Saturday, December 8, 2012

50 Shades of Grey (‘s Anatomy)

In the very first line I wish to clarify that I am so not going to pen down 50 reasons why Grey’s Anatomy sucks because seriously who would have the patience to read through a 50 bullet point list? Plus I’d run out of reasons and the bullets would peter down to ‘just because.’ So for the sake of avoiding redundancy and lame ‘Ten Reasons Why I’ (yes Express Tribune I’m talking about your blogs), I present the reasons I do have.                                                                                                                                                                                
On the outset, Grey’s Anatomy is intriguing to say the least. A story about a couple of doctors working their way up at Seattle Grace Hospital. Each episode is loosely structured on a theme and how that is subtly reflected in the actions and dialogues of the characters. But seriously, why is Meredith the protagonist? For starters, she isn’t even that hot compared to the other girls. At least one season goes by and Meredith is only whining about her at the beginning and end of each episode and has her lips pursed up like a prune’s.

The most astonishing part about Grey’s however is the uncanny resemblance to an IBA environment, especially during the good old days when 300 people were admitted each year and everyone knew everything about everybody. The entire hospital knows that the Chief of Surgery is splitting up with his wife and he goes around whining to his subordinates about how lonely he is? How lame is that. Plus how does Bailey manage to boss him around all the time when clearly he is the boss? In an alternate universe called reality or even Wonderland he would’ve asked for her head to be chopped off. And really, isn’t it unprofessional to go around spouting secrets about each other in the OR in front of nurses and other doctors, and creating scenes in the hospital waiting rooms? Aren’t hospitals supposed to be quiet? Why does everyone have personal issues cropping up at work? Not like relatives and exes storm into waiting areas in corporations. So totally unbelievable.

If that doesn’t top the list of the lameness, then this definitely does. Shepherd, Addison and Sloan ALL want a break and move to Seattle although I always feel that Shepherd took the initiative and the other two followed suit. Addison doesn’t even seem to grieve much over her divorce and wants to be with Sloan soon. I mean hello, didn’t that ruin her marriage and who would want to be reminded of that by dating him? Plus Shepherd and Sloam both need brain surgery since as soon as Addison conveniently leaves the hospital, they go back to being best buddies like none of it ever happened. That’s not even lame. That’s like….memory loss.

Burke and Christina are hands down the oddest couple in the show. Firstly, they have ZERO chemistry. Plus why the hell did Burke tolerate a woman who’s only obsessed with scrubbing in on cardio surgeries and has the least interest in her own shadi? If I were him I would’ve thrown a cake at her face instead of asking her to taste a variety for the wedding. And really, how robotic of her to be okay after Burke ditched her at the altar. SO ABNORMAL.

Personally, the biggest downer for me was the way they ruined the sanctity of Izzie and George’s friendship. BLEGH. Clearly, George had been friend zoned since episode one of the show. But just when they couldn’t think of any more plausible (not) storylines, the writers amped it up. Izzie magically gets over a dead patient she almost married and falls in love with George on the rebound. They’ve practically been like brother and sister, so ew. Also, Izzieis so perfect. Tall, blonde, beautiful AND she gets to eat as much as she wants without putting on any weight. How galling is that?

The astounding part in this all is that In spite of the abovementioned, I still enjoy the show. And will probably continue to do so until I keep on finding more lame things to say about it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


A red miasma swirled in front of my eyes. I inhaled and zeroed in on what had happened just seconds ago.

Incessant dialing. My digits hurt from the repetitive punching in of numbers on my cell phone, and the bleeping dial tone soon seemed like the only sound left in the universe. I bit back a frustrated cry. And then he picked up.

It had been 8 days since then. Had he known? Had he even been counting?

‘I’m out, busy. What happened?’ he sounded, befuddled.

A red-hot flame flickered inside of me. ‘What happened? Don’t you know what’s happened?! When am I supposed to tell you about it, during all the time we spend together every day?’ I muttered an exclamation of disgust and jabbed the red button.

As much as I tried to calm myself, the conflagration in my chest would not subside. Rage fuelled it, and it ascended to further heights. The anger suffused each pore of my being, until I could feel it along every fissure of my spine.

