some time during the day when you can just stop thinking, shut it all off. Not 'me time' because that would involve thinking about you. But just 'not-thinking time'. We are the lucky ones, no? The ones who can do this? The ones who've found the yellow, brick road.

The thing about yellow, brick roads though, is that there is a certain problem. They invariably lead you to a place that never was. And then what do you do? You think you have it figured out, everything under control, a place for every thing and every thing in its place. The question though, I think is, is there really a place for everything? Does it help in any way that you can disappear into your own world and come back out of it feeling better about everything without actually having done anything about anything? Isn't that a negative, rather than a smug advantage? Do we really want to travel to a place ruled over by a little, old man with green glasses? Especially if we don't even get to have the red shoes?

Sunday, October 28

Something about Sunshine

There is something about it. No wonder lizards look so blissfully lazy in patches of it. It just seeps in and you feel warm and petted, inside out. The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon is to call a girlfriend over, stretch out next to the pool and bask. Just bask. Maybe talk a little. About god. And school. And Elle. And why Jimmy Choos are so expensive. Plan a trip to Scotland. Paint your toes. Take a nap. Bring your speakers to the pool and play iPod DJ.

We know this, right? As desis, especially. We have to know the power of sunshine. The way it heals you. The hardest year of my life was one without sunshine. Literally. Figuratively, I was basking in everyday. The work was satisfying, the company was amazing, the boss was a blast. But no sunshine. Within a week I was ready to sell my soul for some good ol' fashioned Madras-style sunshine (talking about the Madras sun, is it just me or is it true that it's almost impossible to find it anywhere else? I've seen plenty of suns but none as blindingly sunny as the one in Madras. What is up with that?). Of all the people most equipped to talk about sunshine, I must be really high up on the list (me and everyone else who has lived in Madras for more than 2 years).

I take every possible opportunity to sit in the sunshine (because absence makes the heart fonder and I'm now passionately in love with my Madras sun). In the square right in front of my school is a huge fountain (it's amazingly pretty - aren't all fountains?). Marble. With trees all around and little park benches. And at something like half past 4 every day you can see me sitting in the grass right next to it, in the biggest patch of sunshine I can find. I don't even need company. I just take a book, have my iPod and beyond that company is superfluous, no?.

Sometimes people come up to me and go "Oi Flaffy's-Real-Name, why the fuck (grad students have a limited vocabulary outside of science) are you sitting in the sun?" (I always say it's because I'm a sun-worshiper. most people don't know what to do with that. will it be politically incorrect to laugh? will the sun worshiper's society sue them? will they be forever known as sunnists?) Invariably, I find that the people who come and ask me this are Indians. Dyed in the wool, brown-as-berries Indians. And it never fails to surprise me. How can Indians (*Indians*) come and ask me this? Don't they realize the immense advantage we have over most other races in the world? Don't they understand that most people would kill to have our perfect-for-tanning skin? At least the type the browner of us have (and ought to cherish). With this skin we're all set for World Domination (think global warming - soon we'll be the only ones who can walk outside without protection). Can't they see this?

It strikes me (and maybe I'm reading too much into it) that there is dramatic irony in this. The gora log with their awfully white skin adore the sun and lust after tans. Sit in the sun for hours, become red as rare steak and peel like bananas, spraying sun screen over themselves constantly. While we, desis, blessed with skin-cancer-resistant, I-can-turn-a-pretty-shade-of-coffee-by-just-sitting-in-the-sunshine-for-a-couple-of-hours skin, insist on shying away from it with a modesty becoming of an eighteenth century peaches-n-cream virgin locked into the same room as Bluebeard.

Why would any god let this happen? Tchah. Try as I might, I cannot drum up enough energy to believe in the man. He seems inexplicable.

Thursday, October 25

An Off Week

We all have them. So do I. Go figure.


What some of us think is really difficult/strange/alien is a life'slikethat moment for others. Yes, I am thinking of you, missy and your wonder at being able to chat and watch Ugly Betty at the same time (and you thought I couldn't blog about it!).


Some women need to have men in their lives. Not just general men. But a special person. Just for them. It's a craving, a dependency. Just like anything else. Some women don't. I honestly can't decide which is weaker but I know which I'd rather be.


Starting something new is always exciting but also seductive. It makes you ignore the old (sorry, bloggy, y'know I love you) and there is never any excuse for that.


Cooking is therapy. And I'd have never known it if I hadn't moved away from home. On the other hand, I might not have needed therapy if I hadn't moved away from home. Meh, who are we kidding. I'd have needed therapy anyway!


However bored you are, however tired, however reluctant to leave the couch, don't watch Tila Tequila or I Love New York. It's just not worth it, people. It's not. I know crappy TV, I've watched daytime sitcoms, even Reba (shudder). But this is worse than crappy TV. This is worse than anything. Just don't.


I (sheepish grin) love Colbie Caillat.


I saw a moon that looked like a paper lantern painted onto the sky this evening and all I could think of was 'seductive as a pregnant whore'. I need to start reading something other than Urf (otherwise I might end up hating MT).


Athletes are always given benefit of doubt when they fail. Because they're performing under pressure. How come that doesn't work for grad students during examinations? Why should I be able to think under pressure?


And that, as Porky would have said, is all, folks.

Saturday, October 20

The Question feels, is how much is too much? (Also, much is such a nice word, no? Not much. So much. Much of a muchness. Lipsmacking :))

And that, people, is a Riddler post.

Thursday, October 18

Once I Loved a Blogger

Once I loved a blogger. And she never
asked me why. I would have told her it was
cos she knew who said Release the Hounds and
why. Woulda said it was the way she chose Hyde
over Michael without thinking about it
(cos how could I love someone who had to
think about that one?). But she never asked.

Still I loved a blogger. And like sand in
a too-tight fist vanishes, she did too.
But (cleverer than the fist) I had an idea.
Question. Can a blogger (of all people) live
without the slavering and worship that
is her due? The answer, I confess, still
eludes me (like water-waves at the beach).

Long I loved a blogger. Now she loves me too.
So, yes, we are moving in together.
Come. Visit. Bring wine. Leave shoes at home. Joy.

Tuesday, October 16

Flotsam and Jetsam

For future reference, you guys, (at least till the end of this month) all these weird chroniclets are from the 24 hour challenges. So pliss not to worry. No I'm not homesick. Or crying in my pillow. Or jet lagged. Or in desperate need of credit cards. Oh wait, I am actually. If anyone has a spare credit card with lots of credit in it, pass it along. I will be discreet. And only use it to get really expensive Bandolinos (violet with the pointiest beautifullest heels) that are at half price now and may not be for much longer. So pliss to contribute. Be generous. God will Reward.

"It's just that I have a niggling fear", he had said conversationally, "that it'll hurt like the devil". All she could tell the cops when they came around was that she hadn't expected him to pull out the gun and shoot himself in the head. "Do you think it hurt?" she kept asking the investigating officer. She seemed distraught. The officer figured it was because her husband had died a pauper. Noone likes inheriting massive debt. Human nature.

The challenge words were niggling fear in that order consecutively

Monday, October 15

Oooh my Pet Whine


She opened her eyes to the distinctive sunlight of this part of the world. "Yes, you can shine all you like, I'm thinking grey clouds in my head", she muttered into her pillow. Still damp. She clutched the cell phone and dialed the long string of numbers, worn with repetition. Her heart felt like it was breaking, broken maybe. "Hello?". She could almost see the voice, bridging the miles, like a delicately drawn out thread. "Hello? Yaaru peshardhu?" She gulped, worrying it'd snap if she didn't say something. "Amma? It's me." "Hiiiiiii, da. How was the flight?" She couldn't get any of her rehearsed words out. Tears already making their customary passage down her cheek. They'd make a groove soon. "Kanna, are you ok? What's wrong?" She had to stop the anxiety before it became an avalanche of concern. "Nothing, amma", she managed after swallowing the bits of her broken heart that were bobbing up her throat. "Just jet lag. That's all."


He hoped he wasn't sitting next to one of those old uncle jis. Who'd constantly clear their throat of what sounded like copious amounts of phlegm and fidget restlessly while smelling of paan and the inimitable smell of sweat trapped in a safari suit. He was almost relieved when he saw a serious-looking bespectacled boy. Probably 18. He smiled comfortingly at him and settled down in his aisle seat. He found out that the boy was going to India on one of those school project affairs. He wondered how much of a waste of time those things were. After a while he decided to nap. To beat the jet-lag. He closed his eyes and leaned back in the chair. A hesitation later, "Do you want me to close the shutters, uncle ji?" He opened his eyes to the politely inquisitive stare of the boy. "No, no. That's fine." He smiled at him and closed his eyes again. It was no use. His head was throbbing and he felt fidgety and restless. He cleared his throat. He was only 29, for pity's sake.

