Saturday, October 03, 2015

2253 : Personal greatness

Picture this.

I am on the NY transit one evening around 7pm returning back from work. 

The train is packed, so I end up standing holding onto the rail. As I bend down, my eyes catch this girl, white girl, she is no more than 20-21.

Guess what she is doing sitting on the seat of the metro?

wild guess?

she is practicing for a broadway play (I figured from the script in her was just a guess). She has the script in her hand. She was reading and then enacting with her eyes closed, she was still saying the dialogues with her mouth and lips moving, but no sound.

everyone around was ok about it.

I....I was mesmerized by this.

I will proud if one day, I can be so passionate about an art, or more so, if I can pass values to my kids that encourage them to follow their dreams.

2252 : Killing oneself

Killing oneself (or suicide) fascinates most of us...and that includes me.

I have known folks who have willed themselves to death, by devices like slow starvation, or by avoiding life criticial medicines. I have also known folks who have decided to withdraw from the real world, almost like a modern version of sanyas...which is kind of similar to dying.

I dont know whether knowing these folks has helped me understand life better or has further complicated my perspective on life.

I recently spoke to someone who told me that she was contemplating death. Being the "cool bloke" that I am, I decided that talking was going to help.

I suggested to her that we have a talk, a la unstructured conversation...and we ended up talking for over 3 hrs over 2 days.

While she spoke about the whole world and their aunts, if I were to pick on big themes in her conversation - they were
1) Isolation : A complete sense of being different and not included in the world that surrounded her.
2) Loneliness : Possible connected to the above, but also different from the above. This one contains the seeds of having no walls to bounce off, of having to feel like you are all alone in this game.
3) Ground beneath her feet : She did feel like she was not able to hold onto the ground that mattered to her. She was losing inches, and she felt as if she was losing the entire ground.

My only real help was to listen to her and it managed to do the trick. She was obviously depressed, she was obviously not ready to come out of the closet yet....and yet she was more alive in my eyes than the average.

Her grief in the world arose because she measured her life on a higher pedestal than the median.

In as subtle a way (at the risk of sounding pedantic) I told her that "personal greatness" is very different from what is considered as "greatness" by the rest of the world. That she must define her own roadmap and like a warrior, she must fight - because thats what our DNA is hardwired to do. Replicate, live, and survive.

Talking to her left me immensely humbled and maybe a wee bit wizened.

2251 : Rules

Mary Oliver, whose poems are not amongst my favorites, but her passion for poetry surpasses anything I have ever known.

She has written this beautiful piece about dancing, which I really like....

As long as you are dancing, you can 
break the rules
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending 
the rules

Sometimes there are no rules.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

2250 : What is love?

Picture this.

I am at Dubai Interational Airport, a swanky one. I have a 87 minute layover :-).
I run to the lounge, grab a quick cup of Dilmah :-). I do need my tea.

Then I begin my trudge to the gate for the boarding. By the time I reach there, just 35 minutes left for the flight to depart and 10 minutes for the gate to shut. I walk in calmly, I am usually the kind of person who snakes in just before the doors slam shut.

As I begin my walk from the gate to the plane. I have to walk along a glass wall, take a U at the other end, walk along the other side and then board the plan. Get the drift?

So I walk along the wall, and fail to notice anything. I have a bag full of chocolates and dates that I am dragging along.

I go till the end of the wall, take U and cross onto the other side of the wall...(which is transparent because its glass).....

As I walk to the other side, I see this young girl (25 odd...yes that is young from where I sit :-)), she is having a huge travel bag on her back. And she is talking across the glass to a boy (again 25 odd) across the glass onto the other side....the side I just came from.

As I wait there for a few moments, I hear her scream and talk....

"So you can hear me across the glass?"
He gesticulates a yes, and mumbles something which I cant hear.
"You really can hear?"
He says something again, which I cannot hear. Then he moves to the glass to smooch the glass.
In response she moves to the glass too. They both smooch across the glass.

They talk a few more sentences. Someone is waiting for my boarding pass to be checked so I am still stuck there waiting.

She then screams "are you going to come over or we both will miss our flight?" and she guffaws loudly. He laughs too, but does not move.

She then goes down on her knee and she says "Please my love...."

He guffaws now, kisses the glass again and then begins walking towards the end of the walk, where he can take a U and join us.

I found this whole thing utterly lovely. Greatness comes in all shapes everyday. Just watch out.

2249 : Movie "Ugly" "Papa Song" lyrics and english translation

This is about a song called "Papa" from the movie "Ugly" directed by Anurag Kashyap, sung by Shilpa Rao, and lyrics by Gaurav Solanki. The music is by GV Prakash Kumar.

I will make a hackeyned attempt to translate this song for you. Here goes.

Kya wahaan din hai abhi bhi..
Papa tum rehte jahaan ho…

Is it still a bright and sunny day, 
(I am sure it is) Papa in the land that you are marooned on....
(Remember this is a girl who is lost singing out to her papa, so in reality its she who is marooned)

Aus ban ke main giroongi..
Dekhna tum aasmaan ho…

I will dribble down like those heavy dew drops,
(Papa) dont you forget to notice me, given that you are my sky...

Tin ke toote kanastar..
Se zara boondi churaakar…

(From the) Broken tin trays,
I am stealing remanants of sweetballs
(Usually the sweet shops do keep sweets in tin trays, this is a reference to that)

Bhaagti hai koyi ladki..
Kya tumhe ab bhi chidhakar…

The girl still runs on(post the stealing)
Teasing you, taunting you, as she always would...

Farsh ab bhi thaam ungli..
Saath chalta hai kyun papa…

As I crawl on the floor on my fours, 
I find my papa still walking with me...surprising!!

Bhaag ke dekho re aagan..
Bhi machalta hai kya papa….

And then I tried doing a dash in the garden,
And I found my nervous papa still following me...surprising again !!

Aag ki bhi chaanw hai kya..
Cheentiyon ke gaon hai kya…

Do parts of the angry fire contain a peaceful shaded zone,
Do the army of ants belong to one particular village?
(Obviously a construct to make chaanw and gaon rhyme...but both metaphors are so strong)

Jis kuye mein hum gire hai..
Us kuye mein naav hai kya…

In this particular well I am drowning, I am marooned,
(Papa do you know) Does this well have a safety boat, something anything that I can latch onto?

Kya tumhe kehta hai koyi..
Ke chalo ab khaa bhi lo…

Papa is there someone still who is telling and chasing, 
Come on, have your meal, take a bite 

Dibbiyon mein dhoop bhar kar..
Koyi ghar laata hai kya…

Who (ever) fills the sunlight into tiffin boxes, (ridiculous na?)
and then (also labours to ) get these boxes home?

Chimniyon ke is dhuyein..
Mein mere do khargosh the…

In the wanderlust of the smoke arising of the chimney,
I had two of my pet rabbits
(Reference to the shapes we all make out in smoke, and eerily I always have visualised rabbits in the smoke too!!)

Ve kabhi aawaz de toh..
Koyi sun paata hai kya…

(If these rabbits) ever made a real sound,
Would any of us ever hear them?

Gintiyaan sab laakh mein hai..
Haath lekin raakh mein hai…

Here all the numbers and counting are in millions,
(Fools - cant they see?) their hands are all immersed in ashes...
(Million is a reference to money)

Chaand ab bhi gol hai kya..
Jashn ab bhi dhol hai kya…

Is the moon still a round shiny happy place,
Are the sounds of happiness in harmony with the sound of drums and music?