I hated him so much then. If thought would kill, a mere fragment of an intention could have sufficed, he would have been dead by then.

I detested the fact that he held so much sway over me. Regret, there never was. I had thought everything through, and had always wanted whatever I had done. Yet, it all seemed like some gross miscalculation. As if the very heavens had conspired against me, out to prove me wrong.

Each particle of me exuded the angst that eons of neglect had caused. One blow after another. And then another. For how long was I supposed to pretend that I was made out of rock? Regardless, that rock had now been eroded by the waters of penitence and hurt that had been inflicted on it.

That was how I saw it. The feeling itself was a peculiar, pungent hatred. As much as I tried to get rid of it, it seeped into my bones and clung to me like an intangible wraith.

My temples throbbed, my brain pulsated like some live creature. I knew that soon enough, this anger would dissipate. And the next time I would see him, it would have effervesced to a dull depression. It was difficult staying away from him. What was worse, was seeing him happy and content without me. To hear him laugh in the strange rigmarole of false friends and phony emotions.

I clenched my fist, gritted my teeth, and waited for the anger to abate.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


It was always the same story, only enacted in a different way every time. Outside the window, the sun shone relentlessly as if to mock my state of mind. Nimbus clouds scurried past as if scorched by the intensity of the heat. Muted chattering and shouts rang out. It was strange to see how smoothly things could function in spite of the turmoil within me. I stared absently at my reflection in the window pane and hated myself for it. Stringy hair, sunken eye sockets. Shadows of grey beneath my eyes. I looked and seemed hollow- a mere shell of my former self.

Spring had settled in, and verdant grass sprung up wherever it could catch the scattered rays of the sun. He sat opposite me. Not him, but someone else who had asked.

I sniffed a bit and gulped the lump in my throat.

He had asked why I couldn’t just let go of him.

I wrung my hands helplessly and managed a hollow, mocking laugh. It seemed like a rhetorical question by now. Did he think that I’d never mused about it myself? That this was not something I would mull over incessantly and berate myself for?

A thought surfaced in my dulled brain. Like a bubble emerging from the depths of murky water. Maybe I’m so used to him being around that the thought of his absence terrifies me. Maybe it’s because he is a microcosm of poignant failure in my life, I thought listlessly. I looked over and debated whether I should tell him everything that had ensued. But what would this perfect stranger, this person who had absolutely no idea of my suffering, be able to understand?

I didn’t think I could have risked it. Not when another person was giving me an opportunity to start over. I hated for him to see how I was stuck in this rut. Above all, I didn’t know if I could trust him. Didn’t know if I even wanted to trust him. I couldn’t muster the effort to try. To open up a chasm of invulnerability would be fatal. Human weakness, exposed in its fragile, most pitiful form.

I laughed. It rang out in my ears as one intermittent, sonorous peal. Something inside me shrank at the fakeness of it. He gave me a quizzical, amused look, but said nothing.

Nobody likes a quitter, I had told myself a million times. Try, try, try again. Try until you die, I thought miserably. But wasn’t it important to know when to quit? I exhaled sharply, clenching the edge of the table until my palms hurt. I hated it. I hated it all. Maybe I just didn’t know when to lay down my arms and declare defeat.

It’s like cutting myself with a knife, I thought bleakly, trying to piece it together. What would a manic-depressant feel? The act of cutting, the rush of blood, the relentless mode of exhilaration. But it hurt. It hurt all the same.

He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

I grimaced and looked away. I shrank away from the warmth outside, preferring the cold of my Gollum-like retreat.

Outside, a faint yellow blot stood in place of the morning sun, only minutes ago. A striated grey matted the entire horizon. I got up and pushed open the window. The air was static, as if all the elements had conspired to create the effect of stillness. The amber skies had given way to ochre ones; pearly rain fell at random intervals and imbued the ground with the smell of wet earth.

Just then, the door swung open, and he walked in. I flinched, and tried to make myself as invisible. His very aura was enough to transfuse those pangs of pain. Like a stagnant ripple in a pond that had been put into motion.

