Sunday, April 24, 2016

2313 : The falling tree

As kids, we used to play a game. It was a little strange, but here goes.

Each of us would scan the room, and collect 10 things (could be anything - toys, broken remnants, combs, books etc….anything as long we could lift it and accumulate it in a pile. 

So lets say 3 of us are playing, each of us would pick up about 10 items and pile it near (each of) us. Then taking turns, each one would place one item at the center, and announce what it was. It did not have to be what it was. As an example, I would keep a balloon, and announce this was my momma. If someone asked, why and how - I would explain that my momma was fat and round, so was this balloon. Then I would lovingly air hug the balloon. All would laugh and guffaw, because sometimes these analogies were really funny.

The next person would take one of this 10 objects and try and place it on the balloon. So the center pile is now rising, like the Bhuj Khalifa. Get the drift so far?

At one point usually around the 4th turn (10,11, or 12th ), the tower (pile at the center) would lose its center of gravity and would topple. Lets say I had kept the 10th object, it was an old wrinkled newspaper and I call it “my dad’s shirt.”. When asked I explained, “my dad’s shirt(s) are rarely ironed…”

As I placed my dad’s shirt on the pile, the whole pile giveaway and collapsed. Then all the kids would run around the house, guffawing and screaming, “Chintoo placed Raju uncle’s shirt on grandma’s car, and the whole thing came crashing down.”

There would be guffaws, louder screams and then the game would continue from start again…ad nauseum.  

Get the drift? There was no winning and losing. The whole idea was to guffaw.

Today, I did something strange. I picked up 10 items from my room. Then I decided to play this game alone. Listed in the order I finally used them. 

1) A huge book of poetry that you had once gifted me.
2) An empty bottle of domex toilet cleaner
3) A toy bike (Triumph Bonneville)
4) An unused diaper 
5) A battery pack lying around
6) An usb stick
7) A 12.5 kg dumb-bell.
8) A book of photographs (magnum 2015 collection)
9) A empty steel tea cup.
10)An old Nike running shoe (single leg)

Then I start placing them. Lets see how it went.

I place the book at the center to start the pile. This is a huge A4 sized, 300 page book on some of the world’s favorite poems. You had given them to me, knowing that I was absolutely in love with the way these words danced. If asked what this was, I would have retorted “This represents our foundation. The core of both of us, always talking, always sharing, always meaning, and always engaging.” 

Next the empty domex cleaner bottle. Used to clean toilets. If asked, this would be “The periodic house-keeping both of us did to our friendship. Unfortunately today, we have run out of liquid. We could still squeeze the bottle, but its empty.”

The toy Triumph. “It was our gateway to escape this world. To go away, to run into curiosity, to gallop into freedom. To flick the wrist, and believe you can leave this world behind.”

Things still stood. So far the tower was alive (and standing). No guffawing yet !!

The unused diaper. “It was our weapon against dirt. It was our weapon against other weapons, unfortunately, most of the 'other weapons' were of our own making. Hence the diaper was apt, it would have protected us against our own shit.”

The battery pack. “It was meant to symbolize our ability to recharge offline. Our ability to not need power from an external source to remain alive and loving in the kindred.”

Five objects and the tower stood tall. Grinning, menacing and almost invincible. The poetry book at the bottom helped.

The usb stick. “A host of unsorted interactions and memory. Some easily found, some hard to comprehend, some angry, some lovely. All of them retractable - as in we could delete them off easily. All of them in this conflagration of a mash up.”

The dumb-bell. It is heavy and loud. “It added a huge stress on the tower. The weight of the world. The weight of our world. Overwhelming and yet not fatal. Trite but not trivial. Dis-orienting, but not lethal.”

The Magnum book of photographs. “Our attempt to freeze ourselves. Our attempt to photo-touch an image and make it perfect. Our attempt at telling our story in the way we want it to be heard. Out attempt at being ideal, and unfortunately, admired. Our attempt to make others see, but only the one sliver of the story, that we wanted them to see.”

As I placed the book, the tower unfortunately, began to slide and in a couple of seconds fell off.

This time I did not guffaw.

What did we miss. Two items. The tower did not last till their turn came.

The empty tea cup. “Old traditional, and yet resilient cup. One over which we both could have traded our realities. Poured hot tea over the scratched, dented cup into its crevice. The hot tea would re-invigorate you, me, the cup and the universe.”

The nike running shoe. “Allowed us to run away, when we could. Run away from our own madnesses, from our own demons, from the grief we carry inside, from the terror we know the end holds for us, from the chasm that is inevitable.”


I will repeat, I did not guffaw. I swear I did not. But I did ponder and allow myself a wry smile. A game stitched together in complete real-time, which means no preparation and no planning; played on a simple whim; not with the purpose of winning and losing; was played; and how eerily it mirrored the reality of our lives; the sign of times.

Friday, April 22, 2016

2312 : Black is the new black (to the meter of a ghazal)

I remember you in this and that, in parts, like the summer of your 19,
That languish of a year, that June was indeed a 
                                                                               long poem in black.

That night when we walked hand in hand, the Asian moon out on a blot,
Up until today, when I do recall, I can only think of 
                                                                               Hong Kong in black.

And that bloody inebriated day, when we drank and swam in the Australian,
You had cussed and screamed in your native tongue, “I can smell red all
                                                                               along the black.”

On the day we had danced and waltzed to the tune of the stars,
At the altar, you looked stunning, the white all around you was as 
                                                                               strong as the black.

At Spain, in that blasted shopping mall, living dangerously, you had chosen an unlike you lbd,
You had looked at me in askance, and I had nodded in annoyance, it was a 
                                                                              wrong shade of black. 

As I had lain dying in your arms, you offered to hum a sweet lullaby,
A rhyme here, a tune there, a note here, a pitch there, my own epitaph -my
                                                                              swan song in black.





Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2311 : On the letting go...

I remember walking with my spouse the other day, and she paused and wanted to pluck off a few leaves from a lemon tree. She likes the smell the lemon oil leaves on her hands.

