Sunday, October 3, 2010

To Muslim Terrorists

You must be really happy and proud of yourselves after knocking the WTC down and such, right? It did create a stir of course but hell, the world trade hasn't stopped and never will. You scared the people but somewhere deep down you made them strong too. You taught them dealing with losses. You taught them decision making. You taught them to forgive and to fight. Looks like they're all a whole lot more stronger and powerful. You haven't harmed anyone really. Do you know who you really are terrorizing though?

The Muslims. The peace-loving, absolutely normal and very loving kinds-- to cut it short, the TRUE Muslims. You are terrorizing me. My mom. My dad. My brother. My family. All of us. You have successfully harmed us. You know, how a lot of people now hate me because of you? You know how they consider me some butcher because of you? How their smile-length shortens when they know I'm a Shaikh...How they are suddenly aware of where I touched they are suddenly regretful of the good things they told me just are they regretful of even knowing me at all. How the expectations from a 'Tamanna' crash to the ground when they know I'm a 'Shaikh'...They may be biased but it's your fault. You did it. To us Muslims. To us God-loving Muslims. Yes and there isn't any difference between God and Allah, FYI. I wonder who you've been worshipping because My God never got angry when I called Him God...or when I bowed in front of Ram and said in my mind, "It's still You, God"...I wonder which Allah you work for because my Allah doesn't need mere mortals to work for Him...No one works for my Allah. He is The Creator and The Destroyer and He doesn't ask me to do it...and not FOR Him at least...never. So whatever be the reason behind your actions, stop doing it under the pretext of Islam. Because when Prophet Mohd saw an orphan in a fair, he held him by his hand and took him home. What you do, is create orphans in times when there isn't a prophet Mohd...

Your eyes are filled with the dust of the caves that you hide in. God's people don't hide. Your actions have changed my life. And the lives of millions (yes, there are millions) of other such peace loving, understanding, or just common-sense-possessing Muslims. If there's anyone at all who you have terrorized, it's us Muslims. And Allah will do the rightful at the right time and of this I'm sure, that I'm not sharing the hell with you. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Abstract Gauge to Gauge Abstractness

If there is a gauge to quantify how much a human being contains patience, trust, stoicism, strength, tolerance, bravery, boldness, candidness, zeal, etc; basically any abstract expression or act; if there is a gauge to all that and more, it is love. A meter to measure the entities no other instrument can; an ordinal scale with an absolute zero; that is love. So underrated in that aspect. Heart rate, respiration rate, and such physiological signs are the aftermath; not a co-process; and mere signs alone, non-specific. Unfortunately, the units of measurements in love are acts, be they words or doings. "I love you", for example, is probably one of those with high standard deviations and errors. Standing by, supporting and such, on the other hand are high up on the accuracy levels, with very less possibilities of error and greater correlations. So you see, it is not the most valid tool. Yes there could be false positives but then there is no other tool yet that breaks through scientific norms to gauge all that abstractness, is there?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Layovers of Life

The feeling of relative-relaxation and anticipation while lounging at an airport, waiting for your flight mostly seems sweet to me. Curling up with a book, a coffee, the cabin-bag stashed against your body, now reading the book, now lifting your head out of the book to sip the hot coffee and in that one coffee-moment, capturing the whereabouts around you through your coffee-steam-fogged glasses. Your mind instantly confabulates a hundred different stories--the prim fifties man with the brown leather suitcase, the chirpy 16 year old with pink sneakers listening to her iPod, the mysterious thirty-something woman in her stilettos and red lipstick, the noisy family from Asia, the careless looking serious sexy young man with a slight spiky hairdo and so on. Then taking another sip and getting back into another story that the book tells.
Sometimes airport lounges are the only places where your mind gets time to do recaps. Analyses, introspections and more analyses; just pure unadulterated thinking, planning. You promise yourself to write it down and check it off the list. Unfortunately, you forget it as soon as you get on the plane...or even before that. But it was a realization, wasn't it?
Alone, you tend to begin new conversations. Accompanied, you take the talk deeper. When you are at the mercy of your brain's games, it could be all dangerous but airports are high-security, everywhere. Or, are they?
And then if the sole purpose of your being at the airport is a leisure trip, all of these seem definitely cherishable--the way they're coming back at me right now. I so long to feel that feeling of being at one of those waiting lounges at terminals, reading a little bit of my book, a little bit of faces and sipping my coffee-turning-cool.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Cure Undesirable

Suicide is not a phenomenon to frown upon. It is a trauma, a horror. A last resort. Not everyone who commit suicide are 'weaklings'. In fact, calling them weak is an insult to their hysteria. Can you imagine the infinite amount of pain that wrecks these individuals in moments before the suicide? It is a sad, sad happening to ever happen.

