Change in Aperture

Photo “Isabel Nao


She joins him on Blake’s Peak in the late afternoon, just as the sun begins its descent. Her face isn’t remarkable in the conventional sense; her nose, eyes mouth, seem like unrelated pieces in a jigsaw puzzle wrongly placed near each other. But there is something else about her, he can’t quite put a finger to. The search ends the instant he looks into her eyes.  She smiles, not with her lips; it’s her eyes that smile instead, beguiling him into a calm undercurrent… like the eye of a hurricane, around which spins a storm. He turns away quickly, as if to inspect his camera. He is here to take her portrait pictures. He would do just that, and probably never see her again, he tells himself. Sitting under the warm autumn sun, atop the mountain, they talk- about her life, her passions. It helps him bring out the subject’s true spirit, make her real. It is only when the yellow ball of fire changes to hues of orange and then tangerine, merging with the sky like juice mix in a glass of water, that they realise there is little time left for the mountain portrait shoot that they had come for. They make a dash for a spot. She turns to the expanse of highland facing her. “Just think of who you really are” he shouts out. Something comes over her, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Her back straightens, her head tilts high.  A gust of wind catches her auburn hair. She raises an arm to hold it back, as if adjusting an invisible crown, a faraway look in her eyes. He sets a wide aperture to capture a shallow depth of field, so the background behind his subject is nicely blurred, making her stand out better. As he looks through his lens, amazed at the transformation –  the real Diane unravels, shot by shot, defiantly flaunting her own essence amidst the dwarfing mountains.


New Meanings

scarf.jpgIt is Sunday afternoon.

They are spring cleaning the closet, sorting through clothes, getting rid of clutter. The mild summer breeze from the window is a welcome relief from the relentless blaze of brilliant amber in the sky. The breeze ruffles few long, elegant strands of hair hanging loose over her face. Floaters, he would call them, years ago, at their rendezvous every evening and they would laugh, their eyes shining with the light of new love. He wants to brush them aside but restrains himself as she lifts her hand to keep them at bay. He thinks she looks as beautiful as the first time when they met at a Foo Fighters concert; older yes, but beautiful. Continue reading “New Meanings”

In Retrospect


She learns about him for the first time at a literary festival.

He is one of the three new authors interviewed on a panel discussion amidst much fanfare. Bespectacled, self-assured, he has that intellectual, nerdy persona that writers often exude. He speaks haltingly; his husky drawl sliding easily in between spaces, amorously wrapping itself around his carefully chosen words, almost as if reining them in. Continue reading “In Retrospect”



The scent was, unmistakably, musk.

The intoxicating odour floated through the mild summer breeze every day right outside her apartment building, when she returned from work. Where was it from? Her eyes scanned the street— the ice-cream vendor besieged by street kids, the toy seller, a mother with her baby in a pram and an unsung, but unbelievably talented, jobless painter with his painting supplies, filling colours in his canvas — everything as commonplace as yesterday.

Continue reading “THE SECRET OF SCENT”

‘je ne sais quoi’


16th October 2015

 Dear Diary

 I am in the city of romance. Paris. Work begins on Monday and I have a couple of days to settle in. I have been brushing up my French for the past few weeks.  I quite enjoy this morning ritual of having a word from the dictionary pop out, like toast; and I butter it almost immediately because quite frankly, there is nothing quite unappetising like a toast lying cold and dry that no one eats. And tomorrow, will most certainly bring a fresh another. The Word for today is ‘flâneur.  A flaneur is a keen-eyed stroller or a loafer who chronicles the minutiae of city life. Only the French can make the most mundane action of loitering around, sound so elegant and deliciously sexy. It makes one want to immediately drop whatever one had been doing and turn into a flaneur, almost as if that is a matter of great consequence. When you say it, the ‘fla’ and ‘neur’ must be uttered quickly in succession with the ‘neur’ stretched slightly…… “Fla-neu- uhhr.” Notice, how the word just flutters around the tip of the mouth without really reaching the throat and then slides off smoothly. And once it is uttered it doesn’t disappear or turn to dust from lack of sound. It lingers, like the whispers of a lover, or the morning glow atop a shivering leaf long after the dew has slid off it.  What can I say? There is just something…. a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about French, like love. Of course, love isn’t a spoken language at all. But they both breathe life into me, like nothing else can.




(je ne sais quoi’ ) noun  \ zhə-nə-ˌsā-ˈkwä \,  a pleasing quality that cannot be exactly named or described.

Much in Common


We have so much in common
the hair of your youth
and me,
dapper at daybreak
soaring high on a flight of fancy,
a subsequent afterhours return
a tangled mess
of deliberation
amid flight and restrain,
and a yearning
to be smoothed,
with all of the ruffles
by the ilk
of a guileless hair wrapping
gently whispering,
”There, there, now, honey,
I’ve got you.”

Light and Shadow


She absolutely adored what he wrote.

It wasn’t just about his way with words; it was more than that.

It was his sensitivity towards what one might consider mundane, banalities of daily living; like perhaps this piece about a woman waiting at dentist’s office and his yearning to know more about her; or about the carousel of trees he could see lying in the back of a car; or the one where he simply described a cafe on a street in Paris on a cold afternoon, winding his way through the smooth, mysterious sounds of French, reflecting over a simple phrase – “a cloud of milk” that had accidentally popped up during a casual conversation with the waitress.   Continue reading “Light and Shadow”

The Notebook


She would carry her notebook with her wherever she would go. After all, who knew when a great idea might strike. One could have a brainwave for the ultimate punch line while standing in a queue at a grocery store. Whenever ideas struck her, she would jot them down quickly in her notebook before they slipped down tiny crannies in her memory, which unfortunately seemed to get wider with every passing year. Continue reading “The Notebook”