She could not reach the leaves, and she asked me to pluck a few leaves. I willingly leaned ahead and did the act. As I finished plucking about 4-5 leaves, an old man (taatha as the keralities call these folks....respectful like a grandfather) jumped from behind the trees and shouted at us in his weak age weary voice. He was a Tamilian who chose to speak in English. He said "We had planted this tree, you cannot pluck leaves from here.", he said in a weak but angry voice.

I politely told him sorry (almost a mutter), but as we walked ahead, could not but think and ponder on this. The taatha must have been around 80 (my guess) and is probably at best going to be around for another 20 years.

And as he prepares for the last lap, he is still married to the tree which he probably planted 40 years ago. I understand love, belonging and a sense of emotional caring...what I struggle with is the sense of ownership and indignation.

Can you imagine this taatha at his moment of dying? Buddha would say, he is still so attached to this world, that he shall have to come back. I am beginning to see the wisdom of Buddha.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

2310 : Baba bulle shah's wisdom


Dharamsal dhardwaye rehnde, Thakar daware thug, 
Wich maseet kosete rehnde, ashiq rehan alag
Partisans live in Dharamsalas, cheats in temples, 
Butchers reside in mosques; while lovers live apart. 

2309 : What is life?

Again came in a fwd from the same friend. I like the quote.

The object of life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, ‘Holy Shit, What a Ride!'”—Mavis Leyrer

2309 : Osho on solitude

A friend of mine sent me this quote on Osho. I think its phenomenally apt for our time and generation.

“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it's not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person--without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”

2308 : Gandhari's silence

The war was all but over now. What prevailed was a sense of a deep loss and the accompanying melancholy. Krishna had come around to meet Gandhari and  offer his condolences. She has been understandably upset. She had seen him with the eyes and outlook, the kind one only reserves for our enemies.

After his initial words, which she listened to patiently, she had chided him for being biased and taking the side of the Pandavas in the only battle that had ever mattered to her. The battle of Kurukshetra. He had tried to defend and remind her of the many times in the interim when he had tried to play the role of a reconciling friend. He admitted to not having been able to make any progress with both Duroyodhana and Shakuni.

In the due course she had muttered the infamous curses, the ones that consigned Krishna, Balaram and the Yadav clan to terrible endings. Krishna had accepted the curse and then proceeded back to his kingdom.

Dritharashtra had also heard the words. Like Gandhari - he too had not seen, but he had definitely heard, both about and of the war, and yes, he had also heard of the curses as they were pronounced.

In the days post the Krishna visit, Gandhari had become immensely silent - self absorbed to a point of almost disappearing. The only way Dritharashtra knew she was still around was by the footsteps and the odd hiccup he would hear from within his proximity.

After what could have been weeks, he finally one day decided to have a chat. He announced his intention with a loud almost self inflicted cough. In her blindness, she glanced in the direction of the sound with anticipation. A few minutes later, he eventually started to talk.

“Dear, are you still angry?”

“What makes you think so, my Lord?”, she asked with a polite wasp.

“You were angry with Krishna the other day, and since then, you have not spoken again.”

“My anger is not the one without the words. In all fairness, my anger is my tongue.”

“Then why the silence my dear?”

“My silence is a form of diatribe. A lazy form of debate.”

“So your anger is your tongue. And your silence is a debate.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Then why curse Krishna. You know this, I never had a corner for Krishna in my heart, but Balaram, my dear, he was always the nephew I adored. He was the one who wanted Duroyodhan to marry Panchali. He was always on our side. Your curse included him too in its intricate violence.”

“I have been confined all my life. With this marriage, and then with my blindfolds. With my curse, I hope to set myself free.”

She then added, “My sorrow at losing my children is immense. This exile which I find myself in, cannot be wiped out in this lifetime. I adopted your faultlines and made them mine. I locked myself in your shadow, and shut off the light from my eyes. I have always been broken and rotting. This curse, this anger, this silence - all of them are my weapons of redemption. A thousand years later, I don’t want to be remembered as a blind princess or a blindfolded queen, but instead as the Goddess who shattered the beauty of this dream by just the fire of her breath.”

2307 : Vice Versa

She met him the other day and the conversation started on a complaining note, “I think you are terrible habit for me.” 

“What does that mean?”, he asked.

He added, “Am I terrible, or are my habits terrible, or am I terrible for you?”, he fawned in a fake accent as he asked this.

She scorned and icily said, “Arrey baba, your English is tho completely terrible. We shall sponsor Rapidex for you. If it helped Kapil, it should help you too. You are tho definitely worse off than him.”

He nattily laughed and after a pause asked again, “Ok tell me what is terrible.”

“I don’t like that your silly jokes and stories are addictive. So are your completely stupid poems.”

“So its my jokes and poems that are terrible. You don’t have to tell me that, I already know.”

“Nah nah….its you and your whole being that is terrible. For me, you are almost like smoking, or pot - just a terribly bad habit. One's that can cause cancer.”

“Ah…that means I am bad for you?”

“Yes. Finally. Thanks for getting it.”

“So in short, I am like a vice?”

She furiously nodded in assent.


He paused, chuckled and then asked, “Very well, dear, then, will you please be my versa?”

Friday, March 25, 2016

2306 : What is a note?

Krishna often came visiting Draupadi at the forest. Today morning, he had come in to check how they were hanging in there.

With the politeness and deference usually reserved for senior family members, she asked him if he would like to have some fruits. He nodded in assent and she offered him the berries she had plucked yesterday evening.

She sat down on a lower perch, not necessarily out of respect, but because the stone ledges meant seats were at differential heights, and Krishna had already taken over the taller pedestal.

Once they had settled in, and after the initial niceties, a pale silence hung over the proceedings. Kunti mother was ill, and was still asleep into the early hours of the morning. The brothers had all gone out hunting at day break.

Just the two of them sitting under the reddish hues of the morning Sun. The blue silence was awkward, but not totally unusual.

After a point, Draupadi started humming a few notes. As she warmed up, she soon seemed to firm up on Raga Charukesi, which in the days begone was often referred to Tarangini.

