Dear Childhood Friend…

Dear A,

I didn’t think I’d write to you again, but I can’t help myself.

Last week, I went to the wedding. I went because your mother asked me to, and I don’t say no to her.

It felt weird.

I can’t believe I didn’t go to your wedding. I can’t even remember why, it was so long ago. I wish I’d been to yours, but since I didn’t go, I am glad I went to this one, even though it felt weird..

It’s weird how nobody from our childhood could talk about me, without talking about us. It’s like we were this unit. I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled. But I couldn’t help but think of how different things would’ve been if you’d been there.

It’s weird how grown up A looked, and how he didn’t even know who I was. He doesn’t know just how many hours we’ve spent chatting while he slept peacefully in his crib.

It’s weird how AN didn’t recognize me when I said hello. The only time we spoke was right after, when I visited aunty before my wedding and that was almost 3 years ago. Why would he even know me? But how weird is it that he doesn’t?

It’s weird that V never met you, and he never will meet you.

It’s weird that when the bride introduced me, she said, “this is my childhood friend.” I would’ve called myself your friend first, after all.

What wasn’t weird though, was when aunty told anyone and everyone there that we’re best friends.


Love always,




Dear You…

This one is to my person – I write best when I’m not at my happiest, & I just felt the need to write to you in this way…

Dear You,

We’ve ranted, we’ve judged, and we’ve just talked so damn much.

And yet, I feel like you still feel like all this is your fault, like you did something, or you wished something that should’ve been, away.

Dear You,

I know you may feel like I just say things because I’m your biggest cheerleader, but please know that I say them because I mean them, and I truly believe you’re awesomer than most.

Dear You,

I know everything and everybody around you, is dragging you down and making you feel like you did something wrong. You, most of all.

Dear You,

Believe me when I say, you are awesomer than most, in fact you are the awesomest I know, except one.

Dear You,

Things are hard now, but I believe they will be OK eventually. I believe in Karma, and that good things happen to good people, and you are one of them. And if Karma won’t comply, I will MAKE it comply.

Because, dear you,

You are MY person. And nobody messes with what’s mine. Not Karma, and not anyone else.

Dear You,

You’ll get what you want, even if you’re only 50% sure you’ll be good at it. It takes a village, they say, and we have that village (that “agraharam” like our ancestors said). It has B12, and FB friends, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know you wouldn’t either.

Dear You,

Continue to make fun of the trials. You’re at your best when you’re sarcastic, and some day we will add this to that little bit of awesomeness that is part-you.

I promise.

Dear You,

Just be the best you, that you are. That’s all you need to be.


Dear You,

We don’t say this much, but, hey, you’re my person, my village, my #1 on speed dial. You’re my village and I’m yours.

I ❤ you.

PS – Can we PUHLEASE work on that book already?




Dear Childhood Friend…

Once upon a time, you were as much a part of my day to day life as my parents. You looked after me – after I got lost the first time I tried to get the school bus, you made sure to find me everyday. I looked up to you – you were the one who stopped the boys from teasing me. Your paintings inspired me to do better – the one time I was in the same category as you in the Bazm-e-alig art competition, I tried harder just because I wanted to see if I could do better than you. You taught me about inner strength – things went wrong, but you simply dealt with them and moved on. You were older, you could’ve been more bossy – you were always nice, and you taught me to be nice to all the younger kids. You’re the reason I taught myself HTML – we created a Geocities page together (I still remember picking ‘garbage’ directory because we both thought it was hilarious). You were the most cheerful, fun-loving, in-the-moment person I’ve known.

And yet, it’s weird how we didn’t really keep in touch after I moved. It’s weird how life just happened. We always caught up if we were in the same place at the same time, but we also went years without really talking. Once in a while we’d chat online, just to catch up for all the missing years. The last time we spoke, I was telling you about V, and how I hoped things would work out. I remember how you kept telling me that I was doing the right thing, that you are glad I took my time to figure things out. While we haven’t spoken much since, I always just assumed you’d be there in December. Just a few days ago, I was thinking of emailing you, to say you have to come because it’s been so long since we’ve met. I wish I’d written that email. I wish I’d pinged you to chat.

If I’d ever considered the situation where I was faced with such tragic news, about the Doha circle, the FIRST person I’d say I would call, is you. Because you were the strongest, the one who’d be the voice of reason, the one who I could just talk to. Except, now I can’t. I really, really wish I’d written that email. I really, really wished I’d pinged you to chat.

