Saturday, December 22, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Of all the things I remember trying, forgetting is the toughest. Quite impossible, in fact.
My memory doesn’t just serve me right, it’s a downright slave to me. Fetches me every little thing at the slightest.
Guess I am a pachyderm by one more thing besides size.
Friday, October 12, 2007
He was back in the corridor. Locked out. For he had lost the key. And not just any key.
The key opened many doors. Doors that opened to love, happiness, enthusiasm, energy, strength, passion, tenderness, humbleness, self-respect, appreciation, ambition, laughter, understanding, caring, enlightenment and, most importantly, hope. All the good things. In fact, everything that he was looking for and would ever look for.
But he had lost the key and was back in the corridor. The corridor was familiar. It had to be for he had paced up and down it for 2 long years. The overwhelming stench of alcohol and cigarettes; the stale air; the stained walls; the cob-webbed corners; the depressing lights; the distant voices. Echoes of recent past. It all came rushing to him, like long lost friends. Friends you had made an effort to lose.
That was before he had found the key and started living again.
Should he look for another key? What if it did not open the right doors? What if it did not open any doors at all? And, even if he did find another key, would he not try to have it carved like the one he had lost? Also, what if some wrong person found his key? What if that person overlooked all the nice things within those doors? Is it his problem? Should he be concerned? Then again, can he ever stop being concerned about its fate? His heart won’t let him, will it now? Lots to agonise over.
The tubelights buzz ominously.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
(I think I made this up myself. Not sure if I'm quoting from memory.)
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Can the authenticity, intensity or the very existence of love be measured by time? Is there a set amount of time you have to have spent with someone for you to fall in love with them?
Is it possible to fall hopelessly in love with someone in a short period of time because you had a clear idea what you were looking for even before you met them?
Or is there a meter? 2-4 Days – Attraction, 2-4 Weeks – Infatuation, 2-4 Months – Puppy Love, 2-4 Years – Real Love?
Also, is the amount of time you will take to get over someone always directly proportional to the amount of time you’ve spent in a relationship with them?
Let me illustrate my query with The T-shirt Theory
a) You are on your way to a friend’s place or discotheque or restaurant or wherever. You see a T-shirt displayed in a shop on your way. You take a great liking to it. You walk in and get it.
b) You’ve been looking for this particular style or brand of T-shirts. You’ve looked all over and even surfed the net. Then, one day, you see it on display in a shop. You walk in and get it.
c) You have this T-shirt lying in your almirah. Your mom or dad or bro or sis or friend got it for you but you don’t like it much or don’t fit into it. After years, you try it. It fits. You love it.
Which T-shirt are you most likely to wear till it disintegrates?
“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and, unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.” – Kahlil Gibran
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Once again, M, H and this guy met up at a local café. It was one of those routine meetings. The subject was always the same: the guy and his life. For 28 odd years, M and H had met him to ‘discuss’ things. But M & H never saw eye-to-eye on anything. For each was the opposite of the other.
M was the mature, wise and practical types. H was emotional, carefree and tended to get carried away. M believed in being diplomatic and shrewd all the time. H believed in going a little crazy whenever possible.
For instance, if they were going for a movie, H would suggest they take the plush, lazyboy couches while M would ask if it’s worth spending 300 bucks each for a movie that might turn out to be dull after all.
If they were passing by a fantastic view of the rain-soaked city, H would suggest they take a U-turn and see the view all over again while M would ask H to take a look at the cab’s meter instead.
If they were going for a trek, H would pack a pair of binoculars and a camera while M would carry a first-aid kit and mosquito repellent.
For this guy, M & H make life rather interesting, though a little confusing at times. Every single one of these ‘discussions’ end up in arguments. But, more often than not, the guy goes with what H suggests. Which is why, M is a little bitter. In fact, M does not show up at all for many such discussions. Except when one of H’s suggestions gets the guy into trouble; then M takes the spotlight, enjoying one of his ‘told-ya-so’ moments.
But today was one of those special occasions. The guy had fallen for someone. “Not again”, M said. “Another adventure”, H exclaimed. “Well, what do you think?” the guy had asked them, after promising them that he’ll listen to both of them this time.
After mulling over it for an agonisingly long time, H said, “go for it”. The guy heaved a sigh of relief before turning to M.