Krishna, closed his eyes to soak in her tune. At one point she missed the 3rd octave Ga, and Krishna opened his eyes and said “Dear Panchali, you missed a note. I don’t know this Raga well, but I know dissonance when I hear it.”, he smiled as he ended the sentence.

She looked up at him. Her gaze razor sharp, and she said with a slightly icy tone. “Lord, do you need to listen to me singing, to figure out that there is a lot of dissonance in my life?”

Krishna smiled and said, “No….Dearest Panchali, just because your life is in dissonance, you cannot mess with the music of the Gods. You did miss a note.”

She continued to stare at him for a few seconds, before lowering her gaze, staring down at the mud gravel and said “Lord, its only a note.”

“Is it only a note dear?”, he asked in a manner which was both loaded and challenging her.

“Yes its only a note.”, she answered almost wanting to rubbish the conversation down.

Krishna was in no mood to relent, “And what is a note, my dear?”

“A note is a sound from our innards wanting to break free.”

He responded, “….and out of such a single sound, this whole creation was born. You miss a note, and you kill the universe. You will make the world a little more unbalanced.”

“Maybe I did not want to let this particular note run amok. I wanted that single note trapped in the confines of my heart.”

“Why only that note dear?”

“Sometimes a note, can also be a deep rouge desire.”

“And…?”

“I want to suppress that carnal being which thrives in me.”

“In that case dear….it has the opposite effect….If you suppress that one note, you will create a universe of desires that course through your veins. Be careful of how you play this game.”

She continued staring at the gravel, then lifted her eyes and peered deep into his.

In anticipation he said “…and?….”

“This one raga signifies melancholy.”

“I know that very well dear.”

“I skipped a note, because I also have a deep blue sense of missing.”

“Missing?”

“Yes the skipped note is representative of the state of my mind.”

She paused, looked up at the morning Sun and with a deep baritone said “Sometimes a note is nothing but an expression of my yearning and the languish of a longing.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2305 : Perspective

Many moons ago, I remember this day clearly.
It was raining, the way it can only rain in Bombay. Roads were flooded, trains were shut down. Folks were locked in their houses - a large part of the city had no electricity.

I had taken the bike out to cross the flooded roads and reach you. I had reached half way and had been stuck. Water flooded into the silencer, and the bike had sputtered shut.

I had been at least 10kms away from where I needed to be. At 5pm in the evening, folks told me its very dangerous to proceed. I had still tried for another 500m, before even I had had to give up.

I remember walking back with the bike pushing it silently on an empty but flooded road.

I had reached home at around 7pm that evening. Soaking wet, shivering with a fever and completely tired and spent.

And yet, the over-arching feeling in my head then was of an immense loss. An gargantuan sense of loss, almost, as if you had died. As if I had never managed to wave you the one last goodbye.

I had this feeling of a reverse endorphin spiking through me. I felt I had really lost.

Years later, I still remember that day vividly, as it happened yesterday, with unbridled nostalgia that only a poet could harbor in this ocean of a world.

And the bloody white as ice moon....it looks like, I was afterall, right, I indeed missed telling you a good-bye. Now its possibly so very late.

2304 : Its the question of you...

Exactly 20 years ago, she had told him more than a score times, "I trust you with my life.". That was then, her constant refrain.

In the last 20 days, she has told him more than a double score, "I don't trust you with your own life.". That is the new sound of the bogey train.

Wonder, what changed?

The yellow faded jute curtains, have been witness to this decay. Unfortunately they sway where the wind blows. The rest of the time, they are murmuring songs in mute.


2303 : The moot question

Dharmaraja and Draupadi were walking in the forest. Into the silence of the golden rays, in the shimmer of the green grace, hand in hand, yet not every step in sync.

He was introspective. He was thinking about her. Often on the nights Draupadi was with Arjun he would hear loud guffaws and the sounds of unrestrained love. There were sighs, laughter and moans.

Without seeing he had a vision of what it could mean. He come to believe in a truth he had never been witness to. And though he was the Nestor when it came to Dharma, he was not immune of human emotions of envy, jealousy and the green eyed monster.

As they walked today, they were silent as they usually would be. No loud shrieks, no giggles, just an occasional conversation here and there to break the poison of silence.

In the hour long walk, Draupadi had spoken about Kunti mother's failing health. She mentioned that taking care of her was turning out to be a burden.

He politely listened, hummed and hawed through this babble.

At one point they had been silent for over ten minutes. Looked like the previous topic had been completed.

As they approached the shed which covered the cave they called home, as in they could see it in their sight, he asked her - almost making it sound as if it were inadvertent - "Panchali, amongst your men, am I your most favorite one?".

She continued holding his hand, the grip tightening almost like a stiffen, and she continued staring down at the road ahead. Her pace had altered and she almost appeared to hesitate before her next step. After what appeared to be seconds, she was aware he was intently looking at her face. She raised her eyes and looked into his eyes. Her eyes were unblinking, and appeared cornered.

He looked away immediately. He did not need the answer, in her hesitation and the pregnant pause - he had found the answer to the difficult question, an answer he would have definitely been much happier not knowing.

2302 : And the archer finally spoke

Thakshak woke up with a start. He very urgently summoned his bed attendant and asked for a quick and immediate gathering of  the court priests. He specifically mentioned that the old king Vasuki (the very Vasuki whom he has usurped to take over Naga land)come over too.  Thakshak had always respected Vasuki for being wise, though at one level he also felt that the old General was now senile.

Something was definitely out of place. Thakshak was usually seen as someone who was cocksure, and who rarely if ever consulted his priests in any matter - save ritual - which he let them manage. He definitely, rarely if ever wanted to be in audience with the "senile" older king.

And....then there was today.....

And the time, it was still a few hours before the Sun even showed his first strains....The world was still sleeping. Time was still ticking tock and the insects of the night still ruled and were still busily buzzing.

In a matter of minutes, Thakshak had quickly pulled up his crown, and the royal robe. As he was adjusting his crown, the priests walked in. Vasuki was still nowhere to be seen.

As they began taking their respective seats in the makeshift court cum royal bedroom, they could all see their King being tense, pensive and nervous.

He trudged towards his seat and finally installed himself. He looked at the attendant and asked with feigned respect "General Vasuki?".

The attendant bowed and answered, "He is coming along your highness, should be here in a few minutes."

Thakshak shrugged with mock irritation and said to the others, "Ok, then we shall have to wait for the elders."

As promised, in a few minutes Vasuki walked in. Everyone including Thakshak stood up with respect for the now aged once-upon-a-time-their-king.

As they all seated and shifted within the silence of their night, slowly all of them in the room looked at Thakshak with askance. What could be so important that they were all summoned into the middle of this night? Were they being attack? Parikshith's ghost Janmayjey again?

With a solemn voice, Thakshak said "Remember the archer.......Eklavya?"

Vasuki immediately nodded, and the other slowly did too.

Thakshak continued, "Remember a few years ago we tried to enslave him to help our forces, and he escaped because some of us could not keep their bloody traps shut.". As he said that his mouth was vile with anger and he was staring icily at Vasuki. It had never been publicly spoken, but everyone knew that Vauski had in some form or shape helped Eklavya escape. 

Vasuki continued to looking at Thakshak and then into the emptiness of the room. The others looked at their feet, unable to choose between their new king and the old warrior.

Thakshak composed himself and then resumed, "I saw him again."

Others looked at him agape. They were unsure what their King meant. It was over a decade ago that they had last encountered Eklavya. 

Vasuki slowly asked "Where?"

Thakshak said, "In a dream. Tonight. But I know it was not a dream. It seemed real. It felt alive. I knew it was him trying to tell me something. Something seemed amiss."

They all waited for him to continue.

"Remember the last time we kidnapped him and got him here. He hardly spoke through those days. I have never heard more than a few sentences from him. I later heard from my friend Kuber, that Eklavya had become very silent in the years following his act of giving up his thumb (to Drona). He never spoke too much, infact no one seems to remember him speaking at all. Do you all agree?"

They all nodded. Vasuki bravely said "He did speak a few words to me."

Thakshak ignored him and continued, "Legend has it, that Eklavya became a silent coach. He helped other warriors fight, and learn the trade, but he never lifted a sword, or arrow ever."

"....and yet, today, in my dream....I met Eklavya and he was dying. When I met him though, he was still alive. Eventually in the course of minutes, he died, and thats when I woke up with a jolt."

Vasuki asked "Did he say something, young King?"

For a minute Thakshak was glad, Vasuki was around. "No, he did not. He had a arrow stuck into his heart. The bottom part of the arrow was bent. I knew at once, looking at the scene, that he had thrust the arrow into his own heart. A la suicide. And it struck me as very odd. Why would such a dignified person, take his own life? Why would such a legend want to meet me during the time of his death? I assumed he wanted to tell me something. I remember fetching him some water...and he refused."

Vasuki again asked, "...and you say, he did not tell you anything."

Thakshak with a contrite look said "No. Not a word. I asked him about my hunch. Had he tried to kill himself? He looked blankly at me, I thought I detected a sardonic smile, but that is about it."

Thakshak paused for a few moments. Eventually Vasuki spoke, "Its very odd for a warrior like Eklavya to take his life. A true warrior would rather die on the battleground. Its further even more odd that someone like Eklavya would try and kill himself with his own arrow. Usually we have never seen the arrow being a weapon of choice when it comes to taking ones own life. And finally warriors aim for the stomach, and not for the heart....  Though...... it does not surprise me that he did not speak to you at all, young King."

Hearing his name being referenced, Thakshak snapped out from his listening reverie, and asked in an infuriated exasperated tone, "Whats the point you are making? Pray how does all this fit in General?".

Vasuki looked at Thakshak, a sharp but tired gaze - the kind of stare one gives when you are struggling to convince a 3 year old of what is apparently patent to the rest of the onlookers - he said in a slow measured tone, "Dear King, Eklavya never really spoke to you or to most of us. Infact he rarely ever spoke at all. The Eklavya of your dream killed himself with an arrow from his own quiver, which he thrust into his heart. He needed the water, but did not drink it when you offered him some. He gave a faint smile. As I said before, some of this is odd....very odd....but thats beside the point."

Post a pregnant pause he added, "Don't you see, King, Eklavya has finally spoken. He has shot a very important message through his arrow."

2301 : Dont leave me

Life is a game of losing and winning, is what they told us. The more I have lived, I have come to realise that they bloody foxed us into believing shit. Life is not a game of losing and winning, but a game of losing and finding..... so losing in the sense of quite literally missing a map.

Makes sense? Remember when you were 7 years old, you lost your favorite ink pen. You hounded, scourged and foraged into the night…no avail. Eventually a sob and a whimper later…you slept off.

When you were 15, one fine day you bumped into that pen, stuck behind your wardrobe. It meant nothing anymore to you today. So you excavated it, looked at it with the same eyes an alien would use to examine a burger, and then swiftly discarded it into the bin.

There goes a lost first love.

And then when you were 20, one day you lost the car keys. Again you searched throughout the house. At 25, when you were junking your lazyboy, you found the keys embedded within the crevice of the backrest.

You no longer had that old car, and the key meant nothing. You discarded it with a flourish.

And then at 30, one day you inadvertently lost me. You desperately searched for a few years, but never locked onto the GPS again. When you are 42, you might find me all over again. But by then though, I will not be me, you will most definitely not be you, and you know what, you will most definitely have to discard me along the way.

I am bracing myself for the smells of the bin. You should know this, I really don’t fancy the trash can.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

2300 : Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair, music by L Subramanium

Salaam Bombay was a classic Mira Nair film.
But...
This post is not about the movie.
Instead its about the music of this movie - which was composed and orchestrated by L Subramanium.

I used to possses two legal copies of this music. Unfortunately I have now lost it.

If any of you posses it, and are willing to share. contact me.
It will mean a lot to me....

On a side note, the violin in this movie weeps. The background score is just fabber than fab :-)

2299 : The oldie's motorcycle poem

I drive a motorcycle and it has to be one of the most exciting happy things I do in my week. I look to the days I go out and drive. Here is my poem about how an oldie percieves motorcycling :-)

At 20s, you are just starting up,
At 30s, still stuck in 2nd gear,
At 40s, the game is just beginning to liven up,
At 50s, the wind is blowing against your hair,
At 60s, the torque just begins to hit you,
At 70s, you wish you could do it all day long,
At 80s, there is a beaming smile on your face,
At 90s, you are ready to give up and give in.
At 100s, you know if you see this, you are lucky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2298 : Sometimes the fire just burns

That morning, as she sauntered into the clinic, the air was darker and there was a potent warning in its ring. She remembered she had shrugged it off, "she did not want to be reminded of the inevitable."

She had met the junior doctor on his way out, and he had given her the tired look, and said "Dear, make the most of him. He wont last."

"What do you mean, he wont last? You mean days, months or years?"

"My dear lady, hours is more like it."

She had never been stabbed before, but she had just discovered what it felt for a butcher's knife to be thrust into one's heart.

She had gasped and gulped, and then eventually clasped the doc's hands. After a pause she had asked "Does he know?"

"Lady, they always know. I have seen a thousand ends in this hospital. And every single of the patient has known their coming reckoning, even if they were brain dead unconscious. Our souls know it. Even today - its really him knowing it, that signals to me, that the event is in order soon."

She steadied herself and then walked into the room. There he sat languidly on the bet, his arms tired and sloppy. His head supported by two pillows.

As he sensed her, he perked up a bit, and then smiled and said "Ah my lover is here."

"Really, old fucker, at this age, you still want to romp, is it?", she asked with a hint of smile.

"I could try. Maybe I need to tell myself that I wont go..... till I actually come." saying which he guffawed like pig who had not been in its best health.

She laughed and said "Chauvinist pig. The girl never matters right? She can be coming or going, who cares right?"

At this point in the chat, she held his hand and asked, "How are you doing, loverboy?"

"Dealing with a raging issue.", he smiled as he said it.

"Be serious. Tell me whats up."

"You are funny, I just told you whats up, and you ignored it."

"Ok....", she said and slapped him lovingly..."how do you feel?".

He regained his seriousness and said "A man has to do what a man has to do. He has to go when he has to go."

"Really?..."

"Yes. Good riddance. I can't deal with his painful liver anymore. Better to rot in heaven, than have a riot in this cesspit of a hospital....", he said with a smile.

She looked downcast for a few moments, then asked him "Anything that you really want? Now?"

"You know I have hardly felt an attachment to anything, other than my camera and possibly some books."

"Yes I know that."

"I want you to try and use my camera. Not because it is mine. I mean not because of the sentiment. But I hope it will give you new eyes to see the world I am leaving behind. I hope that when you finish your experiments with it, what you will document, will conclusively tell - that I left the world in a little better place, than when I joined it. That has always been the singular goal of my life."

He added almost like a plea, "Will you use my tired old camera?".

"Yes", she said with a silent muffle.

After another long pause she asked, "and what else bud?"

"Nothing else. Really nothing."

He paused and strained to think and then added "Actually..... you remember the chart paper outside the kitchen. Yes the giant one covering the wall, where I would scribble thoughts and ideas. Almost like notes to myself."

He waited as he saw her nod, and then added "You fought with me so many bloody times because  you said you never ever understood the notes. They were cryptic and they riled you. And when on somedays I would replace the chart with a new one, you would be delighted and buy me dinner, but then again, soon enough the new one with its new scribbles would rile you....."

"Yes, I know. I saw it today morning. It has not seen you for over a month....and it has some 100 odd random scribbles. I really don't know what they mean. I do know you eventually used them in your poems."

He laughed and mildly guffawed. He said, "The only thing I will regret that I did not complete what I wanted to write and expand on those little unfinished notes. I so desperately want just one more week, and I promise I shall have another 200 pages written down. My final swan song.....but I now know thats a pipe dream."

He looked down almost broken by his own thoughts. After what appeared minutes he said, "Can you courier that over to me, wherever I go?"

She smiled and said "You can be serious?".

"I am. I want that going down with me."

Saying that he had held out his held. She had softly clasped his palm and held him tight for the next 3 hours, as they spoken about the world coming to an end.

By the end of the day, he was gone. They had him cremated the same night. She had been too numb to either cry or to grieve.

In the early hours of the morning as the embers still flickered, she had trudged back home.

She had prepared a hot cup of coffee and was stirred by its intense aroma. She inadvertently noticed the chart outside the kitchen wall. She tried reading. Could make no sense.

Carefully, she removed what appeared to be almost 36 sq feet worth of chart paper. Rolling it up was quite an effort.

She then dragged it to the terrace of the house. Walking back into the kitchen she returned with a box of matches. She lit the two ends and center of the whole paper.

The paper flickered, twice the flame died, but eventually all that remained were the black char and ashes. She collected it all, and then lovingly poured it over his favorite collection of cacti in the garden.

As she poured water on the plants, she said aloud and smiled "Loverboy, your courier is shipped as promsied. Track it using these plants."

She looked around. Nothing else in the world had paused. It was another boring day. The sun was rising in the east.


2297 : One big lie

I have realised all the biggest lies that have rocked me up, are from none other than myself. I am my biggest liar.

I have lied to myself, more than I have ever lied to others. What penance and recourse exists in this world for someone who has defiled himself?

Its a bit like discovering you scored a self goal in the world cup final :-)

2296 : You win again - Bee Gees classic

When I was growing up, "You Win Again" was a monster hit in my book....so much so that 29 years later...I can still sing this song verbatim.

Something about the simple bass beat and what sounds like a cello...its awesome. The vocals take some getting used to, but once you are hooked...this is an addiction for life.


2295 : Yes I have lamented

I grew up learning and listening to music from two sources - Rhythm House and Radio Ceylon.
I have long stopped lamenting for Radio Ceylon, and then I was there 2 days before Rhythm House shut down. I picked up a pile of CDs.

And I almost cried.

What kind of madness makes us pay such a societal price. Its not just the emotional value, but the fact the folks at Rhythm house knew their music better than most of us. Their classical specialist was truly magical.

Watch this and feel the pain....
http://video.scroll.in/805011/after-61-years-mumbais-own-music-store-rhythm-house-says-goodbye-with-this-bittersweet-video 

2294 : The long road

You know you are absolutely in love, when you decide to take the long road paved with traffic back home on a day like today :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

2293 : A la Ayn Rand for the car

Just like Ayn Rand once famously said, "I dont ask someone if they love their life - I just ask them if they believe in God?"

Similarly.....

I dont ask someone "if they love their car?". I just look at their tyres, if they have the air cap still on the valve (the little black green caps which protect the valves) I think I know my answer then.

What prompted this post today?

My neighbour (in the parking) has a spanking white 320d which I would die to have. And guess what...he has no caps on all his four wheels.

What a waste of the car. I know it belongs to someone and I now know how he treats her.


2292 : Yeh na thi hamari kismet by Ghalib

I have obviously blogged about this maybe a million times already (at least in my head). I love this song, and especially the rendition by Chitra Singh. I don't think anyone could have sung this better.

The song is so metaphorical, that it grows on you till eventually you realise you have become the song.

Key lines in the song that I really like....

ye na thee hamaaree qismat ke wisaal-e-yaar hota
agar aur jeete rehte yahee intezaar hota

It was just not destined that you and I would ever hook up, (contrary to our expectations)

So much so - that even if this life of mine extended another millennium, it would just a long endless wait

tere waade par jiye ham to ye jaan jhoot jaanaa
ke khushee se mar na jaate agar 'eitabaar hota

If my life depended on the weight of your promises, then my entire life would be such a sham,
I would actually die overwhelmed by happiness (completion) even if I believed you for a moment.

koee mere dil se pooche tere teer-e-neemkash ko
ye khalish kahaan se hotee jo jigar ke paar hota

Someone should harken to my broken heart, and ask the pitiable her,
The arrow that you shot so inadvertently, had it just ruptured her (the heart) completely - then I would not carry this indelible but constant grief,

ye kahaan ki dostee hai ke bane hain dost naaseh
koee chaarasaaz  hota, koee ghamgusaar hota

What kind of friends hang around me, on a closer look - they appear more like naysayers,
I wish I had (a friend) who would be a real healer, someone who would really listen and sympathize,

kahoon kis se main ke kya hai, shab-e-gham buree bala hai
mujhe  kya  bura  tha  marna ? agar ek  baar hota

Who do I sing my dirge (lament) to, who understands my sorrow of being separated from you even just for this night,
I am brave, ready to face death - but even I just cannot deal this continuous dying which is happening every moment of my waking


2291 : Fatigue

My life (and I dont blame modern life) is one continuous battleground. On a day like today, I do feel tired, weary and fatigued.

Reminds me of one my fav poets saying "mein itne tukdo mein butt gaya, ke apne hisse mein kuch bhi na raha"...

A crude translation means
"I lived in such a hugely divided world, (that today when I look back), not a single piece of I is left over for myself."

Thursday, February 04, 2016

2290 : Gaud Malhar

I am tone deaf. I cannot make a C (from 3 octaves down) differ from the higher C....and yet I am music aficionado. I listen to music all the time.

For the past 5 days I have been listening to Gaud Malhar on repeat. Its fab.

Loving it.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

2289 : The dark spot in my life

There is a little dark spot on the sun today,
Its the same old thing as yesterday....

These lines are refusing to leave me today. There is a dark spot within the sea of brightness. I wish to possess it.
(lines from sting's king of pain)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

2288 : The real fight

As Yudhistra finished answering the questions posed by the Yaksha (in the form of a hunched crane), the Yaksha smiled. He beatifically said "Dharmaraja, you are truly wise.  I have heard stories  of your legendary focus on Dharma, but today with the 18 answers, you have made me a little wiser too."

He paused. Yudhistra allowed a tired and bellowed smile pass through his lips. The lips pursed as if they were constrained. The Yaksha noticed it and spoke.

"Raja, your own mother, when she was rearing you thought you were a little unusual in the way you always, even as a kid focused almost un-naturally on being "good"".

He paused and continued, "...and today, you have not just made me wiser, you have also restored to life your 4 dead brothers, by unwinding a past karmic bond that was bothering me. And yet, when I swim into your deep eyes, they seem despondent. How can such a wise man, who does not carry a shred of karmic baggage on him, appear so lost?"

Yudhistra started, "I have to live through my fate."

"And does that bother you Raja?  Do you miss the wealth,  the power, the palaces?"

"No, I dont miss it at all, except, honestly, I sometimes wish Draupadi had it easier."

"...and yet, Raja, you do look forlorn then?What then is the bother?"

"Dear Yaksha, there comes a time in every man's life when he is pulled into a strange fight. This battle is not for a kingdom, or for wealth, or for power. The war is on the inside, and the battlefield is the shadows of one's own mind. Whats at stake is the need to grapple with the very nature of our lives. All of us one day will have to deal with the fundamental question of who we are, and who we ought to be. They are far more perilous than the 18 questions you asked. The internal strife is akin to a hollow vessel cankering and hoping to find the answers in its own loud echo. What the vessel never understands that no matter how the question is posed, the echo will always be just a version of the question."

He paused and added, "....the question will come back appearing as the answer. If  deluded, we shall move onto the next question, and that path is one of righteous self delusion. I hope you never have to see such a day in your life, dear Yaksha, but today in my life - I am the vessel, the question, the answer and the echo."

With a final thoughtful wist he added, "I have become my own nemesis, and slowly that realization dawns. On that day, you really wonder what this battle is all about. When Yama, my dear father will come calling out to me, I will try ask him this - Father, was I am the victor or the vanquished?....and I think I know what his answer will be.  That answer bothers me."

2287 : HSBC's brand line

I love the entire branding of "This is the story of human ambition".

HSBC has gotten some really powerful visuals to go along with the tagline. And its a brand that connects immediately with me. It tells me that HSBC should be my bank.


2286 : We could heroes for just one day

I have said a million times before, and I shall say it again that I don't have too many heroes in my life. But one person, who shall forever remain an inspiration and a real life hero to me is Ayrton Senna.

