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The beginning without any end

Bob Dylan sang ‘the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.’ But when it comes to suicide, it only leaves behind a bunch of unanswered questions.
Once upon a time, cable TV was our only source of entertainment and the only sources of new music were Channel V and MTV. At the turn of the decade, there used to be a show called the Billboard top 100 which was hosted by a very pretty VJ called Asha. It aired every Saturday at 8 pm and for the longest time, it was the only peek we got into the latest in pop, rock and hip-hop.
The year was 2001. One day, a song broke its way into the top 100. It featured 5 guys who looked like they were high on many things and angry with everything, venting all their anguish out in a video where there were in some sort of a tunnel. It was dark and angry, but it was different.
The song was One Step Closer and that was my introduction to Linkin park. 
The same album spawned a few other hits like Crawling, Papercut and In the end . The lyrics were dark and …
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Small town, big heart

Pearl Jam's haunting ballad Gone is about someone seeking to escape the rigors and limits of small town life and chart a new course. While performing the song on VH1 Storytellers, Eddie Vedder quotes another song inspired by small towns, the late Lou Reed's Small Town in which he sings 'the only good thing about a small town is you know you want to get out.' 

Outside the cocoon of 24x7 wi-fi and artificially cooled air, is a world. It may lack many of the things that cities spoil us for choice with and numb our senses to, but it is definitely more real than the Truman Show lives of sameness that we lead.

There are two ways to explore a small town. One is to hire an AC cab, zip through landscapes and people, finish whatever you went for and return.

The other is to ditch the comforts and travel in their buses, walk on their roads, drink chai in their chai kadas and listen to their stories, hopes and dreams.

We traveled to a place called Gandikotta in Andhra Pradesh that…

Chris Cornell, and the school of rock

The music app on my phone had a notification. It read 'Remembering Chris Cornell'. After devouring a 4 course Andhra lunch, I was a bit groggy and it took more than a few seconds for me to  it. Isn't remembering used only when you are talking about someone who is no longer there? I was listening to Soundgarden just a few days back. In an My hands, working quicker than my mind, leapt to the keyboard and typed his name. Sure enough, the flood of bad news was all over the internet and the good feelings from my 4 course lunch quickly evaporated.

Soundgarden was a great band but I never obsessed over them like I did over other bands. There was a time when I listened to Black Hole Sun and later to Like a Stone on loop, two songs that harnessed Cornell's breadth of voice but the story of how his voice, among many, came into my life is what I will always remember.

I like to think of it as the summer of rock. Or the summer I lost my rock virginity.

There is a room in my home.…

Curd rice completes me

Like Renee Zellwegger completes Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, curd rice completes me. 
At first glance, it looks unpretentious. It doesn't exude the aura that an aloo tikki or dum biryani do. Even when decked up and dressed up like a bride, it doesn't assume lead star status in the line-up. It is like Rahul Dravid, steady, dependable and always playing second fiddle to the other Sehwags Laxmans and Tendulkars in the line-up. It doesn’t lend itself to poetry, give a foodstagrammer an orgasm or find mention in a 100 things to eat before you die bucket list. It has many secret admirers who outwardly pretend that they are most at home with an Italian dish they can barely pronounce and brush it off with varying degrees of embarrassment, like it is below their pretentiousness to acknowledge its existence.
On a bad day, it comes to the rescue of a tummy on a bender and on a good day it can empty a bottle of mango pickle. To an outsider looking in, the fierce and unflinching loyalty t…


Sunday is the last day of the wise president before the mad man takes over.
It holds within it the semblance of normalcy, the last threads of sanity, before the insanity gushes in like a broken dam.
Sunday is prayer before the sin. Sin because all you're doing is selling your soul and time to a cause that doesn't necessarily move you.
Sunday is the shade from the unrelenting sun, the crumb of sense before the nonsense.
It feels like the sun is always rising on a Sunday, when the ocean of time isn't regulated by the unforgiving minute and second, like the best is yet to come. 
On Sunday, you don't feel like a lab rat in a maze, running around looking for the answers to life that always seem to elude you.
Sunday isn't a mirage, it's an oasis. It holds within it the promise of a Friday and the death sentence of a Monday. 
Sunday is the headache after the heartache. 
While you're always waiting for the work day to end, the wait for a cab to end, the wait for a table to…

Unfair and unlovely

If time is money, the demonetization drive has ensured that many Indians are already very rich because they have suddenly been taught the virtue of patience.
A crossing near my house got to be very busy and a new signal was installed to help regulate the flow. Every single day, I see people break the signal from all sides without paying heed to their safety or anyone else’s. The people who break the signals glare at you for following the rules. You feel guilty for being patient.
The signal is red and people behind you are honking as if there was a reward for it. People shout the choicest of epithets at you for not moving and standing your ground. Either that or I need to go for an eye check up and see if I am colour blind. In another part of the world, orange maybe the new black but as far as I know, red is not the new green.
Stand in a queue at the railway station, in the petrol bunk, airport check-in counter ,or to pay a bill, and there will always be that one asshole who tries to…

Lies, damn lies and social media

The American Presidential Election has thrown up a truth many of us weren't willing to acknowledge - our real lives are vastly different from the one we live on social media. 
For a non-American following the American elections on social media, the result was as assured as a Salman Khan acquittal. The ever jovial John Oliver and the ever sarcastic Bill Maher spewed venom for what it was worth on Donald Trump, his false mane, his inexperience, his violations against women and his claims that he would make America great again but turning back time and pretending globalization and global warming were conditions that were easily curable. Expecting him to win was like expecting Raj Thackeray to sing a duet with Abida Parveen on Coke Studio Pakistan. 
Or that's what we were given to believe. Or that was what we wanted to believe. 
At some point in his campaign, Trump made a telling statement about how people who claimed they didn't like him would eventually vote for him. 
And that&#…