For what, I ask, do you waste yourself 

Raining on a beautiful canvas while it’s drying?

Decanting your acid into my spring waters? 

Destroying what you haven’t created?
My happiness, does it counteract yours?

Does breaking bridges gratify your appetite for destruction?

(But all you can hope to achieve is a non-calamitous dent.) 
I’m a leaning tower that defies 

The gravity of your acrimoniousness 

That persistently but futilely labors to 

Cause my fall, my breakage. 

But the integrity of my substance 

Exceeds the strength of your pull,

Keeping me from shattering,

Keeping you from triumphing. 
The hand that holds the knife is not

Guaranteed against being cut by its own blade. 

The arm that swings the hammer of destruction

Will itself debilitate, courtesy of its weight. 


French Kissing 

George Mikes, humorist, satirized Great B for drinking and offering tea more times during the span of one single day than one can count on one’s set of fingers. He wrote that in England, “you have tea for breakfast;… at 11 o’clock in the morning; then after lunch; then you have tea for tea; then after supper; and again at 11 o’clock at night.”

Now France and England may as well be the world’s worst enemies who played war with each other for more than a century, but there is no denying that they have a lot more in common than one would think. In England, you get tea; in France, you get kisses.

Now tea and kisses aren’t even slightly synonymous, but in France, you get kisses when a stranger meets you for the first time (and also the second, the third, the hundredth and every time in between and after); when your boyfriend runs into you (or a friend of your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s friend), when your grand-mère comes over (with her brood of a dozen and their broods as well), when you’re being wished “bon voyage” (or “bonjour” or “bonsoir” or “bonne nuit”) and in myriad other situations. (See the similarity between England and France now – at least vaguely?)

In India, you can tell if someone hails from Kerala if her hair reeks of coconut oil and her lunchbox reeks of fish; you can tell if someone’s native soil is Tamil Nadu if she suffixes every sentence with “da” or “di”; you can tell if someone is an Anglo if she constantly prattles about her new stilettos and her “strap-dress” that she bought in October for the Christmas Ball in December; if she is Punjabi, the only dance step she will most likely know is the one with arms bent at the elbow and two fingers up on each hand – the bale bale.

In France, you should be good at math to predict which part of the country the beaus and the belles come from. If you find yourself in Bretagne, the bagpiper of the Lann-Bihoué will give you a kiss; if you happen to be in Lyon, the waiter in the bouchon might give you your duck pâté, your wine, a kiss on your right cheek and another on your left (note that you only have to pay for the duck and the wine – the last two items are gratis); if you end up in Montpellier, the jazz singer you meet in L’Arena will give you a trio of verses, but before that, a trio of kisses; in the City of Love – to reinforce its moniker – you get four kisses (discounting all the spit-swapping under the world’s biggest tower with no purpose other than serving as a silent spectator that has watched more romance than Roger Ebert and the entire diaspora of film critics and romance buffs ever did); end up in Corsica and some descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte may generously give you a fivesome of pecks.

If you have a sadistic streak or if you’re a germophobe (either way, your motive is to evade being French kissed), you could just say, “I am a direct descendant of Edward II, King of England, who cheated on his French consort with a gentleman named Piers Gaveston,” or “Your Burgundy wine tastes like dishwater.”

They might put you on trial and have you guillotined in La Place of Concorde or scorched at the stake in Rouen (this is called giving one’s enemies a taste of their own medicine) for your heretical incivility, but on the brighter side, no more French kisses guaranteed!


Girl Meets World: Fresher Diaries

“It’s a new world. It’s a new start. 

It’s alive with the beating of young hearts.”

— Bryan Adams in “Here I Am”

Two point five months marked by lengthy, indeterminate periods of inactivity, brief periods of activity (centered around Facebook and WhatsApp, or lying like a corpse holding a novel) are over. And so is school.