If you don't know how the edge of genius looks like - you should go to youtube, search for Ayrton Senna Monaco 1988. In this race Senna was leading Prost (Alain) by over 55 seconds (which in F1 parlance is equal to a lifetime).....and yet on a slippery circuit, he pushed on the limits, whilst all others were slowing down.

And the result - he crashed two laps before the end of the race.

Its this madness that made him a real hero. If I had to choose between Niki Lauda and him, it will Senna all the way.

I don't believe in God or heroes, but I do believe in greatness, and Senna was greatness manifested within us mortals.

Take a bow genius.


2285 : In the company of dead poets


Koi Chara nahin by Hafeez Jalandhari - as I read and listen to this poem, I realise what binds the dying poet in me to Hafeez is more about a shared common experience, than our love for words. 
The metaphors in this song are telling.

Koi chara nahi dua ke siwa , koi sunta nahi khuda ke siwa
( I came to a point, where there was no other solace than hope and prayer, I felt no one could understand me anymore other than my own God)

Mujhse kya ho saka wafa ke siwa , mujhe milta bhi kya saza ke siwa
( What could I have offered you, my sweetheart, other than my unruffled loyalty, and what could I have gotten in return, but for unequivocal penance and punishment.)

bar sar-e-saahil-e-muqaam yahan,kaun ubhra hai nakhuda ke siwa
(when I reached that final step along the shores of my life, the only person who kept me company was the dignified boatman)

dil sabhi kuch zubaan par laaya ,ek faqat arz-e-muddat ke siwa
( My honest heart could surface every single one of my emotions onto my tongue, but for that one sentence in which I confessed my undying love for you.)

Saturday, January 09, 2016

2284 : Is the night always this dark?

I am Draupadi, sometimes called Panchali, at some other times Yagnaseni. My names are my identity. But these names were never really mine. Draupadi came from my father Drupad, Panchali because I am came from the land called Panchal, and Yagnaseni because I was born on account of the Yagna that my father sponsored.

I am the Queen of Pandavas, but I am also their wife, and thats my broken identity. I belong to everyone, except me.

I have never been “me”.

Like consider tonight. I don’t want to be alone, but neither do I want to seek our Arjun. I want Arjun to come to me. I want him to take me, than me feeling him.

Speaking of men - Krishna, you are not my Bhakti. I had always wanted that you at least participate in my Swayamvar, but you did not. You reneged. On the last day, you said you will participate - but as the chief guest, not for my hand. My hands had stopped moving that night. I remember gulping down a spoon of salt that night. I had so desperately needed it to keep my blood moving.

I sometimes miss water. I want to be drenched. I want to drip. On a night like this, I wish that the river would consume me, maybe even consummate with me.

Tonight I need a release. I need to wash myself clean. Just like the “other” day. On that day, they had stripped me bare. I had slouched on the floor, a simple loin cloth covering my angry breasts. How they had heaved. How I hated it, that even in that singular moment of disgrace, something in me had also been aroused. Let me admit - I was erect, and yet I can’t ever know what made me feel so. Today - the “only” thing I can remember is the undiluted shame, the opiate of lurid collective opprobrium coursing through me. But…but…but…I also remember a few other things. And the anger. And those eyes. And the jeers. And the humiliation. And the sear. And the wounds. And most importantly, I remember feeling so completely un-clean.

On that day - as we were about to begin, our walk to the forest, with nothing but the clothes on our bodies - I had requested the chambermaid use her bathroom for one time. And then….in that lonely evening….I had taken a bath.

I had taken a soap and scrubbed myself incessantly with fresh neem leaves. For me it had felt like a few minutes, but later Dharmaraja told me it had been close to 2 hrs. No one yet has ever asked me, why I had to clean myself so thoroughly (then). But….but…but….I had to….I did not have a choice. It was a war. I had been wounded. The blood had noisily clotted around me. I had to take a bath. I had to be clean. Actually I needed to come clean.

And today I admit - I have never been pristine again. Tonight is not the night for it.

Tonight as I stare at the dark night, I wonder if there is water on the black rancid moon. Is there a tree that I can pluck fruits off? Is there a someone there who will understand me? Is there a “better version” of me out there?

Is there peace? Is there solitude? Is there silence?

Tonight is not the night. Tonight even the stars are taunting me. And that bloody firefly who fed of my plate yesterday night, even he is glowing with happiness. Tonight is definitely not the night.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

2283 : The binds that set you free


“I have written something about you”, she said with a croaky lisp.

“About me, or for me?"

“About you.”

“Great can I read it please ?”

“No. Not possible.”

“....and....?? that's strange of you, is it not ? Thén why tell me about it.”

“I wanted to be honest. Hence mentioned it.”

“Holy mother of a tottering crankshaft, that's effing convoluted. You write something. About me. Don't want me to read it. But you want to be honest. So you tell me about it.”
He added with a grin, “found a few marbles yday. Wondered who they belonged to. I can now at least guess.”

“If you ever decide to walk away, I shall send it to you. Till then, it's wrapped around my finger."

She whistled as she let her ring finger gleam with its plain elegant nakedness....and then with a posse wasp added, “That way I have simultaneously, both handcuffed and .......set you scot free. Go figure.” Shé came up, pecked on the forehead and walked away.


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

2282 : What was there before "time"? (Prologue to the world)

As Lord Brahma was closing the day and each of his tired heads stooped a bit to rest, an ambitious thought re-occurred to him. 

While he had evolved into having 4 heads (5 not counting the one which Shiva cut off), one each to understand each of the 4 vedas….and he indeed believed that he did have a good handle of the vedas, what he needed as help from Vyasa (the “divider” and organizer of the vedas) to also create a guidebook on the human condition.

This “guidebook”, or the need for it, had been niggling at him for over the last 3 months. Eventually he had come to believe while just the vedas would help humans understand the minds and grand design of the Gods, there was also a need for a “guidebook” to help them (humans) wade through the everyday minutiae.

He sent via his emissary, a note to Vyasa, so that a meeting could be arranged in the next few days. And the day did arrive, when Vyasa walked into Brahma’s chambers.

