When 2016 Comes To Shove…


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Picture Copyrights: Anjali Mariam Paul

Sometimes, the road less travelled by ensures that you get lost, fracture a leg, break down and lose your sanity, amongst other things. Things get better as everything is momentary, nothing is permanent. What is water today might be ice tomorrow… It all depends on how long we want to wait it out and see what we make out of life’s obstacles and challenges. Learn to respect everyone around, be it a 5 year old child or a cow on the road. Your perception of the world doesn’t necessarily need to be anyone else’s and your right of opinion is just the same as anybody else’s. Be kind, as you never know whether your mere presence, your smile or your words could be the altering point in someone’s life. Don’t waste time being mean because that time could be spent in falling in love with a new song or a new book or a new concept. Eat what you want, when you want and how you want despite how you think you’ll look in those figure hugging jeans. It’s not worth giving up that yummy sinful looking piece of chocolate cake. Live everyday like it’s a special day because you never know when it’s going to be your last.

Write about Hitler if it makes you happy, do a nude sketch of someone if that’s your thing, travel to unknown places if you want to, click selfies to cherish every moment if you’re scared you’ll forget it… just stop worrying about anybody else. You are you and you have every right to be YOU!

Don’t try and be somebody else because there is nobody as unique as YOU! Wear clothes which you’re comfortable in, do things you want to do and most importantly… learn to say NO.

Tell your friends and family how much you love them every chance you get because they deserve to know how much they mean to you. Finally, love with no conditions because you’d rather have loved with a whole heart and lost than not loved at all.

A new year asks for new beginnings and here’s mine to being the childish, immature, spontaneous, gluttonous and silly ME!

Provoking Thoughts During A Bus Journey


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There’s something soothing about a long bus ride, taking you to a world away from the one you’re stuck in. (If you’re staying in Bangalore, then you know that it means a daily commute to anywhere. As a matter of fact, it’s faster for me to cross the border to Tamil Nadu than to reach MG Road from where i stay, in Electronic City.) But, that isn’t the point of this post. I’m referring to that same bus journey which takes forever but is a journey into your past, reminiscing about moments lost, fleeting moments of love and betrayal…

A few hours when you can let your tears fall, without people intruding in on your pain, telling you that things will okay when maybe you don’t want it to be okay… What if you just want to wallow in self pity for a short while? Shed tears where have been left unshed for hours, days, weeks and months… Enjoy a song a little more emphatically than you would otherwise… cry a little harder at something which didn’t require even a fleeting thought… remember people who walked out without saying a word… And as you wait at a signal, look into the eyes of random strangers and see your pain reflecting in their eyes.

Give someone your best smile, knowing only too well that in this city so big, there’s no chance in hell that you’ll meet them again and if you, you can consider it serendipity.

What is it about bus rides that makes me creep into this new avatar who is oblivious of the physical constraints and just lets me be… What is it? I cry a little harder, I smile a little wider and I enter this world where I am one with myself.

I stare a little too deeply into the underlying violence that exists in the lives of the hawkers on the road. I can see the police lurking close by, probably for a cut or to drive them away once they’re give the order. How did they get to live a life like this? Did they ever get a chance to enjoy a childhood when the main concern was enjoyment and not sustenance? Do their children go to school? Do they dream just as I do? Do they dream at all?

As the bus takes a route where I’m surrounded with skyscrapers, I wonder how many of them come out of their balconies and think of jumping off just to feel the exhilaration of not being caged…

I hear a child laughing ecstatically at something at the back of the bus and as his mother tells him to quieten down, I want to tell her to let him laugh because the innocence of his laughter will be lost in a few years an his gurgle will be the only thing that resonates off the walls when you’re worried about his tests, exams, fees, extra classes and future dreams. Let him laugh as much as he wants… Just let him be.

Picture copyrights: Girl on the bus saved me (Can’t seem to source the artist. If anyone knows, please let me know.)

