Wednesday, July 13, 2005


There it was, on the coffe table. Lying in a ziplock bag, looking every bit "foreign" ... an object that would definitely come to be coveted amongst her school friends. It was a gift that her appa's boss got for her from Germany. It was a lovely watch, that had a dial in the shape of a heart and dispalyed a digital time. The strap itself was a stiff rope like chain, looking every bit a gold bracelet. She couldn't take her eyes off of it or for that matter the ziplock bag. A ziplock bag in those days found its way into an Indian home only through relatives or friends from abroad.

As she slid it onto her left hand, it felt lovely and looked beautiful. She could hardly contain herself that night when she went to bed. The thought of wearing it the next day to school and meeting her friends at the bus-stop before boarding the public bus to their school kept her wide awake. She could see the glint in their eyes as she tried to fall asleep.

As expected, it was the first thing her friends noticed the next morning and for sevaral mornings after that. They gushed over this small piece of ornament. They had not seen anything like it before. One of the girls would simply want to wear it for a while in the bus. She would give it to her only because she didn't want to come across badly. It had been more than a couple of months since she started wearing it everyday to school and it was still what the girls admired almost everyday. One day, as they all got off the bus at a bus-stop near their school, she noticed the watch staring nakedly at her. The dial cover was missing! The electronic components behind the delicate heart dial cover were exposed. The exposed components just didn't seem to belong in the delicate bracelet watch. Her heart broke when she looked at it. Her friends cried in anguish. They looked around in the bus-stop hoping to find the missing golden dial cover, but couldn't find it. They couldn't look for it in the bus, because it had already left! Their dismay knew no bounds. Feeling very sullen, they walked to their school.

On returning home that evening, she gave the watch to her mother to be kept in the safest corner of their steel bureau, where they stored some of their other "valuables". Over the years, she would look at it every once in a while when she rummaged through some of the stuff in the bureau. It always tugged at the strings of her heart to see the naked watch. The battery had long died and the watch had stopped displaying the time. She would tuck it back to its safe corner each time, never being able to bring herself to simply throw it away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


She was born in Kerala in her maternal grandparents' home. Came to Bangalore when she was 5 months old to start living in a nuclear family with her parents. Tamil was her mother-tongue. She belonged to the community of people who spoke a dialect of Tamil that the Tamilians found funny! They predominantly had Kannadiga neighbors. They visited Kerala during the summer holidays and occasionally visited an uncle in Chennai. She didn't feel she belonged anywhere. Not in Bangalore, where she was in the minority. Not in Kerala, where she was in the minority. And definitely not in Chennai. She could never speak in Tamil with a Chennaiite, and not feel conscious! A minority everywhere.

Years passed by. She went to an Engineering college and there were students from allover India. There were some ethnic groups and she tried fitting in with the Malayalee group and the Tamil group, but didn't fit in either.

Some more years passed by, and she ran into him. They really hit it off from the moment they met and fell in love. They got married. One lazy afternoon as they sat in their living room basking in the sunlight that flooded their apartment through the windows, she gazed into his eyes and saw herself staring back. She realized that she had arrived. At last she felt belonged ... she belonged to him.