Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.


Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.


I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.


I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.


I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.


Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.


Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.


Week Two: The Book of Humour by Ruskin Bond.

There were supposed to be four posts by now, but this is only the second! Though I am continuing with my weekly book promise to myself, writing a post about it too is proving to be quite a task! Here’s to hoping I improve soon! This book was read from 7th January to 12th!

Short Mein Bole Toh: I wish I had a life as wonderful as Bond’s. If nothing, then an uncle as eccentric as his.
If you’ve time, then please read the rest of my opinion of this book.
Perhaps the first Ruskin Bond story I read was Night Train to Deoli. It was in the Maharashtra State Board English textbook along with Lady on Platform Number 8 and The Cherry Tree. I remember thinking then that the story was so good, it would make such a beautiful and haunting movie.
I’ve read scores of books by him including his biographical stories, books on road trips, places, people etc., but never an anthology solely on humour. The Book of Humour is divided into several parts that are all “crazy”. Crazy relatives, crazy places, crazy animals etc. and ends with Crazy Writer.
He signed my book at the Times Literary Carnival '14! :) I'm the one in green.

He signed my book at the Times Literary Carnival ’14! 🙂
I’m the one in green.

My most favourite among all would be about the crazy crow that is the first story of the second part. In a book that is laced with the typical brand of Bond’s humour, it is difficult to not like anything, frankly. But my fear of birds aside, this crow was nice. The story makes you wonder exactly what would have prompted Bond to think from a crow’s perspective. If this story is inspired by true incidents, then I think I would be perfectly cast in the role of one who is tormented by the crow! 🙂

If you’ve read his writing before, then you know that humour and quirky writing comes to Bond effortlessly. It’s the underlying feeling even in his ghost stories! With this book, he raises the notch another level. It’s mirth and emotion along with a dash of introspection into the life of everyday Indians who stay in a world very different from mine.
I was hooked to this book, I laughed in trains, buses and outside the dentist’s waiting room. Made people wonder what on earth was wrong with me when I giggled at the silly events in Bond’s life. The stories never let you off once its fangs are dug into you. Give it a read.
I’ve gifted friends, younger cousins, my teachers etc. with a Ruskin Bond book for a long time now. Reading this book made me appreciate the author and realise how generations of readers could read his works and still enjoy them. I’m glad I gift his books to people!
Who Should Read: Anyone who can read. Or can be read to. Seriously.
Who Should Not Read: I cannot, for the life of me, think of anyone who would not want to read this book!