In my defense,

I couldn't get to sleep till half past 3 this morning. I'm not a happy camper. Sigh.

Saturday, October 13

Metaphorically Speaking

Warning: Slightly monstrous post as per recent standards. If you have time to kill and at least 7 minutes to listen to the music, read on.

I'm not the most Carnatic person. Even less of a Hindustani one. But some Raags are universal. Some Raags are undemanding of technical knowledge. And some Raags transcend the Carnatic-Hindustani divide. The Hamsadhwani is my favourite (I love the Chaurasia version but can't find it on Youtube, so I'm putting in the next best rendition I could find). The first time I heard it, it was because a friend said "This is the Raag I love. Listen to it." And I did. More for him than for the Raag and people, it is true. This Raag deserves love. Adulation even. (I'd say worship but I don't want to be called a drama queen.) The thing about Hamsadhwani is that she reminds me of feminism. (Yes, really). Wait, not feminism necessarily as it is, but feminism like I've always pictured it as, known it should be. The ideal that we all strive for (by we all I mean feminists, not persons of other persuasions) and which is so hard to reach. I was blog-lifting for ideas the other day (I've been feeling particularly uninspired) and from the fessor's place, I went to this one. And from there to this article. Keeping that in mind, we shall move on (it all comes together in the end, promise).

To today. I've been sick (yes, I've noticed the lack of awwws in the commentspace. I seem to have cornered the hard-hearted bit of the blog-reading-public) and so I've been staying home. But this evening, bravely (and from a desire to feel like I'm awake as opposed to an indivisible part of my bed), I decided to go for a run. It's been a while (I've been slack) and every runner knows the (for want of a better word) bliss of returning to the road. Of finding your rhythm. I always imagine that's how bikers must feel when they get back on their bikes after a hiatus (can't bike to save my life, so I haven't personally experienced it, but I'm pretty sure this is how it feels). I saw the most beautiful sunset, did my little work out routine. Got all flushed and happy. And because it felt like I couldn't stay away from the outside, I came back home and sat on my balcony, reading Roth until there was so little light that I couldn't differentiate the letters from the page. My iPod was still with me, so I hooked it up to the speakers and voila Hariprasad Chaurasia playing the Hamsadhwani (see how it all came together?). I've been on indie rock overload for the past couple of months and to suddenly hear a Raag, and the Hamsadhwani at that. I decided it was fate. And (true story) while I was deciding this, a yellow leaf on the tree right next to my balcony dropped off its branch and drifted down to the ground. If that isn't significant I honestly don't know what is (Right? I'm not being dramatic, am I? A single yellow leaf. And the stars in the sky. And the flute in the background. It was outta a movie!).

So, I'm looking at that leaf falling and listening to the music and it hits me. The Hamsadhwani is a piece of music that captures the spirit of feminism like nothing else I've heard before. It should be the anthem or something. It's not just the way it starts off, tentatively inquisitive, reaching out a singly sensual finger of interrogation. Or the way it maintains throughout this firmness of tone. Like an insistent knowledge of its rightness, its right to be heard, to be admired, to be listened to even if not agreed with. Not even the unexpected lilting curlicues that leap out at you in the most charming manner, reaching so confidently for all that is fancifully idealistic in the world. Admittedly the finish is perfect, ending on a note of not assertion or arrogance but a quiet confidence (though not in this version, try to get your hands on the Chaurasia). But none of this embodies the feminism in my mind as much as the tabla in the background. The warmly human sound of fingers on skin, not the metallic thumping rhythm of stick on metal (the ghatam in the version on this post is a little overdone, in my opinion, but that's just my opinion). The empathetic, grounding baseline throughout the melody. The little innovations serving to attract attention but in such an understated way. Not because it needs attention but because it is so happy, so confident in just being there. It doesn't need justification or validation. And isn't that what we all want, more than anything to feel? As feminists? As women? As girls?

Being that calm, that powerful and that happy inside out. I wonder how it feels. I think I've found my calling. If I'm actually born again I want to be born as the Hamsadhwani.

Friday, October 12

My Daddy's Strongest

Past expiry. Bend it over along the middle until it snaps. Her dad used to let her do it to all his expired credit cards. Laughing as she struggled with her little hands to do what his big hands could do with such consummate ease. He'd say "Wait, da. Let me show you" and pick up the card which suddenly would look like the flimsiest piece of plastic that simply couldn't be capable of having bought their new car, their new house, her new kiddie-pool. Even if he claimed it had. His callused fingers would bend the plastic like it was a piece of paper, making a crease that slowly became a clean break. "See, kanna? It's simple", he'd say. And she'd look up at him, all big, brown eyes and mop of curly hair, transforming him in a moment into a big, strong Hero. Her big, strong Hero. Funny how over the years it was he who had folded up along the middle and slowly been broken in two by other pieces of plastic. Very similar pieces of plastic to those she'd used to trash so obligingly for him. This was what Alanis Morisette would have unhesitatingly termed ironic.

Or maybe not.

Friday night's a lonely night to be home sick. Not homesick, capisce?. Any night's a lousy night to be homesick. And since I've finally found the time to check out the 24 hour challenges, here's mine :D.

Ooh ooh and also. Talking about license plates. I saw one that said CURLYQ1. Course I had to speed up so I could draw level and check the driver out. Any guesses?

Monday, October 8

The Thing about Dreams

She lost her voice two days ago and by the end of the day she feels unable to differentiate between reality and dreams. She doesn't know anymore where her dreams start and where they end. She went to work today, met all the people she normally meets, sat through the seminars she normally sits through, smiled good morning at the shuttle driver like she normally does. But somehow she feels like she should pinch herself. See if she wakes up with a start, back in her white bed with the pink comforter pulled up to her chin. She thinks maybe it's because she isn't participating in her world anymore. She's disengaged. Whenever anyone talks to her she mouths "I've lost my voice". Before they launch into conversation. She can't converse. Which makes it all bizarre because conversation is her thing. She loves the thrust and parry of it. Their faces quickly become apologetic and they mouth back "I'm sorry". Why, she doesn't know. An empathetic loss of voice, maybe. But people don't limp when they meet a guy without a leg. Do they? Then they go back to their conversations, slipping back into the talking world, leaving her not behind but at the side. Watching, listening, smiling but not actually belonging. Maybe that's why it feels like a dream. Because she really doesn't feel all that much anymore.

She thinks this is how it must feel to float.

Thursday, October 4


She counted. 1..nice, tall, black dude. 2..short, little hispanic man. 3..guy on a wheelchair who didn't really look like he ought to be checking *anyone* out. 4..a young kid. She frowned at him. Kids grew up too fast these days. 5,6,7,8..the valets who normally stood right next to the shuttle stop and yelled namaste when they saw her coming. 9..the guy in the cowboy hat and the really nice smile. She had to smile back.

She got into the bus. 9 for today. A decent validation count.

Wednesday, October 3


She thought about it carefully. This was a delicate proposition at best. She would have to choose just the right words. Words that would convey exactly what she was thinking. Neither too heavy nor too light. There was a balance that they would have to strike. Her words, like little iron weights, hexagons with numbers written on them. Tricky devils. With their shaded nuances and their tonal leanings. She would make it perfect this time, though. Make it all okay. Make the sadness evaporate. Like magic. She just had to figure out what the right words were.

She settled for a hug.

This should have been a big, long, Flaffy-ishtyle theory post but couldn't drum up the energy. Soon to come, though.

Monday, October 1

It Never Rains But When It's Cold

Arch your back, let your hair fall back but make it so none of those cold droplets fall on your skin anywhere other than your scalp. Owwww, a rivulet right down the back. Turn around, turn around. Maybe if you bent forward so that your hair falls in front of your face? Nuh uh. That way water just falls down your face. Icy cold and stinging. Oh Oh. Idea. Turn to the side and tilt your head just so. An angle so perfect that the water can soak your head but not trickle anywhere but straight down, not touching an inch of skin. Aaargh. Numb left shoulder now. Oh wait, was the water getting warmer? Skin isn't tingling anymore. Stretch out fingers, trembling hopefully, to the downpour. Yes, the water seems a lot warmer. Oh no, false alarm. Those are blue fingers. The water isn't warmer, the skin's wayyyy colder.

There is no non-fatal way of washing your hair when the water-heater's conked out.

