Monday, 23 December 2013

A blessing in disguise

I made my first “local friend” as a warm lady helped me cope with the unwritten etiquette of the famed Mumbai local. I was moved when I struck my first conversation with her. She excitedly gesticulated and made incoherent sounds - she was speech and hearing impaired.

As days passed, we got comfortable with signing to each other. One day, I closed my ears when I heard the shrill horn of another train going by. She smiled and signed to me that it was a blessing in disguise that she was hearing impaired.

My jaw dropped, that is quite some perspective!

This post has been written for Write Tribe’s 100 words on Saturday for the prompt “A blessing in disguise”

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe

Monday, 9 December 2013

Winter is coming...

Thanks to the Starks, this phrase is now associated with gloom and fear. But for most people I know on this side of the planet, this is a reason to rejoice! Well, this is technically not “winter” in its truest sense. In my books, however, anything below Celsius 20 makes the cut J

Margazhi is the Tamil month from mid December to January when everything nice happens. This is my favourite time of the year. Margazhi. Margazhi. Margazhi. I love saying it, the way it sounds, I think I like the word so much because of the “zh” in it.

Step out early on a margazhi morning (if you manage to pull yourself out of the cozy confines of your bed), you will spot Thirupavai reciting, bhajan singing, bare chested mamas braving the cold, while the mamis are engrossed in adorning their homes elaborate kolams.

Animal prints are not just for the fashionable few on the ramps of Milan. This time of the year is when the sales of the famed ear muff peaks. From Pondy bazaar to Purasawalkam, you will find these camouflage prints in all imaginable colours flying off the shelves. Everyone sports them – the veshti / madisaar clad temple goers, newspaper delivery boys, morning walkers, traffic police constables, maids, school kids, office goers… just everyone.

Margazhi essentials 1 - The famed ear muffs!
Image source:

The ubiquitous mosquito bat – another margazhi essential, sells like hotcake as well. If you visit a normal Chennai household during the month, sometime after sunset, you will find the young and old walking around the house, brandishing this bat with volley like movements. While some prefer to lie low and wait for the kill, others prefer to do a time to time recon to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. 
Margazhi essentials 2 - The ubiquitous mosquito bat!
Image source:
Margazhi is synonymous with the kutcheri season. I am no big rasika, I can barely tell apart one ragam from another, but sabha hopping is THE thing to do in margazhi. People from all over the world flock to Chennai to sabha hop. Do I make it sound like pub hopping? The similarities are many. Much attention is paid to dressing well. The finest silks and the best fragrances are reserved for Margazhi. This is where kanjivaram and jewellery style statements are made. People wait in excited anticipation to listen to the chart toppers of the Carnatic music world, while fresh talent is discussed, debated and critically analysed. At the end of the day, it is all about getting high – high on music, and of late - filter coffee, lip smacking, delectable “tiffin” and fashion!

The lights of Christmas add cheer to the month as well, followed by new year’s. Margazhi comes to a wrap, with massive Pongal celebrations to welcome the next month. Have you enjoyed the sights and sounds of Margazhi in Chennai as yet? If not, it is time you gave it a dekko. There is no month as beautiful and festive as this. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Berry Extraordinary

Breezers aplenty, flavours galore,
there’s one however, that I simply adore.
In a world so wonderful, it ain’t easy to choose one,
but the one I like is second to none!
This one is purple - the colour of royalty,
and to this drink, I pledge complete loyalty.
Only a few months of the year does the berry abound,
but the Crush is available all year round.
Who knew that this humble little berry,
would make a drink oh-so-extraordinary!
Not too fruity, tastes just right,
hits the right notes, ‘tis refreshing and light.
It makes a great way,
to unwind after a long day.
I have great memories of times of cheer,
with friends and family, near and dear.
Oh! Can you feel the rush,
of the Bacardi Blackberry Crush?

This is an entry for the Catch the flavor contest by

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Half baked love

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 44; the forty-fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton

“There’s something in the air”, she said, crinkling her nose, as she woke up.

She was alarmed by the beeping detector and trickling fire sprinkler. Choking, she warily walked into the kitchen.

“That would be love, honey”, he said, holding a burnt cake in one hand while swooping her off the floor by the other.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count:07


Image - Love in the air by Anand
Courtesy - Apple Blossom's Photography via

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Craft Craze

Ok people. It is official, I have completely lost it. The senility has set in.

Most of our festivals are about food, aren't they? This Diwali was different. The sweets poured in as usual. Strangely, I was not one bit longing to eat the sweets. I was actually salivating looking at the pretty boxes they came in!