When 28 Becomes More Than A Number


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The trick is growing up without growing old.” – Casey Stengel

Khumbhalgarh Memories

I apologize to my readers (yes, I mean YOU guys who accidentally decided to click on the follow button and have to bear with my posts in your reader or those of you who are forced to read this because you guys are my friends on other social networking sites) for not posting in the longest time but, as you might not have known… I’m back in college!!

This means that most of my time is spent fretting about reading and comprehending what the third electoral system is, what Purchasing Power Parity means, why Marx is a big dickhead, how SOCIETY means a lot more than what I thought it was, where the country is headed with it’s crossing of planetary thresholds and most importantly, WHY I NEED TO KNOW ANY OF THIS?!

After being a working professional for close to 5 years, coming back to college when you sneak a bottle of scotch into the hostel, being hammered and going to class the next morning, worrying about attendance, response papers, grades, open courses, credits and looking like a complete idiot when you raise your hand to answer in class makes it all so overwhelming. I can’t pull all nighters anymore, my body can’t stomach drinking more than twice a week and it’s as though I’ve just realized how relaxing SLEEP is because that seems to be my favorite pastime.

The most entertaining part of it all is I spend more time asking everyone around me how old they are just to convince myself that I’m not the oldest but guess what, most of my closest friends in college are close to 7 years younger than me and I absolutely love it! I didn’t realize it until today that no matter how old we get, our love for comfort food in the middle of a stressful weekend before an Economics test, Hersheys Kisses, a peg of Taliskar Skye when we feel the world is going to crash down on our heads, gossiping, donuts from Krispy Kreme, momos and random talks about the state of the world we live in makes us all ‘same same but different’, no matter how young or old we are.

I might not be the skinny, bad ass me that I was around 5 years ago, with an eye-brow piercing and attitude that would cut you down to size (that’s how I remember myself anyway) and that’s something which has taken me a few months to realize. I have changed and evolved into this person that I am now (whoever that is) and I’ve resolved to enjoy being this ‘new’ me and not have that number shadow my every move.

28 is definitely more than a number to me, it’s more like a doorway to a new life and to think that it took an Economics test to make me realize this… :)

Being A True Christian


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For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. 

Galatians 5:14



I am a Christian in love with a Hindu, because of which I have been made to understand repeatedly by people of the faith that I have strayed from the path of righteousness. What is even worse is they are blaming my parents, specifically my mother for not bringing me up in the Christian way. This has caused me to reflect on my actions and read up the Bible because that is the only reference I have to God’s word where He has apparently told His children not to love thy neighbor if he was a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jain, a Sikh etc. You must understand why that is going to be difficult for me as it isn’t really mentioned anywhere at all in the Bible or any other book of faith.

Who Is A Good Christian?

Have you ever asked yourself this question, dear believers? You read the Bible everyday and you kneel down and pray for forgiveness and give thanks that you have been blessed and worship in His temple every Sunday… I applaud you for doing everything right but when exactly did that suddenly pave way for you to judge someone’s choice of friendship or love? God’s first commandment says, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Do you remember the time when the testaments were given? It was given to Moses just when he brought the people to Canan and He was scared that they would go astray. This was a time when there was hopelessness and suddenly, Moses gave them hope to a better life. How do we know this? It is written in the Bible. Who wrote the Bible? The apostles wrote the Bible. What is the authenticity of this information? Hmm… Enough said.

In the New Testament, according to what is reported by John, one of His apostles… this is also the word of God.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  

1 John 4:1

Until the age of 18, I went to church every Sunday, prayed everyday and read the Bible like I was told to, attended Sunday School like a true Christian, attended the Vacation Bible School during the summer vacations and yet, that didn’t stop me from falling in love with a Hindu. Does that make me a bad Christian? I have my chats with God once in a while and I take Holy Communion when I accompany my mother to church and I try not to hurt anyone in my thoughts and deeds but yes, I am in love with a Hindu. Therefore, I am a bad Christian and my parents should be punished for my actions. Honestly, all of you judgers and haters out there… Grow up! Read a little and most importantly, LOVE a little!!

What is Religion?