Tuesday, September 25

This, that and the Rest of It

Some things are facts of life. Like butterflies flap their wings. Fact of life. Or there's always something you've been dying to see on TV the day before an exam for which you haven't studied a whit. Fact of life. Or every time you think you can trust someone, you'll have it hammered home again that you really can't. Fact of life. (Just kidding, y'guys. Thought I'd be all un-flaffy and scare you folks :D). The sky always seems bluer on days when you have to stay stuck in a lab somewhere killing mice. Fact of life. Yes?

But some things just aren't facts of life. Education is necessary is not a fact of life. Nuh-uh. Not even close. Guys are assholes isn't one either. Yeah, I know. That one sounds like a fact of life. But it isn't. Really. (Or so they tell me.) Time heals everything. Not a fact of life. Fallacy. Big one. Women aren't bitches to work for, especially when you yourself are a woman. Even bigger. Saying you're sorry isn't worth jack-shit. That is so not true, people. It's worth a lot. I love apologizing (that sounds weird but it isn't really).

Thing is, learntwas reminded of a big fact of life today. The Y chromosome's dying, dudes. You gotta get your act together. Otherwise, we're thinking a world without men.

Pretty cool, no?

Sunday, September 23

A Ship In A Bottle Set Sail

She sat on her bed staring at the photographs stuck up haphazardly on her closet walls. And she didn't even like photographs. She would tell people gravely that it was because she believed like the Africans that each time the camera clicked at you it took a piece of your soul away. Because it was easier to laugh at their expressions when she said that than to confess that she hated the hypocrisy of it. The fake arms around you, the insistence of the camera that you be happy. Now. But then here she was staring at photographs. All those smiling faces. Her people.

She sighed and picked up the duster from the floor. She always missed home on spring-cleaning days.

No points for guessing the song :)

Saturday, September 22

Take Your Chances on Everyday

She noticed the man watching her while she waited to cross the road. She crossed the road hurriedly and made her way towards the shuttle stop. She heard his footsteps following her. Forced herself to not look back, not seem afraid. Why did I wear heels today? What was I thinking? She clutched her purse tightly to herself and tried to walk faster. But subtly. So he wouldn't notice. Her walking faster. She kept hoping someone else would show up. Anyone. Even the homeless guy whom she normally crossed the road to avoid. The sun was still out, there was a breeze, gentle but there, ruffling her hair. This was the most pleasant fifteen minutes of her day. Normally. The footsteps came closer. Faster. Harder. Should she run? Turn around and confront him. She didn't have her MACE with her. She felt her heart beat harder. What if she had a heart attack before she could fight him? A car passed by. Supersonic speed. Did the people inside see her? See the guy following her? Would they remember? A girl in a suit, black heels and a red scarf. The red scarf should stand out, no?

Since we now have a DMB fan club on this blog :D and cos I adore this vid.

Thursday, September 20

Why I've Been Rolling My Eyes Constantly since I started Grad School

Or Why Are All Grad Students Such Social Retards

Or Is It Just Me or Does Noone Understand Verbal Communication Anymore

Elevator-talk. At its best.

He: Been losing weight? You look kinda scrawny.
(He calls a girl scrawny! Scrawny!Has he ever spoken to a girl? Like ever?)

She (blushing and giggling a little): Yeah, I've lost weight recently.

He: Why's that? You in love? Or something?
(One finally decided he was being funny and one empathized muchly with his family)

She: With you?
(Honestly, I think she was being serious. She sounded serious. And looked a little confused.)

He (baffled pause later): No, no. Umm. Just generally. Like with someone. Else.

She: Umm no.

He (after 10 heartbeats. I counted): Yeah. I was just kidding. Kinda.

Me: You've *gotta* be kidding me! (in my head only. Though maybe I should have said something. Tips on How To Talk to People)

Tuesday, September 18

What to Do with the Rest of the Day's Afternoon?

She decided to go to the book store. Amazon was fine and all but there was something about those rows and rows of books. Smelling of paper and print and untouched-ness. She imagined walking down the Austen shelf, trailing her fingers along the spines. Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Persuasion. She'd read them them out in her head. Count the leads off. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Fanny Price and Henry Crawford. Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. And Edmund Bertram. Poor Edmund. And then maybe she'd sit down and read Northanger Abbey for a bit. She couldn't think of a better way to get over a broken heart. Irritation's such a perfect melancholy-obscurer.

If you haven't heard the song, you should. Least for the guitar (well, not in this version). And his singing. And just generally.

Monday, September 17


Click. Scroll scroll scroll. Scan for Delete. Click. Save Changes. Close Window.

And that, people, is that. BM has left the building. She isn't on my sidebar anymore. One is retiring to sulk. For a bit. Very short bit. Teensy weensy less than 24 hour bit. Sometimes, even us Revealeds believe in Silence.

Sunday, September 16

This Happiness Shindig

Lying in bed at noon, staring at the ceiling. Last night had started out just fine, trailed into disaster and sometime at 3 in the morning, over kettle-cooked, pulled itself out of the dark hole in which it was languishing. Her feet still ached from dancing. And she hadn't even worn stilettos. She heard the bathroom door close softly and she turned in time to see the crack of light appear under the door. She only realized she was smiling after the smile had spread itself all over her face. This whole happiness thing was a lot easier than people made it out to be. No?

Thursday, September 13

Inter-Blog Memo

We, the Administrators of this Blog, have recently been appraised of a rather startling state of affairs. It has come to our attention that a number of Bloggers other than ourselves have begun to exhibit symptoms of a certain emotional condition medically identified as Drama. We are disturbed to hear that these Other Bloggers have presumed to exhibit symptoms of this disease under the mistaken impression that this is allowed. The conditions of our contract however state explicitly (Rules and Regulations of FlaffLand Binder 5, Page no. 10776a, Div: Patented Articles, Sub-div: Emotional Kinetics, Sec: Theatricalities and other Exclusivities, Sub-sec: Drama) that the Only Blogger allowed to display a Dramatic Temperament is one, Revealed, Flaffer Extraordinaire. We request all other Bloggers, who were perhaps unaware of this provision in the contract because of their negligence in reading the Policies of this Blog, to update their memories by leafing through the above-mentioned sections and heretofore refrain from Drama of any kind, sort or flavor. We hope all of you have a very nice day and a Healthy, Happy Weekend. Remember, a Healthy Blogger is a Happy Blogger. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 12

Earring Woes

Black and sparkly. I adore black and sparkly. So course I wanted them. I lusted after them. I yearned for them. You get the picture. And just as I'm about to pay for them (in this country, apparently, shop attendants *don't* give away merchandise as gifts simply because you have a charming smile (though it's true that I was once allowed to ride the bus in exchange for my charming smile, but the driver there was male. an undeniably important consideration in such transactions), you have to pay for 'em and all. hmmph), god decides that it's time to Have his Little Joke. What sort of person thinks up these evil tricks to play on unsuspecting *and* righteous citizens? I know there's established precedents (what with Noah and Job - such a sap- and the Virgin Mary (poor thing) and just like a million others) but I always figured I wasn't Virtuous enough to be picked on by the All-Seeing One. And just cos I might have said *once* (or maybe a couple of times) to *one* person (or maybe on my blog) that god does not exist, does *not* mean he should get all vindictive and persecutionary, no? Where's the Justice in that? Where's the whole Meek Inheriting the Earth philosophy (I know I wasn't Meek, but shouldn't he have been? How else will he Inherit the Earth finally (after global warming and nuclear warfare and deforestation and species-extinction, when everyone else is done with it?)?

Anyway, long story short (such a waste of a long story, but I know you guys are all busy and stuff and I'm already in my second para) he refused to let me buy them. Hid my cards childishly, made me hunt frantically all through my car (not a mean task), finally give up and return home, only to find (voila!) my cards right where I left them in the glove compartment under a pile of old bills and chocolate wrappers. *Obviously* the work of a sadistic master-mind. We're not talking at the moment, he and I. He's in his room having some Quiet Time, thinking about what he's done. We will have a Conversation presently. Yes, we will *looks up meaningfully in his general direction with pursed lips and sternly drawn brow*.

Tuesday, September 11

Note to Self

Please don't go there. You've been here before, you've done this before. I've been here to see you do this before. So can we just not throw ourselves against the same brick wall again? There are so many brick walls in the world. Why do we keep choosing this one? I can see it coming a mile off. Which is why I keep telling you, woman, watch out. Why is it so hard to listen? I know it's not a question of trust. You trust my taste implicitly when it comes to clothes, earrings, even shoes (how many times have you borrowed my stuff?). You love it when I cook and we normally order the same thing at restaurants. We both adore chocolate (same as every sentient being on this planet). *Obviously* we're both on the same page taste-wise. So why this hesitation to trust my discretion when it comes to men? Is it so hard to hear me when I say please, let's not do *that* again? Because really *please* let's not do that again.