My dad ruefully shakes his head for I have turned his study into a dump yard of sorts. I have stashed all the spoils of my raids there. Right now, my art supplies bag is stuffed with loads of these cardboard boxes, in all shapes, sizes and colours. Sunmaid raisins, Shree Mithai boxes, those pretty ones that the dry fruits come in, a blackberry phone cover, a flipkart casing that I use as a base for all my cutting / sewing and even a really pretty looking wedding invite that I will use for something funky! I have rolls of coloured paper – the whole range – glass, wax, chart, construction, waterman, origami, quilling & velvet. Phew! To add to this, I have ribbons, thread, foam, felt, paints, crayons, glitter, glue, stickers, paper plates, my sketch book and an epic one kilo of poly fill that I ordered from a nearby mattress store (much to the amusement of the owner!) Right now I am in the process of building up my inventory with fabric - old dresses, ethnic prints & decent sized scrap.

My mother opened a pack of oatmeal cookies, and my ears stood up like a dog’s, hearing the crackle of that sturdy paperboard. My mother looked at me with an expression that I would describe as horror. She immediately crushed it and put it in the dustbin with a firm ultimatum to me to use up all the boxes that I had already hoarded! Much to the chagrin of my mother, I once considered washing and storing a tin can that had gulab jamuns and rasgullas!!!

As a kid, I used to love recycling stuff and turn it into something artsy. Matchboxes would become little houses, After Eight chocolate covers used to become dresses for stick dolls, calendar boards would become frames for my paintings, colourful sides of magazines would find their way into collages, old plastic / tin cans would be converted to cute piggy banks or art supplies holders. Thanks to my primary school days, I also got hooked on to sewing at a young age. Embroidered hand towels, pretty pillow cases with lace, tiny frocks; we still use some of the stuff I made. Over the years, they have gone from hand towel to kitchen rag, but the point is, we still use it.

These craft-y fetishes got lost somewhere in the humdrum of everyday life as I grew up. I was at crossroads after school, when I got an admit into a visual communications course at a top arts college in the city. Quite cinematically, the butterfly flapped its wings somewhere, and I also got an engineering admit into a top college just as my dad drew a DD for the viscomm course. Viscomm was not yet an in-thing at that time, I think that was the introductory batch. So with liberal advice from all quarters, I decided to go down the time tested engineering route.

I have no complaints and regrets with the way my life has panned out – I’m in a happy place right now. If I had to relive my life, I would probably make exactly the same choices I have made thus far, but I like to drift off into dreamland and imagine how different my life would have been had I taken up the viscomm course.

Anyway, the craft craze is back and how! I am currently OD-ing on making toys for baby A and have been going pin-crazy on Pinterest. Much to the relief of my entire family, I have been slowly but steadily turning all the stuff from my arsenal into playthings. Of course, the next worry is about where to store this growing pile of toys, but that will be addressed once it reaches critical mass! I’m off now to snoop around Pinterest for all the awesome things that people around the world make and plan my next project. Busy days these are… 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Cleaning out my e-closet

I got my first cell phone when I was in the third year of my engineering. My friends from then know how I never bothered myself with the hassles of buying a new phone as long as I was able to make and receive calls and text messages. I never saw much use for the phone above that. They still taunt me about how I used that small, little Nokia phone till it cried out loud to have a peaceful death.

I managed to change with time, never being able to keep at pace with it though. As a good friend of mine says, I would always have a phone that would be outdated by a couple of models. My dad was and still is more phone savvy than me. Anyway, I slowly graduated to an android touch phone after terrible withdrawal symptoms from my good old Nokia, which had a real keypad. (Which I inherited from my dad, btw!)

So, I grudgingly upgraded my connection to include a data plan. And that was when it began - the addiction. Like all other vices, this began slow. I would use it to check FB now and then, I had a twitter account, but hardly tweeted. I was never active on these forums, they were basically snoop tools. Just to check who is doing what, who got married, who had kids, who travelled where, who got stuck in traffic and when yadda yadda…

One day I installed the google search widget on my homescreen. And there has been no turning back.

When I was working, it felt nice to be on top of things and to stay connected. There was this obsession to “know” things. Better be informed than sorry was my policy. It felt powerful to know so much, so easily. More than anything else, it was a great way to keep myself occupied. I used to travel hell of a lot for work at one point in time. My husband and I tried to sync our travel plans so that we could get back home from the airport together. I accumulated enough miles to fund some short trips! Anyway, this was a great way to keep myself occupied while I stood in those long queues and endless waits to board flights.

