Words and shadows, images and ink... some darkness, some light; some guffaws, some gaffes; here I am, mostly in black and white. All pictures and poems are my creations, unless otherwise specified. Want to reproduce anything in part or full? Please ask me first.
Called to be the featured poet at Urban Solace's Tuesdays with the Bard, for the second time. On 26th April. Feeling honored!
Twilight Poetry Jam
Poets, readers and lovers of verse met at Mettasphere for an evening of sharing, reflection and laughter
Neon letters from multiple alphabets splattered on a steel wall at Macau
Opening Act at 100 Thousand Poets
The Rickshaw Muse was the opening at 100 Thousand Poets for Change's Bangalore 2015 event.
Conversations with me
An event organized by the lovely folks at Atta Galatta... anchored by Sushmita Sundaram.
A venerable old tree in Shoolay Village... sheltering generations of birds, squirrels and men
Posing for a class photo on the steps of their kindergarten school, the students of my sister-in-law's Kidcare Playschool in Kochi. Innocence, wonder, delight and mystery reflected in those lovely eyes...
The Rickshaw Muse at Bangalore International Centre
A responsive audience, a lovely and cosy location, 2 amazing band-mates... I was truly on song on 26th February 1024.
The Rickshaw Muse
Our performance poetry band, The Rikshaw Muse debuted a month ago... Me, Loreto and Leo. Love poetry of different hues, the classical guitar and love songs from the sixties and seventies.
The horizon touches the car far before the car touches the horizon. On the road with friends to Chennai.
Ammu stays at the top level of her psychology undergrad class, and gratua with honors.
"Life may not be the party we hope we hoped it would be. But let's dance anyway." - Anon.
Alms and the Artist
Jaleel sits by the Fort Kochi beach, his murals adorning the walls of the old fort. The next meal, the next can of paint... both are in your hands.
A gull wings its way home, flying over the steamers in Fort Cochin. Crimson reigns supreme.
Krshna and the flute
My niece Krshna reads poetry at Urban Solace to a packed audience. She has everyone floored, and some of us teary... the little brat is now a bard!
Banish butterflies from your belly!
A fun-filled 1-day workshop to help you speak forcefully without stage fright. Come, book your seats!
A kind of jasmine tree near my house rains flowers during the monsoon. Fragrant, bewitching. One needs to step around them gingerly...
My most vicious critics, my 2 shrinks, my laughter club, my chefs, my sounding boards, my teachers, my kids.
Haute Heritage Sandals
An imaginative footwear company makes an age-old wooden-sandal concept into a colourful fashion statement. The Methiyadi rocks!
Mist, rain and dew at Wayanad. Love the Monsoon? Rush to the hills of Malabar!
A taste of Chicken Soup
My story 'A Monsoon Gift' written about my cousin Ranjit has been published in Chicken Soup for The Indian Soul: Celebrating Brothers and Sisters.
My first sight of the Taj... after a week, my nerves are still tingling.
My Book Club
Favebook meets every 3rd Sunday at cafe Pasucci, MG Road, Bangalore and discusses books and a whole lot more. It's insane fun most of the time, and there are quite a few lovely, funny people.
A picture from the mid nineties... Appu, just a few months old, trying to sip from my beer bottle. Prophetic?
The Master's Voice
Girish Karnad... the extremely versatile and magnetic man. It was a revelation, listening to him read from his autobiography at the lit fest.
Reading at the Lit Fest
Reading at the poetry slam at Bangalore's first lit fest, Lekhana... met lots of good people, many wonderful voices.
Ammu goes MAD
My daughter helps create a library for orphans, along with Making A Difference (MAD), a very energetic, committed service group.
Diwali was here... with noise, revelry and fumes. Here, a young shadow lunges into the explosion.
My nephew Girish has this vicious-looking specimen in his tank. Wanna play, anyone?
My friends' friend Pino gets interested in a person of the opposite sex... albiet of a different colour.
Well-spoken dancing star
Lakshmi Gopalaswami - graceful dancer, sensitive actress... and a gentle but forceful speaker too. Met her at a book-launch at Crossword. I've always been a fan, Lakshmi!
Still heading forward
A poster created by us, supported by the traffic cops and the WHO, still stands after 10 years near Safina Plaza, Bangalore. Wow.
Three temple elephants, defecating with a vengeance. Steaming, substantial, sizeable scatological marvels.
We - Runai, Vinoj & I - christened ourselves Awesome Threesome and put up a photoshow at Sunday Soul Sante, the fleamarket. Sold some, met some great people, got ots of enquiries for assignments... feels awesome!