Childhood friend, I cannot think of a single important moment in my childhood that did not have you in it. I cannot even begin to list the ways in which you made me a better me. I wish I could tell you just how much you mean to me.

We didn’t keep in touch very much, but, I will still really, really miss you.

Someone I recently met addressed me as “D__s” yesterday, and followed it up with – “Isn’t that what you said your friends call you?” You’d think that for someone with a bi-syllable name, there are only so many nicknames I have, but there are a ton. And each of them is unique to the people who came up with it. This is one of those times that I’m going to get sappy, and talk about all my friends (because I’ve been missing all of them), and nicknames is a good way.

DD – I’m not going to tell you what it stands for, because it’s a dumb combination of baby words, which is fitting because SS came up with it when we were 6. The interesting thing is that this nickname has managed to last over 20 years, just like out friendship has! Kidd also picked it up, and persists on calling me this.

Di – this one came from N and G, who were very proud of their ‘pun’ning abilities. Di sounds like the start of my name, but is also Tamil slang for a girl, so it works very well.

Kuppy – short for Kuppamma, it’s the alias N came up with when my grandmom insisted we shouldn’t use our real names outside the house. She was convinced that the endless hours we spent on the thinnai meant someone would be listening for our real names. N took the good alias though, so she got to be Raakamma. I don’t think my grandmom was too happy with how we purposely yelled ‘kuppy’ and ‘raaky’ out on the road though.

D__s – The easy, convenient nickname, used by the SP girls who I’ve gossipped with endlessly. We have a never-ending Whatsapp chat group that spans 4 timezones, and reminds me of the days we spent gossipping until dawn, and beyond.

Dubbuks / Dubukku – AM (let me use this to distinguish him from the other A, the better half) decided that I should be called this because, I am, in effect a dubukku*. I wish this name would go away, but there are some people who persist in calling me this. I believe I should count my blessings because his other nickname of ‘Cuddalore Beauty’ (do NOT ask) didn’t stand the test of time.

MOTS – At SP, JT and some others came across this weird Excel sheet that generated nicknames. All you had to do was enter someone’s full name, and it spat out a nickname. For some reason, my full name resulted in ‘Mouth of the South’. I’m talkative enough to warrant that name, and to add insult to injury my mobile service was BPL MOTS. So MOTS I became for the longest time.

Trivia – This was something GDP thought of in one of his moments of brilliance. “Arey, you have 3 names, and you are filled with useless trivia, so 3-vya, you should be called trivia”.

D – simple and straightforward, with no puns intended. This is what the Boy calls me (he also once tried bhujiya, when he was trying to massacre the lyrics of a song, but didn’t dare take it forward)

So there you have it. All my numerous nicknames, and embarassments. The ONLY reason I’m publishing this post is because I miss every one of the people mentioned in it.


 * I can’t translate the nuances of this word, so I’m not going to

The Blogpost

Trisha was in a terrible mood. “Bloody asshole! Just because he is a senior manager he thinks he can say whatever he wants and get away with it”, she muttered. She logged onto her blog and opened a new post. Her fingers flew across the keyboard as she began typing out a rant about morons at work, specifically sexist men who made inappropriate comments. ‘Ding!’ – her G-chat icon was blinking. She glanced at it and saw that it was Karthik. “Can’t talk now, just got home” she typed and logged off. She was just about to shut her browser window also, when she noticed that she had a comment on a blogpost she had written the previous day. “Who could be commenting on my blog?” she wondered. She opened the post, titled ‘The Walk’, about the therapeutic effects that walking had on her. And she felt like the air had been knocked out of her. The comment was a poem that replied to her poem. It spoke to her very soul, and ended with a sentiment about wanting to hug her to make her feel better. “OH MY GOD! Is this some weird stalker or what?!!!” Trisha couldn’t believe this. She used her blog almost as though it was a diary of sorts, and had worked very hard to make sure nobody knew it was hers. Other than her closest friends, nobody even knew that she wrote. And now there was this comment. It didn’t sound like any of her friends, and she didn’t know what to make of it.


Karthik was crossing his fingers hoping that Trisha wouldn’t know it was he who had posted the comment. He’d always liked her, but didn’t know how to say it, especially because he knew she was committed. But when he saw that post it almost felt like it was crying out to him and he just had to say something. So he did, but now he felt that it was an impulsive gesture and one that could ruin the budding friendship he had with her. He wondered if he should delete the comment when suddenly he heard the familiar ‘Ding!’ of someone pinging him on G-talk.