Religion is something that was created by man and it has divided our world into sects and unknowingly, we judge each other based on what the Scripture says, not even bothering to try and understand what it really means. I have also noticed that even in religion, we choose to do away with certain parts that we are not comfortable with. I know loads of Holy Christians who go around judging others, who themselves drink alcohol on the day of Sabbath when the testaments clearly say, “Remember the Sabbath day; to keep it Holy.” Yes, getting sloshed and eating beef fry is keeping the day Holy. Who are we kidding? Let us learn to accept that we are all one and the same in this world, a little fairer, darker, taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, orthodox and maybe not at all… All of us try and live our perception of what we have been told or what is convenient for us, in terms of a Christian life… Let’s not judge what is right and wrong when we clearly don’t know what right really is.

One of my relatives is heard to have said, “For every inter-religious marriage that happens, a Christian soul is lost.” Powerful words coming from a living person who from what I am sure had no way to ascertain what happens to a soul, Christian or otherwise after marriage. Where did she hear it? The priests must have preached at church. I would like you to go back to 1 John 4: 1 (the quote above). I rest my case.


As a Syrian Christian, I was also made to understand (still dubious on this though) that my parents will be excommunicated from Church in the event of me getting married to anyone who is not a Christian. Sigh. What do I do with you, strong believers in Christianity?! For you, read the quote below…

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,

Romans 8:39

I also want to take this opportunity to thank my mother for bringing me up the way she did, to make my own choices in terms of making friends with people of all religions and for understanding that love is blind of faith and religion.


Eulogy for Ammachi (Granny)


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For the better part of the past month, I have known that I want to write this eulogy for Ammachi and yet, the words didn’t come till today. I wish that there was a way in which I would be able to capture what she meant to me and do justice to her awesomeness, but sadly these words will have to do. It will be exactly 40 days since her peaceful demise and yet, I find it hard to accept that she isn’t going to be sleeping on that diwan in front of the T.V., watching her serials when I come back home.

Kamalam Mathai, in the 90 years that she graced this earth with her presence, played a lot of very important roles. She was a loving daughter, a doting and generous sister to six siblings, a devoted and supporting wife, a caring mother to three beautiful girls and the coolest grandmother any child could ever ask for. She was a doctor, mentor and therapist to her children, a warden to her grandchildren and the most incredible friend to everyone she met. She never had a lavish lifestyle nor did she care for one as the only thing that really mattered to her was family. She was a considerate and generous woman who always took time out to lend a hand to those who needed it.

A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.”

From the time that I can remember, Ammachi was the one to sit with me while I did my homework in my neatest handwriting, the one who made sure that Ajay and I were dressed in the best costumes for fancy dress competitions, the one who oiled and combed my hair with such love and care, the one I’d scream for when Ajay and I would fight like cats and dogs, the one to counsel us when we disagreed with Mummy and Daddy, the one who would be there at every annual function in school, no matter how big or small the part, the one who made sure that we weren’t watching inappropriate T.V. shows, when Mummy and Daddy weren’t home and the one who made sure that we learnt all the prayers and songs to be said and sung during Sunday mass, in Malayalam.

People might think that being a woman born in the early 1900s, she would be orthodox and old fashioned, but not our Ammachi. Ammachi is probably the only person in our family who approved of my eyebrow piercing and didn’t make an issue of my tattoo. She was totally supportive when Varun decided to wear his hair long and make a ponytail and supportive when Ajay wanted to worship in a different church. She would have been supportive of Akash doing anything wild as well, but he somehow managed to walk down the right path.

Ammachi, you will be missed!! You were honestly the glue that kept this family together and you have taught us so much about love and forgiveness, in the time that you were here with us. Your presence filled our lives with such joy and happiness, but I know that it is now time for you to take on another role; that of an angel and join Appacha who has been waiting a long time for you. My relationship with you, over the past 27 years has been and will be something that I will cherish all my life.

As we bid you farewell as you embark on a new journey, I would like to end with this saying:

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. It only means that I will miss you until we meet again.