M lit a cigarette and took another sip of his coffee. He could feel the guy’s and H’s eyes on him. He frantically went through his notes, considered a myriad of things, consulted past experiences and reviewed future plans.
After an eternity, M set down his mug of coffee and crushed his cigarette. He took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes and sighed. The guy and H were looking at him anxiously.
“I hate to say this, guys”, M said, “but I completely agree with H.”
Monday, June 04, 2007
Tucked amidst Hinduism’s overabundance of wisdoms is an existential gem.
“Every person is born with a fixed quota of joys and sorrows.”
Let’s measure joy and sorrow with the unit of ‘hours’. Say you are born with 150 hours of happiness and 75 hours of sadness in your life.
So if you’re happy, good for you. Enjoy it. You deserve it. But remember how grief feels. And be sensitive to those who are not as happy as you right now. But if you’re sad, angry or unhappy, try to find solace in the fact that your quota of sorrows will be diminishing by as many hours as you grieve. Look forward to the happiness that’s waiting at the end of your sorrow. You deserve sorrow too but just so that you appreciate happiness more the next time it visits.
It’s like light and darkness. Darkness does not exist physically; it’s merely the complete absence of light. Bask in the sun, sleep off the darkness. You’ll wake up all sparky when it’s light.
So the next time you are sad, annoyed or angry, try to think happy thoughts. Smile at your boss, throw a biscuit at the neighbour’s noisy mutt, take your work for a walk, smile at complete strangers, smile at co-commuters who jab their elbows in your side, give someone a hug, swim a few laps, send flowers to that girl who broke your heart, listen to music, watch a sunset, throw a punch at a cushion and, hey, go get wet in the rain.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
At midnight, he was back at the sea. He was hoping to find answers to some questions.
He had looked under a creaking ceiling fan, on a yielding armchair, through the pages of a book, between the notes of music, through the crowd on a bus, around one unforgiving concrete bench, in the throes of textual intercourse, between the seats of a movie theatre, in a pair of bottomless sleepy smoky dark eyes, down soft flowy silky hair, along glazed milky irresistibly smooth skin, through rivulets of tobacco smoke, in the haze of night clubs, behind the stroke of midnight, in the corner of a glass cabin, at the bottom of many cups of coffee, down a railway line, and even on his person. But he didn’t find any.
He had consulted silence, solitude, darkness, sleep and alcohol. They entertained him for hours but they had no answers.
He was hoping the sea would answer his questions, like it had before.
He was one of the last few in line. The queue of devotees ran down various ages, and many life-stages.
It was quite late when he went up to speak to it. But the sea did not wish to. In fact, it withdrew its waves. As the waves receded, they laid bare the jagged doorstep of the sea. The rocks looked like they were there to protect the sea from whoever it deemed undeserving of its wisdom. The rocks were the ‘unwelcome’ mat of the sea.
He left it alone. Waiting all these hours had amounted to naught. He decided he would consult alcohol one more time.
Friday, May 25, 2007
The melancholy, lonely planet suddenly felt something tug at it. In a jiffy, its humdrum journey through space had transformed into an exciting adventure.
Its pace had quickened. Its belly was abuzz. The momentum had blown dust and dirt off its surface and revealed its true colours, and among them, a scar or two.
It had travelled several light years. It had joined many galaxies, had a few satellites orbiting it, waltzed with many stars. But none had held its attention long enough or strong enough.
It was doing nothing, except giving in to a feeling it did not have time to understand. It resisted just a tad before surrendering to the force. It finally grasped what was happening; it was getting attracted to a bright blue star. (Why the star was blue, it knew not.)
The planet was strangely happy. It had found something. It had found someone. Someone it could give its all. Someone it could care about. Someone it could make happy; be happy with, happy for and happy from. It had found someone, and not just anyone but a star. It had found a purpose in life. It had found the centre of its universe. Its world, quite literally, revolved round it.
It started orbiting the star with childish abandon. It had rediscovered the small joys of life. The wind was chipping away at its bumps and filling its craters. The star’s light was adding strange hues the planet did not knew it could carry off with élan.
The star’s attraction was curiously balanced. It was strong enough to keep the planet encircling close-by but nearly not strong enough to pull it closer.
(Hang on a minute. No, no. This isn’t good. How can it be so perfect?)
