Cloud 9 Minus One


When a Man Loves a Woman March 30, 2009

Eighty two years ago, my grandmother was married into a strict vegetarian family. Her own family was meat eating, and my grandmother, then fourteen years old, was staunchly non-vegetarian. Her mother-in-law told her in a kind tone that if she continued to eat meat, then she would not be allowed to pollute the kitchen by stepping inside it. (more…)


Don’t ever change March 24, 2009

There are two banyan trees behind my ancestral house in Dehradun. They’ve been there forever, and my mother tells me that they were there even before she was born. They both have the features of banyan trees, the large leaves, the ugly roots, the groaning trunk. But the roots of one have never reached within four feet of the ground, while the other goes deeper into the soil all the time. They have the same rainfall, sunshine, oxygen levels, but the short tree could never grow taller. Or happier. (more…)


Chapter 2 concluded March 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sangeetamall @ 2:19 pm

Jaggu, Curry and Captain are lounging on the bed and the only chair in the room when I reach there. Some things never change. Once more they have managed to nose out an empty room for their various schemes. My entry does not affect their posture. The earlier formality, when we all behaved like long lost strangers, might as well not exist. We are back to our earlier camaraderie, or at least the men are. I’m still ambiguous about what I’m doing here. (more…)


Still on Chapter 2 March 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sangeetamall @ 7:16 am

“Did you have to hug him so hard? His wife looked a bit broken up.” Kailash is, as usual, elegantly articulate. “Come to think of it, many wives were looking shattered tonight. You people kicked up quite a storm. All that hugging and kissing and sharing IIM jokes that nobody else understood. Yeah, I think it was quite a reunion.”
I’m not sure there isn’t some jealousy here. “Are you also broken up?” I tease Kailash, stroking my fingers through his thick hair as he gazes at me through smoke-narrowed eyes, his cigarette dangling from his fingers. He merely laughs and goes back to reading Bernard Shaw, leaving me to dwell on my own thoughts. (more…)


Chapter 2 goes on March 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sangeetamall @ 4:51 am

“I’m going to do it,” I declared to Lalita. It was October, and the weather in Delhi had started turning pleasant. We were sitting in the college canteen, where the desultory ceiling fans turned noisily and gave a modicum of comfort, nursing a cup of tea for about two hours. Lalita and I had been best friends since primary school. We were together all the time. Not for much longer.
“Do what?” asked my friend, absentmindedly. (more…)


Chapter 2 March 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sangeetamall @ 12:30 pm

“Xenia, it’s me!” I try to speak softly into my mobile.
“Tee! Hey! What’s up? Are you all right?”
“Yeah! Yeah! I’m fine.”
“Speak up. I can’t hear you. Hey, what’s the racket?”
“There’s a party going on, with a live band! You know, for all the ex-classmates.”
“Party? With a band? And dancing?”
“Not too much dancing, no.” I clarify somewhat defensively.
“But enough, I’m guessing. Wow! You guys really live it up, huh?”
“Never mind all that! How are things there? All well?”
“Baby, we spoke yesterday. Not much can go wrong in a day, all right? And don’t worry so! Everything’s just fine! Russell Banes is finally leaving tomorrow, the jerk! I can’t wait! And yes, he did pay for the drinks. Finally. So you can rest easy. But we’re not inviting him again, not even if he’s the next J K Rowling. So you tell me. How’s the ex? What did he say when he saw you? Did you knock him over? Is Lash jealous? I wish I were there. It’s so fucking exciting man!”
“Well, if all’s well then I guess that’s it. Congrats for getting that chap to pay. You’re marvellous, dude. I’ll call you again later.”
“Hey come on, Tee! Speak to me. What’s wrong? Tell Xenia Aunty what’s bugging you.”
“Nothing. Everything. I don’t know. Oh Xenia, I miss you. Things are so different from what I expected. I don’t recognise a thing!” (more…)


It’s Love March 13, 2009

If there are characters in a book, then one is bound to like some more than others. As a writer, I’m not supposed to have any favourites. They are all my babies, and, to create well, I have to love them all. But somewhere along the way, some of the people in this book became my step-children. I wouldn’t like to meet them on a stormy night. And there are others whom I talk to when I feel down, or when present company doesn’t meet my needs. (more…)


The Journey March 12, 2009

The Journey

Every book contains in it something of the writer, as well as its readers. That’s what makes people want to read it. Somewhere they like seeing something of themselves in print, and often they see what they haven’t disclosed to anyone else. It’s reassuring to see facts cloaked as fiction, and know secretly that the writer knows your story. (more…)