A bar with a great, liberating ambience, good food and lovely music. Enjoyed my visit to Take 5. The company was great too: Nishant, my son, who was the youngest guest in the place.
Wings in green
After 17 years, I am biking again! Yes, I feel the wind in my hair and in my sail too. All ye who are reluctant to do something crazy, I say "Follow me round the bend!"
back to the backwaters
A breezy voyage across Kerala's hugest lake to a warm welcome at an awesome resort. School buddies in tow.
Twilight, Cochin harbour... and a mystic crow turns his back on the ordinary.
If you thought the Ambassador was from the dark ages, here's its forefather, the Landmaster, with a more comely posterior and a boot-full of my childhood.
My son's friend Neil, his 2 brothers and 2 friends make Rock Zenith, and they descended on Opus on Monday night. Average age of musicians? 15 years. And, did they rock!
used to live here!
My crumpling PG abode, Pius X Mansion, Girgaum, Mumbai, revisited after 25 years. Still standing, bound with love and nostalgia.
Yes, my lovely laidback Cochin has been bitten by the mall bug... huge, noisy and happening have replaced rustic, restful and relaxing. Way to go?
Just seeing the leaves flutter and the breeze ruffle the leaves... around a small, dark and handsome visitor!
A busy sidewalk bordering the market... a 70-year-old flower seller. A big smile, a bigger heart. A great start to my day.
My ancestral home
25 years ago, I had stepped into Koshy's for the first time. It was love at first bite. Today, it's still a favourite tipple, nibble, a recipe for a laid-back evening. Cheers!
Here's one that missed the Milan Auto Show. A true example of Indian ingenuity, spotted in Basavanagudi, Bangalore
Free tea, large heart
Asif Bhai of Chai Dai at Johnson Market gives free tea for everyone on Milad-un-Nabi day. Inshallah, I too shall have a heart as big as his, some day.
The pigeon mama roosting in my office window has laid another egg. Glad she's feeling so at home, and looking forward to the new chick in the office.
100 years of serene solitude
This pristine church atop a hill in Munnar will turn 100 on March 11, 2010. My humble wishes to this beautiful, soothing abode of God.
And thereby hangs a bat
Serenely hanging upside down, hundreds of bats adorn an ancient tree in Cochin's Mangala Vanam.
blessings from the humble master
What makes a good singer truly great? Perhaps it is humility, grace, faith and a rare 'groundedness'. P Jayachandran's 4-hour-long concert touched my heart, and touching his feet after the show touched my soul. This picture has been taken from the Net.
Alleppey, water, a big boat, lots of fish and toddy... aaah, life's good.
Asifbhai's fish tales
Awesomest fish samosas made by the truly artistic Asifbhai at Chai Day, Johnson Market, Bangalore. Akshata and I say: "Love fish? Don't miss!"
Visiting Hyderabad's Choodi Bazaar after 15 years... as mesmerizing as ever. The colours, the buzz, the bling-laden circles of glass hold a magic that's childlike and chaste.
MC-ing for the Diwali bash at my apartment building... lights, colour, dance, laughter. Awesome show by kids and parents too.
TRAINING FOR GE
Mirth, joy and effective communication skills at my 3-hour workshop for GE accounting personnel.
A tea shack next to my hospital, where a wood-fire cooks over a dozen delicacies right in front as you eat. Honest flavour, honest smiles.
RIP, Rain Tree!
One of the last of Bangalore's magnificent rain trees that lined Hosur Road near Adugodi. Even as Kiran Pereira and I were making plans to go hug, protect and hopefully save the trees, the axe fell.
An Unexpected Ehsaan
Caught up with Ehsaan Noorani of the magical musical trio, at Reynolds. Yes, a great musician can be a great human being too!
Workshop Speaks Out!
Applause Factory , ie Adnan, Tasneem & I, offered SpeakUp! A fun way to learn public speaking, from July 31 to August 2. We finally did pull it off! Exciting sessions, inspiring participants, great feedback... it all feels good. Visit applausefactory.blogspot.com
Onstage with M/s Abdul Samad and Abraham Stephanos, suitably greasepainted into dictatorial dimensions. My character? Tariq, Saddam's henchman.
PUBLISH YOUR CAPTION!
Send your caption to suit this intrigued little doggie and the imposing rear end, to firstname.lastname@example.org and see it published in this blog!