And I knew then. I couldn’t bear the fact that he was so happy without me. And I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see how miserable I was. A darkness lurked in a corner of my heart. It was as if the Loch Ness Monster of misery had permanently occupied a space in the deep recesses of my soul. And I hated him so much for doing this to me. For permanently blotting out my sun.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


How would you feel if you were constantly thinking about someone, and he materialized, as if out of thin air?

It was as if my very thoughts had lent the crisp air a shimmery aura and shaped it to behold his form.

I wanted to smile at him, but it froze before it could form on my lips.

The air broke out into a volley of greetings and high fives. My heart hammered in my chest, and I panicked. I felt torn. Part of me wanted to go up to him and say something. Act normal, act normal, I repeated to myself like some kind of mantra. I chided myself for the jitteriness, reminding myself that if I had had the guts to do that in the first place, none of this havoc would have ensued.

The rest of me skulked in the shadows, and hid its face in shame. With the horror of realizing the degree of effort it had taken over the past few days. Weeks maybe. This being tugged at the other half and pulled it down into the depths of misery.

I sat on the cold steps, frozen like a statue, head bent in abject wretchedness. The cold that had already seeped into my bones had nothing to do with the icy draft wafting over us. It had already chilled me and frozen over.

I wanted him to come over and talk to me. I mentally willed him to. And he did.

A pale moon floated low in a purple sky. Some light from it revealed a crescent-shaped glint; a hint of a smile. A shadow moved; the dark of his jacket. He came and sat next to me. My mind went into overdrive, digging at every nook and cranny for a thread to start the conversation. A fucking word, for Godsakes.
I came up with nothing. I berated the helpless me.

He said something inconsequential. Whatever it was, I snatched at it like a hungry animal and blabbered something equally ridiculous.

Deep throated laughter. Matched by a high pitched, nervous one that could only be mine.

Fresh waves of shame engulfed me. I remembered, ashen faced, the last time we had had a conversation. Eyes downcast, afraid to meet his. Even if there was no accusation in his, there was blatant regret in mine.

I hated myself for it. And I hated him for having that placid calm all about him. Because when he had that, I couldn’t figure him out. I couldn’t read him. There was nothing in his eyes I could decipher, because even if I had bolstered enough courage to look up, the turmoil within me would have left me perpetually harried.

I wanted to shake him, punch him, kick him. Or all three. Anything that’d result in a nosebleed perhaps.

But I was too tired, too weary for any of that. The fight had left me, and only despair steeped in my marrow, chilling it more than the cold wind did. I stared at the criss-cross of black and grey shadows that changed form on the ground as he gestured in emphasis.

Confusion suffused my being. What the hell were we doing? Was this worse, this forced cordiality, this block of time where we were forced to pretend that we didn’t hate each other. Correction: I didn’t hate him, but I wasn’t ready to love him either. Forgive him? Maybe never. What good would forgiveness be if it didn’t make things better? Would never make things better?

I had tried my best to fix it. People said that it was ok to try, because even if things didn’t work out in the end, I could be happy that I had tried my best. The thought had comforted me a bit. The notion promised peace at the end, didn’t it? But as with all other things, the theory rebounded and impinged on to everything around me.

The shame burned through me and heated my skin, washing over me in waves. What was this, after all? A mockery? What was worse, salvaging the remnants of a camaraderie that once evoked notably fond memories, or this, this, wretched caricature of drawn out civility? A meeting. An obligation that had to be fulfilled in body if not in spirit. What did he think of it? For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom.

Whatever it was, then, that nameless miasma that swarmed about us- I hated it, I liked it. It comforted me, yet I dreaded it. But above all, I wanted it to be there. And some miniscule part of me regretted it when it was time to leave. When it dispelled itself and let time flow uninterrupted.

How far should one go to save oneself from the perils of regret?

I had no answer for that. I had already transcended everything I thought I was capable of.

The cold swept in and filled in the void between us.
I looked up in surprise, not having picked up the end of the conversation. That meaningless, yet meaningful string of words we had carried forth. He looked up in that instant too, an instant where I had caught him off guard.

