Being Thalaivar – A Gift That Keeps Giving

Rajnikanth – most certainly one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema, whose fan following is really more like a religion, and whose on-screen mannerisms have been enchanting and mesmerising viewers for decades. An actor who directors avoid portraying as having died, because they fear that estranged fans may resort to vandalism and riot in response. An actor who is revered by his followers, I say followers because their faith in him is unwavering. In their eyes even an entirely routine activity, and I mean even a stride, is abundant with charisma.

Despite his limitless glory and success in the film industry, I and many like me fail to see how he has managed to engage such an expansive fan following with what can at best be called mediocre performance propped up by exceptional sound and camera technicians. What does it take, for one to get away with less than average skills and reign on the largest fan base in the world? How can one person continuously churn out uninsightful storylines, essay larger than life characters, hide behind some gimmicks, exaggerated emotions and yet be revered as an incarnation of God? What does it take?

I am not being dramatic about the God bit. In most parts of South India, huge posters of the actor are doused in milk before the release of a movie, a ritual usually performed towards deities in Hindu temples as a  symbol of prosperity and purity. That, is the level of hyperbolic reverence that the public bestows upon the actor. When he had an injury during a shoot, thousands of people put themselves through chastity, they cried and they prayed and they fasted for his speedy recovery.

The whole phenomenon begs the question – why is it that a set of people that fervently debate everything from politics to economic policies to LGBT rights to feminism, completely and willingly let the rational dimensions of their brain go into a cave when it comes to this one man? What must it feel like to be this Force that makes people forget every standard they hold so dear? What must it feel like to be loved so unconditionally that it is no longer necessary to fight for success? What must it feel like, to be able to stride confidently in the legacy of your own past,  while your peers deliver significantly better quality films for only a fraction of the fame? What must it feel like to not have a fear of failure?

The legend that is Rajnikanth, one of the many mysteries of our time. 

The Journey That Ended

And here they were, ten years after they had first met. She held their two year old son close to her chest and spoke with a firm resolve, “I’m done, I can’t do this any longer. I want you to start packing your things and get out of my face as quickly as you possibly can.”

Of course they had fought before, every marriage and every relationship comes with its fights, but this felt different. This felt real, permanent, unfamiliar. David stepped backwards slowly outside Emma’s plane of view, knowing there was no coming back from here. But after being with a person for this long, you forget how to do single. No matter what happens at work, whether the CEO lauds you or a colleague trashes you, the first person you would normally text no longer wants to have anything to do with you. Nobody to fight with over who takes out the trash, or who empties the dishwasher. Nobody to come back home to.

He went to the supermarket to buy boxes for his stuff. He saw her friend’s husband approaching from the corner of his eye, and quietly turned into the nearest aisle and kept walking into the distance. So this is how it’s going to be now, he thought to himself. Hiding, avoiding social conversations because he didn’t know how to have a conversation that didn’t involve his family.

As he packed his possessions, he found millions of memories hiding in the folds of his clothes, the strings of his guitar, the worn pages of his books. He found a pen and pulled out a scrap of paper.

He wrote, his hands shaking, “I don’t know how we got here, but I wish we hadn’t. ”

All this while Emma made sure she stayed out of his way, toiling away at her painting in her shed. It was only when she heard him lock the door after him that she came back inside the house. She went upstairs to where “their” room had just become “her” room.

She found his note by their wedding frame. The picture that no longer had a place in their lives.

And between that picture and that note, was a lifetime of memories.

Minion Mondays 4 : Ode to the annoying neighbour 

Every Indian I know has that one neighbour or distant aunt or uncle, who springs to mind on reading this:


The reason I stress on my Indian upbringing here is because I have observed that a vast majority of middle aged Indian ladies and gentlemen are well, a little too curious about what’s happening around them. Their ears perk up at the slightest chance of ‘gossip’, they want to be in the know of your every move and they want to make sure you know that they are judging you. 

Example 1: “X’s daughter always comes home late at night, I’m sure she has a boyfriend her parents don’t know about. Maybe we should tell them. You know, boys can’t be trusted these days.”

Example 2: “Didn’t he just write his Engineering exams? Wonder which college he’ll get into, his mother is always bragging about how bright he is.”

