August 01, 2014


The adolescent experience
revisits -
the in-betweeners.
A lonely shepherd
giving me a small patch of land to chew
No room for sharing.
Transition was viscous
mucky like the Mumbai rains
and my rooms echo
with voices from the television set
mimicking better times!

July 25, 2014


Can I safely say words will never let me down?
Can I be assured of their perennial love?
Or will they, with time and age
Dull at their edges and shrivel like memory
And leave me mute and paralyzed?

July 09, 2014

Time Versus You

And the test begins
Time versus You
The seasons are changing
And the mutually exclusive clause 
Dictates new terms you cannot fathom
Ill prepared, happiness is a bitter pill
A distant carillon of bells 
Clangs to the thump of your heart
And you don’t know anymore
If that’s a good sign
Or a bad omen
Time has erased the fine lines
Time has made thoughts like dunes
Time has seized your sanity 
And waltzed with it in the wind
In this game, you make no moves
You stand still and let the ebb flow

April 22, 2014

A Tamil girl writes to Bollywood

This is an earnest plea to Bollywood.

If you ever want to make a movie on Tamilians, kindly adopt me.

No, really. You never get it right. I am not saying we never have our biased portrayals of North Indians in films down south. But then, that, my dears, is another’s battle to fight. Let us get back to mine.

I watched Two States last night. And a few months ago I watched Chennai Express. A decade or more ago, I witnessed Juhi Chawla going “Ayyo Appa” in Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke. All these three films had pretty, intelligent and good actresses who were essaying roles of Tamil girls.

I am a Tamil girl but not your typical idea of Mallipoo (jasmine) sporting, sari draped, M.S.Subbalaxmi on the iPod, mantra book thumping one. I honestly don’t know where you got that idea from. We grew up parallel with the times, you know? So while all you North Indians are not seen wearing ghaghra cholis and salwar suits on an everyday basis, we also resort to alternative clothing. We love our saris and mallipoos, yes. But that is NOT all we wear.

Maybe we won’t even tread into the styling, as mostly you guys at Bollywood mix up your Kerala Kasavu saris for our Kancheevarams and insist that we dress up that way. So I will let you keep your delusions. But I will insist on one thing – get your language right. If your character is a Tamilian, let them SPEAK in Tamil for God’s sake and not that weird mumbo-jumbo that I half expect will magically make a pigeon fly out from behind their pallus! Get an accent trainer. Or hire me! I will do it for free, as long as you credit me.

So you have Revathy sharing screen space with Alia Bhatt. I wonder how she survived the mutilation of the language during the dubbing sequences if at all they did dub together! Here was a seasoned star, AT your disposal and you let the chance pass, Bollywood. Why? Why? Why?

If you are shooting anything ‘Tamil’, you need to get your production team to work extra hours unless you have one of Matunga’s boys on board who visit Madras in their summer holidays. They will know that women don’t keep walking with baskets of flowers and multi coloured pots ALL The time on the streets of Tamil Nadu as you showed in Chennai Express. No, they don’t do that in Kerala either. We too have bore wells, thankyouverymuch!

And what is with the vibuthi/ sacred ash that everyone seems to sport (alright, or the occasional chandan you let them indulge in)? There are OTHER religions people follow down south, too. We have our own Triplicane mamis sharing vadaam (sun-dried flour/vegetable) space on the terrace with Muslim aunties who are drying their fish. We also have our own very Stellas and Marias to give your Bandra crowd some serious competition.

The point I am trying to make is- I LOVE you Bollywood! So much so that, I even left my Tamil cinema land of Chennai to come here. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Kollywood too with all its innovative storylines and stunning filmmaking. And I equally get annoyed with it for its repetitive dishevelled thug heroes and occasional sickeningly cute heroines. But presently, I am more of a Bombaiyya who loves a pav with her vada more than a chutney with her vadai. Maybe it is a phase, maybe it is to stay. But like I said, I don’t like YOU, Bollywood, to disappoint me this way by a complete lack of research about a land I am mighty proud of – Tamil Nadu. I am not clannish, neither am I close minded. I am no fan of Chetan Bhagat nor am I a Chennai Express type. I am just particular that movies get made with a passion and sincerity that they deserve.

Making Alia Bhatt, however drop-down-dead gorgeous that she is, mispronounce Tamil IS not going to make you convincing, Bollywood. It is going to make me laugh at you, point fingers at you and write an entire list of how terrible it was - which is exactly what I just did.

Grow up Bollywood and hire people who will care for you. Who will go at lengths to UNDERSTAND what you are trying to portray. Who will know the stories you are trying to tell and give them the voice it deserves. Make every kind of film you want to make, but make them with authenticity and passion. Without passion, everything is stale. And Bollywood, YOU are what taught me to fall passionately in love with films. Will you please fall in love with yourself, as well?