ESCAPE OF THE MATIZ
The ancient tree fell on the transformer... my car was just a few feet away! Providential escape.
2008 FLASHES BY!
What I travelled through in 2008: Lost a job * Bought wife a diamond ring * Went up the twin towers * Got my ear pierced * Lost a debit card twice * Flew a plane * Won a public speaking contest * Put on flab * Sang on stage * Met classmates after 30 years * Made proof-reading errors
In the 70s Bollywood super-hit ‘Bobby’, the eloping couple took off on such a Rajdoot GTS bike, which soon became a cult piece. After decades, I rode one again, thanks to Gopi TK who had lovingly restored it.
A not-so-discreet poster in the highly law-abiding Singapore advertises 'Horny Goat Weed'. Of course, it appears on a wall in, ahem, Little India.
The Toastmaster of the Term Award! Getting it was a bittersweet feeling... It's in the memory of Umashankar Dev, old friend, guide, and a great human being. Here I am with Madhav, Son of Umashankar and brother of Shankar, and an awesome young Toastmaster.
they made my watch!
In a small workshop in the Swiss Alps, a tiny, age-old workshop makes Edouard Lauzieres watches. Thanks to my wife of 20 years, I actually wear one. The EL joins my modest collection: from 70-year-old Swiss to footpath bling watches.
Night of the chameleon
Sensitive art teacher to village cricketer to ruthless killer in a breath. An actor who thinks and makes you do the same. Imagine Aamir walking into the theater, sitting behind you and watching the play quietly. And saying hi, thanks, and bye...
How friendly can a superstar be? You would discover if you ever get to meet Madhavan. The smile, the warmth, the humility... I and Soumya, a friend, bumped into him at Ranga Shankara
Anu, a member of my extended family marries Erik: friendly, soft-spoken and gentle, and a great sport too. In a replay of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding', he is inducted to the Mallu clan. Mundu, Bollywood dance et al.
Tarun and Celia Cherian are soul-mates, in more ways than one. They reach within you to guide, teach and heal; also to restore, enlighten, rejuvenate and energize. I should know; I am a living example.
LISTENING TO THE MENTOR
At Infosys, contesting in the Humorous Speaking Contest. Making people laugh, and enjoying every moment. Finally, winning the first prize... But the greatest experience was listening to the Chief Mentor. Awesome in his simplicity, honesty and empathy.
YES IT'S A PLANE
A full-fledged aircraft, with all controls. But scaled down to a comfortable space with three transparent screens... just 3mm between you and the blue. The wind, a chirpy chatter a foot away... I'll be back soon, dear sky.
Before you know, your little bundle of joy has become a saree-clad girl holding a graduation scroll. Scary. Because while she has grown, and grown fast, have you? While she is all confident and set for the next step, aren’t you worrying about how you can keep pace and support her new needs?
In the same school yard where she first walked as a pudgy toddler in a green pinafore, she’s striding along as a ‘great example to the junior girls’. Proud as I am, I’m saying ‘Lord, give me strength’.
Vanity is the last thing shed by a valiant man, they say. I am getting terribly vain and am hanging up a certificate on the wall. Because, finally, I too have done it… moving like a snail on crutches, to the Competent Communicator certification from Toastmasters International. Thanks are due to my mentor Balaji Pasumarthy from LA 1924 Club and all the folks at Smedley Speakers’ Society. If you like public speaking, get to the Toastmasters Club near you: just visit www.toastmasters.org
Laughing at Coimbatore
Can a small South Indian city better known for textile machinery teach the rest of India about humour? Yes indeed. On 9th December, a few of us attended Laughathon, a workshop on humour in this lovely laid-back city. Amazing learning, from veterans like Chendil Kumar (CK), corporate trainer and Toastmaster; Dr. Lakshmipathy (an incorrigibly interesting individual, author and doctor who specialses in the funny bone; Mr. Bharat Dhabolkar (theatre person, adman and creator of the brilliant ‘Amul’ campaign)… Yes, what’s missing in this world is laughter. But seriously.
Digital, dyslexic and truly divine
A buck-toothed pre-teen can make a 45-year-old cynical man cry. Buckets. Also smile, laugh, applaud and reflect. The one question I asked my kids after returning from watching ‘Taare Zamin Par’ was, “Am I a difficult dad?” A truly subtle, immensely watchable, intelligent film lined with superb humour, imaginative use of digital technology and rare insights. The casting, too, has worked well… Aamir adds a killer touch with a new hairstyle that everyone suddenly wants to sport. Great first step as a director!