Like all other addictions, when this took over my personal time and space, I could not do anything about it.  

For instance, if I visited a doctor who prescribed a tablet that I hadn't had before, I would google it. And by google, I don’t mean superficial stuff. I am talking about proper, in depth research. Chemical composition, dosage, side effects, different views from different medical bodies etc. I did not have to make an effort to do all this, it came to me naturally.  

I enjoyed my pregnancy thoroughly, barring one scan and one blood test report, where terms like placenta previa, pelviecatsis, fetal macrosomia, low AFI etc. were thrown at me. After being told such stuff, I felt really claustrophobic without knowing what these meant. So google! I clicked one link after another and went into this spiral of research and worry, albeit only for a day. Thankfully, I had angels in my mother, husband and friends who would speak to me and allay all my fears.

Then I graduated to motherhood. Like all other new mommies, I had no clue what happened in the first few weeks after my delivery. Then it hit me, all over again. This time around, it was a craving to know whether I am doing it right. As a mother, you get paranoid about the tiniest little things.  So when my daughter started tugging uncontrollably at her ears, I googled it. After going through multiple forums, I refined my search string to “3 month old infant tugging at ear + chewing hand”. A little more research, and a little more refinement. Till I read everything that the internet had to say about it. I scoured the internet dry for articles on motherhood and parenting till the point of obnoxiouness. (Some of them have also been shared on FB, guilty as charged J )

And then, one day, I got so sick of it. Just plain sick of all the information overload and I shut down. All this after just about a week or so of indulgence! I reached a point where I did not want to know anything more and I cared two hoots about whether I was doing it right.

So I cleaned out my e-closet. I detoxed – I unliked, unsubscribed, turned off notifications and unfollowed unnecessary management mailers, job updates, baby and parenting websites. My e-life looks a lot cleaner now. That little search bar is worse than a black hole at times. And social media only sucks you in faster. The thing that this form of addiction kills apart from peace of mind is TRUST. It kills the trust you have in human beings. Be it a doctor, a family member or for that matter yourself.

Have you watched Kung-Fu Panda? The time when Po gets that moment of clarity and sense of balance? I think it is safe to say that I am somewhere near that zone now. I have learned the hard way when to use the internet and when to rely on my instincts. It took a great level of self restraint, but I have got the hang of it now. It just needed some amount of conviction to step out of all the frenzy. Now, the view from the slow lane is beautiful. And I suddenly have so much more time for everyday things and my life doesn’t seem like one mad rush anymore. You know how the grandmothers say that motherhood will come naturally? I never believed it earlier, but now I must say - it does. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe it is the magic of the slow lane.

More often than not, the internet and all the other wonderful things associated with it have made me feel good, positive and reassured. Yes, it has improved my world view of things, I read a lot more, I have a new found love in Pinterest, I watsapp other friend mommies and it really is comforting to know that there are other people who experience things as me. I order books and stay connected with friends and family who live far away. You are reading this blog because technology has made it possible.

I feel like a hypocrite for saying this, but on the flipside, there have been a couple of times this internet spree has made me feel tired and rather miserable. And I will forever remember this lesson learnt. My mother, however, thinks I still spend too much time in front of the computer. I am working on it Amma J

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Grip

Has your loved one ever held your hand tight? I mean, like, very tight? Not the romantic tight, but the fear-of-letting-you-loose tight. Well, my husband is an expert at it.

I still remember the first time it happened with K.  We were enjoying a lovely Parisian evening, strolling down Champs Elysees, hand in hand, reminiscing the one year of our married lives that had gone by. I glanced across the road and my eyes fell on two huge, shiny golden letters atop a massive building, intertwined with each other, just like our hands – LV.

He followed my gaze and in what seemed to be a natural reflex, gripped my hand tight. After a few tense, silent moments, I said, “You should know me better than that. I would never spend my life savings on a silly brown bag, with some dead Frenchman’s initials embossed on some poor dead animal’s skin.” The grip eased, heart beats returned to normal, but he still held my hand. As a precautionary measure, I was not allowed to cross the road to even look at the Louis Vuitton showroom. All I could manage to negotiate was a photo from across the street.

As time went by, K learned that I am not the quintessential woman shopper. He is fairly confident that I will not spend irrationally on high value luxury goods / accessories, and by virtue of my abstinence, I do manage to make him spend on the occasional puppy-dog-eyed-sympathy goodie. He takes the word precaution very seriously though. “The Grip” is still very much a part of our lives, every time I walk past shoes and bags.

But all of us have our weaknesses, don’t we? There is this certain thing that I go absolutely ballistic and berserk about. It gives me such a high, I go weak in my knees and I almost pass out with all the adrenalin that rushes through my body. I run from counter to counter like some deranged woman, and my eyes almost pop out with all the darting around. It is… wait for it…. Stationery. Yes – notebooks, pens, paints, brushes, canvass, handmade paper, colours, glitter and all that jazz. So every time I walk into Landmark or even the corner road stationery shop / fancy store, “The Grip” returns, and how! I have never taken him to Hindustan Traders (more on that in a separate post), lest I would probably lose functionality of my hands with his iron hold!

So I have a pile of good looking notebooks, pens et al in my house, of all shapes and sizes and in all colours. K complains about how I never use them, but it breaks my heart to write on something so pretty. He thinks I am crazy, so after much taunting and prodding, I have started putting them to use. One is my contacts book (most contacts are on my phone), another one is my recipe book (not that I cook a huge variety, coz K is the most boring “eater” I have known), another one is my accounts book (you can only imagine how regularly I update that!), another one is my things to do book (I also have Workflowy on my phone ;) and another one is my travelogue (the only book that has considerable writing in it!)

The good part is, K has his weakness too – electronics. By electronics, I mean the whole range. Be it something as small as a circuit board and couple of diodes, or something fancy like a big fat camera or a swanky TV. He hyperventilates when he goes to Ritchie street or Croma or even Reliance Digital for heaven’s sake! So I return the favour by holding his hand tight. Of course, my hands are way too tiny compared to his, so I put my nails to good use. 

K has turned our house into some kind of an electronics lab. As it is, we live in a pigeon hole in Maximum City. (I am told it is quite luxurious by local standards, but it will never compare to the heavenly abodes of Singaara Chennai). To add to it, we have wires running across the living room, lights flickering from black boxes littered around the place. It makes my house look like a space ship in the middle of the night. To add to the sci-fi effect, he constantly embarks on these projects, where he keeps punching in some code or the other – he is making a media server out of our computer or he is turning a mobile phone into a baby monitor amongst other things. Well, I am happy he is putting his engineering degree to good use!

So when he complains about my stationery filling up our tables, I simply glance at all the wires and boxes littered on top of the shoe rack!

It is a good thing that both of us have our weaknesses. We have mutually agreed to have a live and let live policy. We do not accompany each other to our shopping Mecca’s. That way, I can wallow around in Hindustan Traders and the likes without him breathing down my neck and he can bask in the electronics glory in Ritchie Street without me tugging at his shirt every two minutes.

There is so much more to write about our shopping patterns, but more on that later. For now, all I want to tell K is – This is what I did last week :D

Friday, 4 October 2013

Of the cruel, bad and ugly

My daughter has just started babbling.  She loves looking at pictures in story books and speaking with them. Although she doesn’t really understand what I read out to her, it scares me to think of the day that she will actually learn and comprehend this stuff.

Look at all the popular stories for children – Snow White, Rapunzel, The Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs et al. All of them are centered around a wicked stepmother, a jealous queen or worse still, concepts of ugly and bad!

Why would I want to drill into her that looking beautiful is even a virtue? I will someday have to explain to her what it means to look ugly. She will probably think that people feeling jealous or being cruel is acceptable, because her childhood stories revolved around these emotions. Of course, in all these stories, the good guy wins at the end of the day, but my point is – why even tell children the negative things to begin with?

I know, the sad fact is that she will anyway grow up to understand and probably use these terms in some context or the other, but I hate to be the one teaching her this. It feels like I am killing her innocence, it just feels so… wrong.

I would rather have her confuse a wolf with a wolverine, or even better, think that the wolf is a smoking hot picture of Hugh Jackman than a big bad guy who goes around blowing down pigs houses.  So instead of looking at a story book today, we read the latest issue of Lonely Planet.  :) 

But hope is not lost, because I found this wonderful publishing house based in Chennai – Tulika. Check out their stuff, it really is heartwarming and oh-so-Indian! Can’t wait to go an ransack their store! 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Middle School Love

My fondest childhood memories revolve around middle / high school, where I made friends for life and found love.

Yes, love. Undying and pure. Love for the English language and everything wonderful associated with it. News, diary, book reviews, ERCs! What initially seemed to be a silly homework ritual gradually took over my life. I fell in love with the language; I fell in love with writing. I had found my space.

