7.

The storm in a neighboring country, has brought some much appreciated change in weather over the past few days. The Sun hid behind thick, snowy, cotton-candied clouds. The air was chilled, crisp, refreshing. The smattering of rain during the day seemed to derive strength from the dark – turning into a howling, raging, flashing thunderstorm at night, like the gods decided to indulge in an all out battle of the bands – with death metal as the popular choice.

I enjoyed every bit of it – I was getting a bit tired of the constant, piercing sunshine anyway. A short change is welcome.

However, it seemed slightly odd – I couldn’t enjoy myself completely, and I couldn’t figure out why. At first, I thought that it was because I couldn’t really comprehend the fact that it could rain in the desert (which is silly, of course).
Then I realized what was missing – it was the scent of the rains. You know, when the first drops hit the ground, and you can smell the earth? That wasn’t there! Once I figured it out, the difference was so glaring that I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Rain may also be one of the reasons (in one of my better moods, the only reason) why I will not, in fact cannot, live on Mars. I need to feel the (marginally acidic) drops of ecstasy on my skin.

6.

I open my senses to a variety of sights,smells and sounds in the morning: my siblings yelling at each other (“Stop using my deo!”, “You have five deos, can’t you let me use one?!”); the (blurred) blades of the ceiling fan playing an infinite game of tag; the aroma of breakfast (my neighbor’s!) wafting in through the open window, twisting the illuminated particles of dust in a beautiful, chaotic balter.

I rush out of the house, push the massive gates open with a significant fraction of my strength, worried about being late to work (again, *groan*) when the vision of my five adorable dogs at the entrance – a look of longing, mixed with expectation – just takes it all away. They sniff my hands for food, wag their tails and shove each other away from me, to get the longest rub on their head. *sigh*. I wish I had more time with them.

I walk (nearly jog, actually) down the road, towards my bus stop. I’m not the only one – tens of others like me, of various shapes, sizes, hairstyles, ages, worries, joys, pasts, presents, futures – we all rush towards another day of trying to make our families satisfied, our friends entertained, ourselves content.

I watch from my window, motorcyclists jostling for space between two luxury cars, an auto-wallah trying to justify (very angrily) his attempt to navigate the narrow gap between a massive bus and the footpath, to an equally frustrated pedestrian. I watch as a ragged dog slinks through them all. I watch the Sun suddenly shining brightly through a crack in the clouds, blinding me for an instant, yet warming me with its energy, on a crisp, chilly morn.

I’m hungry, and I have a choice from limitless options – “will it be a biryani from the Andhra restaurant? Or the pizza from Dominos? Ooh, the new addition to the McDonald’s menu looks interesting. I’ve heard that the new restaurant two roads down serves really good food for a relatively cheap price. Nah, I feel like eating Chinese today. Wait, didn’t she tell me about the amazing tomato-rice at the Udupi nearby?Ah, chuck it, I’ll just have a plate, maybe two, of pani-puri for now. The guy in the cart will have the bhajjis ready in sometime anyway, and it’s been a while since I had those.”

I walk back home, late at night, with the stars, 24-hour (liquor) stores, and their regulars for company. I enjoy the cool breeze, the slight pain in my legs, the darkness (dispelled only by few street lights), the calm, the quiet when the rest of the world prepares to sleep after a long tiring day – such a contrast from just 14 hours earlier! I love this feeling of being with myself. It is interrupted frequently with anxious calls from my mother, but I cannot be angry at her – that’s just how she is. I can be irritated, though, and I am.

I turn into my street and I’m greeted with an enormous hug from my dogs, their love. I walk into the house and to my sister’s hilarious story of the day, my brother’s cultivated nonchalance, my mother’s look of relief, exhaustion and exasperation.

I dive into my bed with my laptop, determined to catch up on my reading before the Sandman takes me on another trip through my subconscious.

5.

In all hype ‘n’ hoopla surrounding Narendra Modi’s exceptional administrative skills, and his ability to root out corruption, we should not forget that he is also a big part of the Godhra riots.

I believe, that if he does come to power, India will lose its tag as a secular country. There will be stronger and more aggressive Hindutva activists running rampant, and the ‘Muttalik’ phenomenon will be on a national scale. Women will be forced to live like their grandmothers did, and little girls will once again be encouraged to dream only of their wedding and children, not of their education and careers.

It surprises me that many corporate heads support him – is financial gain the only thing that matters to them? Several MNC’s fund and run numerous charitable programs. What is the point of that, if you support someone who is known as a serious violator of human rights?

I understand that corruption is an important issue that needs to be weeded out from the roots, but I do not agree that it should be at the cost of something else.