Example 3: “Ever since that girl got a job, she has been spending money like nobody’s business. Just the other day they got a big screen TV and today she told me she is going on a holiday with her friends. She must be making a lot of money.” To which the usual response would be along the lines of: “Even if she does, they should really be saving up for her wedding, her parents are letting her splurge unnecessarily, they’ll regret it later.”

It’s not like they really are concerned, it’s just the compulsive need to feel sorry for others,what my friends and I summarise as the “Kids these days..” syndromeI once knew a lady who was obnoxious and loud and boisterous, and doled out her opinions and judgements on people as if she were serving dutifully in a charity soup kitchen. Rapid, purposeful, and in her mind a meaningful service to society. She had the other annoying habit of just landing up at my place unannounced and uninvited, only to pass more judgements about how I’m not really in control of my life and how I need to become her protégé to absolve myself. My usual strategy was to look very uninterested in anything she had to say (came naturally to me) and politely drive her out of my home. I have this compulsive urge to not be rude, even if I dislike the very aura of a person! Which puts me in a tough spot handling such people, but hopefully I have gotten better over time :) 

All of these encounters teach us so much and I only hope I remember this when I get to her age. Part of the reason why I write is to read this stuff for myself later in life.

Note to future self: 

If nosy and judgemental: back off, live your own life!

If tolerant and inclusive: good job, I’m proud of what you have turned into🙂

Minion Mondays 3 : Hey you, look up!

Three weeks into Minion Mondays! Some say, it takes three weeks to make a ‘habit’.. But I’m going to be on the fence and say so far so good!🙂

This week is a tribute to all of us, yes ALL of us who can no longer remember what it was like to have a regular conversation for a couple of hours without checking their phones!


Places where the smartphone comes in the way of what you’re really meant to be doing:

On the train.
At the dinner table.
In a meeting.
At the cinema.
Of course, at school or in class.

Being distracted and picking up the phone every few minutes is like flicking the tv remote, except a much, much more powerful one. It’s one of these things we all do knowing fully well that it’s rude. But we’re nice people right, so we apologize for being rude. But we still go ahead and use the phone anyway.

“Sorry I just need to respond to this text…”

“Sorry, give me a minute I need to get this call.” Walks out of meeting.

“Can I put you on hold for a bit, I’m getting another call. Really sorry, be right back”

Is it that our attention spans are too narrow now? Or that we think we can get away with it? Or that we think our friends, colleagues or parents wouldn’t mind? Or is it simply that we do it because everyone does it and it’s a bit of a spiral now? Nobody can really take offence anymore, because one or the other day they’ll be the perpetrators of the act!

I’m guilty of this, everyone I know is guilty of this, and I’m sure most people I don’t know are also guilty of this🙂

It’s odd that we’re learning to live with not giving each other our undivided attention even for a few minutes. Sometimes we say “it’s from work” to make ourselves feel better about the whole thing. But ultimately it’s about being available to everyone…except to the person you’re supposedly spending time with!

I’m not even sure if I want to fix this about myself. However, I certainly want to be aware of it, and not let it get out of hand (which is very conveniently a subjective assessment).

Six Word Story : Regret

Indulging in these six word story challenges has been one of my most rewarding blogging experiences so far. I’m in the middle of moving house, but I still managed to come back to Nicola’s blog find the topic for this week, think about it and post an entry. Interestingly, the topic this week is “regret” and I can only hope I don’t get to experience this on moving day due to my clearly lopsided priorities🙂

So.. regret they say, and my attempt is:

She slipped out quietly, hating herself.


Ananya, author of a blog I follow, had recently written this post on her blog which prompted this thought. Thanks Ananya, and more power to your friend.

(image from here)

Six word story : Passion

And here I go again, trying to capsule a message in six words,in response to Ben Nicholson’s challenge. The theme this week is Passion.

My entry is: She kept sprinting, exhausted and exhilarated.


As a beginner runner this resonates with me because this was how I felt the day I ran my first 5K. I wanted to run for 30 minutes straight, no matter how exhausting. I had trained for 8 weeks to get there and I simply had to give myself the satisfaction of accomplishing my goal.

This, however, is dedicated to all the serious fitness enthusiasts I know, and do know quite a few of them. To those who pack running gear into their holiday bags, to whom sweating it out at a triathlon is the best form of unwinding, and whose bikes cost more than their cars. Their passion is truly inspiring.

