Sunday, June 28, 2015


I have an endless fascination with paleontology and history. If ever I was given a time machine and limited to one 'direction' in time to move towards, I would choose the past. From the creation of the Universe, the shifting face of the planet's crust, the evolution of life, the history of mankind- the birth and mutation of language, custom and thought... there is very little I would not want to witness. I'd just have to figure out the secret to immortality early on so that I last the stretch.

This whole lasting the stretch business, even without a time machine, is a bit of a pain. There was a guy I 'almost dated'. (I'm not going to explain that because the world of online dating is weird.) Anyway, at the time that we were talking, I was a couple of years shy of the 30 year mark and he was a bit beyond it. Once, I scoffed at some minor physical complaint he had, with the natural arrogance of youth (otherwise, I scornfully look down upon arrogance.) He said simply, "Wait till you hit 30." I scoffed again. We parted ways soon after but he remains etched in my memory. Why?

Because when I hit 30- BOOM! I threw my back out.  And I cursed his name. Maybe his family's too. It really hurt, ok? From then on, it's been a curse-athon. Creak. Grunt. Groan. Aaaaah. Dear Mother of God. That part can hurt?! And so on...

It really hits you when you traverse a little circle in your life. Like trekking up a Himalayan mountain. At 20, I was overtaking mountain goats. In the past 13 years however, things have changed. Let me take a moment to vent- Gravitational constant, my ass! Nothing constant in that area... By area, I meant gravity, not my...Hmm. What I mean is that physics is flawed. Gravity is obviously relative, which explains why the weight of one's thighs increases with altitude and number of potato chips consumed. Time is openly relative, not that it's candor really helps. When an acquaintance stopped me on the street yesterday and asked me how long it's been since I've been back, I said, "I don't know." She looked at me like I was flaky. I checked later and it'd only been three days, but it felt much longer. Funny how you can slip back into the gap you leave behind in a place, like you never left.

Which brings me to the latest update- my stint in Bangkok as a terrorizer of children is done. India needs me to continue the good work here, I figure. As a teacher, I've become a slightly better person. I no longer have violent thoughts that question the wisdom of inception. I've learnt to keep plodding on, even when I know that sometimes, the results aren't likely to manifest. That is the part of a teacher's life that I have most struggled with. That, and the desire to heave children through the door and hold them underwater in the hope that the shock will kick start dormant grey cells. Like I said, slightly better person.

I can hear a voice saying, "Poorni, you need help... the spiritual kind." I agree. That's why I invested in help. The ultimate help! That's right- Amar Chithra Katha's ultimate collection!

This beauty was waiting for me when I returned from Bangkok and I dived right in. Amar Chithra Katha is one of those timeless series that really brings stories alive, especially mythology. If I had my way, these books would be part of the curriculum. Imagine the discussions that would follow in the classroom! So how does it help me? I don't know. I don't really care. I have lots of books! With flying chariots and stuff! Time travel can wait.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


I'm not impossible to impress. People who fold their blankets every morning even though they know they're going to unfold it every night - they impress me. I just gather it into a ball and hide it somewhere in case somebody nosy visits. People who wear sunglasses impress me. I keep pushing mine up and down, scrunching my nose, taking them off when I doubt my depth perception (happens often) and generally behaving like a half-blind, overly fussy librarian.

The animal kingdom impresses me in almost every way. I love them so deeply, my heart overflows at their every little action- even standing still. They're all that cute to me. Well, not all. I have a big problem with an insect- namely, cockroaches. I'm not sure when it started, or how to stop it. But I freak out at the sight of them.

I have a neighbor and friend who feels that way about lizards. About once a week, I can depend on hearing screams coming from the apartment opposite mine. I rush to open the door, and I catch sight of her rushing down the corridor as if her apartment is ground zero for an impending apocalypse. I always shake my head at her when she returns, cowering behind the security guard - her personal lizard-vanquishing hero. I say, 'Pooh, it's just a lizard, Want to see me catch it in my hand?' She screams again. I smile again.