The star had noticed the new entrant. It smiled wanly at the planet. It told the planet, not unkindly, to go find another galaxy. It asked it to let it be. The star-struck planet implored it for a reason. "Many a wild planet like you has hurt me. I've, therefore, decided to keep everyone at arm's length. Unfortunately, my magnetism I have no control over. Forgive me, if I have hurt you in any way."
The planet did not know what to say, what to think, what to do. Eyes moist, it continued orbiting the star, hoping that someday it will bask in its loving light.
It unwillingly tried to break away. But the star’s attraction was too strong to resist; its allure, too strong to tear away from. “I’ve done this before”, the planet thought. “Then why is it that I just cannot bring myself to break away this time? Besides, I should be ashamed of myself. What was I thinking? Of course, the star’s right; it’s out of my league. What am I but a mere planet? No amount of goodness will qualify me for its love. I don’t deserve it. How I wish I did.”
The grief of unrequited love was unbearable; the idea of letting go was unimaginable. “I’ve travelled enough, seen enough, experienced enough to know that there’s nothing out there but empty space”, the planet convinced itself. “I’m too tired now. I won’t go looking for that elusive feeling. Not anymore. I’ll just trace this path and keep out of the star’s way.”
“I'll be here if anyone needs me”, it said to no one in particular. And it did exactly that, eyes downcast.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The artisan heard the diamond, but did not listen. “You have no idea how precious you are, my dear”, he thought to himself. “I’ll find you your rightful place. I’ll break my back, lose my mind, ruin my life. But I’ll not rest till I find a lifetime of happiness and glory, for you and for me. For in your happiness lies my own. Your sufferings are over, my precious. Nothing will remain of them. Nothing, except the scars on your soul. They will be testimony of your worth. What’s a diamond without a flaw, the world will say.”
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Apart from being absolutely beautiful, this satellite photograph is historic too. It was, apparently, taken by the crew on board the Columbia Space Shuttle during its tragic mission.
The picture is of Europe and
The bright dots you see are lights in various cities, towns and villages.
The top part of Africa is the
The sun is still shining on the
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the
To the top-left, totally frozen, is
Note that the
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The little ones, however, had no such fancies. Like every new generation finds its own conventions, they had found theirs. She was their very own source of happiness and resplendence.
They were slow and sleepy because she had woken them up at such an ungodly hour. They were sad too. After all, it was time to say goodbye. At least, for a little while.
For two blissful days, they had accepted her in their fold. Played with her. Caressed her. Embraced her. Soothed her. Enveloped her in their tranquilising coolness. Made her skip her meals. Brought out the child in her. Reminded her of all the happy moments in her life. Made the unhappy ones seem easily bearable. Pulled her back in whenever she tried to get back to the shore. And now she was off home.
She was as unwilling as them. Neither of them had had enough of the other. But neither of them could help it.
Like children, the little waves quickly abandoned their sadness and returned to do what they do best – embrace her with open arms again.
While half the world was asleep, he was out there in a borrowed balcony, thinking, contemplating, playing the last few scenes of his life over and over again. While others surrendered to the blissful darkness, he let silence surround him, keep him company.
He had confessed his love tonight and, in doing so, hurt the one he loved. It was the last thing he would have ever wanted to do but it became the first thing he ever did. He hurt her.
Alcohol had coursed through him for hours but it couldn't sway him. Sleep had given up on him. It had tugged at him for hours. But he had refused to give in.
He could sense their accusing eyes. Hear their silent jeers. See the glint of their fiendish smiles from afar. "What a fool", they seemed to be saying. "If only he knew what she has been through."
He hadn't been impulsive, he assured himself. Maybe the fact that he expressed it all or the way he let his heart overtake his mind and dictate his actions was impulsive. But his decision was not. That is not really in his nature. He isn't that easy.
He had certainly felt something. Something he had been hoping to feel for a long long time. He had thought about it a thousand times before. Perhaps, that is why he had instantly recognised the feeling. He had met it before, hadn't he? He had spent countless beautiful moments with it, caressed it, basked in moonlight with it, dined with it, danced with it. He had even got drunk with it. What was its name again? Yes. Love.
He was surprisingly sure. Well, he wasn't the one surprised; it was her. If only there was a way of convincing her that his mind was made up. It was made up years ago. Long before she came along. Nothing could change it now. Nothing.
But he knew how words can be sometimes. They can be achingly inconsequential.