Monday, September 10

To The Social (or Otherwise) Rejects of this, the Desi Blogosphere

Have you been blogging for ages but noone gossips about you? Have you been blogging for ages, social networking, reaching out to people and yet having noone gossip with you about someone else (we are desi bloggers, for pity's sake. Why does noone gossip about anyone with me?? Why?)? Have you written spellbinding posts and received not one single fan mail? Have you never had a psycho stalker mail you with an anonymous death threats? Then, you, dear one, are eligible for application to the Society of Counter-Inners. We Count You In. This is our motto. Be warned though. Oversized, rhinestone studded sunglasses are a must-have as are silk scarves with sparkly threads. Oh and also there is the small matter of the Blood-Mingling-Ceremony that Must Be Performed before you can enter the club-hall (or room or hut or park bench or whatever). So pliss to perform your HIV tests and have the results handy before applying cos your Application Will Not Be Processed without the same (cept for you Ph darlin' cos you have been given an exemption as per our previous communication due largely to the No Weight Loss in Recent Times clause).

We are open to applications as of now. Citizens of the Blogosphere, this is a call to Arms. Yes, Arms we want and Arms we Shall Have or by God...well, something we will Have to Do (and it will Not Be Pretty).

Saturday, September 8

Saturday Morning Blues

She woke up. Images of large cans of water glistening on the outside with condensed droplets flooded her mind. She removed the covers to get out of bed and stumbled. She frowned. She hated waking up drunk. This is why you shouldn't eat nothing all day and then chug down beers like it's the last supper. You are such an idiot. She got back into bed and waited for her roomie to wake up. On cue she heard bare feet padding to her room across the wooden floor of the living room. Her roomie flounced in, fell on to her bed and looked at her accusingly. "What?", she asked her. "Why didn't you tell me you had a crush on him?" "On who?.... Whom?" "That chap who's in your class, whatshisface?" "I don't have a crush on anyone from our class!!" Her roomie looked at her consideringly for two whole minutes before she started giggling. Hysterically. "Then why did you tell him you did last night?" Sometimes if you close your eyes things just go away and pretend like they never happened.

Thursday, September 6

I Adore Imagining Other People are as Whee as Me

Her brow wrinkles in concentration and her ink-stained fingers tap the bench in rhythm. Coffee with what looks like whipped cream on top sits half forgotten next to her stack of notes. She looks up in time to catch a retreating smile. "I was singing out loud, wasn't I?", she asks the smiler. Exasperation Central.

Wednesday, September 5

In Which this Seriousness Thing is Carried to its Limits

To my regulars (and I'm including you in that group, BM, even though you've decided to lurk and not comment of late!): I know all this serious feminist (uh oh used the f-word I did) rambling is totally below the belt. I know you're all going into shock, shaking your heads slowly and sobbing silently that I've joined the Dark Side. I assure you, lords and leddies, that I have not. Really really. This is just a riposte to Those Individuals who Suggest I'm Whee! Like As If!!! So I have decided to exhibit my Dangerously Grave Side (less of course I get an apology from Certain Slandering Individuals (didja see how I made you CSI? Cool, no?)). Yes, I have *nods head righteously* And sides it's kinda cool to think that any not-so-regulars who stumble in will now think I'm a bra-burning serious-thinking feminist. Joy.

Hennyway (and no, this is not a weapon, martial or otherwise), I sit in the backbench. Every lecture. Without fail. Even when I'm late. I have a buncha fellow backbenchers also. It's mainly cos I went through my first years in school being a front bencher (by compulsion not persuasion). Being emotionally and psychologically scarred by that experience at a tender age, I vowed to eschew anything resembling a front row for the rest of my life. As a corollary the only row I can inhabit during class now is the one right at the back, up against the wall. So, us backbenchers, we ask questions. Not incessantly. But whenever we can. Four of us are girls, the remaining eight are male. Of the four XXs, I'm the only one who asks questions. The guys all take turns being curious. Zat, m'hearties, is ze bachground and nov to ze foreground.

So, today during a really boring lecture on peptide analysis (yeah, it actually *is* as boring as it sounds), I had an epiphany. It was all because a girl in the front row asked a question (which had the unhappy incidental effect of waking up the guy sitting next to me who was taking what looked like a most refreshing break from the day's labor. He's Puerto Rican and he lends me all his Mana CDs so I really did feel bad that he was woken up). She is a confirmed prefacer, that one. You know the sort. Every question of hers is prefaced with an apology. "I'm sorry if this is a silly question, but...." "I think I didn't understand what you said right then but it sounded like...." " I'm sorry if you just said this and I missed it but..." Always. And then it struck me that all the prefacers in my class are female. Yes, it's true. Out of a class of a 100 people, where at least 10 questions are asked per lecture, with 10 lectures a week, that gives us a sample size of 100 questions. Of which prefacers are probably 25% or so. So that gives us 25 questions per week. And it's been 10 weeks since school started. Even a conservative estimate leaves us with a sample size of atleast 125 questions. In all this time only once was the prefacer a male.

I just wonder what those women are *really* apologizing for.

Tuesday, September 4

Cry Freedom

It is our pleasure to inform you folks (idle pursuers of class and excellence as you have amply revealed yourselves to be) that we are Back! Yes! No more dinosaurically long story to worry about. No more sleepless nights, spent tossing and turning, worrying about RCW and her Papa. No nightmares in which Baron F sneers at the 'Umble Authoress while JAP attempts to run Her over with his Ferrari or Bentley or Aston Martin or whatever else he's decided is the Car he Requires. No more nasty comments from Certain Unnamed Sources about how they Have Been Anupam-Kherized while they weren't looking (and I still hotly deny this accusation! This is my stand and I'm sticking by it). Stead we have Various Unnamed People prodding us on to "Now come up with something else that is not a story, for Goodness' sake!" Since, as ever, we only aim to please, we Bear our Cross Gracefully and with Stiff Upper Lips mumble "Yes, I'm on it" (very hard it is, speaking with Stiff Upper Lips. You should try it sometime. When you're at work with nothing to do. Oh wait! That was an oxymoron right there *beams triumphantly at successful spotting of clever literary devices*). So, we produces our Theory of Why Men are B-s and Why Certain Presciently Intelligent Authoresses should be Invited to Write for Broadsheet Salon.

Last weekend, sitting by the pool (suitably inspired by 7 beers downed in quick succession chased by 5 popsicles) with a bunch of goralog, I proclaimed that Men were the Same B-s they've been for the Past Oh-so-many Years, by and large (notice the qualifier). Immediately, everyone jumped down my throat (metaphorically speaking), including my roomie (et tu brute, tsk tsk), and claimed that I was generalizingly making sexist comments. So ('course) I launched into my Theory, the latest one (not completely polished yet) where I cunningly pointed out that though some things have changed, some things have not. This stumped half the crowd and while they were working it out, I sallied forth with the full force of my theory. See, here's the thing. In the most equal of societies (genderously speaking), a woman who works always feels the extra pressure of having to keep her home in order by necessity while the man experiences the gratification of having made "sacrifices" or been a "great husband/father" for contributing even the littlest bit to the upkeep of the household. All the phirangs (after they'd worked it all out) pityingly looked at me and said "Maybe that's the case in your culture, not ours". Oh-so-condescendingly.

So, here's to you, pretty boys (and the not-so-pretty-ones). I rock.

Psst. Here's a question for you guys (on a totally different random thought). Are there people in the world who get easily tired of people or are there people in the world whom people get easily tired of? Chew on that one and gimme a verdict.

Friday, August 31

In Which the End Ends (as does the Story! the Lord be Praised)

Baron JAP, his nerves throughly shot to pieces, buried his head in his hands and all TR could hear from him was "Oh no, Oh no, We're all going to Die." At least that's what TR *thought* he was saying. TR was more preoccupied with the fact that the car now under no control whatsoever was careening forward at close to 150 mph since JAP had decided to rest his foot on the gas pedal. "Hold the wheel, you old fool", yelled TR as loudly as he could. "Hold the wheel, papa", yelled RCW as loudly as she could. The last thing TR heard was the ear-splitting shriek that RCW emitted before there was a resounding cacophony of noises and a cloud of smoke surrounded by the stench of burning tires.

"No, actually", said the handsome stranger (who on closer inspection, it struck Baron F, looked derangedly handosme), "I'm Renovatio.........the Ripper! Muahahahaha.". "What?", BM asked politely. She could have sworn he'd said he was Renovatio the Ripper and he was laughing in what one could only call a psychotic manner. "He sez he's Renovatio deRipper", said Baron F, "whoever *that* is." BM turned back to John/Renovatio to explain that she didn't know him though she had first mistaken him to be a guy she used to know who had once written a poem for her in 7th grade, but really she didn't know any Renovatios from a deRipper family. Before she could say a word, Renovatio whipped out a knife from his pant pocket (like who keeps a knife there! he was *obviously* psycho) and brandished it in her face. The last thing Baron F remembered was the ear-splitting shriek that BM emitted before there was a resounding cacophony of noises and a cloud of smoke surrounded by the stench of burning tires.

Wiseling and CS viewed the scene from above. "But who was the girl who was crossing the road, daughter mine", asked CS in some concern. "Oh I believe she was some kid called Scout or some such. She was like the sister of someone in one of those cars. Who knows these things, mama? All the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put Destiny together again. An egg in time saves ninety nine chickens before they hatch." she ended hurriedly, hoping she had obscured the narrative enough. CS nodded wisely, "Yes, yes. Besides these humans need to be squelched a little. Survive everything they do. And multiply like rabid dogs." Wiseling wanted to point out that rabid dogs weren't really known for their breeding skills but the thought of making that a 55er exhausted her and she stopped herself just in time. "OK, m'dear our work here is done. The honor of our family remains unbesmirched", CS declaimed in satisfaction. The two women of the proud 55er-Oracular race looked at each other in triumph, their smiles slowly turning into laughter. The gloomy skies filled with cackling as they faded back into their own world.


Thursday, August 23

In Which the End Begins

BM fumed to herself silently. Damn this idiotic chap-from-the-backseat. Like who did he think he was. Without doubt the most annoyingly un-useful male person she had ever met. She glared at him. He had edged away till he was almost stuck to the passenger-side door. Like what did he think she would do to him. Very tempted, she was, to just lean over, open the door and push him out. He seemed to be attempting to write on a scrap of paper, though how anyone could even attempt that in a car going at 90 mph she couldn't fathom. "Hmmph!"

Was that a snort now? Baron F looked up from the poem he was trying to write. Inspiration had just struck him (very inconvenient this inspiration was, always popping up when it wasn't wanted, like a bad Penny) in the form of a poem (a villanelle actually, which would be palindromic, arrhythmic and at the same time able to do magic tricks while standing on its head) and he had to get it down on paper before it evaporated right out of him. And his train of thought had just been confronted with a human tied to the tracks right in front of it. Some people might have said it was just a snort, shrugged it off and got on with the job. But some people were just not sensitive, artistic souls. Baron F glared at BM. Before he could launch into his witty, yet subtly cruel cut at Women who Snorted Inappropriately, he was interrupted by a squeal. "What is she doing here??!! What is she *doing* here?? OMG! She's going to die!!! OMG". Baron F turned around just in time to see a rather fetching young woman running across the highway. The highway! He wasn't surprised that BM appeared to know this person. Just the sort of insane woman he would expect BM to associate with. Their car had come to a screeching halt and Baron F wasn't in the least tempted to see what the cars right behind them were doing. He saw no point in facing Death grimly. He much preferred the idea of turning his back on It and pretending It wasn't happening.

The smart black Jaguar behind them swerved just in time to avoid Crazy Highway-crossing Woman and then impressively swerved just in time to avoid their car (now parked in the middle of the highway) and even more impressively came to a neat halt less than 2 inches from their trunk at a 45 degree angle. The driver stepped out, checked to see if there were any scratches, smiled in satisfaction at seeing none on his gleaming hood, removed his DnG sunglasses and walked towards their car. He tapped on the driver's window, waited for BM to lower it, blinded her with a brilliant smile (displaying the cutest dimples ever!) and asked, "Are you ok there, Miss?" BM's heart did a little pole dance in the confines of its bony cage, took a bow and then eased up on her lungs enough for her to croak, "John?"

Friday, August 17

In Which the Author Ruminates on the Callousness of her Readers

It strikes one that none of you lot (readers you call yourself! gah!) even realized that the title of the last post had nothing to do with the post itself. Not one of you Blunt-quoters commented on the fact that not only did Ph *not* wake up to a new dawn, she didn't wake up at all! Not one of you, *obviously*, bothered reading the title. One feels very unappreciated. Very.

However one is not the sort to hold grudges. One is not the kind of person who sniffs at people, tosses her hair and walks off huffily (fact one does not know how to walk (off or on) huffily). So, fortunately for you unconcerned folk, one is soldiering on (heroically) with one's story. Even in the face of much unappreciation. And unconcern. And general utterly bloody-minded callousness.

It would appear, to the lay-eye, that KSA and Sis have quite the advantage on Wiseling because did they not after all have atleast a 3 hour headstart while Wiseling was indulging in hysterical door-slamming bawlings and other such goings-on? Said lay-eye would in all fictionality be incredibly mistaken simply cos 55er-Oracles are Special People. Very Special People. Time and space bend at their will. In fact the Author has even heard Rumors that 55er-Oracles are the Very Creators of Time and Space. Having thereby summarily dismissed of any headstart KSA might have had, one can safely proceed with the Big Showdown Scene in which Everyone Gets Involved (not with each other (though you will have your luuuurve interest, BM, not to worry) but in the Scene). Though KSA was the first to stand up and admit that his Sis scared him witless (he would even go so far as to say she Terrified him), there are Times in every Man's life when such emotions as fear (and even Terror) take a back seat. They get up and politely vacate their front-row VIP seats for the village Elders namely, Love and Lust (this is cue for Adult Jokes *pointed glance in BM's general direction*). At Times like this, even the weakest of men, even the KSAs of the world are the first into battle, leading the charge so to speak. So it was that for the first time in their lives, KSA and Dobby were charging down the freeway ahead of the thundering hooves of Thunder. They could see the Aston with its precious cargo on the road in front of them and all KSA could hear was his heart pounding in his ears (very anatomically mobile the heart is one feels. For an organ that is. A bit unsettling.). Or it was Thunder's hooves (which normally built up to a crescendo within 5 minutes of any journey). KSA couldn't decide which. But either way it made a pleasant change from those damned bugles, he felt. As he was ruminating sadly on bugles and associated paraphernelia of every Knight's unfortunate lot, KSA heard a shriek and turned back to see his Sis gesticulating at him frantically. He couldn't hear anything over the pounding of his heart (or Thunder's hooves, he was still undecided) but his male inuition told him that Sis was trying to tell him something. Maybe even something Important. She looked a little red in her face. He gulped.

As KSA stared at his sister's face, moving closer to death (by Murder) with every jog of good ol' Dobby, Wiseling swooped down to the Professor's ear. She had decided that invisible was the best fashion move for the nonce. Shimmering slightly in waves of invisibility, she leant down and whispered, " Peace to all who leave this place and health to all who take their daily Vitamins. Especially Vitamin D as the most recent research suggests. Don't count your eggs before they have a great fall. Because all the king's horses and cabbages taste different. Based on the salt content. Reach for the battle or die.". She whispered the 'die' sibiliantly (55er-Oracles can add sibiliants to a non-sibiliant word. It's another of those special powers they have.) The Professor looked around wildly, almost knocking JAP on the head with his elbow, as he swished his hands over his right ear (head and ear belonging to one, Rasa, Tabula, Professor, not one JAP, Baron, Esq). "What? What?", yelled JAP swerving wildly as he instinctively burrowed deep into Panic Mode. "Did you say die or fly?", yelled the Fessor, even louder and in even franticer accents. Wiseling sighed. These old men and their deafness. Quite a trial. "Peace to all who leave this place and health to all who take their daily Vitamins. Especially Vitamin D as the most recent research suggests. Don't count your eggs before they have a great fall. Because all the king's horses and cabbages taste different. Based on the salt content. Reach for the battle or die." JAP jumped violently in his seat. He was clutching the wheel in a deathgrip. It was a pity that he was pointing it in a direction perpendicular to the rest of the traffic but that was probably because he wasn't looking at the road. "DID SOMEONE JUST SAY DIE????", he bellowed at TR, causing the last remaining ear cells in TR's left ear to throw up their hands and contemplate throwing themselves at Death's mercy.

In the backseat, RCW came to, slowly. Her eyelashes fluttered and she winced. Noone likes to wake up from a long nap with people yelling in their ear. She frowned and opened her eyes.