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I have been trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with me for the longest time now. The symptoms are restlessness, insane jealousy of people who are happy, a crazy maternal instinct whenever around kids, an urge to travel the world, despising oneself, spending hours checking and matching prices online so that you can get a good offer on clothes, accessories, electronic equipment which will probably never be worn or used, the sudden love for solitude buried in books and T.V. shows and last but not the least… wondering what my true calling is.

It has finally hit me that I am 27 years old which I have been for over 2 months now and the teasing temptress of life… TRUE CALLING still persists.


I have to remind myself that I am a qualified Architect sometimes and that I used to sketch and do creative things at some point in my life, before I made a career shift to do something I’m not qualified to do… which then led me to do more things that I wasn’t qualified to do and has now led me to be so qualified in doing things that I’m not really qualified to do. When I made this shift, it was a rash decision made right after… it has been so long that I don’t think I even want to remember anymore. This was supposed to be a short stint before I found my TRUE CALLING and went about doing just that, and now 20 months later in that short stint… well… I’m still nowhere close to figuring out what I want to do.

The music has stopped playing because the cassette is stuck in the recorder.

Self Pity

Oh… how I love wallowing in self pity! I can spend hours and hours brooding over every single move I made which led me to this present state of affairs. The unwarranted rebellious phase, the really not required eyebrow piercing (which I still miss sometimes), the boys, the fights, the moves, the cutting off of friends, the bad habits… Which move was it that totally turned my world around and led me here? Which path not taken did I take which led me here? Who did I piss off for them to curse me to land up here? Where the hell is HERE?!! Anybody have a map to guide me through this mess?!

The only consolation to self pity is you treat yourself with really good food. I will never fit back into my college jeans, will I?

Bad Days

I have come to believe that every day of my life is a bad day whether it is related to work or my personal life. In the past week alone, I have had enough reasons to go running around looking for a horse shoe or reading my horoscope in the hope of at least preparing myself for the shit storm (my better half uses this word a lot so I decided to steal it, ‘cos it sounds cool) to follow. I wake up with a dread of what is going to go utterly wrong and who I am going to tick off, constantly wondering whether I am going to be let go because isn’t that what happens when you least expect it?! (just that in my case I hyperventilate and expect the worst anyways) I have started becoming overly self critical when it comes to work and I find myself rating myself very low these days, and I honestly feel that my productivity is at its lowest yet. I am scared of being that person who is dispensable because… who wants to be that guy who nobody misses?!

Sleeping early gives me mental peace and sleeping late gives me more time to worry. Isn’t it obvious what I must be doing these days?


I don’t go around clicking pictures of things that interest me anymore. In short, nothing interests me these days and I think that the reason behind that is I have become lazy and don’t want to take a snapshot of every single thing that moves me. I rarely blog these days and I think my writing has deteriorated from the last time I wrote anything that was worth a good read. I was never witty and well, enough said on that.

I read books which transport me into their worlds for a short time until I am drawn back to the reality that is my aimless life. (currently reading ‘The Racketeer’ by John Grisham and ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’ by Fatima Bhutto) I watch T.V. shows which keep me entertained for hours together which makes me believe that I am a couch potato. I go for a walk with a friend on a daily basis to prove to myself that I exert my body at least to some extent. (Yes, I have come to believe that I am an aunty now)


I remember an Anjali who was happy and who went out of her way to make others happy too. I remember her to be honest, punctual, diligent, loyal, a little dysfunctional but who isn’t these days and happily confused about everything going on in life. She was happy being the over dreaming under achiever that she turned out to be. She was absolutely okay with going all the way across town to meet up with someone who she hadn’t seen for years. Where the hell did she go? She left her job when she thought she wasn’t learning anything and most importantly when she felt the spark die. When did she grow up to be this boring, cribbing, not fun to be with person? WHERE DID SHE GO?!

Paging Anjali Paul… Need you back urgently. The world is missing a bit of its happy quotient.


