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Showing posts from 2014

Being Bullied

It is anti-bullying week here in the UK and listening to some of the stories, I was reminded of the time when I was bullied. Unlike many of those that endured cruel taunts and jibes at schools and colleges, I was bullied at work. I was in my mid-twenties and working at what was considered a cool  TV station. I was reporting to a woman called Natasha (Nats, I hope you google your name and land on this page). For the duration that I worked there she made my life an absolute wreck.

It was pathetic to see colleagues bow and scrape to her authority. There were a few who stood their ground and memorably, one who walked away. But most of us suffered and I, in particular, was singled out for casual cruelty.

If you ask me what exactly she had done, I would be unable to point out any one incident. But there were throw away remarks intended to hurt, there would be instances of humiliation targeted at me. Sadly, back then I did not have the life experience that would have allowed me to articulat…

Picture Yourself

For some time now I have been meaning to write a post about a photo my father brought with him when he came to visit us earlier this year. It is a photo taken when I was two and half years old and was rather unusual in our family given that it was taken when there was no wedding or a celebration in the household.

What is even more surprising about the photo is that it holds just a single person - me. I have noticed that back in the days when photographic cameras were a rarity, there would often be several people crammed into a photo when one was taken at home (unlike a photo in a studio). Sort of like more people per precious click.

It is also one of the few pictures that we have from my childhood. It reminds me and reassures me that even in that household heaving with people, individual children mattered. That someone thought it important to document me as a toddler.

I took a photo of myself holding a similar pose earlier today and put the two together. It was only when I was puttin…

Medea

I have just returned from watching my very first Greek tragedy - Medea by Euripides (now spectacularly staged at The National Theatre). It is a story of the most horrific of crimes. That of a mother killing her own two children. Had I known what it was about, I would not have watched it but having watched it, I am unable to shake off the extraordinary derangement of energy of the titular character. Her raging outburst and her deeply wounded sentiments that propel her to kill her kids in an attempt to get back at her husband who has left her for another woman. She implores the audience to bear witness to this act and unable to look away, we do with mounting horror. We watch as Medea's mind at once argues at the wrongness of and the compelling inevitability of what she is about to do. We watch helplessly as this ancient train wreck gathers storm until it explodes in a grisly act of double murder. It was cruel, unrelenting and in a strange way, addictive.

Cat O' Nine Tales

I have never had a pet. Except for one day when I was five or six when I picked up a kitten from a warehouse I had gone to visit with someone (why, I cannot recall). We cannot have the kitten at home, I was told categorically and was to go drop it back where it came from for its mum must be missing it by now. My desperate pleadings went unheeded and I climbed sobbing on to the front end of the scooter while an uncle (I imagine) took his place in the driver's seat. I was handed a large bag made out of rexine with the mewing fur ball inside. I was instructed to hold on to it tight and I did so accordingly all the way back to the warehouse where I left it reluctantly to fend for itself.

I have never been tempted to buy or adopt a pet since. I have very little interest in them and after the children, I have come to see pets as another responsibility I can do without. Every now and then, my younger son asks me about having a pet and the conversation goes like this:

Him: Amma, can we h…

But is it art?

In the main concourse of the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam hangs a large notice which begins by saying that I may not like everything that I was about see that day. And that it was okay. I do not remember much else of this notice but it reassured me greatly. It was part of the 'Art As Therapy' route that you could take, if you so choose to, around the museum and it was one created by the philosopher Alain De Botton and someone else. Now, I must put my hand up to being one of those bourgeois Indians who have made it a nouvelle habit of visiting art museums around the world only to have my photo taken next to Mona Lisa/Sunflowers or any other painting that I have only ever heard of and feel compelled to record my presence in front of it rather spend the few precious seconds that I get amidst heaving summer crowds looking at it. Mind you, my own reaction when squeezed by such throngs at Tirupathi would be different. I wouldn't be posing with the Perumaal, no, that would be blasp…

A Tough Life

The other day, my younger son and I went on a 10-mile bike ride punctuating our ride with breaks for snacks, dangling our feet in the river and foraging for fruit. We had a picnic by the Thames, munched on our sandwiches, drank juice straight from the carton, hid behind the trees to wee while the other kept a watch and gathered bouquets for a small donation. It reminded me that living in England in summer truly takes some beating.

Monty Python Live (Mostly)

It was some time in the late 90s. An ex-boss who had been born and raised in Britain and had returned to India mentioned something about Monty Python in a conversation. Now, I had no idea who Monty Python was and thought it was something to do with The Full Monty - a movie I had watched on TV not long earlier. Internet was a recent distraction back then and keen to exploit everything that search engines had to offer, I yahooed Monty Python and was promptly directed to a website which offered their scripts to download for free. And thus began hours of reading and lol-ing (another recently discovered term back then) Monty Python scripts. When I moved countries to Britain some years later, one of the first things I did was to borrow a DVD of Monty Python shows and watch their work and marvel at their collective brilliance. Earlier this year, when I read that the Pythons were going to come back together for a final few shows, I made a mental note of it and then promptly forgot about it -…

Some free, some foraged