Saturday, August 11

In Which Ph Awakens to a New Dawn

Because I have exams next week. Because I have a huge list of things I'm supposed to know like the back of my hand by now. Because I've spent the better part of the day revising this list in such a way that though the number of things to do on it keep decreasing the amount of work I have to do appears to increase every time I look at it. Because I've eaten all the cookies in the cookie jar (double chocolate chip, totally delish). Because I've made three cups of tea in the course of three hours (and jasmine tea *is* proper tea!). Because I've run out of funny faces to make at my phone camera and send to everyone I know (mainly because some of them promptly sent back pics. The pain of seeing other people out shopping (thank you, bm) almost killed me. So.). Because my idiot roomie who was supposed to come back early so that we could go out and do something fun is still not back. Because I can't think of anything else to do that'll keep me from that awfully big textbook sitting on the bed next to me. Because, basically. I present the one in which KSA finds Ph (and surreal is all you're going to get (sorry Unkel ji) but surreal isn't all that bad. Really.).

The set up, you must admit, jobless reader, is perfect. We have two cars (both beauts, I hear) racing on the highway. We have a father on a desperate chase united with his beloved daughter (the Apple of his Eye) but in the process losing his equally beloved car (Sophie's Choice, one might almost say). We have an intrepid car-thief (with the coolest handbag for which crime I might have to kill her off) and a umm..well a Baron F. We have a damsel in distress who has captivated the heart of a Knight in Shining Armor (the KSA in question might or might not be the anti-Falstaff. But sshhh let's not give everything away). We have the gourmand, bibliophilic sister of the KSA (what do we call her?) and we have the prescient 55er-Oracle who has just swtiched camps. We, more excitingly, have the KSA and Sis in hot pursuit of the d-i-d who herself is en route to Portugal. Will Baron JAP take his daughter home considering a car lost simply a car gained. Or will he count a car lost, a heart broken and insist on recovering it? Will Ph think fondly of the handsome face (well, helmet and plume if you want to nitpick) of KSA and sigh as she loses herself in the rambling, rose-smelling maze of lurrrveee? Will KSA triumph over his alter-ego and claim the hand of his damsel-in-distress? Will ??! ever forgive KSA for interrupting her dreams of floating truffles? Will TR survive in the company of the strung out JAP? So many questions.

But none of these will be answered here-in. Instead let us focus our attentions on Wiseling, our 55er-Oracle. While some (numbskulls!) might sneeringly allude to comparisons with James Blunt, the truth of the matter is that the Wiseling's actions are imperative for the safe coming together of this entire story (the tunnel, in fact can be seen at the end of all these lights, never fear, folks).We left the Wiseling in a huff. Slamming doors onto empty rooms and making general drama. But not for nothing is she an Oracle. She unerringly knew where to go in her time of need. In her moment of truth. In her nadir of hurt despair. She floated with determined wafts to her house, flung in without knocking and throwing herself into her mum's arms, cried her eyes out. "Awww honey. There, there. Things are going to be fine. Who did this to you, then? Who?", murmured CS soothingly as she patted her daughter's back. "They- I mean- The gall- I didn't- Shut up-", sobbed Wiseling incoherently. "Yes, yes, I understand. How could they.", stated CS gently, getting up to get her daughter some water. At the end of a tear-filled 5 minutes, CS had the whole story. "How dare they?!", she said, her eyes flashing magnificently. "But daughter mine, this is not the time for tears and coming home. This is the time to go fight. We cannot let our proud name be insulted in this fashion. We are not the 55er-Oracles for nothing". The Wiseling drew herself up. "What do I do, mum?", she asked. CS' mouth became a straight line. "There is only one way, daughter. Find the Professor. He is the key." The Wiseling nodded. Hadn't she suspected this herself. "I won't return till we are avenged, mum", she said, turning back at the door. CS smiled proudly. "Daughter", she said. The Wiseling looked at her. "?" "You're forgetting your 55s.", she reminded her with maternal sympathy and a blow-softening smile. The Wiseling blushed, nodded at her mum and closed the door softly behind her as she left.

Friday, August 3

In Which the Plot Moves Along Gently

They rode for a couple of minutes in silence. Mainly because TR couldn't hear himself think over the ringing in his ears. He had collected himself enough to deposit RCW in a crumpled heap in the back of the car. She appeared to be fast asleep. In fact so asleep it bordered on comatose. But he decided not to draw JAP's attention to that yet. JAP seemed a little high strung at the moment. He stole a glance at JAP and gingerly cleared his throat. JAP started a little causing the car to swerve and almost scrape the paint off the smart Lincoln cruising along in the next lane. TR winced. Both of them studiously avoided looking in the direction of the red-faced Lincoln-driver who appeared to be well-versed in the art of what is known in some circles as furious articulation. Obviously throat clearing was not the way forward. TR decided to sit back and await proceedings. He didn't want to spend too much time thinking about the events of the past half an hour because 1. he didn't know if he'd imagined them or they had really happened 2. he suspected that they had really happened 3. he was hoping desperately that they hadn't really happened. Besides JAP was armed and dangerous. Prudence seemed a very viable option.

Baron F looked at BM with all the fear in his heart showing in his eyes. "Whatever you do, please try not to use that voicebox of yours at maximum efficiency again. Please. Just put your upper lip down to cover your mouth and we can talk about this. Rationally. And quietly. No sudden sounds, now. Just keep your voice frequency where I can still hear it. Your last attempt was quite harrowing." He paused, looked down at his trembling hands and added, "And unsightly." BM didn't hear a word. "What just happened? Huh? Huh? What? Who is this woman? This female? What happened to the other one? Don't just sit there, for heaven's sake! Do something!!!" Baron F was bewildered. Noone in all his years inhabiting this planet had ever asked him to *do* something! Did this woman not know that he was a Baron? Did she not realize that he didn't go around *doing* things?! And *of course* he would just sit there! This was his way. He sat around. Sometimes he read obscure authors. Sometimes he drank wine. Sometime he wrote poetry. Sometimes he made up stories with terrible punchlines. Sometimes he did all of it together. How could anyone ask more of him? He looked at BM with undisguised horror. Something told him that an all-moving force had just met an immovable object.

Enough was enough, she decided to herself. I mean, she was a 55er-*Oracle* for pity's sake. People normally had to *pay* for her services. And here was this grumpy ??! yelling at her to shut up? Shut up??!! Sheesh. She didn't have to take this. Hmmph. Not for nothing had her mum named her Wiseling (this of course was *before* they'd found out about her oracular tendencies, otherwise she'd have been named Delphi). She was leaving and what was more she was leaving to a Better Place. She turned on her heel and flounced out, slamming the door behind her. For effect. Maybe the room was empty, maybe ??! and KSA had gone away on a horse's egg hunt, but the effect still remained. So there!

So when Flaffy promises nepotism, Flaffy produces nepotism. Watch all 4 (by clicking on *both* the links) and pliss to give me feedback.

Friday, July 27

In Which Cheering Up BM Continues to be the Driving Force of this Story

KSA sat next to his sister, in front of the fireplace. She was dozing off, after a meal of wada pav, fish-and-chips and french toast with chocolate spread. "Dyspepsia, engorged, gargantuan, visceral...", she muttered. KSA sighed. He hated to wake her up (mainly because of her propensity to come up with theories he couldn't understand head or tail of) but some things Had to Be Done. And this was one of them.

"??!", he said, pronouncing her name with just the right degree of incredulous astonishment (she wouldn't respond otherwise). "Huh?", she woke up with a start, looking around. She noticed her idiot brother gawping at her and rubbing the last vestiges of apple-and-rhubarb-strudel-just-like-her-mum-used-to-make-it pipe dreams from her eyes, she looked at him questioningly. "What is it, now? Let me guess. You couldn't help make that Rowling woman's attempt at writing any better again? That job is just too hard for you. I should probably take it on.Has she already printed out copies?" "Wha-?", stammered KSA. "I only wanted to ask you if I could umm...err...y'know..ahem", he bleated.

"Cough it up, you dolt. What dya need to do?", really, she couldn't believe KSA! Waking her up from her nap (tearing her away from contemplations of Belgian waffles. With Honey. And Cream) just to blither away at her. "Well..would it be against the contract if I went back to the last d-i-d?", he mumbled, almost under his breath. "What?! Why would you want to go back? You mean the chick in the Aston? Oh and that really nice looking, Sean Connery look-alike old gent?", she allowed herself a smile. So rare to meet helpful folk during her missions. "Why would you want to go back?", she was curious now. Could it be? Had her brother finally.....she couldn't believe it. He turned a slow, tomato-red under her intent gaze. She started chuckling. "Which one of them?", she asked him in between chortles. "The one in the Bentley. With the nice man you liked.", he mumbled even more under his breath. "Nice, nice", she approved in her best elder-sister voice. She rubbed her hands together, "Let's get to work then. We need to find out where they are, don't we?".