Most heart-wrenching are the suicide files of models--always girls. Those pretty stick-figures with a perfect pout--outside. Inside, they are just you and me; or worse. Their stories bring down the facade of showbiz, exposing to the rest of the world the patina and moths underneath, crawling all over the surface, nibbling the innards to a porous skeleton. The facade is then built faster than it was destroyed. Their stories remind us of the fact that women (in every place in the universe) need, just need, to be loved. All that they want is an abstract, free, emotion of love. Even that, or probably, only that, is the most impossible to attain at times. Warped is the word for the ways of life.

While some die out of excess happiness, others die due to fatal depression; no matter what, they are all smitten. Smitten by love, by fame, by fake glory, by pseudo limelight, by striving to be on top and such. Somewhere, at some point, the pain wracks the heart and when one is capable of actually feeling the heart rending, it is time for suicide. It is not really correct to believe that the victim might have been lonely. Lonely is a very relative term in that sense. How can you tell a lonely person in a crowd? Severe depression and acute, severe restlessness can be the culprits. But really, these are only symptoms. Suicide is not a diagnosis. It is a treatment, self adopted by the victim doctor; the one treatment in the world that you may not want to be successful. The diagnosis remains a mystery forever.

Marilyn Monroe, Lucy Gordon, Daul Kim, Nafisa Joseph and many more. You might think, "I wish she met and talked to me before doing this!". Yes, because both of you were on the same page. I will not say 'everyone' goes through such ineffable pain. Quite a few women who do go through this pain will be able to understand that hanging by the rope might seem to be an easy option when life comes gnawing at you in the most vicious way possible. Yet, there are survivors. There are those who attempted to cure their plights by the fatal treatment but dropped it off. It is those women, unnoticed, unknown, who need a word bow. Women who are alive, fighting, weeping, hanging in there.

We cannot bring those gone back amongst us. We can only light candles and hope they feel better if they are free now. We can only hope for good after the bad is done. What can we do to stop the pain? There is no analgesic for pain that cannot be sensed. Sigh.

Before taking their own lives, I wish, only if these girls received a loving text message or a decision-changing phone call or a knock on the door.

Take a moment everyday to make your loved ones feel more loved. Realize that their loss is a possibility and express your desire for their need. Let go of the petty nuances that will be forgotten with the person. Forgive. Love. Love. Love.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Confessions of a Fashion/Design Blogger

Blogging has definitely become competitive and a rat-race. The number of bloggers, especially fashion bloggers born everyday is umpteen. The more I browse link from link, the more I come across talented/not-so-talented amateurs and some super-popular bloggers' blogs. It's always fascinating to see how some blogs have over a 1000 or 2000 followers. These numbers used to amaze me. Then there's a column of blog-awards. And another column of sponsors and advertisers. More and more widgets are coming up that tell you how many visitors your blog gets, or where your visitors come from or how many profile views your profile has had and etc. It was all very impressive to me initially. Not until before a few weeks was I so impressed by these numbers that I too wanted them all! I wanted my blog to get more and more followers and more and more comments and what not! I was doing a major mistake...of misunderstanding the numbers for quality.

Well, while numbers definitely do represent the reach of a blog, and popularity too, to a lot extent, I realized that the vice versa is not really true; i.e.; a blog that doesn't have many followers is NOT a bad one. I realized that a lot of bloggers earn followers by requesting other bloggers to follow them or something like that. For a certain time-period, I did it too. And now, I only feel ashamed that I did. It may not be wrong to get your blog out there, but to "ask" people to follow you is a little too much. I think the strategy should be just to visit a blog, comment what you feel and follow if you want and period. If they see your comment, visit you and follow you, that's appreciable. Hence, I decided to stop chasing for numbers. While I love my followers, I think the true "blogger-friends" are those who really "read" and comment genuinely.

Women are really critical beings and when they do nothing but just appreciate others' blogs, it seems too good to be true! I'm not being pessimistic. I'm just trying to say that it's very normal to not like some posts and some styles and that it's not compulsory to appreciate the blogger every-time, even if you actually made a face and popped your eyes out when you first saw the post. A genuine (not rude) comment should be made, if at all and that should not hurt the blogger. Sadly, the fashion blogging scene looks far from that and all I see are "Oh lovely post, honey!" (What does that say about the post at all? I know you did not read it) or "I like the scooter!" (What scooter? Oh that one in the corner of the photo which can be identified only via a magnifying glass? I know you didn't like my photo) and such. I understand it's hard to return compliments at times. Then what do you do? To lie just to return the favour is ridiculous. Just wait for another post from that blogger or go through some old ones and then comment if you like. Sigh but who goes through so much, right?