As much as I wanted to believe in what I saw then- that wide-eyed, hopeful, remorseful look- I told myself that I’d imagined it. And looked away.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The AH Chronicles Resume: Back To Work

After a long hiatus, I finally called up my boss. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, he went like, ‘So, what’s the plan now?’

I thought, er, I didn’t call you to just update you with mundane details of my university life, you know.

‘Um, I want to join again!’ I piped up in my best enthusiastic voice.

I guess he bought that, because I was told that I could join straightaway.

I was all pumped up on the following Tuesday. To say that I was in the seventh heaven of delight would be an exaggeration. No, I was more than elated at the prospect of lukewarm green tea (just because Miss chai nahin peeteen), a tiled floor that would make me slip no matter what sandals I wore, and hordes of weirdos who would offend me with their grammar as much as their greasy hair.

As I stepped in, an echo of greetings surrounded me.
I closed my eyes and braced myself for the warm, halo-like feeling to envelop me.

It never came.

The background sound effect of blowing streamers died down in my head.

Apparently Sir had forgotten to tell them that I’d be coming back. Hmph.

The people at the reception looked at me confusedly. A kind of ‘yes we are happy that you are here but why’ kind of confused. Some asked my sis in hushed tones ‘Why is she here today?’

I rolled my eyes. So much for the cake, gazillion candles, and welcome back banner I was expecting. Just a ‘surprise!’, and that too, on their part. I cleared my throat and declared pompously. ‘I’ll be coming regularly from now on.’

They smiled in recognition as it finally dawned upon them.

How anticlimactic. Sniff.

My bitchy teacher radar seemed to not function for a number of classes. I guess my elated self was so busy savouring the usual sights (men with hairy legs) and smells ( cheap perfume and rancid ones emanating from food stains on shirts) that I conveniently ignored the dumb grammatical interpretations of some students. Apart from this one student. Who I wouldn’t have barked at, except that he had a test the very next day.


Whenever we start off with basic grammar, I always drill two things into my students’ heads. Identify the subject first. And then the verb. Sometimes you can use the verb to figure out the subject too.

This kid winced in concentration. After an eternity of letting these two statements swish around in his head, he finally grunted ‘What?’

I ground my teeth in agitation. ‘You figure out what the subject is. Do you know what a subject is?’

‘Um, yeah....’ he fumbled, staring at the sentence as if the subject would pop up and hit him in the eye.

Unfortunately, we don’t use pop-up books to teach kids, which is like, so kindergarden-ish.

‘A subject is a noun,’ I offered , wavering in a moment of pity. A rare moment of pity.

‘Oh yes, a noun,’ he smiled weakly. But I wasn’t about to let him go that easily.

‘Yes, so what’s a noun then?’ I pressed smoothly, splaying my fingers on the table. Just so that he could see my razor sharp fingernails.

He gulped. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead and threatened to trickle down.

‘Name, Place, Animal, Thing!’ I fumed. ‘Haven’t you ever played that?’

I think I’m the only nerdy person ever to have recognized that that game we used to play during classes in school was actually a learning technique, aimed at increasing our ability to recall nouns.

‘Oh yes, I remember,’ he squeaked, and scanned the sentence hurriedly. He identified the subject correctly then.

Little did he know that I was just warming up.

‘What’s a verb?’

There was dead silence.

The other students were looking over to see if he would recognize the verb, or bear the fury of my Wolverine-ish nails. The fact that I had around fifteen people as spectators to witness this spectacle drove terror into the poor kid’s heart.

‘It’’’s a word that can be used in place of a noun,’ he blurted out, in a span of less than three seconds.

No, dude. After two handouts and a gazillion questions of Usage and Sentence Correction, you do not parrot things that you learnt in a stupid tenth grade English class. And that too, the wrong definition.

I raised an eyebrow. ‘No. That’s a PRONOUN.’

The onlookers watched with bated breath.

Incidentally, I decided to be as anticlimactic as my reception half an hour ago and muttered dully ‘It’s the action being performed by the subject, kid. How many times do I have to tell you?’

He sighed, and a tremor of ease spread into my little audience.

