A temple of the familiar

I have a candid picture of my wife when we were getting engaged, just her face, eyes pointing somewhere on the horizon, like a door shut on eternity. It was the eyes. It was always the eyes. Huge brown orbs that would swell up with tears at unexpected times, every water droplet seemed to be accounted for. If anyone wanted to learn shades of brown, all they had to do was get really close to her and look at her eyes, various shades woven in her irises at precise intervals, like the cross section of the wood of an ancient tree. I couldnt believe myself then – THIS – This beauty is going to be mine. Even today, when there are days when I wonder why, I look at that picture and my mind goes silent, all questions dissolve into that brown. Sometimes I feel like making her cry just to see those browns get flooded, just to glimpse what was, to reassure myself.

The question arises “Is the world a manifestation of beautiful ideas?” the same way a poem is a manifestation of beautiful thoughts or technology is that of beautiful science. Is the world a work of art?

One look at her and you know the answer.

Her beauty is a leash. Every time I come across it unexpectedly, I walk into the cage which I have built for myself and which I’ve desperately tried to free myself of, and shut the doors and lock them, and offer the key to her. All offerings to a God are wasted but that doesn’t stop people pouring gold down the drain, does it?

Her beauty is a promise. Not of fulfillment or ownership which I am so often accused of, but of joy. Unexpected joy popping up in unexpected places after long days, like a long tiring trek in on scree and morraine and unexpectedly coming across a bright blue pristine lake that you weren’t warned about at that very moment, whose water is too cold for a dip and forbidden, yet its the only place where your own reflection looks enticing enough.

Her beauty is freedom. A much cherished and much chased silence. It puts me in my place. It makes me feel privileged. It makes me feel insignificant. It fills me for a moment with a profound sadness which I am grateful for, it gives a name to that knot in the throat. Because if you cannot be thoroughly sad, you cannot be thoroughly happy.

Her beauty fills me with contradictions. I’d prefer it to not be there at all because if you think about it, what good does beauty bring? What’s the use of a rainbow? Can you see a rainbow in a memory? How do people live with a rainbow I wonder. How impossibly demanding that would be. Yet, like people say there’s a personal god, I say there’s a personal beauty, the sight of which just blinds you to the presence of anything else – in you, in front of you, for you, or a fantasy.

A personal beauty is your own redemption through your own senses. 

The beauty may be transient or so they claim, the cynics who do not see through my eyes.

But the redemption.

It is eternal.










Most dreams do not come to fruition.

Some die quickly. The lucky ones. Some fizzle out like a wine bottle left opened. They don’t taste the same when finally you get to drink them.

Others just linger on. In a state of limbo, like life on a treadmill, running to stand still. They become you, they make you who you are, so after a while if someone asks you what they were, you wouldn’t even be able to pinpoint them. They were me then. They are me now.

A few, the worse ones, doggedly hang on, never completed, never dead, metamorphosing into fantasies in the dead of the night when you are all alone, every time receding a step further you chase them. Then you stop chasing them, but they don’t die, they get repacked, rehashed, refurbished for your consumption, like a second hand 5 year old iPhone model no longer on sale. They change their shape, their scale, their motive, they desert you at night even if you try to get hold of them, no longer extravagant, exuberant, exhilerating, furious, no longer vast, no longer causing tremors in your skin like an old man devoid of dopamine.

The goal posts shift, the size of the pitch now resembles the skill of your play, no longer reaching out at the far corner to stretch every sinew to keep the ball in play, you no longer have to change channels when the kids come into the room. Fit for public consumption without revulsion or envy.

Keep them as a souvenir of your journey. Paste them in a scrap book. Put the scrap book in an attic. That’s the only place where they belong.

And be glad of the perfect crime. You killed them and no one found the body.



Papa let’s have baked beans, my kids demanded, taken in by my exuberant mood for the afternoon, surprised and mildly disconcerted by my presence in the house for almost the entire day.

Chaloooo, I yelled back, having eyed that can in the refrigerator ever since it came to my notice, my fitness drive, calorie counting, useless knowledge that ketchup has more sugar than can humanly be consumed and that baked beans have more ketchup than beans, notwithstanding.

Can in hand, microwave switched on, Monaco biscuits lined up in a dish (no self-respecting person eats baked beans with toast. Baked beans and Monaco are like Heer-Ranjha, they are supposed to die together in your tummy) – there’s just one task remaining before the three of us get into the rat race of gobbling everything in sight.

Open it.

Now, everyone has a superpower and everyone has an anti-power. Something everyone seems to be able to do seamlessly but it always ends up beyond your skillset.

Mine’s opening things.