I have made it a point to get back to my old ways of being insanely happy over a balloon and cotton candy. There has always been more fun in being a rambunctious child than a self disciplined adult. I guess this was my vent and it has been a while since I vented so yay for me! I have always thought of myself as a nobody who wanted to be a somebody and I realised through this post that I’d rather be a happy nobody than a stick in the mud somebody.

Hope that made sense. In case it didn’t… who cares? Nobody.

Somebody Pamper Me


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I was sitting in front of a computer at work, on a SUNDAY trying to get some prints taken (2000 to be precise) for a training which was starting the next day, when my boss walked up to me smiling, reminding me to finish up a newsletter which was due in a few days and it took all of me to not scream and cry and throw a tantrum. I smiled and said that it would be done by the morrow, which I knew would require some magical multi-tasking powers and a sleepless night.

I walked out of the room, only to be reminded by someone else that I should have taken the prints and had them ready on Saturday. I bit my lip, smiled and said that the entire point of me working on a SUNDAY was so that I could get these prints done in my own time, without a million people interrupting me in the process. Some people should really learn when to NOT give people advice.

I grab my 3rd cup of chai for the day, which is probably the only thing keeping me going as I multi-task and finish up a document on my roles and responsibilities for a role I was given just 2 weeks past. The pressure is mounting and I am chumming and I want the entire world to know that so that they can just give me a break for a few minutes if not a SUNDAY, but no. That will not be because I am after all, a strong freaking independent woman who is supposed to keep it together and not lose it when the pressure starts to mount.

I go back to my room which is a depressing little cuboid as I have mentioned before in a post and read a book so that I remain sane and can remind myself that I have a life, when in reality… sigh… Who am I kidding? What life? I call my mother who is travelling and who casually happens to mention that my aging grandmother had a fall because her sugar ran low and I am still trying to hold back the tears as I try to remain as calm as my mother as she gives me this news. Now, I am really upset and just want to be comforted as the tears well up in my eyes and I let them fall onto the pillow as I pay no heed to them and continue reading.

The better half understands and then heads off with his friends to catch a late dinner as I remain in my depressing little cell with lizards for company. Now, I am enraged at the better half because I don’t know how else to emote and am frantically typing out hate messages to him on my phone. Thank god for good sense, which prevailed before I pressed send.


I lay awake in bed, wishing I was stronger and epitomize the word ‘INDEPENDENT’ as I go along with my daily routine at work and life, in general. And then I remembered this cartoon strip I had seen a year earlier and it made me laugh so hard that it sort of cheered me up a little. As strong and independent as I’d like to be, there is still a part of me which wants to be comforted and pampered like a little school girl. It made me realize that it is absolutely understandable to break down and cry for a few minutes to just let out the rush of emotions sweeping inside of you. Haha!! Want to know how that day ended? It ended with my better half putting me to sleep on the phone by telling me it would all be okay. I’m not that strong and I’m not ashamed to say it :)

Yet Another Candle On The Cake


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10606481_670237243087409_8453904121568387156_nHappy 27th to me!! :)

As every year passes by, I find myself feeling more and more alone on my birthday and this year was no different. I was busy with work the entire day at office and took some time out for the ritual of cutting my birthday cake, in this case plural. If the embarrassment of standing in front of about 50 people as they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ wasn’t enough, the Director of the organization clicking photos of the event with his DSLR made it even worse. I like attention, mind you but only when I am seeking it and birthdays don’t come in that category. I was lost the entire day as I have been for some time now, attending phone calls from people who I speak to once or twice a year, feigning interest in their lives when all I was wondering was… why I wasn’t as close to them as I was so many years ago. The highlight of my day was The State Bank of India sending me a birthday SMS. You must understand where I am going with this post. You mustn’t get me wrong here… I am glad that they remembered and called to wish me but this year, nothing really cut it except for a drunken somebody singing to me on the phone at midnight only to complain later that I didn’t compliment his singing. (This post will be a reminder that it actually happened and wasn’t a figment of his imagination)