If you liked this post, head over to categories -> Six Word Stories to see my previous posts. Thank you for reading :) 

Image from here

Minion Mondays 2: It’s not just Mondays

One would think it’s just about Mondays but not really. It’s about not having the option to sit around in your pyjamas, bundled into your couch with a cup of tea. And a nice book in your hand or an awesome show on television.

Source : Facebook page ‘Minion Quotes’


Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do for a living. But I cannot deny that it would be SO much more fun if it were optional to work, but the money just came in because you know, someone needs to pay those bills. Or if you could send a substitute if you don’t feel up to it. Like cricketers.

Poor Monday has acquired this bad repute for giving people ‘blues’. My blues are a bit like this:

Monday: too far from Saturday

Tuesday: still too far from Saturday

Wednesday: getting closer, not so bad. Especially after lunch, you’re over the hill after lunch.

Thursday: like it! One day to go!

Friday: Too close to Saturday without really being Saturday. But wooohoooooooo no alarm tonight!

Saturday: the best day ever!

Sunday: Early onset of Monday blues

So it’s not Monday that I have a problem with. It’s rules and expectations in general. And this whole grown up thing involving jobs and norms.

Sitting around doing nothing is my favourite type of day🙂.

Which is why my favourite animal is a cow. For its sheer inertness to anything around it. Anyone who has ever travelled on Indian roads would know exactly what I mean! So I’m a cow sitting in the middle of a busy road. You’re a guy in a big car? Ok you’re honking, why exactly? You want me to move? Nice try bud. You’re the one who wants to pass through, you’ll find a way I’m sure. I’m not going anywhere. See I’m busy chewing something I gulped yesterday.

***comfort zones are too comfortable to come out of***

Weekly six word story challenge 2 – week 1

Thats a complicated title now, isn’t it?

This is a different six word story challenge, hosted by @nicolaauckland from Sometimes Stellar Storyteller. Since I enjoyed the one by @bencnicholson so much, I jumped at this second weekly challenge as well🙂. But I’m a chatty person you know, too many six word stories may make me a quiet individual! Or maybe not, the damage is too deep😀.

The theme for this week is: a twist in the story.

And my attempt is: Wanted sugar, picked up salt instead.

Looks delicious but...

Image from here

Let me know what you think🙂

The day I skipped a day

Sometimes routines can really get to you. It doesn’t have to be about work. In my case I suddenly realised that for at least a couple of months I was literally executing my life like a computer program : Wake up. Make tea. Faff about on the internet. Get ready for work. Pick up the exact same coffee everyday, work, go to the gym, cook, have dinner while watching some TV……… If it is this boring to read this, imagine realising you’ve been doing this over and over again all summer. And add to the mix the fact that everyone around you is going to beautiful places for lovely holidays.

So I picked a day with no scheduled meetings, and decided to completely dedicate it to detoxifying myself. Not literally, because I still had my teas and coffees😀. Detox myself from being so entirely predictable!

It was a lovely summer day, one of our last few days of bright sunshine this year, in southern England.


I picked up my favourite coffee and started walking towards my favourite spot in town. Here’s why it’s my favourite- it’s like a nest. A lovely pond with oh so many ducks, tucked cosily into a gorgeous, sprawling park.

image A bench, my camera, the serenity, and the odd passerby who came around to feed the little angels. I only knew when I looked at my watch that it had been over an hour.

I walked a little more and found myself a nice tree to sit under, and pulled out my book from my backpack. A riveting non-fiction about post independence India, this one kept me hooked for a long long time. It was a narrative, it was real, about people I had heard about and read about.

It was past lunch time, and I didn’t care. I just wanted to be out, under my tree, in my park with my book. Lunch could wait, lunch was normal.


It was only when it started to cloud up (Britain really couldn’t hold its end of the day for me, it just had to get cloudy!) that I got out of my trance and made my way back home. Content with my little off-site.

I took a nap. I watched rubbish videos on YouTube. I cooked a big batch of my favourite pasta sauce. I wrote my first Six Word Story.

And just like that, I was ready to plunge myself back into the whole wake up, have tea, go to work….again🙂.