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.

2209 : Of smells and spells

She met him up the porch. This was his first time to the place. She held his hand and helped him navigate through the criss cross much for alliteration.

At one point, she pointed him to a room and said mischievously, "that is the kitchen" and after a long enough pregnant pause added "sometimes that is also used for cooking!!", a faint but unmistakable twinkle in her wink.

As they passed through the home garden into the other side of the home, she finally paused and told him, "fker for the last 10 minutes I have been showing you a tour of this place, does it occur to you that you have not once hugged me yet. We meet after 48 days and all you have to utter to me is a stale fungus infested good morning. Give me some honey, my dear old bear."

He smiled, as he always did and without saying much, he gave her a giant body crush. A few long seconds passed by, their bodies spoke of missing, loving, familiarity and longing. Then as if to break the abrupt silence, she muttered with a fake insolence, "what are you doing? if you are close long enough to me, the body odor can knock you off. Don't inhale. Otherwise like a whale you will begin to blubber."

His neck still ensconced on her shoulder bone, he laughed a loud guffaw. She said loudly "now what?".

He said, "I can smell you clear and fresh?"
"And what do you smell?", her shoulder still allowing his neck to rest.
Extracting himself off her shoulder - he looked at her deep in her eyes.
She said "I used some expensive sandalwood bubble soap, bloody at least for that reason alone...don't spoil it for me.", a fake anger now bubbling up.
He still smiled his facetious smile. She said "what? bloody what did you smell?"

She repeated, " least tell me odor, aroma or my body? what does it smell like?"

"Stop smiling like a pig, you bloody bear", she said and kicked him in the stomach.

He growled in make believe pain, and then straightened himself. She could see he was preparing himself to answer. He looked at her deeply, with eyes laden with love and complete mischief,  then unable to stare too long into those deep eyes, he hugged her again, so that her eyes wont see his. A few seconds later, his baritone kicked in.

"You smell of only one distinct thing. Love. Now I know - this is how love smells like."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2208 : The truth beneath the wings

Once you know how you hide your "truths" in the sand, ostrich like, you will also know how to resurrect them, when the danger is gone. The ability to "hide" (kill) and then "resurrect" (born again) is such an essential skill, that once you have mastered it, you can kill and give life at will.

The "truth" could be anything - you could be a closet gay, you could be have a clandestine affair, you could be a vegetarian eating meat, you could be a terrorist plotting a bomb, you could be a thief who stole a diamond, a sunni running away from the ISIS terror...get the drift.

Essentially the truth represents anything the the world does not allow you to wear on your sleeve. Not because you cannot, but because if you do, they will come after you. They will enforce a "culture of silence" on you, and since you have violated it by wearing it on your sleeve, they will make you pay the price.

Coming back to the original point, if you know how to hide the truth in the sand every night, and you also know how to resurrect it, then life becomes an easy game. Every day is a lie, but then its a livable lie. You now know how to game it.

Or in terms of modern corporate usage, you know how to wing it (a term which comes from the warrior planes)....Winging it makes you more stronger, more resilient in this world, which essentially does not allow the "truth(s)" to easily prevail. No one lies about the truth, and yet no one speaks the truth.

Its like how many meat eaters would say, I can eat the rabbit meat, but I cannot see it being killed. Get the drift?

We all hate the inconvenient truth, and we all try and hide it under the sand. The folks who have mastered this are the survivors. They will be the fittest who shall outlast the honest folks. As for the ones who can only life live in black and white, they are doomed to a long sentence in posterity.

Monday, June 22, 2015

2207 : The End Game

They had both loved the word duels. She had confidently once said, she could never lose a battle of wits, so much so, that if she ever lost, she would quit life, not just the game. When stakes run so high, insanity is never too far away.

He did not require the night to notice the edge. It was sharp, and always cut like a knife. The bristles simmered in search of the deep red under the skin.

He remembered the time, that once over a period of 30 days she had tried to convey a single word to him. On the first day, she had asked “What did I mean to you in the past tense?”. He had said the following in some sequence - “Dream”, “Figment”, “Stranger”, “Lost”, “Weird”, “Muse”, “Fuse” and entire gamut. She had gotten frustrated and sighed, “I will never choose to play Charades with you.”. He had wistfully said “Sorry”, and said “any other clue”. She said “what is mean in the past tense?”. He had answered “Meant”. She had nodded in the affirmative and walked away in sheer make believe disgust.

On the second, she asked “what is not normal?”, He said “abnormal”. That was not what she wanted. So as he cycled over “Abnormal”, “Weird”, “Obscene”, “In your face” (and she had screamt in fake exasperation - idiot do you know what ‘one word’ means), “edgy”, “wedgy”, “loud”…and the ilk…..before finally she had gotten him to say “strange”. The journey of reaching “strange” had taken over 8 days.

She was irked that he had taken this long to come to what should have been a first natural choice.

On the fourteenth day, she had texted him, “If you did not want to tell me a No, what would you say?”. He had without a pause said “Yes”. “That was a good quickie. You made up for the past, eh? Did you sleep with John Galt yesterday?” she had quipped with a satisfied smile.

On the fifteenth she had posed, “Together the 3 words, what do they become?”. Meant, Yes and Strange….

He struggled for days, coming up with all answers including “Charade”, “Lies”, “Fake”, “Games”….and all of them were wrong.

She did not relent. She tormented him and had said, “this can go to the edge of your grave, but I won’t tell you”. He had laughed and said, “If you die before me, I shall build a Taj for your mausoleum, and call it the ‘The Temple of Insanity”.

As he was tying his shoe laces some 2 weeks later, as he also sipping his coffee and bingo he said “Game Set and Match”, “I should have known it.”

One shoe down, the other to go, he dropped the cup of coffee on the table, picked up his phone and texted her “Estrangement”.

Before he could get the other shoe on, he got the reply back - “You are slow, but you are brilliant. Take a bow.”

The next time he met her, “So we are estranged now, are we?”, he posed with a teasing smile. “Bloody narcissist, why does everything have to be about you?. You are a no one in my life. Not even a lover, you are just a losing lukha whose company reminds of the plebeian and lumpen in life. You are such a sad loser, that in fact you make me feel much better about myself, and that is the only singular reason I hang out with you”…..she had laughed facetiously as she said that. The next moment, she had reached out and hugged him, making it obvious that the games were still on. He had smilingly reciprocated on the hug.

She had then said, “I am estranged by the night, and hence a stranger by the day.”

“Thats poetic. Inspired is it?” he asked.

Today, for some reason, this entire memory had come back into his foregound. Of all the games they had played, it was the “estrangement” that seemed to be mark the zenith of their times.

He smiled as he remembered his own comment on the ‘Temple of Insanity’. He was alternatively tempted to call it the “Asylum”. And as part of the epitaph he wanted to write, “Here lays a soul, who was by every measure in search of a home. She was a wanderer who had lost the address, but not the memory.”

As he sat and mused about it today, in the middle of the dark night, he realized he had wanted her to remain stark mad. Ironically, he had lost her address too, all he had now was her memory.

Tonight he imagined playing alone, for both the sides. He wanted to just play, winning or losing was inconsequential today. He was missing the game.

“Acid reflux in the stomach, causes churning and burning?”
He imagined her going through “Acidity”, “Heartburn”, “Puke”, “Rancid” before finally settling to “Colic.”

“Green and red. Green on the outside, red on the inside.”
In his dream, she went through “Whisper”, “Stayfree”, “Guava”….he killing her before she reached the word “Melon”.

Combine the both, and what did she get.


2206 : The weary mind

I feel as if I am dead today. The body is crushed beneath the weight of a million thoughts. Some meditative, some in contemplation of the future, and then some others in sheer contempt of the present. 