I would eagerly await your comments on the assignments I submitted to you. To me, it meant the world when you had a few nice words to say about my efforts. Rani Ma’m, do you know, I still have a midterm test note book from class VI? It was a test that I almost scored a centum on in English!!! What I hold dear to my heart is the page long comment you had written along with it.  

I felt that same rush of emotion when I saw your comment on my blog a few weeks back. That is what prompted me to write this post.

During my engineering days, I decided to run the mad, mad GRE rat race like all my batch mates, knowing fully well that I was never cut out for an MS. Looking back at it now,  I don’t regret it one bit. Only because I loved learning the word list of Baron’s cover to cover!

Till today, I write. Helluva lot! (Please excuse the slang J )I write when I am elated and oh, I definitely write when I am sad / angry. I document my travel, I write about issues that make me think. I write on paper, I write on my phone, computer, a tablet, I write in my head, just about anywhere. I write them long, short, as poetry, just about anything. Writing is what helps me maintain some semblance of sanity when things go awry. It gives my life invaluable perspective. Don’t judge me by the number of entries on my blog. I consciously choose not to publish everything that I write J    

So today, it is only befitting to thank you for making me fall in love. Fall in love with everything nice – books, ink pens, reading and writing. Thank you for gently nudging me into developing opinions and supporting me to voice them in a manner that is acceptable socially. Thank you for inspiring me and instilling that sense of awe for the language.

People say my newborn daughter looks nothing like me. But I sure do hope that she has inherited this love. For, she will not be fortunate enough to study under a person as wonderful as you.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dear Bollywood...

Dear Bollywood,

I am so upset with you. No, not because you churn out one mindless movie after another (that has become acceptable now), with that occasional streak of brilliance in between to save your face. It is because I am deeply hurt and offended by how you misrepresent South Indian-ness in all the crass that you produce.

You know, you occupy a really huge mind-share in Indians, especially upwards of the Vindhyas, much more than you are worthy of. Given that, you ought to be a tad bit more responsible in your portrayal of people and their sensibilities, however funny you may want it to seem. This is long overdue. I have a few things to tell you…

Food: You really touched a raw nerve here. I believe we have way more advanced gastronomical acumen than to consume curd with soy sauce and ajinomoto, and most definitely not with the table manners that you have revoltingly depicted. Curd is our elixir. I would like to invite you home for lunch. I will teach you how we eat our curd rice. It is with this mind-blowing accompaniment called “vadumanga”, which is made during summers and preserved in pickled brine. I should probably arrange to send you some everyday so that the curd goes down your system and cleanses your brains, while the spice of the vadumanga grinds down your thick skin.

People: Our heroes may not have the metrosexuality to lie in a bathtub full of roses to advertise for beauty soaps. They certainly do not have the machismo of revealing butt cracks in hot swimwear either. But I would like to think most of the reigning heroes are comfortably in between, with way more cerebral and creative wealth than yours. So please stop portraying our men like big fat goons with drawn up veshtis, generous visuals of their underwear, abominable mustaches, flashy jewellery and more than abundant body hair. Speaking of body hair, let us rewind a decade or so and take a moment to digest the volume of collective hair of the then Kumars, Kapoors, Deols and the Khans.

About our women, well, the lesser said, the better. I don’t think you have the mental maturity for this discussion as yet.

Language: Let me do you a favour and help you enrich your general knowledge a little bit. We have four states here, each with its own beautiful language. So, one can safely presume that our vocabulary is more advanced than the “Ayyos” / “Aiyyas” and the exaggerated “aaahs”  / “ooohs” that you pepper around your characters, especially in that irritating nasal tone.

I wanted to end this post with a caustic remark on the first and last syllables of your name. Well, I'll just let that be... because it will take you light years to understand the joke. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Crossword No. 10790

Have I told you how much I love solving The Hindu’s crossword? Every morning. Unfailingly. Even if I miss a day’s puzzle, I faithfully pull it out the next day to solve it! The only grouse I have is its placement in the paper - generally above the obituaries section. Why would you want to begin your day by looking at obituaries?

On the 4th of June, I opened the paper very hesitantly. I pensively turned to the crossword page. But today was not for the crossword, it was to look at an obituary – that of my maternal grandmother’s.

There she was. A much healthier picture of her smiled at me from the paper. Very unlike the scrawny frame she had been reduced to in the recent past. I had almost forgotten what she looked like in better times. Despite her age and her atrophied body, she did well to fight a form systemic scleroderma. A condition that is easy to mis-diagnose and also a condition that has no complete cure.