Whirrrr.Too many cooks are better than one in the bush. Forewarned is forespawned. Tis better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all. So think wisely and as well as possible. Depending on how deep it is. The well, that is. Half a loaf, as they say, is enough for dinner. Whirrrr.

KSA looked up with startled attention. "Tch", said ??! irritably. The damn 55-er Oracle spewing out gobbledy-gook again. She didn't know why she even listened to it anymore. "Do shut up", she snapped in its direction and continued looking into the crystal ball. But KSA couldn't help thinking about it. Half a loaf was, after all, enough for dinner. As long as one wasn't ??!.

Thursday, July 26

Brief Update on What Constitutes a Pain, Flaffily Speaking (Or Missives From the Trenches)

Grad school is a pain.

Orientation is a pain.

Life is dangerously set on the brink of being a pain.

"So much to do, so little time" is a saying coined by someone who was definitely a pain. I can just sense it (I have a theory that most sayings can give a very nice peephole into the character of the coiner but more on that one later).

I'm sorry I haven't blogged more :( since that is one of the few things that right now wouldn't be classified a pain.

BM, pliss to accept the spaces in lieu of words and I promise a brilliant new post as soon as the weekend swings around.

Tuesday, July 17

In Which some Loose Ends are Tied Up and some Explanations are Made

Remember the guy who asked me if this story was ever going to end? He recently took it upon himself to suggest that the last episode (as in the previous one-last not final-last, which would have been an entirely unamusing pun that I would never stoop so low as to use, thank you very much *sniff*) might be a good place to stop (he seems to think that I'm kowtowing to at least some of the laws of motion with much more fidelity than is required). So I thought about it and umm it seems reasonable enough. What do you guys think?

Secondly, June and July (so far) have been straggly months for poor Flaff. I've been using him very badly. Many apologies. But now I'm back (whoo hoo) and I shall take up the reins seriously and go back to my daily posting schedule (and no, that schedule isn't impelled by boredom and lack of anything better to do, Mr. Officious-person-in-the-front-row). I have some excellent posts all set up for this month (at least I have one of my renowned theory-posts, outlining a blog theory which the Prof was kind enough to proclaim a Quirky Theory, haha (the rest of you won't get the joke until you read that post, so sorry) half laid out umm kinda....sorta). Though first things first, I shall tackle the dreaded 8-tag of C.S. The rest of you can quake and tremble cos you never know where the finger of doom (ie my finger, very doomy it is) will come to rest among the lot of you. Muahahahahahaha.

Thirdly, this month shall see an unprecedented level of nepotism on this blog. Don't say I didn't warn you guys.

Fourthly (and also finally), I read two books reviewed by two blogger reviewer dudes whose judgments I normally find trustworthy. The first was Above Average which was passed off in the review as a book holding mainly rainy-afternoon value. While I ended up agreeing with a large part of Falstaff'take on it, I thought I saw something in it that set it apart from afternoon timepass status. The writing (while sometimes definitely amateurish) had that instinctive gift of storytelling implicit in it (haven't you found so often that some authors jerk along in fits and starts and while their finished products are perfectly passable - sometimes brilliant- there's something about it that doesn't sit right? Like one Christie, Agatha as illustrious example). And I think the book has more depth than it is widely given credit for and lumping it in the Five Point Someone category is quite unfair. I was never in IIT, never in Delhi, never a guy, but I totally identified with the entire book. Read it, you guys, if you haven't already. The second book, No Onions nor Garlic came recommended highly and left me totally cold. An unaffectionately rendered too clever to be called book trying vainly to imitate Wodehouse of all people and not managing to pull it off at all in my ever-so-vain-and-totally-conceited-and-infallible opinion. Give it a miss, I'd say :).

So to sum up the minutes of this post, I'm starting school next week ( :((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( ). All sympathetic contributions will be accepted in the Comments section. Thank you vairy vairy much.

Sunday, July 8

In Which Wiseling's Legacy is Revisited

Now, before everyone jumps on my back (and leaves snarky comments like 'About time'. 'Lazy git', etc) let me just remind you guys that I'm not 1. as jobless as I am in the US when I'm pretending to work 2. left to myself for more than an hour at a stretch and 3. equipped with access to the internet (cos I've been having the funnest time roaming around forests and such like - read that and burn..muahahahaha). And also let me prove my devotion to this enthralling story (which someone despairingly asked me if I'd ever end, and to him I say (snootily) "Yes, I will! All in Good Time!!") by telling you guys that while I was driving on some of the worst roads I've come across in India (mainly cos they were completely washed away by the monsoons) I totally planned this episode out in my head. So there. Let your tears of remorse at your unjust complaints fall freely and wash the sin from your souls (I was recently at an Islamic prayer meeting and have been muchly inspired).

So, getting on with the Life and Times of an Unfortunately Unconscious RCW, we switch back to JAP, TR and Ph. Unsuspecting of the adventures that had befallen his precious Aston, the Professor walked out with JAP and Ph, guzzling a coke (which might or might not have had a drop of Something Stronger in it - and yes I'm talking about Folic Acid). JAP prided himself on his unerring sense of direction and memory. He had never lost a car in a car park in his life. Naturally, he was a little puzzled when he walked to the spot where he'd parked the Martin only to find a grey Bentley in it's stead. He scratched his head in baffled silence, walked around the car, even looked under it. But nothing. He looked at TR and Ph who were standing around idly, observing him. "Forgot where you parked it, didja?", sighed Ph. Not for the first time was she wishing she was anywhere but here with these two idiotic old men. She glared at TR who was now making bubbling noises with his straw. "No!", JAP drew himself to his full height and puffed out his not inconsiderable chest, "I *never* lose a car. It's been stolen." Ph shook her head and turned away to start looking for the car, when out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of a little grey car zipping towards the exit. She whipped around, yelling, only to see the Aston pull out of the driveway onto the feeder, a girl driving it and someone who looked uncannily like RCW in the passenger seat. "Guysssssss. They've got the car. She's in it." Before she could finish the sentence JAP and TR were gazing open mouthed at the exit through which the Aston has just disappeared. "Call the police", screamed TR. "Catch them", said JAP running helplessly towards the exit. "Get in the car", yelled Ph. Not for nothing was she a high school student. She knew all there was to know about jacking open locked cars (not that she'd had to do it, someone had left the key in the car door. Rich idiots!). TR was beginning to register a protest and take the high ground re: integrity and morals (hard as BM might find to believe that) when JAP barreled into him, pushing him into the car and slamming the door locked behind him. He then ran to the other side, almost shoved Ph into the middle, got behind the wheel and in a puff of dust, the car roared out of the parking lot. The Bentley was turbo-charged (you *cannot* grumble about this, Senor JAP).

Ph and TR found themselves clutching onto the seats for dear life. "Slow down, slow down", yelled Ph against the wind trying to claw JAP's right eye out while holding onto her own hair which seemed fit to tear out of her scalp and fly away. JAP pulled out a Smith and Wesson, "Shut up, you guys. Not a peep out of any of you. RCW is in that car and we Will Save Her", he yelled pronouncing his capitals viciously. Ph moved closer to TR. JAP was obviously off his rockers. She had often told RCW that. "You're bloody off your rockers", she said, deciding to share the information with JAP himself. These things were better out in the open and treated on time while there was still hope. "You need psychiatric help" , she continued. And found herself lifted out of the seat and onto a saddle. Of a white horse. In front of someone who could be none other than the KSA. Trumpets blared in the background, she looked up into cold, blue eyes. She sighed deeply, closed her eyes and started kicking and screaming. Really, this highway banditry was getting quite uncontrollable. T White horses and armor! What next? TR looked on in bafflement. Maybe he shouldn't have drunk so much coke. Or maybe he shouldn't have put so much of the Stronger Stuff in it (still talking Folic Acid - which is sinetifically proved to have hallucinogenic side effects).