Brahma greeted Vyasa with warm affection of a peer intellectual and after the proverbial niceties, proceeded to elucidate his “need” for the guidebook.

Vyasa pondered for a minute and said “We cannot write rules. Intelligence shall reject rules. We have to explain the frailty of life, and yet highlight the need for values, and this can best be done by an epic story.”

Brahma paused and heard with interest, “….and this story shall be about?......”

Vyasa let the silence be and then cautiously said, “About us, about me, about the Kuru clan, about Vishnu’s detour as Krishna….set in the land of Jaya. We shall call it Jaya and I shall tell the story as it happens with all its failings and grandeur.”
Brahma seemed intrigued, but respected Vyasa’s wisdom completely on these matters.

Vyasa continued
“It shall be about the land of Jaya.
It shall be about the feeling of bhaya (fear)
It shall be about being in laya (order)
It shall be about overcoming maya (charade)
It shall be about knowing the daya (way).”

And then with a big pause he further added,
“This story shall be very long, I will need a scribe. One who shall neither judge me nor the real world characters. One who shall recognize and yet be impartial to the human condition.”

Brahma thought hard and said, “the only person who can write fast and with such wisdom is the intellectually happy Lord Ganesha. I can ask summon him now and ask him if he is willing to help.”

As Vyasa nodded, Brahma sent for Ganesha. The elephant headed Lord happily ambled in, in a few minutes, and was given the context.

Ganesha liked the overall idea, readily acquiesced, but added a few caveats,
“ O Sage, before there were words, there were verses
Before there was this world, there were curses
Before there was a possibility, there were chances
Before there was any movement, there were dances.”

And then added with a flourish,
“For the story to be narrated in truth and bare,
We both will have to work as a synchronized pair,
If you pause and halt as you bring the story to light,
I will too have to stutter and sputter as I write,
And such a story when it is eventually read,
Men will behold and wonder, what really happened, and what parts were figmented in our head,
Hence my request to you, O respected sage,
We write without a rest, and never revisit a page,
When its ready, it should be without a time and age,
For generations, this should be re-enacted on the world’s stage,
As we embark on this documentation of the human condition,
I do want this to be a very honest to God rendition.”

With this litany, Ganesh sat down and began munching on some much needed food. In those brief moments, all three of them looked at each other and smiled. Vyasa sporting the smile of benevolence and happiness, Brahma, the smile of tranqulity and Ganesha, the smile of youthful exuberance.

After the many silent moments, Brahma said,
“The Jaya will indeed be the tale of human greatness,
With you both in charge of this, I feel light and weightless,
For milleniums to come, this shall be the song to sing
In every moment, its truth will be the one to bite and sting,
At every corner, the honesty of this shall ring,
This will be the finality of both duty and beauty – on a prayer and wing”




With these words he whispered a blessing to both Ganesha and Vyasa, and set the wheels of Jaya in motion.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2281 : The age of the un-necessary convenience

I find these times troubling. The number of times I have looked at an invention and said, "I dont really need it. Makes no difference to my life" is almost disturbing.

Like I look at this new fad of hoverboards and wonder, "Why?", WhoTF needs these and why?

Or I look at my modern smartphone (of which I use very little features) and I wonder....why does my phone come with a proclivity to be connected.

What is this life that we have created for ourselves?
Are those who incessantly checking facebook really happier?

I have avowed to steadfastly simplify my life....and yet its difficult.

You cannot avoid these un-necessary conviniences. Like the button which allows you to open your car's boot. Really? If that a a game changer?

And pray why?

How many of us understand that the true test of a good car is its engineering and the thrill of the untamed horses, and not the gawky buttons that you press and depress?

This post sounds like a rant, and it is one.

I will one day find my place of resting. A palace where there shall be none of the un-necessary conveniences.


2280 : Arjuna's dirge

Oh, my hero born as Abhimanyu, where are you?
I was told - the world has you, and then a few,

Today, as I weep over your mangled face,
With blood clotted over, stopped in its pace,

I remember you as the unborn silent learner, 
Chakravyuh - its tricks, and you were the yearner,

When Subhadhra told me of your charming kicks,
We had both laughed and then smothered with kisses and licks,

Today, this evening, what do I tell your lovely mother,
That you have left this world, for the charm of the other?

They will tell her you were both a hero and a martyr,
Your young cheek is snarled, tell me it was whose spear?

Tell me, who was it - Karna, Drona, Bheeshma, or Duryodhan,
The mighty generals on the other side, on our side just one (you),

When you were a toddler, you once haughtily said,
For you, dad, I will fight and be readily dead,

I had a laughed and stroked your tiny goldirocks,
How I miss those moonlight walks,

You holding and grasping my aged palm,
The little fingers strong, still and yet so warm,

Where have you gone Abhimanyu, there is so much grief tonight,
The sun is gone, but the moon on your face still breathes light,

Come back as a ghost who can do nothing else but talk,
I will gladly take that, anything to get you on my nightly walk,

Son, what kind of a father lives to see his shadow dead,
I have counted, you have 108 wounds through which you have bled,

I will not rest, till I personally get each of those generals to die,
Just like me, I want, their loved ones to cry a goodbye,

So much pain, I wish the earth swallowed me in,
After all this, does it matter if we even win?

Your mother will grieve and she will wail and cry,
Today, I cannot even muster to look into her eye,

When these times are past, and our stories are told,
You son, shall be the role model to behold,

I know you will be the hero and the anchor within this history,
Your skills will be regaled, though Chakravyuh (to you) remained a mystery,

My chest heaves, and I feel a pang of gloat, 
As I know the poets of the future, will make your persona bloat,

But tonight, if I had a choice to make,
I will still take you alive in any form or shape,

Rest in peace, my son, the fields are soaked in your blood,
It will always be an honor to me, that you chose to make yourself in my mud.

2279 : Little birdie has flown away

I have posted on this before. I love this song from Queen, "Jugni"...It has to be the song of the year for the year of 2014/2015.

The lyrics are outstanding. The music is infectious. The harmony is impeccable.

Its the year for the little birdie to fly away, and she now has a theme song.