Trisha: K, guess what?

Karthik: What?

Trisha: Someone posted a comment on my blog. Can you believe that?

Karthik: You have a blog?

Trisha: Yes, I do. Long story. But someone posted a comment. And its semi-stalkerish. And now I don’t know what to think. First I thought it was sweet, but now I think whoever did it is a stalker.

Karthik: T, you know that I have no idea what you’re talking about, right?

Trisha: Bah. You’re useless. OK, here’s a link. Go read. And no matter what, do NOT read my other posts.

Karthik: OK

Karthik didn’t know what to say to her. He’d stumbled upon her blog by accident, and he knew it was her because of her thinly veiled references to people they worked with. He could almost see her eyes flashing when she ranted about the lecherous senior manager, or her loud laughter when she made sarcastic comments about the woman who wore extremely weird clothes. She had tried hard to cover up her identity, but it slipped through in her words. He went back to the post on walking – the one where she’d sounded so vulnerable, in a way he had never seen her in person. She sounded like the world was collapsing around her, and the simple act of walking was all that helped her keep it together. He knew it probably revealed a side of her that she wanted to keep hidden and just the fact that she was confiding this in him meant that they were becoming better friends. “And then when she finds out I knew about this anyway, and that I am her semi-stalkerish commenter, what will she do?” he wondered. It was a scary thought.

Karthik: T, I saw the post, it seems fine. The commenter just sounds like he wanted to cheer you up.

Trisha: Isn’t it just like you to want to believe the best about people all the time? I think he sounds like a stalker.

Karthik: No! Why would you say that?

Trisha: Well, what’s all this nonsense about wanting to wipe away my tears, and hug me and all. You know what I think? Some weirdo must be reading my blog. In fact I suspect some idiot at work has stumbled upon it, and probably realized its me. Ugh!

Karthik: Aren’t you over thinking this?

Trisha: NO! I need to know who it was. I don’t like this semi-stalkerish vibe I’m getting from it.

Karthik: OK, you continue obsessing, I am off to eat dinner!

Trisha: No, wait! I need to analyze this further!

Karthik is now offline.

Trisha fumed. As always he’d logged off, just when she needed someone to help her think through things. “Such a useless fellow he is! He doesn’t even understand how I need his help. How else do I deduce who this could be?” And just as she was thinking that, a sudden realization dawned on her. She began dialing a number on her phone.

“HELLO loser! I know who the mystery commenter is” she announced triumphantly. “I know it’s you, and don’t you dare bother denying it because I refuse to believe otherwise.”

“Umm, T what are you saying?”

“Oh, please! Don’t play dumb with me. IIM-B, and you cannot even ask a girl out to her face.”

Karthik could not control his smile – “What are you saying, T? Who am I not asking out?”

“You’re kidding me right? Listen to me Karthik. I am not going to ask you out. If you like me, man up and admit it. And while you’re at it, also admit that you wrote that comment.” “But what if I really didn’t?” “Karthik, the comment talks about walking in a garden with winding paths. The only garden with winding paths that I’ve ever been to is the one in your society”

“And how would I know that, woman?”

“OK fine. Don’t admit it. BYE!” She slammed the phone, grinning.  She didn’t need him to say it, even though she would’ve liked it if he’d said it. But she knew she was right with this guess. There was no way anybody else could have written that comment. Just as she was thinking that, she saw a new email notification. It was from Karthik.


You’re right. It was me. I don’t know how to say it to you in person, so yet again I’m going to use the online medium. I do like you, and I want to be the one that calms you down. If you feel the same, meet me at the entrance to my society this evening and we can talk this over.”


“Hmpf! Such an idiot, cannot even just say he likes me!” Trisha thought. And then she flew out of her chair shouting – “Oh shit! Now I have to figure out what to wear to meet this idiot!”

One of Those Songs


It started out with me playing the song on loop. And then it slowly spread like a virus. It was almost like background music to those times. A ritual, similar to the random singing of ‘4 baj gaya lekin party abhi party hai’ at 4AM everyday. Whenever I listen to this song, I am going to be transported to the times of lounging under a beanbag, trying to write specs and test code. Realizing over and over again that I was spanning chats with friends across timezones. Trying hard to come to terms with the fact that my life was revolving around a place I didn’t want to be in.

Now I’m almost nostalgic about it all…