That's why it's so hard for my ego when I react so strongly at the sight of a cockroach. I cannot scream- I can't hit any high note. I just run. I grab the broom and I cower behind it. I shoo it out of my apartment or down a drain, my heart beating like a horse's the whole time. If it comes at me, and especially if it flies, then forget it- that thing is dead. That's why I use lots of that chalk that keeps the little monsters away from my house. I live a relatively cockroach-free life, and I consider it a privilege.

Yet somehow, I must have earned some sort of reputation as a demoness amongst the cockroach population in this area. One sleepless night, I walked into the kitchen at around 2 and switched on the light. As I stood at the counter, wondering what to eat, I saw this tiny baby cockroach scurrying all over the counter like crazy. I mean, this thing was terrified out of its wits at the sight of me. All I was doing was just standing there quietly.

Suddenly, it heads towards me; I'm still motionless, and before my amazed eyes, the little thing actually jumps off the edge, still running at full speed. My mouth falls open as I watch it gracefully arc into the air like a sky diver and fall. The floor is mosaic, so I lost sight of it even before it landed. But I stood there for awhile, gaping at what I'd just seen. It was like a scene out of a movie, only the action hero was a 2 mm cockroach.

Maybe five paragraphs about this is a bit too much, but you had to have been there. Inspiring that much terror in another creature is a terribly strange feeling. I can barely relate to it. My only point of reference is with kids. Although I'm a teacher with all sorts of ideals within the classroom, that's purely education. (Even that has a 45 minute time limit before I explode, but let's gloss over that.) Outside of that, on the streets, you could say, I deal with kids on a case by case basis. I'm the person who'll glare at either a misbehaving child or its unfortunate parent until it stops what its doing. If there's some degree of familiarity, and the parent is doing nothing, I'll step in and do what's needed. If they never talk to me again, well then, boo-hoo.

The reason I sound like a total bad-ass is because I am. If people are going to inflict their offspring on me, they should be ready for me to inflict myself on said offspring. Works both ways.  Recently, I heard that a colleague and a mother of a five year old who lives in my building threatened her boy with a visit from me. That's when I felt a bit impressive myself. (Also a bit old, but let's gloss over that too.) Baby cockroaches, baby humans- all running away, screaming. Not bad, eh? Not bad at all.

                                     And people wonder why I'm still single...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

On Skype today...

Hello Pillai,
How are you today? I have been in search of someone with this last name “Pillai" so when I saw your name I was pushed to contact you and see how best we can assist each other. I am Mr. Bruce molyneaux, an employee with Lloyds Bank Plc, I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you on Skype now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you because, it is in connection with your last name and you are going to benefit from it.
One Late Daniel Pillai, a citizen of your country, who had a fixed deposit with my bank here in United Kingdom in 2010 for 48 calendar months, valued at GBP{£14,150,000.00} the due date for this deposit contract was last October 2014. Sadly "Daniel Pillai was among the death victims in the march 11th 2011 Earthquake disaster in Japan, He was in Japan on a business trip when the Earthquake happened.
My bank management is not yet know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend and I am his account officer. Daniel did not mention any beneficiary when the account was opened, and i have tried without success to find any member of his family. Last week my Bank Management requested that i should give instructions on what to do about the funds, if to renew the contract.
I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that "Daniel is dead and do not have any beneficiary to the fund, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don't want such to happen. That was why when I saw your last name I was happy and I am now seeking your co-operation to present you as beneficiary to the account, since you have the same last name with him and our bank head quarters will approve the transfer of the funds in your name because your surname is the only thing that qualifies you to stand as the beneficiary of Daniel.
There is no risk involved because i am equally part of this process therefore you can be assured that this process will a success for us. I don't want the bank to confiscate the money.
I will appreciate if you can write to me on my personal email for more details:
Waiting to hear from you.
Mr. Bruce molyneaux
Personal email:
How many kinds of idiot do you think I am? I ask because I know how many you are.