Notes from Delhi: Monsoon randoms

Salusala showroom, Colombo








I realized it was time to retire the notebook when the back cover came apart a month or two ago. It had followed me wherever I went and the wear and tear that age brings was visible on its shabby pages.

I started maintaining it while I was in school. It was something that I had started on a whim and I was surprised to find that, years later I still kept at it.  It began as a way of adding new words into my limited vocabulary but soon grew into something less impersonal. Every time I came across a new word or a word which piqued my interest, it would secure a place in the notebook.

Gradually old words I had forgotten about made its way into the pages. Words for rainy days, words I wouldn’t use now but might need later (filigree, disingenuous, bilious), volatile words, jagged words, hostile words (‘pogrom’ makes me shudder every time), mutated words, sensuous words, over used words, words that have the power to break hearts, tired clichés – they’re all crammed in there somewhere between lines of teenage doggerel and hurriedly scrawled shopping lists.

Two whole pages were devoted to colours (Prussian blue, burnt umber, carmine, cosmic latte, radical red and tangerine. Aren’t these lovely?) Phrases from songs, lines of poetry and interesting word-pairings which occurred to me or which I’d encounter in my reading were also immortalized in my little yellow notebook (Casual aplomb, repositories of dreams, sandalwood days, inheritance of loss. My favourite so far is lecherous octopus. Not very poetic, but apt on occasion) Marriages between words interested me. Sometimes the most unexpected of unions sound so right.

Internalizing new words into your vocabulary isn’t always easy. We usually fumble for familiarity and words need to grow on you, it isn’t something you can force upon yourself. When I was younger I would pepper my conversation with ‘big’ words. Why? Maybe I wanted to exude an air of intelligence, maybe I wanted to impress people. I don’t know. Thankfully I’m more prudent now. Use your words wisely, children.

(I know some of these are fairly obvious ones but every now and then, I’d come across a word in an entirely new light and would pop it into my notebook)

I have a new notebook now. I look forward to filling it.


Things that should be on your resume (but aren’t)

Instead of popping back home for a quick nap between classes I made the mistake of attending a workshop on resume writing a few weeks ago. Decided to spruce up my resume today and I am now sitting here with what feels like a very woefully inadequate resume and a headache. I am also suddenly feeling very under accomplished and old, which probably doesn’t help the situation but that’s beside the point.

My grouse is with the dissemination of information in resumes. I may be looking at the wrong ones, but all the resumes I’ve seen have been so prosaic and generic. Here’s a list of skills/qualifications/arbitrary stuff that I feel are integral and that I earnestly wish I could add to mine without my prospective employee doubting my sanity.

  1. Excellent interpersonal skills – with cats.
  2. Was cast as a giraffe in a kindergarten production of Noah’s ark
  3. Was cast as the sun in an Avurudu play.
  4.  Did not pursue profitable career in theatre
  5. Has sold paintings in aid of charity (and some of them were even people I didn’t know!)
  6. Master Monopoly player
  7. Agony Aunt and advice dispenser
  8. Can watch Mulan & Midnight in Paris multiple times
  9. I was the original hipster
  10. Armchair wanderer
  11. Winner of mini-tennis tournament organized by a recognized sports body in Sri Lanka, name of which escapes me (I got a walkover. My opponent didn’t turn up)
  12. Proficiency in broken Hindi (Where am I? Do you know the way? Where is the toilet? That is not my gun)
  13. Show me a Ryan Gosling meme and I’ll show you a happy person
  14. Occasional baby stalker
  15. Championed team to a nail-biting victory.. in senior spelling bee competition (I’d like to see you try and spell ‘ubiquitous’ when the fate of your team hangs in the balance)
  16. Knows lyrics to an alarming number of Backstreet Boys songs
  17. Professional playlist maker (Ignore above. I have stellar taste in music)
  18. Eternal student


Your turn.