‘Cushions’ were supposed to be a thing of comfort. Over time, however, they have evolved to a level where they seem to be the rightful owners of your sofa sets. So much so, that sometimes it looks like other home dwellers need to seek their permission before even thinking about sharing their space.


The cushions that rule our big “comfy” sofa are the most respected members of our family. No one in the family has the right to dethrone them. Regular sofa-‘space’-battles are frequent and are almost always won by them. And even when you try to co-exist peacefully on the sofa, some way or the other, these little pricks are constantly reminding you of their presence!

This arrogance did not occur to them overnight. Cushions have worked hard for it. Those things that were once primary weapons to attack one’s siblings have successfully exploited the loopholes in the humans’ constant endeavour to look better. Hence they kept growing bigger and teamed-up with cushion covers. Covers that are now, supposedly, a representative of their owner’s coolness, geekiness, humour, or modern-yet-contemporary-ness. They made humans perceive a sofa with basic or minimalistic cushioning as ‘uncool’. What followed can be termed as ‘The Wrath of the K(ushio)n”. We started seeing sofas in which one would have to search for a 3-year-old if left unattended. If the sofa weren’t “plush” enough, people started loading them with these monstrosities to make them look so.

Come to think of it — in an afterlife, given a choice, I would want to be a cushion — not just any cushion, but a sofa cushion. Until then, sadly, the argument continues.

“Stay Blessed”, they said

I get confused when someone wishes me to “stay blessed”. My main contention then becomes, are you — the blesser, putting the ball in my — the potential blessee’s court? If so, then that’s totally uncalled for. C’mon, my plate might be already full with a number of other, more important, tasks. I don’t need any new responsibility, especially the abstract, divine kinds, to be bestowed upon me. That too, unsolicited.

question-mark-clip-art-free-clipart-images-5Hadn’t it been politically incorrect, I would have definitely countered the one who conveniently handed out this mammoth of a task upon me. Why couldn’t the person keep it to herself/himself, with a simple prefix of “I hope” — “I hope you stay blessed”. As is apparent, that would have kept things light, goodwill would have been conveyed, and everyone would have gone home happy.

I think people, kind of, consider it in the league of “take care”, but it’s just that they believe that “take care” is so 80’s and sounds un-hep. But I’m far more happy with “take care” because that’s something tangible, as I know that the onus is very much on me. (Also, because experiments have shown that the absence of “taking care” might have catastrophic outcomes.) An absence of “staying blessed”, umm..I don’t know — it’s debatable. I’m better off with “stay healthy”, “stay happy” and/or “take care”, thank you very much!

About a book + (tangential) cycling.

So, somehow I ended up buying an amazing book on bicycle riding called ‘Just Ride‘, and I’m glad on this not-very-binge-shopping of mine.
Just Ride book imageI call it amazing because it pronounced a significant number of latent thoughts of mine about the way I see cycling evolving (or ‘cyclists behaving’ if you will) around me. I think the author, Grant Peterson witnessed a similar trend about a decade or more ago in the US and decided to collate much of his gathered wisdom into this tiny book. The author highlights the existence of the predominant category of cyclists, who he refers to as unracers. I also see a vast majority of them: with the increasing income and knowledge, the upper-middle-class in India is buying bikes which are generally in the range of 15-30K — a price range that would have made them and their folks jump out of their chairs when they were young. Undoubtedly, it is a welcome trend and should be encouraged by all means.

Continue reading “About a book + (tangential) cycling.”

Monkey business!

Uth jaayiye…bandar aa gaya!” (Wake up! the monkey has arrived!) were the words ushered to me, as I was forced to forfeit my siesta on a lazy afternoon. The tone was akin to that woman whose sons had finally arrived on a fine summer morning — all set to continue the “bhangra paaley” they’d left-off couple of decades ago. Well, the news of the arrival of this distraught-but-acting-voracious primate spread like wildfire in our (non-)cooperative housing society — thanks to our smartphones and having little better to do, apart from watching scripted “reality” shows. Moreover, seems it was also a welcome departure, from the usual “very relevant” topics of the society WhatsApp group — like how to save the millions they’d put in PayTm, if and when it suddenly becomes a bank!