Pee rahe hain sharbatein kya..
Kya wahaan sab hosh mein hai…

What nectat are all of you drinking,
Are you all still in your right senses?

Ya ki maathe see rahe hai..
Do minute afsos mein hai…..

Or are all of you brow beaten, with nervous wrinkles in your forheads,
Silently praying and mourning for the loss (that you still dont know of)?

2248 : Ugly movie "Papa Song"

You should know this...I hate watching movies. They usually leave me with a bitter taste, almost making me feel that I wasted another 3 hrs of my life.

I usually now catch movies (in the last 8 years) on flights only. No TV no cinema halls.

And this time around I saw Ugly because I like Anurag Kashyap. I liked the movie and almost stretched to say this was an ok 2 hrs that I had lost....and then towards the end the song "Papa" comes along.

The first time I hear it, and I am so bloody hooked. I could spend 20 hrs just to have found the song.

Shilpa Rao has sung it in such a mesmerizing voice.....I want to live to hear her voice a 1000 times. If you can fall in love with a voice so completely it has to be this for me. I dont know her, I have never seen her, and yet I am totally latoo on this voice.

The lyrics by Gaurav Solanki are poetry that I would be glad to write and then immediately die. I could not do any better. The metaphors are so bloody dark, and have such a hook to them....

The music by GV Prakash Kumar is haunting. The song goes on in an infinite loop in your head.

My next post I will try and translate this song....just for old times sake, just like I used to do in the past.

Anurag, Shilpa, Gaurav, GVP - all of you take a real heartfelt bow. This is not just awesome, its awe inspiring. Let the greatness of the song soak you in.

Goes straight into the list of all time favorites. I will listen to this song till I die.

Catch the song at

2247 : Collective greatness

To those who don't believe that greatness exists, and more so in a collective soul is what I suggest - listen (or better) watch a philharmonic play the entire 9th of Beethoven with all its movements including the choral.

As an example the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

If you dont get goose pimples watching/hearing are blind to greatness.

This is what life is. The essence of life is summarized in that one experience. All other words and gyan are useless.

Go be enthralled.

2246 : Half life

She passed me by the stairs (just like David Bowie once encountered her !!). In her I saw my own scribbles. 

The mountains they are talking to me, the crabs that line the sea shore, they are crawling towards me, the flowers are screaming "Kiss me as I am dying", and the wounded fish, that is still swimming inspite of the lost tail says, "I wish I knew what it was to be a bird", and as my brain is shutting down, I hear the whale sing out to its daughters.....

I am radioactive. Today is one more ending of my half life. Today - Here I sat drinking honey from the flowers.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2245 : Politics by Identity

I was speaking at work (with my broader team ) about the subject of diversity and what it means to us. Every American firm, worth its salt  puts a premium on diversity.

Unfortunately by the time it translates back to the floor the message is fully lost.

It becomes more of a box ticking and less of a real issue.

Here is my take. Real diversity happens when we can encourage thought diversity, make it safe for colleagues to shoot down each other, and when we truly and sincerely encourage thought and intellectual debate.

There is one more important and subtle aspect of diversity though. Real diversity incorporates identity as the root of all differences.

So what is identity?
Rape is identity.
Any form of abuse is identity.
Any form of a debilitating disease (cancer) is an identity.
Any disability is an identity.
Sexuality is identity.
Race and gender are most definitely so.
Isolation is identity.
Economic demographic is an identity.

and I could add a few more. Get the drift?

Read Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree if you have to.

Include both diversity and identity and you have real diversity in a team, firm/group.

Go include the people on the outskirts and see the magic they really can bring into a median team.

Monday, August 17, 2015

2244 : Find the poet

He caught her off guard and said "Hey, you want to listen to my latest piece."

"Sure fker, you are my Pablo, go on :-)", she said with a facetious smile.

He ignored the dig, and fished out a sheet of paper. He still liked writing on paper with a fountain pen.


"Yes. Go on, vomit your master piece."

As he began reading the poem, she closed her eyes and was steady and still. She always did that, both while listening to songs (she liked) and his poems. When asked, she would say "I like your voice, I like your baritone, and I don't want other senses to corrupt my experience."

As he continued for the few remaining seconds, she nodded at points, as if she agreed with the line/word, and at other times, her forehead grimaced.

At the end he asked "What do you think?"

"You know why I like listening to your poems? I get to know you better. There is a shared intimacy in these poems. I want to know you better. Your poems help me find the you." she answered orthogonally.

He stared hard at her and then at the floor, and then added wistfully...."I want you to listen well too. Though not as a promissory vehicle to find me. I want you to find the you in there. You are within me. You are me. Go, find yourself."

2243 : The charades begin (all over again!!)

They both were playing a game of charades. He smiled wistfully and told her, "a very easy one"....

She said "shoot fker" !!

"What do you call a turbaned person, with a long beard and a sword?"

"Fker, is this some kind of a perverse joke. Surd?"

"Another word..."


"No no....whats their name..."

"Fker....lucky, goldy, preet, harpreet and the ilk....what are you driving at?"

"Common name?"

After another 10 odd tries a very frustrated looking her finally got it "Singh".


"What do you call a little lady girl?"



Mix both up, what do you get.

She said the words aloud "Miss Singh".....

and then smiled wistfully and added "thats easy....."


Saturday, August 15, 2015

2242 : Dirty laundry

Its probably just me and my dirty I am walking through a complex today, I come across a door, with a title board attached calling it the"shafting area". (Assume this was related to plumbing or electrical equipment).

Had a good laugh. Really good one. 

2241 : The memory of water

From where he stood, he could see her.

She was across the small water tank - almost the size of a 20*20 swimming pool - more like a giant bath tub really.

She stood there, totally demure and totally self involved.

A young girl was with her, presumably her daughter or niece or an acquaintance. She was talking to the young girl, not really looking up to see the few faces which were around the pool.

At some point, she made a tiny paper boat and she set it afloat on the pool. The slight wind was blowing from behind her. She continued making a few more boats and setting them afloat.

The boat(s) were trudging along - pushed by the drift in the air.

He oscillated between gazing at her and gazing at the army of boats riding towards him.

In his head, this was metaphorically the messages she was sending to him - him who was a complete stranger to her. Yet he believed he knew her intimately, as if something in her had a connection - some resemblance, some trait that he could not place completely.

As he watched the boats, the leader of the pack was approaching his end of the pool. A bend in the water (due to a broken tile) caused the boat to tilt over a bit. It was about to capsize, he reached out and steadied its course.

When he looked up again, he could see her staring at him with a fixed long stare. He was unsure of whether she felt transgressed, whether she felt angry, or whether she felt obliged that he had saved the day.....her gaze was fixed.

He tried to peer into her eyes. She immediately looked down again. She collected herself and then followed the young girl who was by now chasing something distractedly.

Not a single word was spoken. No signs were made. Boats reached his shore from her. She was now going away.

He wanted to say "wait", and yet his lips did not move, and everything in the universe had frozen.

What could not have been possible had he gotten a chance to speak to her. She was now part of his imagined possibilities.

She was gone now. Some of the boats were still afloat.

....and the memory still remains.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2240 : Don't leave me from Conversations

I have posted on this song multiple times. This composition is from L Sub's and Stephen Graphelli's path breaking album called Conversations (which should be around a 1987 release date or earlier...web says 2013....thats patently wrong....I remember have the tape of this one in 1987).....gosh there I said it I have heard this album for 18 whole years. Thank you L Sub and Stephen...take a bow....!!!

As I was hearing the massively addictive title called "Don't leave me" from the album( its the very first song)....I realized that every single time I have spoken about this song I have used the world dueling.

And today - as I heard it first thing in the morning, an insight occurred to me - it is indeed a war within the song.

Somewhere around the center of the piece for about 50 seconds, the violins actually talk. And bloody how ........ (this is my fav section of the piece, I can hear just this piece on repeat for a few hours).....

Both violins take turns in becoming more louder than the other. At least at two distinct points, one of the violins starts playing before the other has stopped - almost out of turn. There are distinct notes, where you can almost feel one of the violins dying off abruptly, as if it did not have the energy to even complete the quarter note it was voicing. And yet in another note, you can hear one violin gasp, and in another poignant part, the other one violently sighs, and in another haunting part, one of the violin just gives up, loses steam - going just dead silent. For the entire 50 seconds, neither of the violins relent....gradually gnawing at each other, till both of them have moved so far away, so distanced from each other's notes....that the only way is to move to start playing the solo end notes, at least a few notes of these on completely different scales.

Sounds eerily familiar? A conversation like that can only end with a beseech "Don't leave me...".


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2239 : The boat that capsized the river

As she took the steps into the boat, the old boatman helped her onboard. She was in the town after many years. This had been her playground. This river knew all her early stories, her secrets were fashioned here.

She remembered seeing the boatman as a youngster, but did not believe he would remember her. As he had helped her onboard, he had smiled genially at her, and she could not guess if this was because he had recognized her, or because he was just being the kind soul that this river had transformed him into.

She sat facing him, alone. On this old ragged wooden boat, she looked like a lone princess out on a war.

She looked periodically into the water, all along the shore, and sometimes at the base of the boat. She rarely allowed her eyes to gaze onto the boatman.

Minutes had passed and as she was staring deep into the city that lined its shores, the boatman abruptly said "If he is not right for you, remember you still chose him. You have to be okay with the consequences of your actions."

She looked up, broken from her reverie. She was unsure he had spoken to her.

"You chose him right?".

"What are you talking about?"

"About you. Are you not thinking about him?"


"The one you chose, him."

She said indignantly, "How do you know anything about me?".

"I don't know anything at all. You are staring into the river and the water is reflecting your soul off. I can read off the reflection. I learned this early when I was a teenager. My father taught me."

"Really, are you serious?"

He ignored that question, and added "What about him bothers you?"

"I am driving him onto the road to hell."

"And he? Does he drive you mad too?"

"Yes, he is cramping my space."

"And what about this other Him? Does He give you the peace you need?"

She appeared jostled, disturbed, as if her inner sanctum had been violated. "How do you know that?"

"The river tells me that again. You are being forced to choose between a life that your planets chose, and a life that the stars divined."

"Between the planets and stars, who shall win?"

"The planets are currently drowning. As I am rowing, the oars are cutting across the water surface. With every cut, the very depression which is being created, that is gobbling up the planets one inch by one inch."

"And the stars?"

"Every tear into your eye, is catching the light. That is birthing the stars. The wind is giving life to the stars, blowing them off your eyes into the river. The river is loving the stars, they are its foster children."

"That is poetic.", she said and she braved a tiny smile.

"No its not poetry. Its true. I am 71, and I know this river like I know my mother's bosom. She can quite literally eat up planets and birth stars." He added with a smile, "We already know - She can also reflect the soul."

Her brave tiny smile continued, and she asked "So, between Him and him - who shall win?"

He looked at her and told her "Neither." and with a long pause added "You will win."


"Yes. As long as you not blind. One day He shall come calling, embrace Him for what the greatness He brings out within you. And on the day he shall dial out, cremate his memories."

"What if He never comes calling?"

"He will. The river tells me He will. Just make sure you make Him smile. He needs to feel that."

"And what if I cant cremate the 'him'? What if his bones refuse to die?"

"If he is stubborn, and his bones refuse to succumb to the embers....get his remains to me. I will offer him to my mother, her water will drown him."

"And I?"

"You will live. You will live because life emerges out of you. You dont know this, but He was born out of the very you. You dont remember, but you implicitly chose Him when he was in your womb. Remember you are the only one who can make Him laugh. Knowing that secret, He can never make you cry."

And then with a pause the boatman added " I have rowed through this river for the last 65 years. Its taken me my lifetime to know a simple secret - its the river that is constantly moving. The boat and me, I am rowing to just stay still. You are the river's daughter. Keep moving, let the world of Him and him row just to keep up with you. "

2238 : Have you ever seen the rain?

Picture this.
I am at Malad today driving at around 4, and its pouring as if the heavens had a leaky shower. Visibility is low and all cars are driving very slow with the "hazard" light on.

As I am driving and reaching the inorbit signal....the road is completely devoid of 2 wheelers and individuals...its just cars.

And in my slow pace (probably less than 20km) I see this tall girl (really tall by Indian median standards, she should be around 6ft) walk past.

She is wearing blue pair of jeans, a black short sleeved t-shirt and has long flowing hair. She is walking across without an umbrella, and the effect she has is magical at least on me (and not really because she is stunning).....but because she is such an unexpected aberration. She is almost surreal. Walking past without any protection, drenched in this really pouring rain, totally oblivious to us and the whole world. She just seemed focus on her life as she walked past. Almost like a buddha in the modern world.

What gives some people such a level of un-self-conscious-ness....almost a sense of being so sure of themselves that it makes others pause and it made me wonder, do we even need umbrellas? Why?

This was beauty. This is greatness. She had shown that to me, to anyone else who could see.

The world never ceases to show me a door when I am most desolate. Thank you uncle universe.

Monday, August 10, 2015

2237 : House speaking

At the same airport, I am near gate number 39, and the janitor's manager come around to check at the loo. I think he means to come to the entrance of the loo and scream "house keeping" "house keeping" to get both sets of cleaners out.....instead what he screams distinctly sounds to me as "house speaking", "house speaking".....

I had a good laugh on that one :-)

Saturday, August 08, 2015

2236 : 3 is my lucky number

Picture this.

We are at the Delhi airport T3 terminal. With a group of colleagues, we enter Guardian to buy medicines.

As we pick up necessary supplies and stand in the queue, the person ahead of us is having this conversation.

"Don't have a pack of 3 kya?".

We look and we figure he is angling for a pack of condoms. The clerk looks at him straight in the eye and says "Sir, I only have a 10 pack in Durex."

"Any other brand, any other flavor, do you have 3 in any of that?".

"No sir, I have only pack of 10s."

"Ok. Thanks", he said that walked out of the shop.

We start our billing, and as we are proceeding, about 40 seconds later, the same client walks in again and approaches the clerk who is billing for us, "Please check na, are you sure you have no 3 packs at all?"

"No sir, I am really sure, I dont have a 3 pack in any brand."

The guy is sullen and walks out dejected.

Coming out of the shop, us colleagues, had a good laugh about this fixation with 3. But seriously I did ponder quite a bit later, for someone who is desperate enough to pick up a pack of condoms at the airport, why would you want to buy only 3, and not 10. Think, this is a bit a like a Zen Koan, I really cant explain it, no matter how hard I think about it. Nothing seems to add up. Definitely cant be the cost, or any other mundane operational matter.

So what was it? Would you have such a request? Can you rationalize this? Write to me if you can. Truly a lateral puzzle.

2235 : Love and longing

(contd. from my previous post)

The other day I was talking to her and asked her, how long does it take to get the correct pitch on the tanpura. She said usually a few hours, but sometimes longer.

I asked her, "And you still strive for it?"

"Yes the perfect pitch and the precise note are both a longing. You can never satisfy your soul on that ever."

I asked again, "And you still strive for it?"

"That I still want it is love. My story is one of unrequited love and lifelong longing.", she answered cryptically and walked away.

2234 : Tanpura

My sister was chasing me up saying she needs to find time to go and pick up a Tanpura. I always knew she had a keen interest in music, but this request will still a little too serious for her types.

I asked her "Tanpura? Serious kya?. Now whats up?".

She said, "I am finally getting serious about my classical stuff."

"You know right that it is usually tuned to G# in case its being used by a girl."

"Of course, duffer, I obviously know that."

"How long does it take it learn a composition or a raga well?"

"Usually a lifetime."

"And? You have a lifetime?"

"Yes. I am willing to die learning this. I have finally decided."


"Remember good music is a bit like us. If we decide to stop seeing the notes embedded in our conversations, or if we decide to stop improvising with each other, then our relationship dies even before the Alaap starts. But if we really see another human being, for what he or she really is, and we wish to get into their skin, we can spend a lifetime, but it will never be enough to get under the skin. A good composition is like that, you can never get into its skin enough. Never is enough. Everytime you involve yourself into it, its yet another layer that emerges."

"Thats deep."

"It is. And hence music is a real metaphor for our lives. I think of you and I or all our relationships, a bit like music."

And then she added with a pause, "Also remember that sometimes when you plateau with a piece, the best way to conquer it, or befriend it, is to let it sleep and seep. Let it go from within your psyche. Just like human beings, a raga can never be owned or conquered by trying harder. The best way to win over a raga is to let it free. Let it go. At least for a good period of time. Sometimes for years. And then one day, when you least expect it, it will come back, like a lover who has chosen you again...and on that day, it will be sublimely divine."

And further more she added, this time with a chuckle "And how often we forget this na. With our spouses, with our parents, with our children and even with our friends.....we dont let them fly, in the optimistic hope, that clutching onto them will keep the strings alive....and reality is so bloody counter-intutive..... Invariably the raga never comes in our grasp. Its a life half lived, its a raga that was stillborn."

Take a bow my dear sister. There is truth in your words.

Friday, August 07, 2015

2233 : The fire eater

She was grinning cheek to cheek, as if she had just goofily walked into a potluck. He noticed and asked her, "Whats with that edge to the edge brimming pearlies?. Lost your marbles kya?".

She looked at him, and with a very serious look, said "I have eaten fire today.". With that she paused.

"And?" he asked.

"It tastes like life. It feels like exactly the taste that I have always wanted, but I have always missed."

"How do you eat fire?"

"You can eat fire. You drop your tongue into fire and let it roll around. Roll the heat onto yourself. The fire will either singe your soul, or it shall be dimmed by your saliva."

"And in your case it?"

"Singed my soul. Felt great, my soul flew off a wing and a prayer."

"Really? I have never tasted fire, I have drank a few flamers and that the closest I have ever come to eating fire, if that is possible at all."

"Let me tell you a secret. Like cold water on a winter morning, after the first 10 seconds the body gets used to the shower....just like that, once you taste fire for a few seconds, you want to flirt with a little more. A slow growing obsession. Its very compelling."


"Yes. I mean it. Fire eating is - actually at - The edge of reason. The wedge of treason. The ledge of the season."

With that she goofily smiled again and walked away chirpily. Leaving him to sort out the metaphor.

Friday, July 31, 2015

2232 : Prayer for the living

He was greeted by a very morose her. He nudged and asked her, "whats up, no action kya?" with a twinkle in his eye, "or terrible action", and now he had a sardonic grin.

She did not pick that gamibt, as she would have usually have done. She looked up, and yet did not make eye contact. She said with a seriousness, that was unusual in her air, "I am in mourning."

"Really?", he adjusted his tone to match the gravity of her pronouncement. "What happened?".


"Are parents ok? Friend? Who?"


"Where? Here or Goa?"



"Family. More than one. Deaths not death."

"What happened? Did you go and meet them? Can I drive you?"

"I can't go and meet them. But I loved them like they were part of me, and they were indeed within me. They will remain within me all throughout."

"Looks like you were very close to them. Why cant you go? Family politics kya?"


"Then?. You tho said here in Mumbai, then why cant you drive there?"


"Then? What?"

After a long wistful pause, she said "I am solely responsible for their death, and hence I cannot go to meet them. In a crime of violence, I brutally murdered them all yesterday night. I can't face their living residues now. Can never again see them in the eye."

2231 : Born to run

Don't ever let me run away. Because thats all what I have done all my life. Spring away from the charade, run from the very story that defines me.

Hold me, stop me, if I don't yield in time, I will in all probability gather escape velocity, I will be gone. I will go with my failings, my tribulations, my own well fashioned rationalizations, all the way along with the infinite river of excuses I have always made up.

You were talking to me the other day, you asked me, "Why would you head off to that goddamned familiar city?". 

I remember telling you, "A city is never just its houses, buildings, roads and cartographer. There is a large part of 'that city' in my head. And 'that city' is where I am running head first into. I want to smell its spices, the turmeric, the cinnamon and all the rest that define it. I want to traverse that journey today, now."

My answer was nothing but a smart quip. Barricade me up. Contrary to what you believe, I really don't have a secret lover stashed in 'that city', I have nothing, and absolutely nothing if I don't have you. You are the poem called me. And yet, I am distancing myself from you.

I have flirted with this insanity all my life. Don't allow me to proceed towards sanity. That will kill all the remaining life within me. 

Let me share a secret, my cancer will never kill me. My feet will get my goose before C does.

Don't let me drift please. I don't want to run, I want to walk. With you.

2230 : Indian express

I liked this brave new ad from Indian Express about its own brand. Lovely.  Typed below for your benefit.

Does news always
have to be breaking?

When a child falls into an uncovered borewell, 
it can't be breaking news. Its heart breaking news.

When a nation of a billion people fails to 
bring back a single gold medal from the Olympic Games, 
it's disappointing news.

When a developing country put a spacecraft in the Martian orbit, 
it's hopeful news.

A newspaper is about pursuing news.
Getting to the bottom of if. Making sense of it.

It is about answering every question. Questioning every answer.
And, having it served as the breakfast as infuriating news, 
moving news, eye-opening news, reassuring news, or shaking news.

Its never just about breaking news.
Its about breaking news down.

Brilliant copy.

2229 : Dont leave me....

I just switched my music system, which had been playing the violin playlist yesterday night...I depress "play".

And guess which song wafts in,

"Don't Leave Me" by L Subramanian and Stephen Graphelli, from their pathbreaking album Conservations.

Its two violins dueling and talking to each other, like no other conversation can ever be. Its intense, passionate and definitely feels like one of them is trying to stop the leaving other.

What is the universe trying to do? Play mind games with me kya?

Seriously, what the freak has happening?

(In a further freaky coincidence, I saw L Sub and Kavita Krishnamurthy, with their daughter at the airport yesterday. I had the pleasure of seeing them for over 5 mins, as they eventually travelled out in their family Ertiga).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2228 : Unfinished symphony

She met him in the morning, and said in her usual acerbic tone, "What happened, fker, where have you been laying your eggs?".

"I was working on a poem yesterday night", he said with as much dignity as he could muster.

She looked at her strips of bacon and eggs, and said "Can I have the pleasure of that bloody word clusterfuck added onto my breakfast?"

"Its incomplete."

"Really, thats a pity. Can I read the draft?", she said as she fawned.

"Better still, you can help me finish it?"

"Me. Really? How?"

"I need your honest answer."

"To what?"

He smiled his usual cryptic flash, and said "The question does not matter. The answer is either a yes or a no. Choose one na please?"

"Really? And that one word answer to a question which I don't know will help you finish your poem? Who amongst us lives in an asylum?"

He looked straight through, almost ignoring her dig and said "Answer please?".

"Fker, how can I answer. If I answer 'yes', and your question becomes 'Am I not the father of my son?'...then we have a certified a-grade bastard amongst us."

And she continued with a pause, "....and if I answer 'no', and the question becomes, 'Will we last another 20 years of tolerating each other?', then I am doomed to be a lonely old nag-oba of a woman. I dont like answering without the question. Dont like it at all. Very unfair.". She quivered with a facetious smile and snigger.

He persisted, "Answer bugger".

She said "Ok if you insist, then it is 'YES'.......since I said yes to you some 20 years ago, I have never had a reason to look back, so assume 'YES' is the way to go, like Jim Carrey found to his utter dismay."...and she laughed hard at their private joke.

Just then, the music changed tracks and Noor Jehan's Lat Uljhe Suljha Jaa Balam came over, and she asked "I love this. Remind me who has sung this."

He said "Noor Jehan. I know you like this, and I also remember you don't care for this Raga shit, but its Bihag."

She closed her eyes, soaked in the waft, and after a long pregnant pause said "Can you please help me complete my breakfast, poem please?"

He handed over a strip of handwritten words, and said the last "empty blank, needs to be substituted with your answer."

In her hands, she now had a full handwrriten poem. Which she proceeded to read slowly.

The princess woke up on another bright shiny day,
Coffee done, she decided to walk her healthy way.

Circles in her favorite urban park,
Round and round, though in reality it was a plain simple arc.

As she spiritedly walked and let the freshness in,
Every cell cried, "this smells like happiness" from within.

Passing by the large entry porch, the ledge which redundantly said "Enter",
She saw something - a big froggy toad at the path's very center.

In her stupid optimism, she said this is my one chance,
I am going to kiss the possible prince, and made her advance.

She picked up and kissed the slimy little black thing,
The little bugger flew right off her hand, as if on a wing.

Startled, she retreated and jumped backward from the trip,
She found herself crashing against a fellow jogger's hip.

The jogger lost balance and fell off the trail,
Years later, they would joke - she was heavy, and he was a little frail.

As she picked him up and nursed him back to his feet,
On cue - the love song had started, perfectly paced on a 5/4 beat.

One thing led to another, coffee lead to talk, talk led to a bind,
Till today, they would never fail to reminisce and rewind,

They found they shared a love for many things, including a few board games,
One of them involved 64 squares, and an army of 32 with some quaint names.

On the day of his red letter, he had finally asked her, if she would choose him,
She had pondered and said she was tentatively positive, but to seal he needed to satisfy her one real whim.

Hearing that - he had offered her the world, the ocean and his heart without any mask,
All she had to do, was to formulate her wish in the form of a tangible ask,

"Till we are together, will you promise to let me win at least once every day in the game of chess",
"Always and forever, my dear sweetheart, my answer is a loud resounding  ___________".

She read this poem, blinked at him with a strange loving look and then asked "fker, chess rhymes with yes, and this is metered poem. You needed me to answer YES......Wonder what would have happened to this poem, if I had answered NO, instead ?".

He nonchalantly picked up a random buttered toast from her plate, chomped on a piece, and then held her left hand, exactly as he had once done 20 years ago, and then said "If you had answered NO, then there would be no princess, no frog, no poet, no chess and no incomplete poem. This incomplete poem would  not be able to breathe. My world would completely cease to exist."

He looked her deep in the eye and then with purpose, he proceeded to plant a tiny kiss on her hand, and then quickly shifted focus on  the piece buttered toast in his other hand, chugging off another loud bite.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2227 : King of Pain

My mind is incessantly singing,

"There is a little black spot in the sun today,
Its the same old thing as yesterday...."

Sting's na?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2226 : Olympus OM1

Speaking of material desires, the other thing I used to lust for, but no longer is camera and gear. I do have a keen interest in photography still.

I have always wanted to lay my hands on a working Olympus OM1. Guess what someone at work, has one and he agreed to loan it to me.

Pity it is fungus infested. The film is not too difficult to get, wonder about cleaning the fungus though.

Itching to get started though.

The day I laid my hands on this, I was beaming like a pig.

2225 : 7 parts of desire and the 40 thieves

I don't have too many material desires left in this world. As in if I probably made 200k USD I would not know what to do with it. Except....of course....I would buy a Beemer.

Today as I was reaching work, my eyes catch this beige Beemer, which I know is a 7 series, but looks unusual. I slow down, allow the car to overtake me. Its a brand new BMW, and its a 7 series (thank heavens, I know my patterns) and bloody it is a 740Ld (a  model that I did not even know is launched in India).

I paused, almost catcalled (whistled), almost sighed and soaked the sight in. The car looks like a feline out on a hunt.

Its something I want to drive before I die. I know I probably will never own one, but I definitely want to drive it once. 750Ld even better :-) (Add this to the list with Ferrari 458, CLA 45 AMG....sigh!!).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2224 : When the world ends

Years ago, he remembered, she had met him at the hangout cafe. He was deeply engrossed writing into the laptop.

As she tapped him, she nonchalantly asked, "What are you writing now, my dear poet saheb?".

"Not really something you would enjoy. A love song."

"Really kya?"

"Yes. For a friend of mine who is going to perform at the underground tonight."

"Sad love song, happy love song?"

"A song about longing and loss."

"Nice. Very nice. Am I part of it?"

"WTF. What does that mean", he asked with a fake vex in his voice.

"Arrey, am I part of it?"

"Why should you be part of this, or any love song. You don't even like love songs."

"This one I must be part of though."

"And pray why?".

"I am dying. I might not live till tomorrow. As I die tomorrow, I shall be peaceful that at least I am part of a single love song in this world. One, which shall hopefully play and keep travelling through eternity - once your friend performs it. You know right that sound keep travelling till it reaches the end of the universe, and it never will, since the universe is expanding faster than the speed of sound...."

He chuckled, "So you have a date with death tomo kya?".

"Yes. You too. The world is going to end at 9:03am tomorrow morning."

With that line, she took a deep pause and then began humming to a base chord
"When the world ends, you will be all mine.
When the world ends, I shall be very fine....
....knowing that....
....When the world ends, my name will be on your love rhyme."

2223 : The Corporate Clusterf*ck Event

Here is my version of how Clusterfk will work in the corporate world, and actually here how it works in our everyday world.

Put a bunch of wannabes (both sexes) into the a giant ring. Provide them with a blackberry, beer or cola on the house, any stale rubbery pizza - and in any order :-)

The rules are like this
1) Anyone can fk anyone.
2) Multiple people can fk one at the same time or vice versa.
3) Its an orgy so all kinds of deviant and kink are allowed - bloody its a diverse organization and respects diversity.
4) Fking continues till the person dies or gives up.
5) At this point, the folks who are still going haul him or her up and throw them out of the ring.
6) With one less wannabe the game continues.
7) This fk fest continues in this fashion, till only one person is left in the ring.
8) At this point, she or he is the only one who could last.

You end the game by announcing this person as the fk master or fk mistress.

Le regina(roi) est more, vive le regina(roi) !!

2222 : Lord Nelson, take a bow :-)

Hee haw :-)

2221 : Of the little things that really matter

Picture this.

Was at work the other day, and evening time, was between calls with North America. I was tired and I had to rush in to pee before another call.

And you should know how men’s pee rooms are. Straight cubicles separated pee pots outside about 3-5 of them  and the actual potty seats themselves.

So two guys are standing, doing what they should most likely do in the washroom peeing.

Both staring intently down at their job on hand(no puns intended....and I don’t notice them up until they begin to speak at which point I look at them and then eventually crack on).

So picture this again. Two guys looking down at the job. One asking the other

“so how is the little one doing?”

“great. Beginning to now shoot well. Really well. Needs some more practice, but will soon be at state level. At that level it does get very tough and hard though.”

By this point, I was cracking up like a pig. I am not making this up, it really happened. 

Context (or out of it) is bloody everything.

2220 : D:Ream Things can only get better

I heard this song in the early 90s if my memory serves me right. I have this crazy personal rule, I will let the anachronism prevail, and wont verify this out on google, unless it was life and death.

I liked their name D:Ream, and I loved the song - Things can only get better.

Had a strong bassy undertone to it. And the voice was like a digital reverbeat.

Things can only get better, when I am with you...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

2219 : Remember the time

She told him, "Remember you once promised to recite me a poem every night. Tonight is the night".

He smiled and said, "We are both 65 now. I told you that when I was trying to woo you. We were both teenagers in college then. Today all my poems have long abandoned me."

She said, "Fker, dont you lie to me?" and with a wicked grin added "I know you still write some love shove wala poems.".

" go through my personal notes is it? Love tho I definitely don't write. Shove yes, sometimes the thought still crossed my mind",  he naughtily said that, and then he pecked her gently on her head.

"Fker, do you really think I will ever see your notes? Ever?"...she said with a fake indignation.

"Ok, I will narrate to you a small poem. Does size really matter?".

"It always did, and always will", she said with an evil grin, "but today we shall accommodate the small ones", she said heavily accentuating the 'accommodate'.

He said laughing, "Lady, we are both into our final years. Looks like our minds are still young na?"

"Focus idiot. Poem please.", she said stopping him with a hand.

"Ok listen."

"Go on."

"Once many moons ago, I tried to write one night. It was meant to be a poem. A poem very close and dear to my heart. I was using an old Mont Blanc to write on a set of unruled papers. I wrote a few words. Writers block kicked in. I read a few mins later. Trashed the whole thing. Started the poem all over again. I wrote again. Again I disliked parts of it. Trashed and started again. With every iteration the poem was eventually though,almost the same, give and take a few words. I could never ever honestly say that #35 was substantially better than #30 as an example. It was just another version.
Finally I was tired, and I wanted to stop writing. But a part of me said, I should write - I should finish this today. I finished it at #41. If I had written another version I would have discovered the meaning of life" he said and he guffawed at his joke.

She said "#41 versions of a poem, is that the one you are going to recite now?"

"Yes and no."

"And that means?"

"It is just a poem in a few words. I told you it was short. So nothing much to recite."

She was piqued and irritated and said, "Please.... else I shall sleep without the poem. At 65 you are killing me my love. In 49 years not a thing has changed about your habit to procrastinate and buy time. Chalo speak."

"You. Me. Us. Yes. No. Still. Alive. Then. Today. Tomorrow." he said each of these words, with long pauses between each of the words, and he walked upto her, pecked her with a lot of love and then with another long pause he finally added "One.".

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2218 : The Endgame

She and I were playing a game of chess. 16 moves (each) into the game I had far advanced into her territory (I do play very aggressive), but most importantly overall she was 2 pawns up....which means as a net square off, I was 2 pawns more down than she was. All other losses were commensurate on either side.

She probably thought just I did, and knew that in a mid-game , the 2 pawns would be the entire game - both in terms of psychological advantage, also in terms of what risks we could now take from here on.

She had also castled already, versus my king was bare naked in his romp zone. The dice were loaded against me.

We had been quite this far, and it had hardly taken us 10 mins to reach this point (yes we play speed chess), and she said "Jerk, you play to lose kya?".

I smiled, "Lady, midgame has just started, lets wait and watch. As an aside though, I always play to win." I said with as serious a face I could muster.

"And this is how you play to win? Is this some famed Sicilian defense or Scottish attack or Somalian setup? What is this?" - she said full of facetious disbelief.

"Look its a game. I made some mistakes and am paying the price for it."

"Ah, so you made some mistakes. Fking male ego, jerk, I killed those two additional pigs who were loitering around. BTW, thats the tasties pork I have ever eaten. My stomach, my mind and my soul - all are satiated.", she said with an evil grin.

"Ok, you cornered my pawns. Agreed, but it was you who set it up. But it was my sheer stupidity that I failed to see your gambit".

"That I agree, the 'sheer stupidity' bit. You are loaded with it. You seem to have accumulated tons of jackshit within your insides.". I could see she was having a ball.

"There is an eternal dilemma around chess that I have never been able to resolve. Or for that matter golf too."

"And that is?"

"Look, if this is indeed a game, then its just a game. Why are we investing so much mind and space into this. On the other hand, if chess is indeed the war it is supposed to be...then I will only play to win. You can never ever afford to lose a war. In olden times, and even today, if you lose a war, you are kosher, you are kaput, you are the cheese at the end of a pineapple laden toothpick."

"Wah wah...poet saheb, you do speak like a good poet, but a terrible chess player."

"Seriously. Think na. This war...if it is truly metaphorically worth winning, then I cannot afford to lose cant be that some days I can come in and be ok losing. I should never ever be ok losing...and I should not even have that option....even if I am playing with Kasparov or Anand....but on the other if this just a game....then fk it. Why are we killing ourselves ? Too much mindspace over it. Like as an example, you are gloating over an advantage in a specific game, which in 10 days even you would not remember anything about."

"Bloody fker, can you stop philosophizing ever? Cant you even play chess without meditating on it?".

"Thats my point....if this is not worth philosophizing, then its also not worth gloating over....and if it is indeed worth the 2 pawn advantage you have, then bloody hell...its a war, and I will die before I let you win."

"Is that a threat?"

Finally I smiled. "Yes sort of."

"Fker. Bad loser". She smiled as she said that.

"Listen one more thing. This is the weird game/war. And it suits a bloody feminist like you."

"Equalist, not a feminist..."

"Whatever...." I said with a fake nonchalance....."The King is naked in and outside the castle. Can move one step at a time. The Queen on the other hand is free to do whatever she wants to. She can fk around, sleep around, kiss around and even replicate herself.....and if she dies the sentiment dies. Usually does. "

"Ha ha. Good point".

"This game was invented by the bees, maybe."

"Check. Now play. Else I shall sting"....she said with a waspy note.

2217 : Will a terrible beauty be born (personal greatness and the quest of it)

Greatness by its definition is slightly uncommon, its the ability of the human spirit (and rarely ever the body) to rise above the plebeian. We could define and debate this endlessly, but never will we find greatness in the lumpen and the plebeian.

What moves us is usually the extraordinary, because it far far outshines the regular ordinary.

I was having this chat with a dear friend of mine, and invariably we veered towards this topic. For folks who know me, know that "dharma", "meaning", "purpose" and "personal greatness"  are some of the ever pervasive topics in my everyday conversations. I am never more than 60 seconds away from jumping into these abstract and "personal" topics.

The reason I call these topics "personal" is because for all of this, and more - what the individual wants to achieve or define - means far more and possibly the "only" thing that is worth aspiring for.

Unfortunately I am a complete sucker for these topics, and not because I have achieved super stardom in any of them. Infact to the contrary its the reverse, I hope to debate and learn from other experiences - and feed into my very own weak definition around these themes.