‘So, now that you know what a verb is, what’s the verb in this sentence?’

The words hung tremulously in the air. The audience let out audible gasps.

The kid squirmed. No matter how many times he pored over the sentence, scrunched up his eyes or rotated the sheet of paper to see if it made sense upside down, he could not figure out the verb.

I ran my nails down the pencil I was holding. Curly shavings of wood peeled away from it.

And then finally, with some sudden burst of epiphany, he figured out the answer.

‘It’s this!’ he cried out triumphantly, jabbing at the verb with his pencil.

The audience broke out into smiles and applause.

I scowled. ‘Good. Now remember that for the next twenty-four hours.’

I shot him one last look of pure venom and stalked off haughtily. After that, I’m pretty sure that he’s never going to forget the difference between a noun and a verb. Mission accomplished, the bitchy way.


Monday, November 22, 2010


Dusk was approaching rapidly. It was just after the Maghrib azaan. The sky was lit up in pale blues and mauves. I walked across the parking lot alone. Cold and solitary, like my thoughts. Twilight descended down on the treetops in long, spooky shadows. Purple patches ominously stretched along the rocky asphalt. I weaved my way through the throng, thinking about him. Always thinking about him. I didn't even know what classes he had then.

Tall, willowy, he was standing right in my line of sight. My heart lurched guiltily.

JM was standing in front of him. 'Hey! Long time! How are you?' she chirped happily.

Grateful for the distraction, I plastered a smile on my face and exchanged pleasantries. He was busy talking to two other people. Half of me wanted him to look over and wave. Come over and talk to me. The other half squirmed awkwardly and wished it could vapourize instantly, there and then.

I stepped away. He hollered my name. Two syllables that made me cringe. The half that hadn't wanted him to notice me contemplated whether to stay there or move away. But by that time, he had already initiated a conversation.

'Hey! How have you been? How come you're here? Long time!'

Major understatement, I thought ruefully. I didn't even remember if there had even been a last time. I'd almost forgotten his face- well, almost.

'I have this class right now,' I replied, trying to sound natural. I felt extremely awkward. I gulped a few dozen times, and blinked rapidly in my nervousness.

He addressed the other two who were lounging about, talking about courses. Teachers.The needle in my brain that had stuck and made it freeze started whirring all of a sudden. I remembered that I had to be somewhere and excused myself.

I felt agitated when I got home. Forced myself to get distracted. Weakness got the better of me. I picked up my cell phone and punched in digits that seemed to have been etched into my memory. Stared at the little screen, willing it to change from 'Dialling' to 'Connected.'

Seconds ticked by like eons of eternity.

And then, with one last surge of indignation and contempt, I furiously jabbed at the little red button on the screen and flung the cell phone away.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Welcome Party

Ever since my sister joined IBA (note: encourage your siblings to have divergent academic interests from an early age to avoid public embarrassment later), all party evenings are marked by my sister barging into our room and whining 'I don't have ANY clothes! BOOHOO!'

Technically, that can never be true, since one always has the clothes on one's back. Just saying.

This was no unusual evening, and as usual, I continued reading the notes I was perusing and said absent mindedly 'You can wear the top you bought from XYZ (read really expensive) place, and those pair of jeans.'

That settled the havoc. For the next five minutes. The rest of her time was spent shrieking over not finding matching jewellery/ shoes/ or anything else that could possibly match her attire. Thankfully, my cat is a shade of brown. If my sis could overcome her hatred of her, she would've paraded her about like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde with her pet poodle. More on that later.

The last cry of agony was heard at 9 sharp. The light had just gone out, and she regretted not having straightened her hair for the hundredth time.

We piled up into a friend's car and sped off. The moment we landed, I spied a number of aunties dressed to the hilt in shararas and ghararas. Unfortunately for me, the aunties looked old enough to be MBA students, and I panicked.

Sis grabbed my arm. 'The dress code was formal, right?'

I gritted my teeth. 'Yeah, that's what I heard.'

She thought that I was blind. I am, but only sometimes. 'Some people here are wearing fancy shalwar kameezes!' she wailed, stamping her feet.