When I first started  blogging, it was all about rants and scribbles. It was all about words. And even today, I feel that a real post ought to have some words, little or more of relevant writing. Now I know this one doesn't much apply to fashion blogs and does not apply at all (mostly, if you want) to photography blogs but it's the fashion blogs we're talking about. So, it's not really a problem if you're posting your outfit and not writing much. That's legit and makes absolute sense. However, when you are just picking up pictures from somewhere and posting them flat on your blog, sorry but it's not telling me much about you and not making much sense either. Although, this blog characteristic doesn't hurt, it's always good to get some background on the pictures.

There are fashion bloggers all over the world and increasing. US, Europe and Australia seem to be from where most of the bloggers are but a happy change is a whole lot of smart bloggers coming up from India. Although these bloggers love playing with colours, they have their own eclectic mix of styles which incorporates the Indian ethnicity and Western geometry. The best part is that they don't have a million followers or a hundred publicity strategies and yet, they're earning the recognition they deserve via Indian press. Isn't that wonderful? I'm really happy that blogging is becoming has become a major trend in India too. 

While I have many more things to say, I will just stop right here for now and let you all ponder over these confessions for a while. I was seriously considering stopping blogging on French Leave and I still do get those moments when I think "Umm, why? This is all too superficial."; but talking to friends and well-wishers makes me reconsider. Knowing that I have many "non-following", "non-commenting" readers is definitely a boost. So, I will continue French Leave, but rather than getting stuck in the rut and not liking it, I'll call it a Lifestyle blog rather than a fashion/design blog. 

Do not misunderstand me for being too negative in my outlook. There is also a lot of positive side to each of these attributes that I talked about here. Probably I'll write up about that later sometime but till then, these confessions are what I have. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Home away from Home?

Written on a late, breezy Spring-evening, on a wooden desk by the little fountains. This is not a blog-post. This is not an article. These are my thoughts.
I want to put myself in the shoes of these undergraduate brown girls, putting on a show here. Decked up in bright, colourful, traditional Indian dresses, loaded with sequins, glitters and rustic mirror-work; the South Indian representatives additionally wearing flowers in their hair tied in a bun; and all of them talking excitedly about random things from Wendy’s to the talent show they just participated in, in an easy-flowing, naturally-occurring thin American accent. How’s life like for them right now? 
An entire club of individuals representing India, while they are miles away from the country actually; while some of them (most of them I guess) may not have visited India at all or even if they had, they remember hardly anything or mostly nothing about the visit; most of them not really gaga about how their Indian-culture-inspired mom and dad keep instructing them and supervising their lives here in America; a lot of them, who I am guessing, are not sure of whether they should be proud of being identified as Indians at all; lot of them feeling divided between two countries absolutely contrasting in socio-economic arenas…and so on. How must it feel like being them?
To me and you and I don’t know who else, they are representing India, its various states and cultures. I would like to know what these pretty star-studded girls are really doing it for? Is it really that belongingness or is it just another dance competition and a way of enjoyment (which I’m not projecting as negative anyway)? This is because I try to imagine how it’d be like if I were born in America and if my parents always said to me, “You are also Indian, don’t forget that” or “Talk in Gujarati, girl, can’t you converse in Gujarati?”  (I hear my uncle say that to his kids all the time) and so forth;.. and if I had to relate myself to a country, in spite of never really having belonged there, but still having been associated with it, thanks to the brown skin and South-Asian facial features;…if singing the national anthem always brought the Star-Spangled Banner to lips and not the Jana Gana Mana…
…or wait; I could be totally incorrect. Maybe they feel fortunate to be belonging to two different countries simultaneously, each rich in it’s own unique way; maybe this sense of association derived through truly representing the culture in as much as they can (which refers to so much that they do beyond the talent shows), brings sweet joy and extreme contentment to them; maybe they long for living this life of walking in Kolhapuri chappals and donning flowing salwar-kurtis to feel Indian; maybe they want to run to the country that ‘made’ them, that gave them their parents, that has been nourishing them quietly ever since; the country that has been working effing hard damn right so that Her citizens can vacation in Scotland and study in America; maybe they want to just see and feel and hence experience their motherland (??) which, in spite of catering to over a billion lives, has held Her arms wide open, for all those who want to run into her anytime, no matter where they are born!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Thinking of carnivals...

The city comes gushing;
The world spins round and round;
In pink frock and cotton-candy,
The girl lost cannot be found;
Such silence thunderous in the noise,
Not so happy naked breasts,
While the ponies leap pretending to find her,
Behind a purple mask she rests.

