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Showing posts from February, 2006

Blog-a-thon for Blank Noise Project

image courtesy: Blank Noise Project

To mark their one-year foray into the blog world, Blank Noise Project have decided to host a Blog-a-thon on the issue of street harassment. If you’d like to participate, send an email to before the 6th of March. Here's my entry, a story posted a year ago.


It was just a few hours since she had been married and the excitement from the wedding ceremony had given way to an exhausted lull. She was sitting in the marriage hall surrounded by cousins and aunts. Her younger cousins were chatting away while the aunts were busy gossiping. Soon she would have to get ready for the evening reception. "So", began her aunt, "are you ready for tonight?". At this cue, the other women started shooing the kids away. This talk was not meant for their ears. The new bride lowered her eyes and pretended not to understand. "You know, it's going to be your first night. I am going to tell you something important…

A quick tale 111

A conversation

‘Tell me when it’s convenient for you.’
‘I’m alright, don’t trouble yourself. It’s okay.’
‘No, I’d really like to visit you. Tell me when.’
‘Listen, I’ve recovered quite well. So…’
‘Are you saying you don’t want me to come?’
‘Of course not. You’re welcome anytime.’
‘You’ve just been down with this big illness and I’d like to look you up’
‘It was not that big. Besides you have to travel for nearly two hours for my sake…’
‘That’s no problem at all. What’s a couple of hours for you?’
‘Are you sure you want to come this far for me?’
‘Not if you don’t want me to’
‘No, no, that’s not what I meant. I’d love to see you. I just don’t want to inconvenience you.’
‘Nonsense! It’s my duty. Would five o’clock today be alright with you?’
‘Five would be…’
‘I can make it later if you like’
‘No, no, five would be fine. Are you sure you want to come this far?’
‘Yessss. Unless you don’t want me to’
‘No! I want you to. Just that…can you come tomorrow?’
‘Oh, I’m sorry, did you have plans for this evening?’

A quick tale 110

A Russian author is read

This woman, who has small feet, lies on her bed reading Dostoevsky. She pauses to place the book face down on her stomach. Then she lifts her head and plumps her pillow with both hands. She drops her head and sinks instantly into the recent plumpness of the cushion. She picks up the book and as her eyes graze listlessly over the text of the 'The Idiot', her mind wanders.

Tomorrow she will tell her colleagues at the accounting firm where she works as an executive assistant, that she spent the night reading Dostoevsky. She will make sure that she says 'Dos-te-ove-ski'. The Russian way to pronounce the name. Then she will go on to tell them about the apocalyptic framework of the book, the characters and their conflicts penned across a moving landscape of pre-Soviet Russia. She will talk about it during the second half of the lunch break so that her colleagues give her more attention than the sandwich in front of them.

And later at coffee break, Brian…


Is there anyone reading who went to Children's Garden School in Mylapore, Chennai in the 80s? Please email me at ammania@
Thank you.

A quick tale 109

At your insistence

That’s the trouble with books like these. You love them so much that you reccomend it to people with an evangelical zeal. Oh, you’ll lovvvvvve it, you promise your friend as you stuff the book in her hands. You make her read the blurb and watch her face eagerly for reaction. Read the prologue, read the prologue, you urge her hoping that this will get her ecstatic. I know you’re going to lovvvvvve it, you keep repeating while making sure that she takes the book with her. A couple of weeks later, you bring up the book again. Casually, hiding the impatience in your voice. Has she reached that bit where the girl finds out about his past? No? Oh dear, what have you done! Forget what you said and get on with it. How far has she read then? She mumbles something about the early bits which you are sure is a mistake. Because it’s such a quick read.

Some months later, she returns the book. So what does she think? Great, wasn’t it? Yes, yes, she nods, she has never read anything …

A quick tale 108

Relating to worldwide church

Some years ago, a young girl chanced upon the word ‘ecumenical’. She ran it past her tongue, slid it down her throat and discovered a pleasurable sensation. She found it the most intriguingly wonderful word and being a young girl, she was keen to use it in a conversation. But ecumenical being ecumenical, is not an easy word to slip into a casual talk with friends. However, a year later, the opportunity presented itself unexpectedly when she was travelling by train. She overheard two people in the next carriage discussing clues to a crossword puzzle.

‘Relating to the worldwide Christian church, ten letters’, said the fat one. ‘Hmm…catholic?’ ventured the younger man. ‘No’, said his friend, ‘third letter U’. Then they both went silent for a while. Ecumenical! Ecumenical! She wanted to scream. This could be her only chance to use the word she reckoned with rising panic.

‘Papal? Churchical?’ guessed the younger man once again. Churchical? CHURCHICAL?? She wanted …

A quick tale 107

One morningin January

You have to pee. And the teacher looks forbidding. So you slip out when she has her back turned to the class. The watchman at the gate is busy savouring the day's first bidi with his eyes closed that he barely notices you scrambling out of the school. It should be easy tracing your route back home. Or so you think. You've noticed things on your way to school each morning. There's the green tree with pink flowers, the lamp post with a donkey tied to it, the fishmongers with stalls of dried fish laid out, Nimmy's house, Pillayar temple, green tree with yellow flowers and then it should be home. You quickly shuffle past the landmarks one by one.

You see your house at a distance. You break into a run. This is it. You cannot hold on any longer. There. Another few steps. A second more. You've reached home. You run inside pushing past your mother. Sadly, you'll have to change your skirt. But that doesn't matter, you're home now. Mother'…