So anyway, I was my unamused self and headed towards the balcony, where this distant, unevolved, relative of mine had chosen to spend his afternoon. I saw it getting more intrigued by the enactment of the last scene of ‘Sadma’ movie that my wife and daughter were putting up to shoo it off, than they were with his. I am sure, it’d have ordered a popcorn and soda, given a chance.

As I bleh-ed the overhyped situation — of the red-corner notice issued on the society WhatsApp group — I felt sorry for the two pot-bellied security guards with their lathis, clueless about dealing with this unwelcome refugee. I felt even more sorry for the bewildered animal, of what all it’s being made to endure — “I hope it finds a safe exit”.

For the next two days, we kept hearing reports about the antics of the monkey in various locations throughout the society. I am sure, there’d been a lot of “selfies” clicked as well. Though I am not very sure about who ended up more entertained at the end of it all — the monkey or yours truly.

About a book: Women in Science

Found this amazing book thanks to Amazon suggestions, called ‘Women in Science’. The best part of this book, apart from being concise, is that it presents the subject in an uncontemporary format — with amazing illustrations. So, for a change, you can judge this book by it’s cover.

Women in Science Cover Image
Rachel Ignotofsky has done a commendable job by compiling 1-page biographies of 50 women, “who changed the world”. She has complemented it with to-the-point, interesting, and effective doodles and illustrations for each of the portrays. While most of us know about the popular ones like Madam Curie, Ada Lovelace, and suchlike; this book brings forth stories of many more who were as brilliant, and fearless.

Buy this book for yourself, and your kids. Especially boys.

At the barbers’

It was a lazy Friday forenoon that I realized that my hair needs a trim. I dropped-in to the local salon to find that (owing to Friday, and the part of town that I stay in,) it was busier than usual. Since there was a wait involved, I made myself comfortable on the plush couch, and picked one out of the many magazines casually left around on the ‘side table’. Being the distracted self, I was less interested in the magazine, and more interested in what’s going around, my attention was drawn to a conversation taking place between the owner and someone who appeared to be his friend. Since I am an Indian, and eavesdropping is my birthright, I directed all my efforts in trying to figure out why the ‘friend’s’ eyes, and in fact the whole body language was akin to that of a scientist who has finally got proof of his hypothesis.

The conversation involved a lot of repetitions of the words “bhai“, “phir kya“, and bollywood celebrity names. It did not take me long to understand that the main subject of conversation was “Salman Bhai”, who the owner — either out of sheer respect, or to uphold the convention was referring to as just “bhai”. Ah! then it all made perfect sense. It was easy to put two and two together. The owner was a typical late-20s-gym-frequenting-with-neatly-trimmed-beard guy who claimed to have attended “a lot” of late-night parties where bhai was also invited. So he “knew” bhai and bhai’s nuances like the back of his hand.

The subject on the other hand was an early-20s-just-started-with-“gymming” guy with a gleam in his eyes — and a tremendous hope that his new found guru could get him, maybe not befriended, but at least a picture clicked with the bhai.  (Wait a min, did I say ‘picture”? — I am sorry, that’s so 80’s of me — I meant “a selfie“.)

The topic of conversations ranged from what bhai likes to eat and drink, to who all does he talk to, to how bhai just showed up in his PJ’s to the ‘Kapil Sharma show’. Seems bhai calls the shots everywhere. (Pun intended.)

The conversation seemed to start to go downhill when, I think, the owner realised that this yuppy friend is a bit more enthusiastic than he had anticipated, and may actually one-fine-day show-up to join him on his next late-night-party that bhai is supposed to honour with his presence. The body language changed, the owner started looking more at his watch and what looked like “engaging” WhatsApp messages. The poor friend then seemed to have got the drag, and excused himself after exchanging some half-hearted pleasantries.

And yes, then it was my turn to get a trim — not the bhai kinds that is.