My physical body is reacting to the forces acting upon the mind. I am tired. Really fatigued. I have allowed myself a break from work since afternoon.

I have almost taken a digitial break. I have not checked my phones, or my work emails or any other way in which people can reach me. 

I needed this time off. I needed to disconnect.

I find it mildly amusing, that the only time my mind is allowed (by the world around me) to disconnect is when I am really ill. At all other times, even on the worst of days (esp those on which I am still not classified ill), my family will make demands on me, my work will put immense demands on me, and I will have my own creature habit demands.

On a day like today, I have let everything pause. I have worked 19 years without a pause, and my body is hurting. It wants to ease off. Completely ease off.

Its also clearly saying that if the only way, I am going to take a break (or get a break) is by falling ill, then its going to attack my insides with a vengeance. I can hear the wise voice of my body speak to me.

I truly need to break off from the world at large. Driving feels like escape, but I then need to escape off for a couple of weeks at least.

The break away is coming, so is the break down. Something shall give. Someone will lose. Some shall learn to breathe.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

2205 : The dog, the camel and the poet

On that fateful day, they hauled him up. They accused him of writing revolting rhymes, which focussed on lost love, on revolution and a world where god does not have a place.

They told him that either he abdicate all his poems, and swear his allegiance to the new God of All things, or that they would imprison him - chain him and torture him till he finally broke.

The poet in him refused to bend - they kicked him till he was in foetal position, which in some sense was their perverse way of bending him to their will.

Having killed his resistance, they lifted him onto the truck and there he was on his way into one of the infamous camps. At the camp, they gave him a small room, which only got natural light during the day. 

In the first few weeks, they cut off his rations, and urged him to straighten up. He was famished, and yet to continued to write. His pen growing stronger under the gaze of his weakening frame.

Soon, they cut off access to sanitation, hoping that his own stink and pus would fill his aches and he would soon wilt away. The fetid nourished his soul, and soon from within the malodor rose his sublime words.

Next, they decided to send him to the torture camps. For 3 days every week, they hung him upside down. His body reeking of pain and anguish, had a new perspective on the world, and he continued to write albeit with the lens reversed.

Months had passed by now. One day the city patrol officer decided to ask him to compose a paen to the suburban edge, and he did write a piece...but it turned out so insidious, that instead of a reward he was handed a 100 flogs.

An year into this, they finally decided that he was incorrigible. They took away his pen, his paper and his books. A few days passed by, and he looked silent and mellowed down.

One particularly overcast morning, though, they found him dead - he had turned his stomach's insides using a piece of iron he had wrenched from the window. He had steadily bled of his death. 

As the overcast conditions cleared, and the light made way, they saw his body lay in a true foetal position. Like a dog, as Kafka would say. He had died just like a dog. They called in the cleaners and asked them to take his body away. 

As the cleaners cleaned his room up, they mumbled what everyone knew - taking away his pen and paper, thats what had killed him.....what a way to die....that is what broke the camel's back.

As the light further shone in, they could see that wall above him had a scrawling. It was fresh, you could still see the lint from the stone, trying to powder its way out. It looked like he had scrawled it yesterday night using the same iron piece as he had used to kill himself. 

On the walls were clearly written - "You simply took away what forever took to find"....

2204 : The thing that floated on the river forever

He sat down down within the boat, and took the paddle. He had learnt rowing as a small kid, and once you know it, you never ever forget that trick. He still did not know swimming though, and while had rowed many miles, he was always sure that on the day his death came calling, his placid body would float on the river.

As he rowed along the water, the "swish" of the oars breaking the silence of the water surface, he realized that this is the silence he had been craving for.

As he went into the midst of the silent river, for some unknown reason - he suddenly flashed the day she had asked him, if he would live his life with her. He had always loved her, and it was an easy answer. He had said yes nonchalantly, his bloody heart not even missing a single beat.

She had laughed, hugged and implored him - I want this to last. You are far too important to be lost. Will you try and be around always. 

In his answer he had included the word "forever". He had of course meant it completely at that point, not for a minute had he been facetious. Truth be told he had wanted it forever as well.

He cared for her far too much to let her not be his "forever".

A score and a dozen later, here he was here rowing all alone. The forever had lasted the score, but the horizon looked lonely and lorn.

On the day the "forever" had been solemnized, she had given himan amulet, she said it would symbolise every good thing they ever meant to each other. That amulet, was still stuck to his body, almost as if it were an additional appendage.

As he became conscious of it, he removed it, and stared at it deeply. The black, the silver, the riblad oxidization - all were jaded, but it still seemed alive. It still had a steady cadence to its breath. 

Laying his oars inside, he examined it closely for the next few minutes. It had indeed withstood time, in fact it had outlasted his "forever". Jagged and jaded, it had still not faded at all.

The early morning sun had just started to rear its head over the horizon, and in the faint orange hue, the silver looked like gold, almost like a shiny piece of white dazzle.

And in that shiny razzle dazzle, something caught his eye - a broken charade and a hidden truth - both of which hit him very hard. 

In that singular moment, he let his palm float high above the water...the amulet dangerously dangling between life and death. In a single swoop, he let the silver fall away. 

It sank like an anchor stone, quickly and swiftly. The ripples it created were still moving outward. The river though had consumed the silver. The warp of the ripples had consumed his "forever".

A few moments of silence later, he was acutely aware that the boat was drifting in the water current. It occurred to him, he not longer point to the exact spot where he had dropped the amulet. The surface of the water now had the look of sameness everywhere. The discontinuity had been lost. There was nothing on the surface to show the break. 

He touched his body to where the amulet should have been. He could not feel his skin. He touched the water, hoping to touch the coarse silver. All there was, was a cold bite to the water. 

He had just killed the forever, and in this case, even the body did not float. What floated was the sameness, stillness and a universe that told him that this whole story was just a figment of his imagination.

He remembered Floyd singing -  Time Pass, the River Rolls....and he gave a wistful smile.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

2203 : Silence of the lamb chops

My desire for silence is getting stronger and stronger. Everytime I struggle with something on the outside, I begin to look more into the inside.

That means, I struggle to participate in life at least the way folks would ideally expect me to. That becomes a drag on them and a drag on me....both.

One day soon I might become all silent. We shall see :-)

2202 : The science of bullshit

I was speaking to someone yesterday who was passionately telling me that she has to ignite the passion for "science" within her child. She said it naturally, "at least our kids should understand science".....

I know her only just as reasonably as you can know a person if you meet them 4 times a year for 10 minutes.....and in that brief interaction, I kind of know that she is extremely God fearing (yes I think she fears God, her version of God is retributive), she is definitely living within the charades of the modern world (such as medicine, religion, large businesses) and she likes the charades.

I did sit and cynically wonder, how would her kid ever actually learn science. How will her kid ever come to love science - science which is supposed to cater to our deepest need for meaning.

Our schools and we as parents are doing the greatest damage to our kids. That I am fully convinced of. And every soul destroyed is a soul destroyed...and knowing that hurts me deeply.

There is so much broken in the world today. We need our children and ourselves to correct that one solid inch at a time.

To do that, we need to protect their (children's) souls and their innate sense of goodness.

I do worry if my daughter will remain untarnished in these modern times, but I will most definitely try. I will help her break down this world, one charade at a time. If she knows what is broken, and if she still has her soul intact, I am kind of sure, she will work to get the world better one beautiful inch at a time.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

2201 : What lies beneath...

For years I have been obsessed about lying and the business of truth, but not in the mk Gandhi sort of way. He seemed obsessed with a literal definition of absolute truth.

I have been grappling it more in the yudhistra, gurucharan das manner of speaking. For the best part of the last 10 years, this has been a meditation that has taken a lot of my mind space. And I have to admit I am far from arriving at a conclusion.

The truth I seek and see is more akin to "dharma" than the absolute definition of the an absolute truth....and yet dharma is one of most impossible and difficult meditations to resolve.

What dharma suggests is that in most cases, there is am absolute version of what is correct. Especially when applied with the context. As am example, dharma when applied with my context might tell us that euthanisa is the way to go, while applied with you context might say that the answer is wrong.

This is where dharma become a meditative bother right. Knowing what is right in every circumstance, which yudhistra was supposedly such a champ at, is not just difficult, it is also tiresome to sometimes conclude.

And that's been my obsession. To be the yudhistra in my own eyes, and more importantly to be able be differentiate and distinguish.

With years of practice, I thought I had become a very honest (not in the literal sense...but in the intellectual sort of way).....person.

But in the recent years and times, I find myself lying. I find myself lying, because I am not allowed to talk the truth. The culture of silence that the world encourages, also means that we never are allowed to speak the uncomfortable truths. Not just not speak, but also not acknowledge.

As an example, I cannot walk upto someone at the firm I work and say honestly that his design for the problem completely sucks. I cannot say this not because I don't possess the intellectual honesty or the intellectual acumen to differentiate, but I cannot say it because saying it would mean I would break some charades, and that would destroy some facades between the four walls of an office.

It kills me know that I live and exist in a false world. That is one realisation that constantly gnaws at me in my personal world and my professional world too.

A world that does not allow me to be honest, especially in a safe sort of way, I am inclined to reject it. I am inclined to slowly withdraw from it, and choose seclusion over a world that is not safe.

I am bothered, in the last few days and months, because there are clear instances where I have had to prioritize lying over the dharma. This is a very soul nibbling situation in the real world.

I need a quick escape from this, else over time, it will kill my soul, just like a cancer would kill the physical body.

This is the new age cancer, and I want to fight it again, just like I once did.

Soon something shall give.

Monday, June 01, 2015

2200 : Crazy

This is from Adamski (Seal) singing Crazy a 1990s cult club classic......this line is for some reason stuck in my head....I must have repeated this a million times today.....

In a sky full of people only some want to fly
Isn't that crazy

2199 : Page against the machine

Years ago, he had walked upto her and asked her if she was willing to walk the path of life alongside. She had nonchalantly asked him why, wondering aloud how would it matter to anyone at all - if they were not together. She was being flippant and he knew it too.

In response, the next day he had sent a blank sheet of paper in an envelope. She had obviously been perplexed by that and wondered whether it contained hidden ink, or needed to be watered, or heated for the words to reveal themselves. Towards evening, she had hunted him down to ask him the code to the secret. He looked at her directly and said with a blunt honesty, that he carried to this very day, quipping....thats the state of my life....a blank slate....if your presence is missing, its a bloody empty echo.

She had loved that metaphor, and yet they would wait for what felt like 12 long years, before they eventually moved in together. The piece of paper by then had been parched and had begun to stain. The brown smudges were all over all the sheet. What essentially had looked blank was now tarnished with years of disease. Neither of them noticed it, and every single time they tried to write on the paper, yet another disabused blot appeared, this time the blue curmudgeon staining the paper further.

And then there is Today, it is another day...far removed and far long after the moving in event. As he stood with his coffee cleaning his wardrobe, he stumbled upon the creamy sheet of stained paper. Memory was straining and his first instinct was to crumple this moth ridden paper and move on, but something in the figment held him back. He looked at it closely, and random fragments came into focus.

Tried as he did, hard enough, he could not remember the story coherently. He could not place the page....and yet he knew this was intimately Her. As he searched for meaning in that memory, he sat down to have a good sip of the coffee. As he gulped, his body let out a loud involuntary usual sign, he recognized  to mean the loss of something personal.