Had this been another scholastic year at St. Joseph’s, I would have mummified myself in my sheets. (Because for some closeted rationale, I’m never going back. The past is in the past. Thank you Elsa.
This morning felt different. After a decade and two years of habituating myself to the routine of smallclothes followed by camisole followed by pants followed by top followed by waistcoat and then socks, shoes and then plait and fold, it felt rather strange to have to mix and match apparel and accessories for my debut. (I never even bothered to flaunt a pair of earrings at school.)
For the first time in a long time, I felt voguish with my ethnic black, white and yellow kurti, my black jeggings, my black and tan pumps, my dangling faux pearl earrings, oversized yellow bangles and my long nails (that my grandmother censures as “claws”). 
Eccentric as I am, I matched my maiden outfit with a yellow bag, a yellow pencil case and a yellow water bottle. 
Now it is no unknown fact that Year Twelves spend the part of their vacation that they do not spend in sloth on college research. And we are duly informed (or should I say misinformed?) about the polity of tertiary educational institutions. (“They will not worry about you like we do.” “They’ll just do their jobs – walk in and walk out.”)
There’s this vibe in the college atmosphere and it’s like static. Everyone can feel it. We’re all skimming one another’s outfits, watching someone with our peripheral vision, trying to keep the excitation levels in check and registering the remarkable aesthetics and architecture. 
Post the very informative assembly, I remarked to my pal, “There’s something below my back and it hurts like hell.” 
The self-proclaimed Friendly Seniors escorted us to our classrooms where we were given the run-up of college life. The FS attempted to engage us by means of a simulation game and the result was comic relief with a few 18+ innuendos dropped hither and thither.
We traded the brick and stone classroom for a guided (and not to mention, free) tour of the sprawling sylvan, verdant environs. 
After guesstimating how much toil and trouble and fun and frolic the next trio of years are going to be, I made some mental notes:

  • Stay away from anything/anyone that even remotely resembles trouble.
  • Let your faculty of speech take leave of you during lectures.
  • Don’t be pushy, but don’t let yourself get pushed around.
  • Don’t let anyone try to make you stand in their shadow just because they think they can.
  • Be polite, prudent and professional.
  • You’re doing what you love. So do it well.

So, that was Day 1 of 90 of Semester I of VI in a nutshell. (It goes without saying that I suck at Précis Writing.)

Career Paradox

One ho-hum late evening in front of the television, I happened to be flicking through channels to find something to satisfy my visual appetite when I landed on FoxCrime on which an episode the far-famed CSI franchise was being aired.
Before long, I was engrossed with the procedural and captivated by the enigma. A few episodes later, I decided that a CSI was what I wanted to be.

My mother’s purse was on steroids as she willingly handed me the shekels I needed to purchase a little mountain of books that treated of Forensic Science and Criminal Psychology and I delved into them as soon as they came home to me.
At school, I was often asked about my aspiration, and every time I answered, I enhanced the asker’s word kit as mostly everyone was totally clueless about my sphere of interest, what it meant and what the job entailed.
But, as luck would have it, my last couple of years of discipline-oriented academics found me casting aspersions on Chemistry and dragging it through the mud while Biology failed to capture my long-term interest.
Physics, however, was a cakewalk. It was the only subject because of which I still enjoyed some prestige.
My ambition stayed constant but my grades in Biology and Chemistry threatened me as they were two things: inconsistent and miserable.
Give or take a little time, and I evolved into a Physics geek, who was never satisfied with a superficial explanation. (I don’t know the first thing about aquatics, but if I could draw a parallel, I would never be contented with swimming on the surface; I would nosedive into the depths, no matter how terrifying they may be.)
And this is another story, but my Physics teacher was (and still is) my role model, and so I evolved into a mini version of her, doing in-depth research, corroborating and questioning every little aspect that most folks would take for granted.
My pals had decided that Physics had become an integral part of who I was and they foretold that regardless of my choice of career, Physics would always have its niche in my heart.
And that was when the dilemma ensued.
Teacher or Forensic Scientist?
Help the living or help the dead?
Juggling both options in my mind and weighing the pros and cons of each in the scales of college finance, prestige, security, location, prospective wages and colleagues, I didn’t know what to settle for.
And then, like two options weren’t enough to vacillate between, I got told, “You should become a writer!”
It boosted my sense of self-worth when my writing was positively received, but I always considered writing to be a passion, never a profession.
Maybe in my wildest dreams I’ll write a book on Forensic Science and teach from it. Sounds far-fetched, but it doesn’t hurt a girl to dream, does it?

Pourquoi J’aime le Français Aujourd’hui.

Peut-être, les natifs de la France seront détester moi si je dis que je n’aimai pas leur langue au début. Mais, sans savoir pourquoi, tout a changé. Il y avait une personne spécial qui a modifié ma perception de la cette langue dont les mots poussèrent ma tête à tourner dans le désespoir.

Cette personne était mon enseignante au début, mais avec le temps, elle est devenu mon amie. Elle a enseigné moi comme a aimer elle et la langue. Elle ne se plagnait jamais quand je lui a dit que j’aime seulement l’anglais. Elle ne pas me forcé a aimer le français, mais quelque chose dans mon cœur a dit moi que si je commence à aimer la langue, je ne regretterai pas ma decision.

Et vraiment, je ne regrette pas que j’ai fait pour quelqu’un qui est totalement en vaut la peine. Le français a devenu une sujet étonnante à cause d’un personne étonnante.