To be fair, the way a lot of things are designed, to figure out easy ways to open them requires almost sherlockesque powers of deduction. A short list would be:

1) Shampoo pouches

2) Wine bottles

3) Baked bean cans

4) Cola cans and beer cans

5) Candy wrappers

6) Shower gel dispensors

7) Bra straps

You get the picture, don’t you? Each one of the above activities has left me teetering on the brink of insanity at least once in my life and their detailed description is beyond the scope of this dissertations. But I shall give you two succinct examples:

1) One of my friends suspects that I have a gay gene and while I have never acknowledged that, I do have many feminine traits. One of them is for a fetish exotic shower gels and shampoos and facewashes. Take me to a supermarket row where all the above are lined up and my face and my dick light up like a pimp’s in a whorehouse. I open the bottles or bring them close to my face and smell them and then carefully choose a new one every time. Our bathroom has a shower gel for me and two soaps for the two kids and after all these years I still have no clue what my wife uses as soap, probably steals the kids’ one. I never suspected this, I was always under the assumption we shared the chosen exotic shower gels. But recently she got a yummy looking purple coloured palmolive shower gel which came in a bottle with a weird dispensor. It said ‘push’ on a corner like I am fucking about to deliver and it is my gynecologist. I pushed. Nothing happened. I pushed again. Nothing. The damn thing had some sort of lock. I unscrewed the whole bottle and the damn nozzle started dripping like crazy. I shut it, sighed, poured some water into the old Forrest Essentials shower gel and managed, knowing my wizard wife was yet to bathe, she will somehow figure it out.

The next day. Push. Still locked. The hymen intact.

The third.

The fourth.

Now it was getting desperate for me – should I pick the Johnson baby soap or Pears? Who will take poopy soaps, I NEVER use soap.

Water shall have to do.

Finally I succumbed. Subdued my ego and asked the wife – can you please open for me?

I was wondering how you were taking a shower all these days. The bottle is locked. 

Well it was shampoo one day and face wash the other and the dettol hand gel the third.

Oh you just twist and push, the wicked one said and voila, it was open, its fragrance filling the whole room and sending me into raptures of orgasmic sighs.

You can’t even open shampoo pouches, can you? Every time I give you a few when you travel or trek and you get them back intact. 

No no. I use the hotel’s. I say, trying to save some face, her verbal salvo having hit the bull’s eye.

So there are shampoo bottles open in the jungle? 

I manage yaar. I borrow. I don’t think they are designed to be opened without a scissor. Every time I try to tear with my teeth I get some shampoo in my mouth. It tastes yuck yaar.

There’s a mark. You tear from there. 

With what?

With your hands, what else? 

But my hands are wet while I am taking a shower.

You open it BEFORE you start the shower, geddit? 

Ok ok. I am sure they don’t fill shampoo in half the pouches they sell, knowing no one will ever be able to open them or confess they couldn’t open them. There’s a jackpot people are making there, selling unopenable shampoo pouches….

She left before she could hear my treatise.


2) This was in our internship. We had purposely taken an extension after it got over because our families were against our relationship and we wanted to stay together after all our friends had left college.

2 weeks of horny fucking lay ahead in my head.

1st day. 6 pm. We had never yet gone beyond making out in our underwear. I am too horny and I decide to take off her bra, to see the first tits LIVE in my 23 year old life.

I use a single hand to unfasten her bra strap while looking at her to see if she would stop me. She didnt.

But it wouldn’t budge.

Two hands now.

Nothing. I try twisting, pulling, unlocking, pushing. While she keeps laughing. The liars in Hollywood movies. Or maybe Indian bras were designed by the locksmith fathers of virgin girls after much research on goats. Maybe they had keys fitted in them.

The wicked one didn’t relent that day. When I tried to take the easy way by sliding the straps down, she stopped me. And laughed.

Seekh pehle.

That’s how my wife managed to get me married to her. She knew if I didn’t marry her, I would die with a regret of being so near a woman’s breasts, yet so far.

So wicked she is.

If panties had hooks, i am sure I would be a virgin even today. It’s a different story that I couldn’t get it in her the first time, but that’s for another day. That’s even more embarrassing and i will take that secret to my grave.

If they ever send me to LOST, they dont even need a jungle. All they need to do is to seal everything in cans and leave can openers around, seal everything else in shampoo pouches and wrap them with bras. Leave nubile desirable women with entry fees of unfastening bra straps.

That’s my room 101.

And no, we didn’t manage to eat the baked beans. We will get them now at night once the wicked one comes back from work.

Life is cruel, isn’t it?



A tiny piece of heaven accessible to the world, but mercilessly denied to you, got distilled into an epitome of contentment in your head, a tiny piece of unattainable heaven left you gasping in more ways than one, a tiny piece of heaven on the horizon, where the stars go to sleep, to burn, to sizzle, to die, but where you couldn’t as you had to live, cold, unnatural, shatter but live, you had to find your own fuel to burn. A tiny piece of heaven, by merciless denial, proved to be your making, a tiny piece of heaven lived up to its name in a contradictory way you didn’t think existed but it did. It did. Some day you shall find your own and understand.