In a hidden corner of the universe…

…there will be light,
a sparkle that will yank you out of the darkness, that will make you believe happiness is your birthright,
It will make your tongue speak the language of love. You will begin to know a confidence you’d never have known before,
You will know a hope that calms you, only reminds of the future, of all the niceness you are bound to have in store,
There will be a strange, lilting ballad ringing in your ears, asking you to relish what you have, asking you to hang in there,
Persuading you to seize each moment, to live it like it’s your last, in a world that knows no despair.

Seek it, celebrate it, become friends with it,
make it your home, your identity, your intangible, non-negotiable outfit.


Stay eternal, Federer

2006. My first-ever memory of watching you play. It was a Wimbledon final against Nadal.
I was staring at a 24-year-old star who already had 7 grand slams in his kitty. A ball boy who had worked hard to earn et al.

Tennis for me, since then, has been synonymous with your name,
I realised back then that ‘perfect’, was a word too small to describe your game.

The numbers kept growing. 7 became 17.
But you didn’t lose sheen.

You became the idol, you became the GOAT,
You became a legend that didn’t shy away when he wanted to emote.

You are mocked at for your tears but they push us to relate to you more,
They show how much each match matters to you and why you’ll probably be the only legend I’ll gush about and adore,
They make you vulnerable and human, and one of us – not just a celeb who stands on a pedestal.

Seven summers later, in 2013, you were down with injury. You dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in 14 years,
You were finding it hard to match up to your peers,
Critics began to write you off, they said 32 was a good age to hang up your boots. They said it was time for you to call it a day,
Slams, they said, wouldn’t anymore be your forte.

They began to bid you goodbye, but you didn’t care,
You simply chose to hang in there,
You stumbled, you fell,
Yet, you rose with grace every single time, and had the world again under your spell.

You bounced back in 2017, and how,
At 36, you scourged every raised eyebrow,
You became the oldest man to win a slam, to be crowned world number 1,
You showed the world why tennis will always be your jam, why you won’t let yourself be easily outrun.

You made the world run short of superlatives, you made words fail critics. When people put you on the back burner,
you came back stronger,
You proved to them that age, is just another number.

You won your first slam when you were 21, and today, at 38, you hold 20;
When you played the men’s longest final in Wimbledon’s history earlier this year, at 37, for three minutes short of five hours – the world still got only a glimpse of your agility.

The backhand, the dropshot, the perfect slice,
The serves, so impeccably precise —
Watching you play, Federer, is a treat for the eyes.

You defy full stops. You teach me to look beyond pitfalls and barriers,
You give me reason to believe, to stay undaunted, to keep going, to forge new forevers.

Tennis would never mean the same to me once you retire,
So, here’s wishing you a score more slams, inexplicable fun, and inexhaustible fire.

Stay eternal, Roger!


Always your loudest cheerleader,
Annapurani Vaidyanathan

I hide behind words…

when I’m stuck and there’s no place else that I can be. When every other door is shut, and they become the whiff of fresh air that’d set me free.
When I want a new blue converse to keep alive my memories. Or wind beneath my wings to push me to fly.

When I need courage, to reach for the skies. To get rid of a mask I might have put on, to wipe away my disguise. To be fearless. To make the whole universe my canvas. To break the shackles that chain my brain. To forget to hold back, to remember to contain. To help me think beyond what I see. To find myself an escape, from reality.


Things that weigh me down

Uncertainty. Withering curiosity. Incomplete promises. Unfulfilling journeys. Blank white pages. Impassive faces. Unhappy last words. Stony silences.

Stories that bear no endings. The gloomy denouements, if nothing else, bring with them a promise of new beginnings. But what of those that are simply unsettling, that shepherd questions to tread on my anxiety, that leave me all parched and empty?

Letting people have a say in what I want. Trusting them to tell me what I can do and cannot. Allowing them to decide who I really am. Proving to them every day, in ways distinct and subtle, that I do give a damn.

Not being able to tell apart nightmares from reality. Keeping track of time, when you ain’t around me. Harbouring hope of a new dawn with you, when I know we just ain’t meant to be.


All I need now is…

A little bit of magic. A spell that’d secretly do the trick. A charm, that would hold me up every time I sink. I want a tiny trickle of a hint. A hint of a wink. A clue, a sign, maybe an intervention, divine? Like how Ved Vyas breathed life into formless pounds of flesh from Gandhaari’s womb? I want sunshine to purge the void in the room. To give wings to the dreams I closed the doors on. To push me to look beyond failures and find me reasons to plough on.



We are a strange species. We dream of a new blue canvas in a dreary moor. We envisage a paradise but concoct ruins. We wantonly tread on broken glass and barbed wires, but whine of bruised will and twisted limbs. We douse our breath in polythene, but whimper of suffocation. We bid goodbye to the leaves before autumn, but come spring, wish for “champagne-pink” cherry blossoms.
We set alight pastures to sink our teeth into smoke, but what does it taste like – A waft of the emptiness that hits us in the morning when we step out to sip coffee? The grey of the ash we burnt the green to? Bitter, like the drug we thought was our cure?


What I learnt in 2018

1. Not everyone will be happy with the choices you make in life, and it’s okay.
2. Explaining what you want to the world can be exhausting when you’re yet to figure things out yourself.
3. Stand by your choices no matter what people say. The stronger your conviction, the easier your journey.
4. Don’t let the society bully you into choosing something you don’t want to.
5. Seize the moment. There’s no point in letting it go and regretting when you’re 60.
6. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be awkward. It’s okay to be embarrassed. But don’t let anything hold you back from doing what you want to.
7. Some people are too hard to please, too hard to satisfy. Don’t waste too much of your time trying to win them over.
8. Each of us wants different things from life. Don’t decide you are a failure because your neighbor’s son is settled in the U.S. and owns a Mercedes.
9. Make time for what makes you happy, no matter how busy you are. Be it staying with the people who go out of their way to make your day, reading a pile of comics, binging on good food or just taking off on your own to a place that brings you solace. Do it.
10. Don’t give up. You never know what tomorrow will bring.