March 25, 2014


Tube lights in my office burn like the sun
And the air-conditioner hum is a lullaby in the day
My already drowsy eyes sprout imaginary swords
And fight my eyelids to stay open
A bloodbath that masquerades as tears
As a gasp escapes like a yawn
My thoughts rush and settle on a distant mug
And smell its rim dried brown with coffee
Hungrier now, it floats to my bedside 
Sniffs at stationery and longs for the pen
Curls up, blanket over the head and snoozes
I continue typing about smartphones and speakers

March 10, 2014

Dry Day

It is a sullen noon
something in the air 
refuses to be trapped
it erupts in furious writing
and frowns 
and a furrowed forehead

I am adding a crow's feet 
every year
time is a concept they say
but I never lose count this way

I have dreamed
and let them soar
But in this dreamodrome
there are more accidents 
than successful take offs
and many, mid way
just flop down with engine failure
or lack of fuel
or some kind of passenger protest

I cannot find my bellows
to flare up these fires
today some restlessness
is snuffing everything 
I once called my spirit

February 25, 2014

Bombay Diaries

24 December 2013
My neighbour plays carols early in the morning and makes them the earworm for the day. There are cute, ugly, frail, beautiful, gigantic Christmas trees lined all across the streets in the market place. My friends are making Christmas baskets. There are serial lights strung on trees and walls and whatnots! (I am tempted to string some across my head and light 'em up! :P) There is a smell of love, festivity, togetherness and celebration all across the city. While Deepavali down South is a definite winner, Bombay is totally Christmas' city! I think I will burst a nerve with all the Christmas-sy excitement! Merry Christmas, dear world! Hopefully, there are some beautiful times ahead for all of us! 

19 December 2013
The city on a chilly morning is a quiet, calm almost unrecognizable expanse. To witness a city waking up generally makes you fall in love with it. But in a city that never sleeps, it is like seeing it go through a warm up exercise routine. Just a stretch in its existence! And with this city you fall in love - for its relentless spirit and strength as much as for its foggy wintry beauty!

8 December 2013
In this 'maximum city', it so happens that sometimes you can reach neighbouring cities faster than you can reach neighbouring localities!

30 November 2013
Impromptu plans are not for this city. And if you still make some, borrow wings or learn to apparate. Or maybe, begin your lessons in indefinite patience. Nirvana is on its way!

26 October 2013
Situation 1: I am in the house and the door bell rings. I try opening only to find it locked from the outside. I knock from within, my all-in-one man who does plumbing electricity and carpentry knocks from the outside and finally opens the door. Me: aap ne darwaza baahar se band kiya? Him: Mujhe gussa aa raha hain ki aap aise mere baare mein soch sakti ho!!!! 

Situation 2: 
Me: bhaiyya! Paani loft se kyun gir raha hain. Mera room poora geela ho gaya! 
Him: tankipipeupar
Me: Kya?????
Him: tankipipeupar
Me: Achchaa...!

Incoherent vague villainy mumbles, pipe bursts, blackouts and what not- Bombay, you and my plumber sure are dramatic!

24 October 2013
True love comes in the flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg, is brown and steamy and brings a smile on my face every time we meet! 

22 October 2013
To escape traffic, I moved to a house near office. Little did I know the house was on one of the busiest roads around here! Gah! All the same!

18 October 2013
In mumbai traffic you could grow old, expand your families, live lifetimes, be born as new avatars and yet you may have not crossed Andheri east to Andheri west! Such is life also! Thankyouverrymuch for these lessons. I am saving it for my autobiography!

8 October 2013
The brokers of Mumbai sure think I am high maintenance! Neither of us are getting anything out of this, are we now? :/

The Woman

He wrote –
about her red lips,
some verses on her smoky eyes,
and fell in love with her hair.

She –
always bought the best makeup!


"There she was! 
Red lipstick 
Eyes lined with the smoky blues 
And deep grays of the night 
Hair, a burnished bronze. 
Art, they say, is a woman's face!" 

February 23, 2014


There is a voice that lives inside,
I know not if in the brain or heart!
Time and again, it does confide
When to stop and how to start
No rhyme or reason to its ways
It is always loud ad clear
I blindly listen to what it says
Albeit with a shudder and fear!
And one day I wake up happy
To see its words prove true
Times betwixt may have been crappy
But suddenly gone are the blues!

Soul Cobwebs

Cobwebs on the soul, 
Darkness crying foul. 
Praying for lucid waters, 
A stitch to hold the tatters!


Wind beneath the feet
star-struck dreamer
with head in the clouds
drifting like a dandelion

It Rains When You Leave

You are leaving...
The clouds huddle inside me
and it softly rains
Steadily escalates to a downpour
The universe speaks my language

Ekphrasis - 10

The rains came 
And played with my heartstrings
Cold hands stammered 
Words shivered before 
A mere gasp escaped
It had got foggy, the insides
Memory came to write on the walls
Time regaled with a cruel joke
Softly your words drummed again
Within the walls of my being

Ekphrasis - 9

Her name was Malli. And she loved flowers. Not just any, but a particular pink flower that bloomed on the first day it rained in Sirukuruchhi. The village elders used to say that the queen of the land had died during childbirth on the first rain of that year. She never saw the baby and every rain hence, she bloomed as the pink flower, never to appear again till the next year.

Sangli walked the last mile in a quicker pace. It was said to appear in the wasteland behind the temple, clamouring up the old broken wall of where once stood the king’s palace.

It was raining heavily. Like shining evil teeth, lightening struck in regular intervals. The thunder echoed in his ribs, rattling them. Sangli was armed with an umbrella and a stick, and he made his way through the pile of debris that had been dumped in the wasteland. He had with him a plastic cover and a plantain leaf to roll the flowers and preserve them.

The brooding clouds got darker. The village of Sirukuruchhi looked shrouded in blackness. Sangli could barely see the mongoose that was biting away at some obscure object and almost stepped on it! But it scampered away in the last moment, hurling a string of noises that sounded like abuse.

He finally reached the wall. There were vines covering the entire stretch. He scanned the wall and finally found it. Pink in colour and with drops of rain hugging its petals.

Malli would be waiting at home, a hot pot of fish curry bubbling, clutching her pregnant belly and wishing she could pluck the flowers this year too, like she did every year.
© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall