Saturday, February 2, 2013

The calm resolve.

Her lips lie parched in between the urge to voice her thoughts. But she thinks and she lets it be, not succumbing to the minds pressure to release what she feels. She stares blankly ahead, the reflections on her glass making it clear as to what she is looking at. It is a fearless composed stare, into nothingness. The loose strands of hair in front of her eyes cloud her view just so much as to hide from it but not be completely oblivious to it either. She feels blank, a bit lost, but firm. At first glance, the stare stands for nothing. However, when one observes closely, it seems like a distracted stare. A stare having no meaning. A blank yet firm, a content yet a seemingly calm resolving kind of look. The thickness of her glasses converge the strength of her stare.
The background fades quietly in the hindsight, leaving her alone. The shadow cast by the round corners of her nose try to hide the mole, but the mole stands out strikingly and quite aesthetically so. The corners of her lips set the teasers in a gentle reprise type of way. The hair has drowned the spectacle arms, the hair of thought drowning the instrument that holds the vision place. Yet the vision stays firm, or does it? It stays calm at least, not quivering in the fear of uncertainty. Controlling this fear, is not inherent of her, rather indifference has played its part in contributing to the calmness.
She is lost in the blankness. She wants to retire from this thinking, from this thought of thinking. She just wants to be. To close this world in front of her. But yet she stares. And she stares fearlessly. But that too not with negativity or malice or anger. She just stares. But there is no innocence in the stare. There is a sense of all knowing. A sense of acceptance. A sense of disappointment. A sense of shrug. Yet she stares. There is strength in her eyes. Or is there? Or just a tired sense of acceptance? A deep desire to change things somehow, rests faintly in the background. If you stare right back into her eyes, you would notice that. The pupils tilt towards an idea, the passing thought of an idea. As it goes and fades in the hindsight, the pupils follow it from the side, till it vanishes completely. The eyes stare intently waiting for the idea to resurface. But it doesn’t. It stays as a mirage, something which would vanish if you try too hard for it. Something subtle. Something balanced and poised. Something like her very own stare.
There is no hint of a smile, but no remorse or regret. The look just rests quietly over the circumstances, over the situation. The cause of the look has sunk in and disappeared but it feels as if the impression has been left behind. Maybe she’s waiting for something. Something to change. Some revolution. Something that would make everything right. There is a confusion. Not with her. But the observer. But she has created the confusion. She looks lost, but content at the same time, and yet these two expressions do not complete her picture. There is something more to it, something hidden, something important, something rare. Something more deep than what it seems to be. Something subtle. Something worthy. And meaningful. Like a resolve. But not a determined one. She is above the human traits of determination, passion, attitude et al. It is just a resolve. A calm one.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Shattered ribs. A loose tooth. Wobbling nose. You lie there, looking through the bright lights, ears searching for silence through the deafening roar of the crowd. Your vision is hazy and your mind wanders listlessly, succumbing to anything and everything around. The world comes to a standstill. Blood, bile and sweat. A small voice inside you tells you that its over. You were never meant to be. You thought you could, but deep down inside, you knew it was too much. You knew you couldn’t. you want to accept the cynical reality and let the count finish. You want it to be over. You want to get done with it. Down. Bleeding. Broken. You are through.

You allow the weight of your tilt head itself sideways, with one of ears pressing the ground, reducing the sound to hollowness. And then you see them. People. All staring back at you. It is over, you convey with your half closed eyes. I cant do this anymore, I knew it from the start, I tried, I tried real hard, but I couldn’t. I am sorry.

You close your eyes for a moment. You try to picture one face among the crowd who shared your sentiment. Possibly your mother, father, brother, sister, your friend or companion. You cant. You open your eyes. And try to read into everyone else’s. None of them reflect sympathy. You see disappointment. Hope. Concern. Determination. Faith. Patience. Belief. You look away.

And then, you look inside. Yourself. You try to find that voice that was so soothingly trying to make you give up. That was telling you that you were no good. That it was over. The voice doesn’t have that courage to tell you that again. It fades away into nothingness, where it belongs. A different voice speaks up. A harsh one. A real one. Its Rocky. “The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done.”

You open your eyes. You hear the count ending, you hear the crowd chanting, you hear the opponent snickering, but most importantly, you hear yourself. Its not yet over. You rest your weight on your stronger knee and reach for the rope. The tooth falls off and you hear your ribs clattering. The crowd chants louder, as you muster up all of your courage and strength to get back on your feet. The pain is incomparable, but as you rise, ten thousand people rise with you, clapping, shouting, hollering. You can barely walk, but you hold your stance and smile at the astonishment written all over your opponent’s face. There is no pain. No disappointment. No concern, hope or faith now. All you can see is victory. All everyone can see is victory. It doesn’t matter if take a another blow and drop down again, it doesn’t matter if you lose.You have risen. You have already won.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

He said it all in one line.

"You loving someone a friend or apparently still not a good enough reason to expect that your feelings will be always respected..
very heart-rending..
and unfair..
but true."

--Rahul Goswami

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No more

A small coin rolled off the surface of the base of the hangar, twirling around slowly as its weight started giving way, and finally came to a halt. The dust settled on the floor served as an obstruction to its path. No one looked up. The soldier stood straight in an upright position, being a person who is accustomed to the stiffness of the official uniform. He stood there motionless with a dead blank expression on his
face. The mechanic went about his work, his tired oil soaked hands gnawing at the bunch of wires and soiled manuals. The hangar was cold and smelled of stale air, sweat and gasoline. As each of the F/A-22 Raptors landed, a strong burst of air filled the runway, though it was reduced to a trickle on reaching the hangar, managing to ruffle some of the rotten dust.

The soldier craned his neck to see the woman’s reaction on dropping the coin, whom he had been ordered to accompany to base. Her expression was blank and listless, as she stared at the motionless coin for a long time. Her crossed legs were thin, her hands were small, yet her stature showed strength. She supported herself on her palms, which were glued to the bench. Her eyes closed for a moment, as some strands of her hair fell on her face. She rose slowly, without a hint of a sound, as her red rimmed
kajal stained eyes glistened brightly in the sidelight. Her pace was fast and her walk elegant, but her hands trembled. Her eyes spoke of fear, of guilt. She bent down to retrace the coin and put it in her front pocket. “Front pockets on such dresses? Tch tch,” he used to say. She smiled at the thought of him, as a slow tear made its way down.

She began her slow walk back to the staging area. Soldiers, hangarmen and guards shifted uncomfortably in their positions making their nervousness evident at the sight of a woman. She didn’t care. She strolled freely, with a womanly grace, her soft elegant strides landing on the heavily paved marble. She unknowingly ignored the stares, as she thought of one man. The man whom she had spent years with, a man who could make her smile in the worst of situations, one who could do anything to
see her happy. A man who cared about her more than his life. A man whom she was going to disappoint. She had told everyone to stay shut. She wanted to tell him himself. She trembled at the thought as it persisted in her head.

Dust and gravel filled the air as another Raptor landed. A dark, six foot, heavily built man climbed down the co-pilot’s cockpit. He removed his helmet and marched down to the staging area. The soldier saluted him and escorted him to his cabin, where his lady visitor stood waiting.

He entered the cabin and she turned to face him. He smiled jovially, and wiped the sweat of his brow. She returned the smile, trying to remain calm. He looked straight into her deep dark frightened eyes, her red rimmed tear ridden eyes. He dropped his helmet and walked up to her. Her legs gave way as she slumped against his heavy frame, as he held her and comforted her. Tears streamed down her face, as he looked at her, confused. He did not demand an explanation, nor did he worry about her. He just looked at her with a calm expression on his face, patiently waiting for her to tell him what happened. His eyes quivered as he wondered what it could be. She politely distanced herself from him, looked down and whispered, her voice croaking , trying to overcome the lump in her throat.

“Papa, Ma is no more.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Thank you , brother.”

“NSG-010 this is Team1 we have two suspects, one on the top left roof covered by NSG990 and another on the balcony opposite the entrance, he has some sort of device in his hands, exact confirmation latitude 93.74 and longi..”…the trained heavily built sniper quivered in his continuation. It had been a long day, with buildings being blown up, riots and chaos. And the final call had come on the State building, Intel reported. The dust had settled down, the bullet ridden gravel filled the air and the rotting smell of blood loomed over the smoke filled afternoon. The sniper shifted his weight and suddenly gave a start. He was looking through his snipe vision, zooming in on his target. And something about the suspect caught his attention. The black and green bandana on his forehead. The one which he remembered very well. It wasn’t a symbol of any religious group, neither was it a signal for any destruction. It was just a sign of determination, a strong will, when you are about to do something big, something which could change things the way they are. Something for the good of mankind. He knew only person who had that bandana, a person he knew very well.

“team1, sniper 04, this is NSG010, you are authorized to engage, no exceptions, clean all suspects, the state building is rigged with explosives from the inside, they are waiting with the trigger for the auspicious moment, I repeat, you are authorized to engage!!”

Sniper 04 struggled to catch his breath. The person he was looking through his lens was the same person he had shared everything with in his childhood. The biggest disappointments, the happiest times, the tears, the laughter. He looked at the calm, serene face covered partly with the bandana and his hands holding up a small device as if it was an offering to God. The sniper rifle was shaking in 04 ‘ s hand. The cross air pointed to the man ‘s upper chest. Suddenly the world went quiet. There were no barking orders from the radio, no sound of the NSG choppers, no gun shots, no cries. Nothing. Everything stood still. He placed his hand around the trigger. He remembered the rose sherbet and mutton biryani during eid, he remembered asking his friend’s father for his ‘eidi’, he remembered taking him home for ganpati celebrations, lighting fire crackers with him. He remembered his pass during the final of the football tournament, which he had successfully netted in. He remembered slapping him after he tried his first cigarette. And the same person, the same friend, the same old comrade stood in line with his sniper rifle.
“what have you done, Komail, what have you done..”

The plan had worked perfectly till now, Komail thought as he adjusted his bandana. Till now. The voice he heard on the system was one he could not forget. The tapping had worked, all NSG radio communications were audible to him. He wished they were not. For he knew who sniper 04 was, along with his location. And he knew that his best friend was on the other side ready to put a 5.45 inch bullet in his chest. He had to make a decision. Komail could press the device, walk out unscathed. But he was also aware of the time lag, even after direct orders from NSG, sniper 04 had not fired his rifle. More NSG commandos appeared at the base of the building, evacuating people. Innocent people. People with families and small children. Tears began to form at the corner of his eyes. Not because he was going to kill a hundred other people, but even when about to do so, his friend would not fire. He looked up at latitude 93.74 and longitude 65.39 on his laptop. And found the location. He was right in front of him. “why wouldn’t you shoot me…it would make this easier…!” The detonator trembled in his hands, his conscience torturing him from within. Why would he have to make this decision, he asked God, why wouldn’t fate decide this for him. His hands were clammy with sweat, as he closed his eyes again. It was time. “I am sorry, brother.”

The base of the building erupted into a frenzy of smoke and gravel, as shouts and cries of horror filled the air. Windows shattered, foundations crumbled as the peoples’ muffled cries for help were drowned. The structure collapsed slowly, as sirens blared. Among everything, the chaos, one man smiled. The man with the green and black bandana. Komail. He smiled again as he looked down at his hand cupping his chest, warm blood oozing out of it. He slumped onto the floor. The smile remained as life drained out of him. “Thank you , brother.”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Answer

I look at the sky, with a genuine smile,
A God i try to find,
Grateful i am, I wish to thank,
But the sun downs me blind.

Just when you feel that things have changed,
And things have become better,
A certain action, a small event,
And everything returns to my gutter.

The mind is like a gutter i feel,
It takes in good and bad,
But inside itself it mixes the two,
And overflows the bad i had.

It would take years for me to clean my mind,
As the drainage never would stop,
And one small 26/7 in the mind,
It would promptly return to the top.

So i wish for answers from God himself,
Why cant i maintain my state of mind?
Small things distort my calmness,
And happiness is hard to find.

As i walked these thoughts, across the street
A child I found, below a street lamp,
Tattered, used books lay around him,
It was his studying camp.

He rocked a rhythm as he recited a poem,
A test he had the day after tomorrow,
Twinkled eyes, toothless grin,
I walked to hide my sorrow.

In a bus I sat and over heard,
A conversation between women,
One of them sobbed uncontrollably,
For her son had done the unforgiven.

He was a good chap, she said
For among the best he was, she wept,
But the fear of failure and performance got too much,
And he took the drastic step.

Returning home, I opened the newspaper,
Another 'chamcha' of a politician, he was
Enthralled and enraged and ignited by his speeches, he was
And thrown in the lock up, he was

On television too, a news was broadcast,
Of a soldier captive behind enemy line,
Being tortured and grilled for information,
His body rotting in blood and slime.

He keeps calm and shut for us,
For us, the ignorant fools,
And if he does get released, he would say
That he was just following the rules.

After these incidents,
I look up at the sky again,
The shining sun had disappeared in dark clouds,
It seems that it would rain again.

God did answer my questions, i feel
As i complained about my emotional trouble,
He showed me people with more difficult times,
And who had more to grumble.

But they didn't grumble at all, He showed me
They smiled their toothless grins,
They sobbed but fought their sorrows,
they were ignorant, but remained fearless,
They were betrayed, but upheld their valour and tolerance.

I looked up and prayed to God, to destiny, to nature, to life
I prayed for the ones i cared for,
But i prayed more for the ones in need,
Cos they really needed more.

And I didn't pray for myself at all,
Like I started off to try,
As one stops thinking about himself, he realises
The 'we' sounds better than 'I'.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Trip Diaries: Excerpts

Rhythmic , soft thuds, two at a time. I knew of maddys descent before I looked up. He did so, adjusting his camera to check its working status. Chirag followed suit in almost similar fashion as I drained the sand out of my slippers. We followed a path that led us behind our rented bunglow, a path laden with white sand and shells, with small bushes and coconut trees along the sidelines, the bushes opening up to show another unused rocky path. Maddy was immediately at work, capturing each picture with utmost promptness. I strayed away from the two, engulfing the aura of the surroundings slowly. The breeze blew steadily, our t-shirts held on tightly to our bodies as the soft salty air blew sand across our faces. We didn’t flinch, enjoying every bit of it. The coconut trees swayed playfully over us as we followed the rocky path, draining the sand from our feet occasionally. As we went past the bushes, the wind got saltier and stronger. I took a moment to look around. It was around 4 p.m. with the sun beginning its descent into the sea. The sand was warm but the breeze was cool and strong and superseded the heat of the sun. a long unused fisherman’s boat lay there shredded across a couple of huge rocks. The sand was white and soft. There was no one else on the beach. The sea looked peaceful and infinite as I tried to follow my eyes to the horizon. I didn’t feel like moving or making a noise or doing anything for that matter. I just stood there surrendering myself to the deafening silence of the sea perturbed occasionally by the sound of the birds. It may have been nothing less than the carribeans. As I resumed my slow walk towards the sea, I raised my hands over my shoulders. It felt divine. It was one of those moments which on observing encourage a head up eyes down expression, with a still face and calm smiling eyes.
The games had begun. After a quick session of beach football, rohit tried to match the strength of the waves with his own strokes. Amey tried to combat the waves aschirag kept getting knocked left right and center. Hansil, maddy and I were at our nonsensical best making stupid sounds and tripping over the waves. Rohan was the fastest among us and sachin complained of being allergic to sea water to which we were very ‘obliging’. Anup went hysterical. Bret had not joined us by that time and sinan conveniently missed out as he was busy digesting his excretion in his dreams in the room. Volleyball, sakhli, beachball and countless chutyagiri followed. It was a pleasurable sight- a mixture of people whom I knew extremely well, who formed an important part of my life and people I was getting to know. That’s the best part about a trip. A small photo session later, exhaustion took over us as we returned to the shore just at the point where the water ceased. We lay down on our backs and elbows, the slow waves washing the deposited sand on our legs, as we watched the sun set over the horizon.

We returned to our rooms but couldn’t have less of the place and were back at the beach after dinner. There wasn’t a single light bulb on the beach. But there was a full moon. An hour of kabaddi and everyone was down with aching backs and legs. As we lay down gazing up at the moon lit sky trying to count the stars, I thought about some things and had my own little introspection. All I craved for was a book and a pen. “this is what life should be like”, I thought childishly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Letter

I wouldn’t want to start this letter with a ‘dear sir/madam’ for I dont find the title worth for you. It must have been some great hurry that right after the incident you didn’t stop even for a few minutes to see if everything was fine. Probably, the optimistic side of me would want to believe that you are a doctor or someone of that league acting on an emergency or to ease someone ‘s pain. Maybe hurrying to help a woman in labour. Maybe that’s why you didn’t stop after hearing the surprised yelp. You knew I was hit. There’s no doubt about that as I fell ahead rolling beside your car. Your reflexes were good, because soon after I heard the screeching of the brakes, I heard the engine rev up and the car speed down the road before I could blink twice after opening my eyes. I know you must have stopped for a split second, swallowing a lump of guilt that you have done something horrible and could not muster enough courage to face the consequences of what you had done. Even though I have not seen you, I know, if you are a normal human being, you would have felt that horrible feeling at the pit of your stomach and I hope it gives you those goose bumps forever which you have so righteously earned. The worst part would be to not know whether I lived or died and you will have to live with that uncertainty. I guess that may be your punishment and my consolation.
So the next time you speed down the wrong side of the road trying to hit the speedometer ,think again.
It won’t be another twenty one year old guy. Maybe it would be a six year old boy on his new bicycle. Or a small girl walking her dog. Or an old man buying medicines. Or a pregnant woman trying to cross the road. Imagine the guilt involving a hit and run with them. I don’t know what I would do if I come to know who you are ,eventually. But I do pray that nothing like this happens to anyone else. I can’t think of a way to end this letter but I do hope, if you are reading, you realize that I wrote this letter in the most polite way possible.
P.S: if you still don’t get what I want to convey then here is a sum up: BALLS TO YOU BASTARD. MAY YOU ROT IN HELL.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Pursuit Of Happyness

It has been a really long time since I addressed my fellow readers in first person. I usually take other way-outs like assuming fictitious characters (mike), descriptive writing, and other means. But this time I want to address my friends in first person because for the very first time I am speaking my mind off entirely.

The Pursuit Of Happyness. The most wonderful movie ever made. Not only because of will smith. But because of what it showed and how much it appealed to me. Here are some of the quotes which I had remembered.

Christopher Gardner: I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was.

Christopher Gardner: [about the spelling mistakes in the graffiti of a building] It's not H-A-P-P-Y-N-E-S-S Happiness is spelled with an "I" instead of a "Y"
Christopher: Oh, okay. Is "Fuck" spelled right?
Christopher Gardner: Um, yes. "Fuck" is spelled right but you shouldn't use that word.
Christopher: Why? What's it mean?
Christopher Gardner: It's, um, an adult word used to express anger and, uh, other things. But it's an adult word. It's spelled right, but don't use it.

Christopher Gardner: Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me. All right?
Christopher: All right.
Christopher Gardner: You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period.


Christopher Gardner: It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?


Sometimes these quotes are very thought provoking for my idle mind, for example today, when I should be giving a mock Cat prep test, or working on my b.e. project, or doing something innovative for my mothers birthday. But no. my mind wanders into emptiness, dives further into so called philosophical tides seeking solace and explanations. Explanations to thoughts that are vague, confused and philosophically bound which my mind does not accept because it doesn’t know if they are true.

Happiness. Dictionary says it a state of your mind when you feel satisfied or content. Now this is untrue. I mean satisfaction or being content is usually attached to things or people. Most of the times these words are used as ‘satisfied’ on doing something and ‘content’ on having something. Then it makes sense because we have then defined happiness as an achievement rather than a state of mind. And it has become an achievement for me. If I get something which I wanted or if I do something satisfactorily which was supposed to be done by me, then I am happy. That means if I don’t get what I want or if I don’t do things am I supposed to remain unhappy? Why has it come down to this? Did you ever see a small child being unhappy ? he or she is always happy. He or she is happy on just ‘being’. Not because of anything. Just because he is there. Just because he can run with the small feet of his. Just because anything can bring a smile to his face. He doesn’t need anything to be happy. He is happy just like that. Something has to make him sad. Considering my case, something has to make me happy. What a sad transformation. Life is a journey. Not a destination. Destiny says you should be happy at all stages of your life. Because you are bound to get what you are destined to. Whatever may happen. Just do today’s work sincerely. If one remains happy and goes about his work he is bound to get what he is destined to. If one remains unhappy throughout his life, his thoughts plagued with analysis and self doubt and anxiety, he still gets what he is destined to but lives a horrible life. In the end he is left cursing his past ; why he didn’t live his life to the full. In this world the focus is so much on doing something that we tend to forget to give time to ourselves. We often say, “I’ ll achieve this then I ll be secure, then I ll be happy”. The happiness gets postponed towards achieving our goals. Am not saying that is a bad thing to go out and make one’s place in this world. But at what cost? Is it really worth to earn millions and then run around ashrams and astha and sanskar channels to have inner peace? There must be something wrong somewhere.

Happiness is a state to be perennially maintained. It is not to be related to achievements. Do what you have to, go and achieve what you want to, but be happy regardless of everything. Come what may, nothing is worth troubling your soul. It is priceless.

So when we look at the last quote which I wrote; did u forget already? I ll reapeat it for you:

Christopher Gardner: It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?

Then you know why I found it thought provoking. Pursuit of happiness. Maybe they perceived happiness in a different way to what I portrayed it above. And the whole movie, though brilliant, talks about how he struggled and got over his problems by sheer hard work and determination. How happiness is not a journey but a destination. That he postpones happiness in pursuit of his goal to be a stock broker (cant actually be harsh on him , considering his financial status). Only pursue happiness and never actually have it. Is that so?

I would go on and on because my mind never rests. But I think this is enough for now. Thank you Mr. Steve Conrad for the Pursuit of Happyness. It really appealed a lot to me. Thank you Will Smith. I am not a movie buff but I have never missed any of your movies.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The First Day

Decorative lights. Sticker tape. Extension cords and multi-plugs. Switched off fans. Gamlas. Saffron aasans. Thermocol, pins and blow paint. Stained red hands and nails. Mother running around. Tall silver and golden samais. Seven and nine flame diyas. Ghee and cotton diyas. Liquid ghee. Raw ghee. Burnt ghee. Sparkling floors. Perfumed smoke. Aggarbattis. Ashes of aggarbattis. Flowers. Wet flowers. Fresh flowers. Orange. Yellow. Hibiscus. Rose petals. Wet rose petals. Tulsi. Durva. Garlands. Crumpled fresh green leaves. Burnt matchsticks. Mother's soft experienced hands. Long, difficult sanskrit words. My stammering voice. Panchamrut. Dahi. Water. Stained with kumkum. Camphor. Raw peculiar smell. Burning camphor. Black outline of its flame mixing wholeheartedly with the aggarbattis' white perfumed smoke. Bronze thalis, mugs, vessels. Mango leaves. Kalash. Coconut shavings. Raw coconut. Sweet water. Silver glasses with water and rose petals. Strewn rice grains. Gold plated wide aggarbatti stands. Apples. Kumkum stained sweet lemons. Raised saffron platforms. More durva. Murti. Sanshtaang namaskar. Burnt hair while holding aarti. Growling , hungry stomach. Kheer. Hot, sweet aromas. Paining shoulders on rotating aarti for long. Rainy weather. Loudspeakers. Sweet, sticky , kumkum stained hands. Open doors. People. Smiles. Blessings. The wait for lunch. Happy Ganeshutsav!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The other side

They say I am on the wrong side of the road. That I can't see the cars coming from behind and i may get hurt. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side on the train. If I have to get down at dadar i need to be on the other side. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side of 60. That I may have to go the extra mile to get placed. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side if I am not studying enough. That I ll have trouble later in my life. That I won't be successful enough to be satisfied. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side if I plan my life. That it is wrong to bound oneself to what he or she has to do and keep bothering oneself. That it is insignificant. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side if I am confused about things. That my confusion won't get me anywhere. And it will bother me as a habit for the rest of my life. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side if worry about things. That no one has seen what the future holds for him. So there is no point in getting anxious about things you are not sure to be yours. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side if i do anything anti-social. Even if it is the smallest of things. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side if I can't decide. That I over analyse things which makes me difficult to choose. And that choice is something that is not worth the thinking. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say i am on the wrong side if I underestimate myself. If I feel that I am not strong enough. That I have all what it takes to be the one I want in this world, but I just don't know it yet. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am wrong when I am silently diplomatic. That I should be straightforward. That I should say what I feel. I listen. And still keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side when I smile too less. Life is a gift , they say and that I have a better life than most people. I listen. And keep quiet.

They say I am on the wrong side when I think too much. That once I get rid of this habit,I ll be the happiest person in the world. I listen. And i keep quiet.

They say a lot of things. Most of it registers. Some of it doesn't. But none can be ignored. Why? Because they have said it.

They say a lot of things. About the wrong side. They say as if they know. What it is to be on the wrong side. To come to think of it, there is no wrong side. Its just the other side. Which they don't know. Or they don't want to know. Maybe because the front side guarantees a lot of good things. And the wrong side does not. May be they are just scared to explore. May be they want a simple normal life where you sit back in a recliner chair many years from now to think about how nice (read dull and monotonous) his your life was. May be that is a good thing. I don't know. Its just that it is not to be looked as right or wrong. Its just what is yours what is not yours.

They say a lot of things. Their saying does not affect me. It is a matter of choice. If I take it in, then it registers and I get affected. For example, suppose if some relative of yours passes away at 3 p.m. You get the news at 8 p.m. When you get the news, you are affected. That is not because of the relative dying. Because the person died at 3. If that was to make you unhappy you should have been unhappy at 3. But you were not. So there you had a choice of talking it in or just being yourself. And you unconsciously take the choice of being sad. You had another choice of being the same. Any ways, that was just an example.

They say a lot of things. They say I write long posts. May be I should listen to them and cut this one abruptly. Or maybe i just need therapy. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Subtle contact

He was on the ground. Face down, his nose buried deep in the damp mud. It smelled of crumpled grass, moist stones and fresh sweat. He lay there not sure if he should get up for spasms of pain were racing their way to his head from the epicenter of the injury, his knee. A deliberate planned tackle. A whistle was heard. He looked up, supporting his body on his palms and turned around. The sun was at his maximum, laughing at him over his shoulder and beating the heat upon his neck. He closed a hand around the knee and began to wipe the small, firm streaks of blood oozing out of the wound. I could have scored this one, he thought. He picturised himself just a moment ago going solo with a defender and the next moment he was down. The tackle was uncalled for and brutal. The culprit stood with his hands on his hips, with his body totally covering the referee's as he was sent off the field. A free kick. So close. He got up and stretched. The pain seemed to lesses but was present as a continual reminder. As the ball was placed, the coach looked on hopefully. Clifton was going to take it. The injured forward turned his head. He looked at Clifton and smiled. Clifton smiled back. They knew what they were going to do. This was their chance. He pulled is stockings up and tightened his laces. The stockings were looking discoloured with the blood around them. It did not matter. Now was the time. Now was the chance. As Clifton readied himself, he took his stance. No one would suspect him to do it. Only clifton knew as they had practised this for months. He saw Paneerwala his eyes wide in anticipation. He saw vinesh frantically trying to get away from the opposition defender. He smiled. As the whistle blew, he ran blindly towards the far post. The moment it left Clifton's foot everyone knew where it was going to go. It was flat and low and was racing to the place towards the far post. He ran his normal pace but felt as if the ball would somehow miss him. Maybe he was weakened by the fall or Clifton fired a little too much into it. He ran putting every ounce of energy there in him. And dived, the edge of his foot making contact with the ball. A small subtle contact. The ball went faster and higher than expected and hit the crossbar on the lower side, but went in. He didn't wait to see that. He was in a world of his own, racing away. Gone was the pain of the injury, the worry of the championship, the innumerable fouls, tackles and abuses of the game. He ran along with Clifton, jumping, celebrating as his other team mates gathered. They laughed effortlessly, like small children, their shirts soaked, but their eyes shining. The final whistle sounded as they ran over the edge of the stretch, spraying each other with water. The coach smiled and let them be. He came upto the coach and gave him a hug. The sweat and dirt didn't matter. Someone was proud today and it showed. Maybe this is what it feels like to be God, he thought. And closed his eyes as vinesh emptied another bottle of water on his head.

p.s.: I miss school days! (sob sob)!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Conversation

(I keep my views about sensitive and controversial topics to myself. So these are not my opinions, nor a collection of my ideas put together in a fictional way. This is something which really happened which i would like to share. none of this is adapted or edited. Whatever i remebered perfectly, i have put it up. Dialogues which were hazy in memory i didn't refer to them at all.)

It was sometime in sem 4. Passport renewal. I had already gone through the irritatingly painful paperwork process. Once that is done, the centre sends a police constable to your place for address confirmation. And you have to accompany him back to the head office for a signature. Being a lawyer's son, I was not new to policemen and had a few typical images of them. One is potbellied with a huge black moustache(which is too black for his age) almost covering his upper lip, with remnants of red of paan reeking from the corner of his mouth, one who has a regular need to spit or clean his nose loudly(or both) every 4.5 minutes. Other image is of tall Herculean giants, eyes bloodshot because of either excess of night duties or excess of liquor or both. Their smiles are false and timid, the latter expression is uncomfortable for them to sustain. But they are scared of layers. They have always been so. I couldn't figure out why. So i was taken aback by the constable who appeared very different from the versions of cops which I had in mind. Tall, slender, formally dressed with a pair of intelligent, alert eyes. He didn't smile and that expression deviod of it was genuine. He spoke good English, though not fluent. He accompanied me to the office, got the work done and insisted on accompanying me home. We shared a cab and the cab driver immediately struck a conversation with him. i took the back seat and buried myself in a book.

Cab driver:: Kya jamana aa gaya hai...
Constable ::Haan? Kya hua?

Cab driver::Hisdustani hi Hindustani ke khilaf ho gaya hai...
Constable ::(an a typical way) Kya baat kar raha hai be??

Cab driver:: Aapne suna nahi? Raj Thakerey ke logon ne 2 bhaiyyon ko bahut peeta. Kyun? Kya guna kiya unhonien? Kya kaam karna paap hai? Paisa kamana paap hai?

Constable ::(voice rising) tu bol raha hai ke maine suna nahi? abey chutiye, mein udhar duty pe tha. Udhar bhaiyyon ko daraya dhamkaya, mara nahin. Kahani banane mein mashur hote ho tum log. tum logon se hone se hum marathi logon ko khana, paani nahi milta. naukri nahi milti. Aur ab tum log mumbai mein apne vote sabha bana rahe ho? yeh galat hai. tum log aayo, paisa kamao. lekin hum logon par raj mat karo.

Cab driver::(Realising that he is talking to a policeman...the quivering of his voice was evident)...par bhai sahab, hame Patna mein koi kaam nahi milta. Mera chota bhai engineer hai. 2500 mahine ka kamata hai. Yeh bhi koi kamai hai? Usse acha mein Bambai mein idhar taxi chala leta hoon. Kam se kam parivar ko roti toh milti hai. (The driver smiled. A false meek smile) Amrika jate hai na log apne. Unko woh log kahan kuch bolte hain?

I looked up. The conversation was much more interesitng than the book. I looked at the constable, half expecting him to be furious, half sympathetic. I failed to find any emotion.