He stared hard at the fragile page,  just like a wild animal would try and comprehend Dante's Inferno. Trying as he did, he could not find any clue on the page.

The page unfortunately did not contain the story of them. What he held in his hand was just a angst ridden, moth infested, smudged pale blue sheet of crumpling paper - albeit one which had once held an imagined story.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

2198 : Missing

As I waited at the Grand Central, I was reminded of the conversation 12 years ago - I remembered me telling her that we shall be slaves to each other, for ever. She had laughed and said yes, she would very much want that too.

On that day, many moons ago, we had both undertaken a train journey together. Somewhere along the journey she had been tired and she had dozed off, letting her entire body weight rest on mine. The reflex in her had woken her up multiple times, as she had struggled with the idea of sleeping off on a still-a-stranger's body.

I had enveloped her in my arms and let her rest...let her feel warm and protected, but clearly while it was working some magic, it was definitely not enough to scare her demons away.

Today, we were meeting after almost 4 years. The idea was to undertake a journey to Boston via Penn station. The initial meeting point was agreed to be Grand Central.

As I waited for her, I could still feel the mushiness that she inspired in me. I loved her company, I had simply loved to speak to her. The honesty we had shared had been disarming. I have to admit, this all sounds very strange to me today, when I speak of it today in the past tense.

It bothered me that, we both had seen something magical and yet we had allowed that simple greatness to pass us by. We were both afraid to live our own lives, afraid of what the world might judge us by, afraid of disappointing each other so completely, that we almost were afraid to be together. We were afraid of many things, and our own fears had defeated our goodness.

And yet, today there was hope. It was she who had suggested the Boston journey. She had business to do there, and she was wondering if I could give her 2 days of my life. I had jokingly replied, I would give her 2 days, if she was willing to kill me at the end of it....and she had said, she would ponder on that idea. If she felt she still loved me enough at the end of the trip, then she might pull a seppuku on me - she had said in a shrill voice. The bloody vixen in her was still alive.

A few cold moments later, I walked into the terminal and decided to grab a quick coffee. I needed the coffee to warm my blood, and clam my nerves. I hurriedly stood in the line at Joe's for the warm black liquid, I was also nervous that we should not miss each other. We had phones, but still I did not want to make her wait. 4 years is a long time to keep a dear friend waiting.

Coffee taken, I rushed out onto Lex to the entrance again. The coffee did it initial magic. Never before had a sip of coffee felt better and more soothing. My rational brain was telling to take it slow, this was not a lover, just a dear friend...and this was just a 2 day trip to Boston, not parasailing the world in 6 months.

I finally saw her walking towards me. She walked briskly....I instinctively parked the coffee on a ledge and by then she was onto me. She gave me a hug, the kind that inspires a million lifetimes....and in the midst of that bear hug, I let out a wasp and said, "still bad hair ha?"...and she immediately pinched me on the back.

Like two lost souls in a fish bowl - floyd style - we both took each others hands - I picked up my coffee again, and we started off towards Penn. As we sat in the cab, she flashed two tickets and said - "ta ta ta...ready to go?". I nodded and smiled. She put it in my jacket pocket and said "you will take care of this better. Like always, I will lose this.".

We spoke and we fought over the little nothings, as if we had just met yesterday. We did not let the 4 years show to either of us. We were connected and we did not want that bloody chimera to crack.

In the next 10 minutes, we had already laughed a hundred deaths away....and the journey was just starting.

Once onto the Amtrak, we comfortably settled in. I was happy, far too happy to admit.....far too happy to not recognize it too. This is how life should have been, I was telling myself incessantly. As I was thinking, my eyes were dozing off, and I could feel her palms snake into mine, and give a warm tug of clasp.

I smiled and laughing said, "still do that kya?". In response I got one good nudge on my knee and it elicited a bloody "owh" from me....