When the carousels conspire,
Sealing the fate of the carnival,
Bulbs go off and on,
Lovers hold hands;
Cotton candies and lollipops,
Revolving ponies and scurrying rabbits;
The masquerade held like two frames of a movie,
Stepping back now and stepping ahead now,
Fake smiles, fake eyes, fake joys all,
Revealing the goodness of everything fake,
And the joys derived from magical make-believes,
The carousels conspire,
Tossing the riders up, up, up, in the air!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Of Fancies and Whims and Much More

Little ones you,

Flitting butterflies, 
Purple and pink.
Nibbling away in glory you.
What is it that you dance?
And smile and mock;
Elvish demons you;
Little stars.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

German Bakery, Pune

14th February, 2010

Hole in the wall. What about the hole in the life of those who still live? What about those who left?

It is a student's city for God's sake. It's Pune today; it can be very well your city tomorrow. It's German Bakery today; it can be your regular cafeteria tomorrow. 

The question is 'who'. The question is no more 'why'.

I can't complain against the terrorists. I have a complaint against nature and destiny. Anindyee and Ankik. Who is nature trying to teach a lesson? Why don't fate and life and nature change their ways? We all know the black from white and the grays. Why can't there just be justice? Why do we still need to figure out and live with the warped ways of destiny?

And I don't freaking care about the Indo-Pak talks and whatever such crap there is. The pigs won't stop. I know. And I don't mean Pakistan completely or any nation for that matter. Pigs are everywhere. What can we really do? I wish we could build an invisible barbed-wire wall around every city or something...will that help? How do we protect the Anindyees and Ankiks? Build a bomb-proof enclosure around them...around every Anindyee and Ankik residing in India? Or should we locate all the terrorists and kill them? I don't mind that, but will it stop terror yet?

How can terror stop? Will talks stop terror? Or will terror stop terror? Will love...oh what the hell! What, just what will stop terror? Money? What? how? When?

I hate reading about what happened. I hate writing about it, too. I hate the news. I hate the post-mortems. Should we make noise about it or not? Every-time anything like this happens, I feel shackled. What can I really do? 

What pleases terrorists? The fact that they killed innocent people or the provocation stirred up post such killings? What pleases them? The deaths really, or the commotion? The destruction of furnitures and flesh or the destruction of people's routines? What if we never wrote or published the post-effects of such events, such that they never reached the terrorists? What if they never happened to know about the impact of what they did? Would that help? But that would be unfair, right? Ohhh! Just what can I do? What can we do?

There's one bakery today that won't bake red velvet cupcakes for Valentine's Day today.

Monday, February 8, 2010


It is born. This is Inflorescence. No, this isn't my new blog. This is still my very first blog but with new clothes. It's revamped.

I had completely relinquished posting on this blog and actually, even looking into it, until today when I visited my own blog after ages and discovered that in spite of my absence, my blog had been active! How? My loveliest followers of course! My friends , old and new, had been commenting on my posts!! Did that make me smile!! :)

Some words of appreciation in there were so motivating, like Tammy's and Crystal's, to name a couple, that I instantly felt I shouldn't let this blog wither. Another motivation was the visits from fashionistas and style-lovers. After realizing that my blog was being visited by such awesome people, I felt it was my duty (you're free to smile if you find it corny like I do! :P)to groom it! So, thanks to all the love and support of friends, followers and visitors, here is my old blog in a new look! :)

The blog background is from The colour scheme is edited and personalized.

The title "Inflorescence" is one of those favourite words of mine. I had learnt about the word in my Botany class in eleventh grade. I was never and am not a huge Botany lover but all these chapters dealing with the arrangement of leaves and petals in a particular fashion kind of enticed me every-time! The depth of the meaning had captivated me right back then and I decided to put it to use today.

The blog description line "That none should mow the grass there; While so confused with flowers", is a verse from a poetry titled "Rose Pogonias", by my favourite Robert Frost. There is something fresh and invigorating and life-filled about this verse, which I felt was apt for the re-birth of my blog!!

And finally, for those who did not notice, the web address of the blog has been changed too, to "In black and white" means 'to write/writing'. I added fuchsia for the personal touch! :)

So here it is, this old-new blog of mine, which is going to be a literary playground for me and you! I shall try and deck it with my poems and thoughts and some serious articles, every once in a while, when I'm taking one of those French-leaves and would absolutely love it if you pay a visit and comment!

And a little Anne Taintor motivation should be good for maintenance!

Thank you all for the love, support and time!



All pictures from Anne Taintor picture from Anne Taintor.


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