As I spoke to my friend, I realized that I was killing her, and something that meant a lot to her using my regular diatribe.

For the little residual goodness that is still left in me and harbors on my left side :-) I decided to take a step back and define this topic at least to a point, where I present to her my debate in some reasonable rational way.

So what is greatness?
Like I defined above usually it is uncommon, and is above the plebeian. The other way to look at it, is anything that requires our spirit to soar requires us to abandon compromises, kill charades and choose/find wisdom over established ideas. That process is daunting to even the most resilient of us, it gets even more daunting to know that at the end of this long road, you could be staring down a graveyard of losses. Even the most strong willed amongst us can be deterred by that simple thought.

What is personal greatness?
You define the baseline, you define how high you want to jump and keep constantly re-marking your zenith(s). That to me is my definition of personal greatness. Usually factors in all known constraints, weaknesses, fallacies, charades and compromises. You achieve this inspite of the above, rather than because of it.
No one needs to vet it, no one needs to agree to it, and no one ever can disagree with your vision - as long as your vision is what your best is, and as long as it gives you a complete sense of achievement and more so as long as you can better this baseline in the years to come.

Why is (personal) greatness (or any) so hard?
Like I said before, choosing differently is hard. Breaking charades is hard. Saying things what you mean, when you mean it - will most probably get you classified as "crazy" and "antisocial". Breaking charades, will make you a villain. Aiming in isolation will make you a "nut" and....all of this is very very hard.

And yet personal greatness has absolutes....
As an example - anyone who chooses to buy a honda accord 2.4 (in itself a great fantastic car) over a vento 7 speed DSG TDI engine (a remarkable phenomenal car) is choosing with compromises.
One (accord) is bigger and better on the ego. Most in the world would choose it. Most would choose to say the vento is non-pragmatic, but in reality, its a fab piece of german engineering, slightly smaller, but at about 25% lesser price, it delivers the best the world can offer at that price.

Anyone choosing the accord is compromising on greatness, and that is clear as spring water. We can debate and customize the definition to death, but it is what it is.

Can you buy/muscle into greatness?
Yes. You can buy a BMW 5/7 whatever series, you can choose a Mont Blanc, you can also choose a Tag Heuer Tourbillion or better a Bregeut....and its the price you pay for greatness in the world. Especially in the material world. Spiritual or creative greatness, cannot be bought, but instead requires huge amount of inner focus.
Is it wonder that a generation focussed on clicks and societal acceptance, cannot even understand what the fuss about creative greatness is?

John Galt and Roark (two heroes from Rand's novels) exemplify personal greatness. Roark especially chooses to constantly avoid falling into the trap of "acceptance" or "definition" which the world around imposes on him.

Why is this(greatness) very hard to define/find?
By its definition, it is off the beaten path. Whenever you try and define it, you automatically crave for acceptance. If we agree (maybe condescendingly) that almost 99 out of 100 - will never know/agree or possible repress the desire to seek their personal greatness, then essentially we are also saying that now we shall go back and seek acceptance for our greatness from a world around us that is behaving like a swarm of ostriches.

Even modern examples like Steve Jobs, the poetry of Tomas Transtomer, the genius of Picasso - all point to a single direction - they took a path which not just initially, but for some even later, did not offer any acceptance.

Acceptance by its very nature, is possible a good indicator that you have compromised too much, you have veered too far away from what matters. Its not a rule, but a good indicator.

Is it worth fighting for?
Yes, arguably its the only thing worth fighting for - because within it is contained meaning, purpose and dharma.

Then why don't enough not aspire for it?
In my personal cynical view - a world full of people keeping themselves busy is not in search of a destination, its search of a journey...actually more and more, its in search of company during a journey, they don't even care which journey. For all they know it could be a treadmill to nowhere, but here.

The games we play, keep us busy enough to believe, that someday magically the world will reveal itself. My own experience has taught me that the reverse if actually true. The more we play, the more entrenched we get - the more we are blinded by our artificial contexts.

To achieve even the definition of greatness, the first thing we need to do is stop playing the game. That is why even the greatest of masters (Leonard Cohen as an example, or Jobs as even a better one) craved for solitude, personal space and at times complete withdrawal from the world.

solitude is a sure catalyst to find your inner strength, and as they say in modern times, your true north.

I think I did kill my friend a bit today. Some day I hope she sees that my intention was not to murder, or to bias (proselyte) her, or to tell her my view is correct. My intention was to show her the mirror and tell her - the mirror only shows you yourself. What is hidden behind you only reveals itself when the mirror cracks or is intentionally broken.
Break it my dear friend. Some blood on your hands wont hurt.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

2216 : Of imagined memories

I met an old friend of mine recently, and the first thing she told me, "Discovered time travel kya?"...and I asked her why.

"You look so much more older, as if you aged 10 years in a span of 2. Went to a planet with 5 times our gravity kya?"...she said mischievously.

Our love of theoretical physics was common and had kept us in good stead in the past.

I just shrugged in response, and flirted with her "You look hotter than ever PYT. You spent time on the moon kya?"

We both laughed like pigs and then she said "I read your blogs, you are such an incurable romantic. Bloody you wrote some shady seedy poetry in college, your current writing is fab, but is so cryptic and so full of memories. Are all of these real? WhoTF are you writing about?".

Like the old times, I smiled and I told her "I am writing about someone who is inside of me. She needs an escape, I need to let her go else she will eat my insides."

And she laughing said, "She huh, a she-devil, a demonness, is always more difficult to deal with than a demon. Females are more sophisticated at delivering pain."

"I will either let her escape, or I will slaughter her."

"Nice. The poet who kills. And the memories? Did this all happen?".

"Remember Super Mario Brothers. Remember the song 'Almost unreal'. I come from a land where I can almost remember. I can remember events which never happened. I can live in an era and time which was only meant to be. I can smell a smell, breath a whiff, and drink a puff of items which never lived. And I can drive all of this in my imagination." I said with a cryptic waspy tone.

She looked at me equally quizically and asked me "Did you really meet me today? Did this conversation really happen? Are we really talking? Do I exist only in the land of imagined memories."

2215 : Enjoy the silence

Two years is a long hiatus to meet somebody after. The years can kill the shared context, it can silence the sounds, it can add miles and eons in the interim, and it can add boundaries where none existed.

They were meeting in her city. She snaked into his hand, and said "Lets walk".

For the next few hours, they walked along the familiar city, hand in hand, the snakes hardly ever disengaging. The city seemed bizarrely alien though, no longer did it seem like the city she grew up in. No longer did it remind them of the times they had frolicked in it.

As they walked past the town center, the buzz of the crowds hit him hard. To distract himself, he paused and stared deep and purposefully at her. She was the one who had never liked people...and he found her with her eyes downcast, almost as if, doing that would make sure that the rest of the world did not exist.

The snakes and the two feet ahead of them - that was all that mattered in her world, in that moment.

He pursed a wistful smile and they continued to walk. They passed by an art shop, where an old antique chess board with a game hung in abeyance was placed for window shopping. They both paused near it. He looked at her, in askance if she was ok with a pause, and she just let a hint of a smile escape her lips - indicating that she was fine.

He stared hard at the pieces, and he knew bloody well that black was going to lose now. Yet  he also knew this is how the game would stand forever, until someday someone bought this board up - at which point the game would be abandoned and the pieces would all be dead mid-flight. Fight over. Game over. It would not even be a stale mate. It would be sudden death. And this was not football. He mused and chuckled under his breath - the pieces, who were so engrossed into the battle - did they see this sudden death coming at all.