I must have slept off. I remember that a few hours later, I was being woken up by an usher, who was checking the tickets. I fumbled into my jacket pockets and came up with the slip. As I was doing that I noticed, the seat next to me was empty. She was not there, neither were her bags. My bag lay under the seat. As I handed over the ticket to the usher, I muttered,"Ticket for two, wonder where my friend is...she was sitting next to me".

"Sir, this ticket is from 12 years ago. It is for two, that I can see. But this is not a valid ticket anymore. Are you sure you dont have a ticket for today?".

I apologized and explained my complete surprise at this anachronistic turn of events. The usher did not care much, but seemed very worried about my mental state. We both got down at Boston, where I paid a fine and she then gingerly asked me if I needed help. When I refused she let me go.

I went to the nearest coffee shop and sat down to drink some more of the brown poison. Was I really going mad ? As I started sipping my coffee, a strand of hair seemed to have gotten stuck on my lips. As I pulled it out, it was a thin long wiry strand of bad hair...and there was only one place it could have come from.

I wistfully smiled. This is what missing probably felt like.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2197 : State of the nation

Like this quote from Jeffrey Hammerbacher (founder of Cloudera)....

"The best mind of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.".

There he summed it up in a single sentence, everything that is possibly gone awry in this world we live.

2196 : A shared mourning

They sat silently next to each other on the couch. Neither looking at each other, nor looking away. Just fire gazing.

Silences like these always carry a hint of violence. Sometimes the violence of the bloody past, sometimes violence in the bloodless future, but never ever violence from within the bloodied present.

The room echoed with the soundless.

Wordlessly, as if on cue, she went first, and began to weep copiously, her heavy heart leaking through her yes. Her body convulsing through the immense pressure of soaked in grief leaking out.

Minutes and seconds passed, and he neither reached out to comfort her, nor did he withdraw. He just sat there, still in the trance of the fire.

Before long, he was breaking down as well. Weeping, less profusely.. long straight salty tears flowed down his wrinkled cheeks. Viscous water locked in this eternal battle of wanting to rest in the crevices of the wrinkles, but unfortunately always losing the war to the ravages of gravity.

The two of them sat sobbing next to each other, vindicating that they were both truly broken. They had both heard and seen the rupture. Their souls were irreparably damaged. They were both grieving the death.

And yet no one had died. Nothing had been really lost. Everything tangible that they had valued and treasured, was still around and safe for now.

Each of them was still very much alive and breathing. So there was definitely no real death. And yet, they knew that a dying had indeed occurred. The dead ghost of the "us" that had kept them together for long was now in the room as well, released from its bodily confines and confused about its final destination. Without a cartographer, the ghost was lost, now without a home and soon without a destination.

Today was catharsis. It was a shared common mourning, they said in their own heads - speaking to themselves in a lost language.

Meanwhile, the dreaming tree had indeed died. And this was its wake.....

2195 : Farewell

I love poetry and the poetry titled, "Farewell" by Ali Agha Shahid, should easily rank as one of my top 10 poems I have ever read or will read.
If I am buried, please dear universe make it my epitah... Here goes the poem (Hope I am not doing any copyright violation....I have bought 6 copies of this book if it helps :-)))

I have read this poem at least a 1000 times and every time I fall in love with it all over again. Its sheer magic, the realism that only human grief can push us to see.

 At a certain point I lost track of you.
 They make a desolation and call it peace.
 when you left even the stones were buried:
 the defenceless would have no weapons.

 When the ibex rubs itself against the rocks,
 who collects its fallen fleece from the slopes?
 O Weaver whose seams perfectly vanished,
 who weighs the hairs on the jeweller's balance?
 They make a desolation and call it peace.
 Who is the guardian tonight of the Gates of Paradise?

 My memory is again in the way of your history.
 Army convoys all night like desert caravans:
 In the smoking oil of dimmed headlights, time dissolved- all
 winter- its crushed fennel.
 We can't ask them: Are you done with the world?