'Maybe we should go home and change,' I mused out loud.

Trust her to take me literally. 'How are we going to get home? Our ride just left!' she wailed.

After much debate, dodging of valet-driven cars and ogling of aunties in hideous green clothes, we decided that one of our friends (who had dressed formally) should go ahead and check out the scene ahead of us.

Formal Friend haughtily sauntered up ahead and out of sight.

She didn't come back for ten minutes.

We, the irate trio, decided to go ahead ourselves, only to realize that FF had been peering through the doorway like some James Bond heroine -NOT.

'People are dressed both formally and casually!' she piped up cheefully.

I rolled my eyes and sallied forth.

Groups of people were huddled together across the wide expanse of the floor. The music was deafening and no one I knew was in sight. Thanks to this stupid jammer, I had to wend my way through the throng of chattering seniors and excited freshies to get to the other end where I could catch a signal.

Replying to my text, a friend replied that they were 'on their way'. When someone usually writes that, I interpret that as:

a) the person has left his/her house

b) is driving/ is on the road

c) is hastily giving their keys to the valet outside and is in the process of scurrying inside before they have to incur more of my wrath.

However, what this has ended up being a euphemism for is that:

a) the person yawned, checked his watch and decided that it was the right time to arrive fashionably late

b) stood honking outside a house while another friend spent eternity slathering on makeup

c) picked up a gazillion people 'on the way'.

It turned out that I was right, and all three situations had actually taken place. Hmph.

Not wanting to look like a loser with nothing to do, I went over to where a couple of my other friends were busy chomping on a burger. Yes, that's all you get if you enroll in a fancy shmancy business school- a burger that took ages to finish, a handful of flaccid fries and Pepsi.

Underage Senior and the Chai Chor were having an argument.

'The food is awful!' US wailed, as usual. 'I don't like it.'

CC chewed his burger thoughtfully and gave his verdict. 'Um, the burger's actually not that bad, my patty is ok, and the whole thing is warm.'

'My burger is awful!' repeated US, even more loudly for emphasis.

Picture this: if everyone is shouting to be heard above the din of raucous music, does it really mean that they are shouting if they can’t hear each other?

Guess what? YES, because we all had to repeat ourselves a gazillion times.

I looked back and forth from US to the CC and held up a hand. 'Ok, I'll go and get mine to decide for myself.'

CC was so wrong. US was wrong-er. The burger wasn't awful, it was BLEGH.

Things perked up a bit when I decided to go ice skating with some other friends. I must say it’s great fun to see people teetering on roller blades and falling down with a wallop- making asses of themselves by literally falling on their asses. I half wanted to push some people I particularly detested, but people were watching. And, er, it would have been mean. So I didn't.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, said someone I seriously wish would die already. Ok, maybe he already has. Some people decided that if life means having music blasting from every nook and cranny possible, then you make a dance floor. Sure enough, two skinny guys (yes I looked, and did not think they were hot) were trying to vow the ladies by a series of quirky dance steps that honestly looked like they were having a seizure each. Or were performing bad imitations of Step Up movies' moves. Not surprisingly, the only audience around them comprised of wimpy looking guys who looked on in jaw-dropping admiration.

When I came back, I discovered that the accursed friends were busy staring at scantily clad girls. Since now there was nothing else to do, we put on our bored, cool, 'been there done that' looks and took our seats above the mini-golf area. The friends (why am I even calling them friends, I should've disowned them by now) proceeded to stalk two guys and pronounced them to be gay. All they were doing were shaking hands, and smiling at each other, which is so NOT gay. The rest of us weren’t amused. Like duh.

Did I mention the stupid jammer? Well, it turned out to be even stupid-er in the end. I spent ages rounding up people when it was time to go home. The ride home was a treat, with a noisy Hobbit sitting next to me and Sis who wouldn't stop saying the most insane things.

*beep beep*

I just censored those insane things.

The car pulled away, and I was left standing in the rain with an Energizer Bunny-ized sister. It was indeed the anticlimactic finish to the evening, since I was the one who had to tolerate her babble all the way home. Up to our room. Until she fell asleep exhausted.