The crowd was still mocking him. He was about to shout at them, ask them to go bother someone else. But suddenly, amongst them, he noticed some who were looking at him kindly and empathetically. Their eyes were talking to him. They seemed to say, "Have faith, my friend. All is not lost. Give it time. Draw inspiration from us. We're scattered hundreds of light years apart. Alone in the never-ending darkness of night. Understandably, with time, some of us have become bitter. In fact, every day, thousands simply give up and plunge to the ground in one final blaze of glory. But there are a precious few amongst us who have the courage to continue sparkling in the gloom."
Sleep tugged at his sleeve one last time. With a wan smile on his face, he gave in.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I love its vastness, its strength and its allure. It made living in
The cool evening beach sand is perfect to calm your soul. The rhythmic sounds of waves unbeknownst to you normalise your breathing. The soothing breeze evens your temper, relaxes your mind. The slant rays of the setting sun colour your world with optimistic hues, though only briefly.
I had always believed that the sea really has the power to make you see your problems from a different perspective, and thus, make you find a solution. So I used to spend my evenings at the beach, every chance I got.
All had gone swimmingly well for so many years. Until just the other day. I was speaking to the resplendent, frequently-blinking friend of mine I had mentioned earlier, about my love for the ocean. She said something very thought-provoking. "The sea, or for that matter the mountains or the earth itself, does not solve your problems. It expands your soul. Its enormity makes you think of yourself as quite insignificant, and your problems even more so."
She couldn’t have been more right. Here’s why:
(First published on Bhéjaa Fry. Read comments by readers here.)
Monday, February 19, 2007
We've got some very smart people running our country. No, really.
Guess what! The government has a great solution to this problem – set up cradle services all over
Some fools, like you & I, did tell the government that the scheme might (or might not) decrease foeticide but it will certainly do nothing to curb discrimination against women in
The powers-that-be say sagely, "It doesn't matter. It is better than killing them."
Such thoughtful people, no? When God was handing out brains, we turned up with sieves, didn't we? But the politicians, they're so intelligent and concerned. They are absolutely right. It is better that those girls live and suffer in those government-run cradle services. They'll be robbed of their futures the same, but at least they will know what they have been really robbed of and who were the perpetrators.
No, no. This one's no hot air. The government is sure to implement this scheme. They must, for a project of such gargantuan magnitude and humanitarian attitude is sure to earn them some brownie points in the next elections.
Before the end of their tenure, they will set up cradle services all over rural
If they win, they will promptly appoint some NGOs to take care of the cradle services. (We've been over how nice those NGOs of ours are.)
If they lose, then it becomes the new government's headache. Simple.
You're right, again. Why not reinforce such measures as educating people to treat girls as equals, punishing foeticide practitioners harshly and securing the rights of the girl-child?
Firstly, such long-term solutions will take much longer than the government's tenure in office. And, secondly, such solutions are wimpy. They don't help win elections, now do they?
Monday, February 12, 2007
On a dull Sunday afternoon, after a shopping spree that failed to become one, I was returning home in a cab. At a traffic signal, a mid-sized car pulled up next to my cab. Instinctively, I looked in its direction. There was a young guy at its wheel and a young girl sitting in the front passenger's seat. The girl had her face dug in her hands. Seeing a hint of a paper napkin in her hands, I assumed it might be a routine mascara accident she's remedying.
The car's windows were up. Just when I was about to look away, the girl raised her head and the guy promptly slapped her across the face. She shouted something at him and he slapped her again. She returned to mopping her tears with the napkin. None of my business but I was shocked and, unbeknownst to me, had made it apparent. I had uttered something to the effect of or actually the words, "What the fuck?"
The cab driver had seen the entire episode too. He said, "That is just wrong, you should never hit a woman. Shout at them, argue with them but never hit a woman." I was gladdened. I had half-expected him to have an opinion let alone a good opinion about the subject.
I thought to myself, "The guy in the car is obviously well-off but look at the way he treats women. And look at this cab driver. He must work really hard to make ends meet. But his views about women are so nice and…" But before I could pin a medal of honour on the cab driver's khaki lapel, he continued. "When you hit women, it pushes them over the edge. Then they will sit on your head. They will start dominating you. They will make your life hell by telling you to do this, that and the other. You should never let them dominate you. You should show them their place – next to your shoes."