Constable :: Hamare log Amrika jaakar apne hi dal ya sanghatan nahi banate. Udhar jaakar paisa kamate hain. Kabza nahi karte unpar jaise tum log kar rahe ho. Tum log toh mumbai aakar apne vote ke dal bana rahe ho. Sabha aur municipality mein apne hi logon ko khada kar rahe ho. Aur sunayun? Railway aur B.E.S.T. ke naukriyon ke sabhi applications Patna aur U.P. bheje ja rahe hain. Jab ki mumbai ke logon ko uske bare mein jaankari hi nahi hai. Matlab woh sabhi naukriyan khali tum logon ko hogi. Hum ko toh application ke forms bhi nahi diye gaye. Yeh Kya hai? idhar ke naukriyan aur sirf unke liye? Hum kya idhar tamasha dekhte rahein?

(The taxi surged forward. I was waiting for the driver's reaction. It came after a long time and it changed the course of the conversation.)

Cab driver:: Bhai sahab (cough cough...ahem ahem...clears throat loudly and spits) hum akhir hai kaun? Hindu hi hai na? Lekin yeh log to hinduon mein hi khagda laga rahe hain. Hindu ko Hindu se hi alag kar rahe hain.

(I stared fixedly at him and turned to look at the mirror. I didn't realise that my eyebrows were raised in surprise. The constable's face was a shade redder and the previous expression had undergone a complete makeover)

Constable :: (as if realisation struck him) Arre haan, barabar bola. Musalmaan logon ki 18 jaati hoti hai. Koi shaadi ke liye doosre jaat ko beti nahi deta. Lekin kisi ek musalman ko chua toh sab ek hokar aate hain.

Cab driver:: (Pleased with himself) Aur hindu kabhi ek nahi hote. Upar se marathi aur bhaiyye jhagadte hain. Agar yeh badta gaya ko musalmaan log toh hame kuchal ke rakh denge. for bhi mujhe lagta hai ki bhaikyyon se jyada asli target musalmaan hai...."

I watched and listened with horror and amusement at the same time at how the conversation changed and progressed. They talked as if they were comrades of a long lost war and had been reunited. Gone were the maratha-bhaiyya arguments, they discussed their ancestors fights and battles. I just sat there listening, a silent anger rising. I went home, slumped into a chair, thoughtful. Religious tolerance. Secularism. Sigh.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Disappointed Smile

A labourer stands alone, fatigued with work and pain,
A ruthless master implies no more gain,

He begs for more, just a little bit more,
Receives lashes till his back is sore,

He returns home, hopeful eyes stare at him for a while,
He shakes his head with a disappointed smile.

A doctor he is, tired and exhausted,
Stares at the next patient having his blood clotted,

He works twenty hours without a break,
So many commitments he failed to make,

As his next patient retches blood and bile,
He takes him in with a disappointed smile.

A soldier he is, stands tall and upright,
And feels proud of the army’s might,

But the person controlling him, he knows,
No ethics, no righteousness, after money he goes,

The soldier feels betrayed as he marches another mile,
He looks up at the flag with a disappointed smile.

A journalist he is, strong and bold,
To the worlds wrongs his attitude is cold,

He travels and writes about the wrongs in this world,
Of the people and places of high ranks, laurels and low morals,

But as he stands and stares at his rejected file,
His cold eyes do not connect to his disappointed smile.

A student he is, a frustrated engineering one,
Three years into it and wondering what he has done,

A lot of thoughts cloud his mind,
A small voice saying that everything will be fine,

He sees his friends, in the rain, play,
Their faces and limbs covered with mud and clay,

He stands there watching, the wind teasing his hair,
He tries to fake a impassive stare,

He closes his eyes, letting the tension pile,
He looks up and wears a disappointed smile.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Cold Shoulder

I stood there in front of them, staring,
Both engrossed in each others caring,

I stood there watching, my fastest friend he was,
The one who taught me that friendship had no clause,

They stared at each other and smiled at each word,
While I just stood there waiting and bored,

I looked up, looked down, to find someone I tried,
And kept shifting my weight to the other side,

I wish then, there was someone beside me right,
With whom I could share my miserable plight,

I waited and waited, it seemed like months and days,
For him to come around in his original ways,

I always thought that changes were inevitable,
But never imagined they could be so pitiable,

I thought he would come by, at least when I was in trouble,
But I guess it was hard for him to break that bubble,

I waited a lot and I waited some more,
But inside I was hurt by what he had done many times before,

But I realized it was my mistake, that I expected things from him,
Cos he wasn’t the best of them, for he was always so serious and grim,

I smiled , shrugged, and turned around to go back,
The girl noticed and she called back,

It mattered none to him as I stared at him colder,
For I knew what I had got from him...the cold shoulder.