The KSA irritably hissed at Ph to stop being an idiot. Sometimes it annoyed him, how these wretched damsels in distress could never accept help graciously. Always kicking and biting. If it weren't for them he wouldn't even need the armor (which was dreadfully hot and had no scratching room). He urged his horse on faster. The trumpeting was giving him a headache. But it was in the terms of his contract and he could do nothing about it. Bugger it. He ran through his instructions in his head. He had to find a grey Aston Martin. Ah, there it was. Drop this d-i-d into it. Ok done that. He heard a yelp and a slight thud. He seemed to have dropped her onto someone else. Oh well. Not everything in life was perfect. He stopped in front of the car, his horse gracefully lifted up her fore-hooves (Good Ol' Dobby, you could always count on her). The trumpets reached a crescendo, and he galloped off. He patted Dobby on her back. A job well done.

Two minutes later, his sister smacked him on his head. "Why can't you get the simplest things right, you dolt? It was an *exchange*. Get it?? Means you give each party something the other party had!! Do I have to do everything myself?" She picked up the reins of Thunder, her velvet-black stallion and thundered back down to the freeway. She reached the Aston, identified the girl in the red blouse (at least this was better than last time when she had had to find a nose-ringed girl wearing a black tee in a high school), lifted her out of the car, bowed graciously at the driver (a girl who seemed to have lost her scream somewhere in her throat), smiled a twinkle and said "My apologies. My idiot brother screwed up". She galloped towards the Bentley that was following at a tearing pace. The driver (a total Sean Connery look alike, she thought appreciatively) was dangling a SnW in one hand and frantically pushing what appeared to be buttons on the dashboard. Before her eyes, the Bentley's carriage rose from it's wheels by a good two meters. How nice, the slightly oldish S.C type was trying to help her. She smiled gratefully at him, and neatly placed RCW on top of the man in the passenger seat. The girl seemed a bit limp. But that wasn't any of her concern. The contract was fulfilled, that was 1 grand in her pocket. One month's rent. Horizon Clouds were becoming bloody expensive real estate. She sighed as she galloped off into the horizon.

Both BM and JAP found their screams at the exact same instant. One can only sympathize (in some futility) with the Professor and Baron F. But that, gentlemen, is how the cookie crumbles.

(I hope to see at least a couple of happy campers now!)

Sunday, June 24

In Which RCW is Treated in a Way that Might Please Scout

It was a matter of minutes before RCW and BM were sailing back down the freeway (especially because someone - and by someone we mean the sort of dastardly old man who would compare Bridget Jones to Elizabeth Bennet- daftheadedly left the keys in the ignition). Except this time in a beautifully sweet-running grey Aston Martin. RCW was just beginning to wonder where they were headed when she saw a sign. "Portugal 60 miles that-a-way" it said. She started humming along to the radio, feeling pretty chirpy. She didn't know the words to it but she hummed anyway. BM hated people who hummed along with the radio but short of pushing RCW out of the car she could think of no way to shut her up. She was just about to suggest that any humming could be taken elsewhere (in the sort of nasty tone that comes naturally to some people and is really extremely hard to learn if you don't have the knack of it from the cradle onwards - haven't you ever noticed how some babies bawl in the nastiest of tones? Sorta like a scary Exorcist type crying) when someone cleared their throat from the region of the back seat.

"Excuse me, ladies", said an unmistakably urbane voice that RCW had often heard quoting Iranian poetry with her dad in their living room (hers and her dad's living room, not hers and Baron F's or Baron F's and her dad's which would have been a tad weird). BM almost shrieked but she was proud to think that she'd managed to choke it back in the last minute. Her arms still trembled a little bit but she bravely said, "Umm are you an axe murderer, mister? Because you need to know that I'm wanted by the cops so they could be chasing us right now!" Baron F, a little taken aback said, "No. But this happens to be my neighbour's car. Are you perhaps one of RCW's friends?", he nodded in a glacially friendly way at RCW to show peaceably good intentions (since the thought of upsetting the crazy woman driving the car while they were cruising at what seemed like 120 mph on the freeway seemed like a bad one). "No no she isn't my friend and this is the Prof's car???? OMG I had no idea I am insuchamessandnowireallydontknowwhati'll-", RCW slumped forward.

This time I have to regrettably inform my readers that BM *did* scream. It was a quickly choked off scream though (if that makes it any better). "I simply detest people who mess up their punctuations and use all those acronyms", drawled Baron F as he pocketed what looked like a Beretta. BM gulped.

Saturday, June 16

In Which an Aston Martin Lost is an Aston Martin Gained

JAP and TR have been completely ignored for a bit one feels. So let us turn the spotlight of our immense fascination onto them. We left TR cowering in his seat with JAP pretending that TR was not being embarrassing, when in fact he was (y'know how those situations are, the there's-a-pink-elephant-sitting-next-to-me sort). Very. Before TR could get another word out, the car door on his side was wrenched open and a visibly flushed and breathless Ph piled in. "How could you both leave me and go? Huh?", she asked in between pants (the ones involving air and lungs, not the trouser sort). "Didn't I tell you? 'Let's leave, let's leave' I said. But oh no, we have to find pants" (the trouser sort), continued TR, still muttering defiantly under his breath. Baron JAP blustered gamely and with regrettable futility, "But beti, you know that this sort of thing is not suitable for a young, beautiful girl like you. No? Come, we don't have time to waste. So you go home and wait and we'll be back before you know it. Umm maybe you could have some hot tea waiting for us or something....." TR sank lower into his seat. Sometimes, he didn't know how Baron JAP had survived into his dotage.

Ph drew a breath, her eyes shot sparks of anger and resentment, and her bosom heaved (in an appropriately delicate (but totally non-feminine, which is not to say it was masculine-i *have* met men with heaving bosoms but that is beside the point-it was just extremely gender-neutral and very PC, by which I don't mean Phil Collins) way of course). Before she could launch into a speech on feminist rights, or even worse burn her choli, TR thought it wise to stem the flow. "Now, now, Ph darling, you know that we would love to have you with us. And I understand that RCW, your friend from childhood, your sister almost-" "Like Damon and Pythias", offered JAP in mumbled support of TR's brave attempt. "Yes, like D and P. Or even like that guy who came back as a ghost to visit his friend. Remember?" "Which one? Wasn't that D and P?" "No, of course not, my dear JAP. You have got it all mixed up. These two were Japanese. If I remember right." "Really? Japs? Hahahaha", laughed the Baron with a dash of the old Sean Connery charm of manner (really one does wonder how he made it into his dotage).

"If you've both quite finished", pronounced Ph in glacial accents, "maybe we could go and search for my friend who might be dying in a ditch for all we know?" TR had the grace to blush. The impatient tongue-clicking of Ph made both TR and JAP a tad bit nervous. "Maybe, we should just take her along", capitulated JAP (isn't it sweet how men always pretend that they have a choice?). "Fine, do whatever you want. It's your chase. I'm only in this for the ride", said TR cleverly pushing all responsibility onto JAP's shoulders (not for nothing had he slaved as a Professor for so many years). "Hey, it was your idea", protested JAP as he slid the Aston into gear and continued down the driveway.

TR's obstinate silence refusal to engage in conversation caused JAP to lapse into an ominously petulant silence. Ph, triumphantly maintained a stream of chatter (mostly reminiscing about her childhood spent frolicking with RCW around the countryside, which didn't help stem JAP's injured and now a tad bit appalled silence). They had been coursing along the highway for almost half an hour when Ph, spotting a restroom and refreshments exit yelled (over the radio, which she insisted on playing loudly - Westlife was gamely chirruping Uptown Girl at the moment to TR's acute pain and discomfort, the latter of which was exacerbated by his irresistibly flapping dressing robe attracting more than its fair share of comic attention from Ph - girls these days encapsulated TR's opinion of the situation)for JAP to stop the car. Which he almost did in the middle of the highway before TR managed in the last minute to remind him politely that they were in fact on a road populated by very many very fast-moving cars. "A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do", said Ph gaily, oblivious to the near death experience she had just survived (I have a theory that NDEs kill people by their very near-deathiness which is why there is so little verifiable evidence for or against them), "and right now this girl's gotta-" "Yes, yes, we get the picture", said TR hastily interrupting what promised to be awkward revelations. JAP pulled up at the service stop and the three of them trooped into the McD's that was flashing its message of peace, love and cholesterol bravely into the afternoon sunlight.

As the threesome disappeared through the revolving doors, a couple of girls whom we've gotten to know pretty well revolved out. RCW was by now as excited about the new car they were going to umm borrow as BM. In fact more so, cos BM seemed quite blase about the whole thing. They had been walking in the parking lot for 2 minutes (give or take - length of a minute depending on other stuff and so forth), when they both stopped short and sighed in chorus. Their eyes had almost simultaneously come to rest on a lovely little grey Aston Martin shimmering alluringly. This was it.