 In the lake the arms of temples and mosques are locked in each other's

 Have you soaked saffron to pour on them when they are found like this
 centuries later in this country
 I have stitched to your shadow?

 In this country we step out with doors in our arms
 Children run out with windows in their arms.
 You drag it behind you in lit corridors.
 if the switch is pulled you will be torn from everything.

 At a certain point I lost track of you.
 You needed me. You needed to perfect me.
 In your absence you polished me into the Enemy.
 Your history gets in the way of my memory.
 I am everything you lost. You can't forgive me.
 I am everything you lost. Your perfect Enemy.
 Your memory gets in the way of my memory:

 I am being rowed through Paradise in a river of Hell:
 Exquisite ghost, it is night.

 The paddle is a heart; it breaks the porcelain waves.
 It is still night. The paddle is a lotus.
 I am rowed- as it withers-toward the breeze which is soft as
 if it had pity on me.

 If only somehow you could have been mine, what wouldn't
 have happened in the world?

 I'm everything you lost. You won't forgive me.
 My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
 There is nothing to forgive.You can't forgive me.
 I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to myself.

 There is everything to forgive. You can't forgive me.

 If only somehow you could have been mine,
 what would not have been possible in the world?

2194 : The dreaming tree has (indeed) died

I have written about this before, if I remember right. The dreaming tree dying has always meant a lot to me. Always. The line comes from a Dave Matthews song, which I find is mesmerizing in itself.

Today, as I sit alone and work - there is only phrase incessantly going through my head - "The dreaming tree has died.". Sometimes in my brain the sentence invariably becomes "The sleeping tree has died."

Both sentences make immense sense to me in my personal context...and that is indeed the summary of the moment.

Today is the day.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2193 : There is something else....

Today I sighed more than a dozen times(truly it was voluntary, the bloody thing would not stop!!), and my sweet spouse caught me at it - it was very hard to miss. When interrogated (it feels like that right?...joking) I conveniently told her it was my asthma at work...and it was not far from the truth....I was definitely struggling to breath.

I did not have the heart (or mental energy) to tell her what (I think) I already knew for certainty, that sighing is definitely an escape - a slow release for your infinitesimally dying soul - inch by inch finding its way back to Uncle Universe.

2192 : Shortest story

Plain brilliant disguise,
Treacherous pale eyes.

Screeching shrouded pain,
Rippling white rain.

Staying lightyears away,
Losing the Way.....

Commas and pauses,
Running away losses.

Whats the glory?,
Imagined morning story!!

The credits roll,
Played my role.

The tango ends,
Ocean finally bends.

2191 : What separates us now

Every single time I have inserted space between myself and my relationship with a person or a thing, it has had some strange unexpected outcomes.

I was forced to give up photography for large parts of 2014, and it hit me real hard how much the act of seeing through a device and the associated paraphernalia (read lens lust) meant to me. It did kill a large part of my soul. I am now back at it with a vengeance :-)

Another time and era, the minute I took a step back - I clearly knew that the workplace I was in - was completely wrong for me. I would not last here for another 3 years (I just could not visualize spending my life at this place....and that usually is another brilliant acid test of longitivtiy - can you as an example visualize dying with someone?)

And in the last 7 years, I once walked away from a dearest friend - only to realize that she was most definitely dear, I did miss her - but our relationship itself was weak - neither of us had really invested in it. It was built on a premise of "expectations and needs" rather than a real drive for either "companionship or happiness". That act of separation almost broke my insides. (Years we are both recouping and picking up pieces between us...both of us wiser and so much more mature.)

Get the drift?

Distance always bloody lends perspective.....(CLAP CLAP !! spoken like a true photographer :-) na?) But..... distance also has terrible frays. Distance ostensibly kills part of the soul. Most importantly, sometimes distance lends escape velocity to our fledging wings.

I can hear Bette Midler croon "From the distance..."

From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.