As the signal turned green, the cab driver, thankfully, shut up. And I started realising why a majority of women have such colourful opinions about men, in general. Their opinions fit most men to the T.
Until I went to
The situation across the
The boys are allowed to do whatever they can think of right from 12 years of age. They can have many girlfriends (sometimes, even boyfriends), drive drunk, go to jail, smoke weed and be proper louts. In fact, a couple of my male colleagues there told me, amid bouts of laughter, how their mothers had caught them doing weed and let them off with almost no admonition. Men will be men, you know.
The girls are no less either. They are allowed to have boyfriends once they are 14, they are allowed to drink and be out partying till the DJs come home.
Materialism, divorces, neglect, apathy and almost total absence of emotions, logic and sense are the order of the day. Here's the ace. Theirs is a matriarchal society.
Then again, why should I be bothered? I am a man. Well, that's exactly why. It affects me because, given their upbringing and maybe past experience, most women come pre-programmed as to what to typically expect of me. And then, the relationship becomes a circus where I have to demonstrate how I am not what they had been expecting of ordinary men.
Conservative or liberal, veiled or open-minded, whatever the society we live in, the discrimination exists. This is, probably, the only area humans have not developed in at all.
But is it just society? Do we owe it to the way we are brought up? Or could it be genetic?
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
After years, I have a worthy player against me. Well, I understand that that statement reeks of pompousness. But I didn’t intend it to. Quite the contrary actually. After years, I have someone worth going to all the trouble for. After a lifetime, I have someone worth winning over. And, probably for the very first time, I know it right from the beginning. This isn’t a game. This is many games in one.
With hands cold as death and a chill down my spine, I restlessly shift my enormous weight from one groaning leg to the other. Waiting. Sweating. Contemplating. The sunshine of optimism isn’t helping today. It’s there alright, but there isn’t enough of it to go around.
My eyes nervously follow the ball as my resplendent opponent (there should be a better word to describe her) evaluates it. She has been dribbling it for many heart-stopping moments now. But she isn’t done yet. Hmmm, I’m glad. I’m hoping she’s taking her time because she considers me worth considering. I need to be more patient, I think to myself.
Pregnant with millions of possibilities, entertaining some very strange thoughts, busy considering countless endings to this story, my mind competes with my heart. My racket imitates them both as it flips between extremes, in my hands.
Will she surprise me with an ace? Will she simply hand it back to me, politely? Will she walk away? Will she pocket it as a souvenir or, worse, a curio? Will she return it to the nearest waste receptacle, the first chance she gets?
How I wish she played the ball back to me. Then again, if she did, will it make it safely over the net(tles)? No, I will not let that bother me really. I’ll scale the net if the need be. I'll walk over it. I’ll tear through it just for that pseudo, hindi-movie-romantic effect.
You need some craziness in your life. You need to do insane things like that sometimes. 'It would be fun to act a little looney', I convince myself. 'It would be very me.'
The score, right now, is LOVE – 1.
Interestingly, I’ll win when the score becomes LOVE - LOVE.
(First published on Bhéjaa Fry. Read comments by readers here.)
Thursday, January 04, 2007
‘Explain Ramayan and Mahabharat.’
My answer: Ramayan and Mahabharat did not take place in reality. They were merely stories to teach people some valuable lessons in life. Ramayan preaches idealism. Dashrath is the ideal man who keeps his word even if it means sending his own son into exile. Ram is the ideal son, who obeys his parents, and the ideal husband, who faces many hardships to rescue his wife. Sita is the ideal wife, who braves a trial by fire to prove her piety. Laxman is the ideal brother, who accompanies his brother in exile and puts his own life in danger to save his sister-in-law’s. Hanuman is the ideal devotee. Ravan is the ideal enemy, as brave, talented and intelligent as the protagonist. And so on and so forth.
Mahabharat is all about the five senses. The five brothers, the Pandavs, represent the five senses. The sixth Pandav, Karan, represents the sixth sense, which few have or rarely comes into play. Since Karan comes into the story after the Pandavs reach adulthood, he could also represent wisdom. Draupadi is the control over one’s five senses. The Kauravs represent difficulties in life. Moral of the story: If one has control over his/her senses, one can face a hundred difficulties.
I think they are interesting interpretations of the two epics. What do you think?
(First published on Bhéjaa Fry. Read comments by readers here.)