Involuntarily his clasp around her snaking hand tightened. Had he seen their sudden death coming? Had he not known that one day they would be put back into their boxes, waiting, preparing for the next new game in town?

After a few seconds, they had restarted their silent ministrations. As they crossed the crowded parts of the old city, a downpour had started. They huddled into what looked an old paan shop, that eerily looked familiar.

Why? He wondered? Had they eaten paan here? He had always found paan very metaphorical. It was a poison. You went into a paan shop - the seller gave you paan, and you foolishly would give him your soul and walk away without ever realising it.

Today neither of them was going to even suggest paan. They waited there under the shade, like two age worn lovers holding hands. In the light of the evening, he again stared at her, for the most bits, she was looking down as if she was uncomfortable both with his and the world's gaze. He continued staring, and then he caught her eyes focus on something head high.

She was looking intently at the edge of the shade, which was almost 10 inches away from there. There were water droplets collecting there. All of them pregnant with their own weight. He looked at the point where he thought she was possibly looking at.

There was a bit of deformity on the shade, and through it, a few drops were converging. As they both looked on, two large droplets merged and they became heavier. It was evidently harakiri - a potent suicide. The large drop danced precariously with its own pregnancy, and for a few dangerous seconds, it looked like it might just survive, just about pull it off, and then in a slow languorous move, it broke free - and in the free fall they both saw it land on the ground, disintegrate and escape into a million broken pieces.

This time it was she who tightened the snake. The drop's death was their shared secret. He smiled again.

A few minutes later, the sky ran dry, and they began their walk again.

It must have been a few minutes, before they passed the place where she lived. He paused, and she as if on cue paused too. He finally said what were probably their only words spoken that evening,"This has been very beautiful. The night has descended on this beauty. You must go now".

A wistful hug and peck later she was gone. She did not turn back as she climbed the stairs into her porch.

He waited till he saw the last of her apparition. He closed his eyes and sighed.

Now he unmistakably knew how poetry without a shard of voice sounded like.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

2214 : The rain must fall

To a poet rain is usually a very potent metaphor. To him, it meant all that and a little more. He liked the rain for its tendency to drench, he liked its "wash away" torrent, he liked that it represented the purity (the one that brought things back to pak from napak), he loved its singing sounds, he adored the sizzle, and the looked forward to be singed by its needle.

Today the rain was unusually torrential. The little porch he had was began to flood. The drain at the end of it clogged with dried leaves, and unable to leak just as fast as it was flowing in.

The three steps that led to the porch, were being submerged into the holding area, and what was left was only the one visible step.

He sat down on the highest step, his scraggly feet now under the muddy waters. Muddy waters was another metaphor he had loved all his life, but that was beyond him on a day like today.

He sat under the shade, but could hear and visibly see the water go splattering in the puddle. Loud and on a beat. He tried to figure the beat. He was tone deaf, but it sounded like a 5/4, which means 5 notes were being played within 4 quarter beats, or was it the other way around.

For some reason he felt he had to get his poetry books out. His treasured rare ones, including the Pablo, the Ali, the Gulzar, the Dickinson, the Furia......

He walked back in, and got them out till the porch. He then sat down and began opening his favorite poems, he knew the pages like the back of his hand - as it the books were in braille...he could read them without ever having to see them. He knew the verses in his head, his own personal poems. Each poem had detailed notes scribbled around it. His own notes over years.

One by one, he tore the pages containing his favorite poems. He made little random unshapely boats out of them....very crude and then let them afloat into the muddle near his legs.

The muddle gave the boats a life of their own, and they started zig zagging. Losing shape with the torrent and yet bravely floating.

He stared at them with a solitude and reserve that one usually exhibits during mourning.

In his head a small prayer was beginning to form:
This rain must fall, 
the paper must melt into water, 
the words must dissolve into ether, 
the alchemy of water turning into blood.

The poet's lies had finally caught up with him.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

2213 : What if...

As I wade through today, I realize how many times do I get disturbed by random interferences from the world around me.

Plain old silence and being left alone is such a rare occurrence on days like today.

I so desperately want to wind down. Go silent. Discover the silence within.

My need for silence has become like a mind numbing battle.

2212 : On a day like today...

I wishI had a neighborhood book store or library. I live in Bombay. Neither of these exist in modern Bombay.
Today all I want to do, is sit silently and read. With or without endless cups of chai.

I miss the comfort and caring of a familiar book shop.

I need my fix, and today I have none.

2211 : If

I was reading a book and chanced about the Spartan response "If". I found it metaphorically and poetically very profound.

I could not find this story on the net easily, but found this here. Have cut paste part of the story that is relevant.


---------------------the relevant part-----------------

The Spartans were especially famous for their dry wit, which we now know as "laconic humour" after the region and its people. This can be contrasted with the "Attic salt" or "Attic wit", the refined, poignant, delicate humour of Sparta's rival Athens. In modern parlance, "laconic" is used to describe speech and writing which uses few words and is terse and concise. One famous example comes from the time of the invasion of Philip IIof Macedon. With key Greek city-states in submission, he turned his attention to Sparta and sent a message: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." The Spartans sent back a one word reply: "If". Subsequently, both Philip and Alexander would avoid Sparta entirely.

2210 : There is blood in the water

That day, she had been cleaning the garage when parts of the wall collapsed. The house was old, and it was not completely unexpected.

He had discovered her, in a pool of blood, (was it) minutes later. She had been completely knocked out. He had felt her pulse, and quickly cleared the rubble. He had a choice of waiting for the ambulance, but that would mean another 30 minutes at least. He had a choice between her immense bleeding and further risking damaging her broken bones if any - he had slowly lifted her into the back seat of the car.

He started the car and off they went to the emergency wing of the hospital 20 mins away. Along the way she had moved and mumbled a few times.

He could feel her pain, but her mumbles were strangely reassuring - telling him that she could still feel the pain, and more so, she was still wanting to communicate.

Wheeling her into the emergency, he had seen her gain some consciousness - he had told her "things would be ok. Hang in there." and she conversely had mumbled something back, which he could make little or no sense of.

Hours later the doctors had come out to tell him, that she was actually very ok. Except for a big gnash on her forehead and a deep wound on her shoulder blade (which had been the source of all the blood). They told him he could meet her in about an hr. He had waited outside till they finally told him that he could walk in to meet her.

She saw him and worked out a faint smile. Her forehead and left shoulder were both covered in crepes and plasters. He sat down next to her, and was surprised to see her completely conscious and talking.

She was visibly in pain, but her spirit seemed back. For a few minutes, he held her hand, as she spoke about sweet nothings, about hating being bed ridden.

A few minutes later, she asked him about the accident. He said he had not heard it, but he had discovered her in a pool of blood and had been very worried with the amount of blood he had seen in the garage. He smiled and told her that the car would also need a thorough wash, because the back seat had been drenched with the stench of stale blood.

She smiled weekly - "was the blood indeed quite a lot?" He nodded, "yes, I have seen quite a few accidents in my life, but this one seemed like a real leech.". He added that as he was driving her in, and even wheeling her into the hospital, he had been afraid that the blood loss could have been dangerous. He said he was not too worried about the fractures or other breakages, because he knew time would heal her.

She smiled and said "Thats very weird. You should never worry too much about me bleeding ever."

He looked at her in askance. That was a perplexing statement from her.

She paused, regained some strength and then added with a very poignant smile "I am a conjure artist. I bloody voluntarily bleed every month, and I always know how to recoup from it.".  Having said that - she clasped his hand tight, closed her eyes and rested.