The evening brought some entertainment with beer and old Hindi films and some dancing which actually brought me to hysterical tears. I guess this is how grown ups celebrate birthdays and that I should get used to it but in all honesty, all I wanted to do was read a book and watch ‘The Wire’ and sleep early like I do every other day. Maybe I’ll save that for next year. The difference from last year’s birthday was this time the tears were happy and overall it didn’t feel that bad turning a year older in a not so alien city with newly made friends. Happy happy birthday to me, I guess :/


Freedom from Fear


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Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid. It’s good to be afraid occasionally. Fear is a great teacher.” – MICHAEL IGNATIEFF

Gone are the days when a girl could walk happily down the street whistling a happy tune, listening to music on her phone, unaware of the world around her. I don’t remember whether those days ever existed but I can clearly say that those days are no more. It could be the news freaking me out or the choice of posts and books I have been reading off late but when I step out of my room which is a little cuboid, my mind is paralyzed with fear.

I have been groped, brushed against, touched inappropriately and jeered at as though I were an animal in a cage and the fear comes from knowing it won’t end there. The fear comes from knowing that I will always need someone to protect me, that I am powerless alone. I want to walk out on the road, not clutching a bag to my chest in fear of being groped. I want to shop at a bazaar, not being mindful that the hawker’s breath is in my face and it reeks of alcohol. I want to sit in an autorickshaw at night, trusting him to take me to my destination without a sideways glance. But, no… I am always wracked with fear, although I may seem fine on the outside. I am always cautious; always second guessing every man that I meet; always alert that the next man I meet might be the one to take undue advantage of me. I want to trust you, dear man but it’s just that I can’t.


I am surrounded by kids all day and my mind becomes so alert when I see one of the help smiling a little too much, while talking to the elder girls. I am glaring at the driver as he innocently throws the pre-schoolers up in the air. I am stealing glances at the shopkeeper as he spends a little extra time with one of the construction worker’s children. I don’t trust smiles anymore. I just can’t find it in me to wholeheartedly trust any man.

I watched this performance by a few of the school girls on Independence Day and I cried, a little because patriotic songs get me teary eyed and a little because of the irony… girls celebrating the freedom of a country when they are honestly not free, when they are shackled by the clutches of fear and doom.

It might be me but I don’t wish you a happy Independence Day, India… you don’t deserve it yet.


It’s 2 am and it’s cold. She pulls the covers over herself and tries to sleep but sleep just won’t come. She tosses and turns as though that would help but all it does is just crease the new sheets she sleeps on. She stares at the ceiling for the longest time, hoping that boredom will make sleep come but to no avail. She is still wide awake.


Did she do something wrong? Why does this always happen to her? She always ends up feeling lonely and what’s worse… being alone. This time, it honestly wasn’t her fault and she can’t for the life of her imagine what could’ve triggered this row. Detach and be the bigger person. What a bunch of shit! She should’ve listened to her instinct and fought but who do you fight with when there’s nobody on the other side?

It’s 2:15 am and it’s getting colder and this time, she wants to feel cold. She wants to feel so cold that there has to be a point when she gets numb, numb to the pain… numb to the hurt… numb to the disrespect… numb to everything that will bring her sleep which is honestly all that she really wants now. Sleep. A good night’s rest. It’s been weeks since sleep has been evading her and she is tired of it now. She is tired of blaming herself for things she can’t control and things she just can’t grasp. She wants to let go… of everything.

She knows what she has to do. She has been planning it for days now, just waiting for the time when everything hits rock bottom and it has. She gets out of bed, gets dressed, takes her wallet, her camera and her journal… leaves her phone behind and walks out the door. She knows that there is no turning back, once she walks out that door and she is willing to face the music. She walks, knowing that life has failed her once too many times for her to trust it to get better. She has no agenda, no place to go to… just a feeling in her gut that she needs to get the fuck out before she loses her mind. She walks as though having no purpose in life is the purpose she has been longing for and it doesn’t matter whether she needs to start from nothing, all over again. She will. She has to, if not for her… but for him.


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