I would have liked to spend my last few moments with her by sitting next to her, holding her hands or just looking at her, in silence. But that was not to be. In our culture, the most precious moments of one’s life are generally dictated by people who do not matter. What an irony! It could be a wedding, a birth, a first birthday, the final rites, or even breastfeeding for heaven’s sake! A sea of people invaded the house. Along with paying their respects, also very generously dropped unnecessary advice and rendered unwanted help, over-complicating the already complex set of rituals.  Isn't it just so incongruous in the larger scheme of things?

She passed away on the same day that I heard about a tech guru’s death after a valiant fight against cancer and a frivolous suicide. I mean, how ironical can life get? There are people who will do anything to hang on to one hidden ember of life, and then there are those others… Damn! Frustrating, to say the least.

Anyway, crossword no. 10790 will remain unsolved. Forever. 

Monday, 27 May 2013

Life comes a full circle

The same routine – alcohol and women. Every weekend, for a year, since that horrific incident. It was the only way he could forget…

This weekend, he woke up, only to find all valuables from his house gone!

“That cheat!!!” he thought, as his eyes fell on a postcard. Neatly inscribed in Tamil, it read “Helpinghands Ashram salutes your generosity. Your contribution will be used for Selvi’s education.”

Beneath it, a picture of Selvi, whom he instantly recognized. The same girl he had orphaned a year ago, when he drove over her parents in a fit of drunken rage… A case his money had managed to buy…

So, who’s the cheat?

Friday, 4 January 2013

A Dive Divine

I back rolled off my boat and fell into the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea at The Wall, a famous dive site off Havelock. I entered head first. I don’t think any adjective would do justice to describe the beauty I saw there! My jaw would have dropped, but the only reason I kept my mouth shut was to ensure my oxygen regulator doesn't fall off. Amidst all the marine frenzy, Kailash and I knew we had found a hobby for life. The 14 kg tank that weighed on me all this while suddenly felt weightless… Aah! The joys of being in water!

This was my first dive as a part of my PADI certification. After having gone through theory lessons, clearing an exam, clearing life skill tests in confined water, here I was – my first certification dive. I was excited….

It is a cardinal rule of scuba diving to swim against the current when you start a dive; that’s when you have most energy. And then, you can lazily let the current do all the work when you get back after the dive. I was busy scanning the water, hoping to get luck with some manta ray spotting.

Just as we started to descend, the waters became a little cloudy. No, not with sand from the seabed… But with… wait for it…. JELLYFISH! I found a few beautiful jelly fish bobbing in the water and deftly swam away from them. Then, one look ahead and the colour drained off my face. There were atleast 200 of them, swimming with the current, right towards us!

Our dive instructors took one look at the jellyfish and announced that it was not poisonous. But, as in life, everything comes with a caveat. They had tentacles that ran upto a metre in length! That much venom could kill a dinosaur, maybe! “Remain calm!” was the clarion call… You know this is like someone telling you – “Oh there is a tiger charging at you. But don’t you worry, it doesn't have sharp teeth!”

With a heavy scuba suit and in the midst of a current, it would be ages before we got to the boat and hauled ourselves up to safety. We grimly looked at the entire school of them swim towards us and started our futile swim towards the boat. It was only a matter of physics before they caught up with us. Cursing relative velocity under my breath, I realized what pathetic swimmers we humans are.

When the first sting landed on my leg, there was piercing pain and I screamed out loud… The more you struggle, the more the tentacle embeds itself in your body. It is so poignant that a creature so beautiful can be that dangerous! Evil, pure evil. Kailash got one on his face, and that is something that I don’t even want to think about! And when the rest of them came, the profanities just kept getting worse. After the ordeal, one of my co divers said, “When the lady went from saying s**t to f***, we knew it was really bad!”

At the moment that I saw them coming, suddenly, the aches and the pains vanished, the cribs seemed so trivial, the number of zeros in the salary became a non-entity, and everything else seemed so small. In the silence of the ocean, the only thing I heard was the sound of my own heart, pounding. I remember feeling a little guilty that I hadn't yet found my calling in life and prayed ever so hard before being engulfed. Talk about perspective; this incident cleared my head like nothing else ever has, it was almost divine.  

We got onto the safety of the boat after what seemed like eternity. As our co-divers rushed to help us take off tentacles hanging from our arms and legs, we both knew we were bloody lucky to walk away from this with just some scars and painful pricks. You know, they say some experiences in life change you. And more so, when such experiences happen at the hands of nature. 

We knew we had changed – forever.