Monday, May 30, 2005


Winding roads of cobbled stone,
Jaded memories of aging minds,
Dormant earth of valiant lands,
Searching eyes of innocent faces,
Entrancing music of distant love,
Kindred touch of placid hands,
Ebbing cries of wounded flesh,
Spring beauty of virgin flowers,
Parched grains of desert sands,
Applauding many of victory sweet,
Poisoned trust of a betraying kiss,
Burning touch of acid rain,
Lost company of a mocking bird,
Calm tempest of serene seas,
Warm embrace of smiling luck,
Sensuous trance of passionate art,
Mistral touch of burning lust,
Breaking waves of tumultuous thought,
Trembling steel of young courage,
Elysian fields of mystic dreams,
Unworthy wants of defenseless hearts,
Chiming bells of a divine call,
Eloping hope of a binary life,
Haloed realms of an intimate elite.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I failed

I do not exactly feel like writing. And I do not feel like doing anything else either. Reason? Well, there are many. Foremost among them is the fact that my confidence in me has taken a severe beating recently. I am amazed as to how each time I think I will crack, I am left standing. Looks like I am growing resilient to... failure. Failure to do what, you may ask? This is where it gets complicated. Let's try to analyze this.

Yesterday, class X results came out. Boards... groan! I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, every time I hear anything about them. If you are thinking I failed mine... I didn't. Whew! But that's besides the point. One of my father's colleagues called to tell us that his son had got 93% marks. The boy, well I know him a little bit, has... a wild streak. So everybody is relieved that he has done well. Really, really well. Then I hear something like, "If he can keep this up in 11th and 12th, then he's ..." I do not want to hear the rest of that sentence. Why? Because the moment I heard that, I thought, "Poor boy! Now he's burdened for life. He'll not have a clue where his life will go during the next two years." Its like if you do well once, you have to keep doing well. Or if you fail once, you can never succeed again. If only the Sith deal in absolutes, everybody seems to have succumbed to the dark side.

Does anybody care how much work anybody puts into a thing? Suppose a boy who has studied hard all semester, fails to do the exam right. It can happen, I've seen it happen. Is it not wrong to label the boy a failure? What of all the work that he did? You might say that a stupid exam does not matter, and if the boy has learnt then nothing else matters either. That may be right. But ask that boy how he feels when he sees his marks. This is not about an exam, in case everybody is wondering what I am rambling about. Its about seeing something you gave your life to, broken. Broken by those, who do not have a right to break it, but have the power to do so.

The whole thing is skewed. Why am not what I am without any success or failure? Why am I not sure about myself? I hate being unsure. I hate the fact that somebody else's opinion of my work matters so much in my life. I feel helpless. This ought to crack anybody, ain't it?

Then why am I still standing? I am standing because I see around me people to whom I am me. Me, without what I know, without what I can do, without what I can achieve. Just me. I see around me people who still trust me, more than I trust myself. I see people around me who stand by me as friends and family. So maybe... maybe the light side of the force still has a chance.

I like this poem by Kipling. It says a lot better, what I would want to say:

If - Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master,
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

I've been wandering all over the place while writing about this. And I do not know if I made any sense or not, but I know I am trying, And I'll keep on trying... trying sincerely, faithfully and with everything I've got. I do not know any other way to get over this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


A solitary telephone booth stands,
An oasis amongst dreary urban sands.
Oh! I cannot wait to call you, anymore,
To tell you, what I now know in my heart, for sure.

Just three coins in my purse, I dial,
Calling out to you from this iron isle,
A dial tone, a phone ring, a heart beat away,
Many things, so many many things, I want to say.

Hello? Can I speak to...,
Please, please, put the call through,
I have to tell you, I want to spend,
My life with you, till the very end.

Can you hear me? Hello?,
Listen to me... this you've got to know,
One coin in, only one more,
Talk to me, wait, I implore.

The call counter ticked out first,
Or did she hang up, which is worst?
All my coins eaten by Bell's child,
I go back, forlorn, into the deserted wild.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


We, humans, are a pathetic lot,
With prejudices our minds are fraught,
One land, one air, one water, we get,
One life to live, have not learnt to stay one yet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Suparna was coming for dinner. Tonight, after so long. It had been almost three years since he had last seen her. Shashank was busy preparing dinner. He had taken extra care to chop the spring onions just right, and was now sautéing it in oil seasoned with some mustard seeds. He smiled, thinking "the last time I asked her home, for dinner, I only knew how to make Maggi." That had been some dinner, and he had almost told her how he felt. Almost. He added the spices - some cumin seeds, dry coconut powder, a few red chillies and continued to stir. He had sat across the dinner table, mesmerized, by her every action. He added a dash of salt. She had worn an elegant black crepe dress. "Your cooking is out of this world Shashank!" He could still hear her laughter, ringing in his ears. He emptied the bowl of cooked rice into the pan and mixed the two up nicely. "Ah! This is done. Now for the chicken."

He had shopped for an hour that evening for the ingredients. After a tiring meeting with the clients, he was drained of all energy. But the prospect of getting to see her again had been enough to make him walk all the way to the market on a scorching summer evening. He mixed the cornstarch, chicken broth, honey and mustard and stirred a little. She had spoken, suddenly, "Shashank, I have got admission into Havard, for the MBA program. I am leaving tomorrow night." "Oh! That's great. Congrats! You have been working towards that for a long time. I am very happy for you." He had been happy, and he had been sad. He was now sautéing the chicken breasts in butter. She had kept in touch, writing occasional letters and emails. In the last letter she had written to him that she was getting engaged.

The chicken turned brownish. He added the cornstarch mixture, and continued cooking it. "If only I had... Now it is too late." The gravy soon thickened, and came to a boil. "Done." He turned the burner off. He went to the room, and began arranging things on the dining table. "I should have told her that night." Two candles, two crystal glasses, a bottle of white wine, and his solitary bone china dinner set. He placed everything precisely in its place, dressing up the table to perfection. "Maybe... She has never met this guy she is getting engaged to. Maybe it's because her parents... Maybe" He placed the food on the table. He had always had trouble speaking his mind. And he had never spoken his heart. Not ever. "Oh, but I must tonight. I must tell her."

The door bell rang.

Disclaimer: All portrayed events and characters are completely fictional and any similarity to real events and people, living or dead, is unintended and purely coincidental.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Deconstructing a home - Part 1

Moving a home is a nightmarish experience. But it is also an inevitable occurrence in the life of an individual. Hence, I guess it had to happen in mine. The first time we moved was two and half years back, after staying in one house for twenty three years. That was hard. Very hard. Because other than the fact that twenty three years of staying put in one place allowed my family to pile up a lot (a very huge lot too) of `stuff' (everything from a collection of Campa Cola bottle caps to an assorted set of sewing machine needles), it also allowed us to breathe life into every brick of that building. That was house where I was born and raised into my present (very confused) self, so you can guess why it was heart wrenching to let go. But we just had to move to a new house, and I lived through the change, somehow.

Life got messed up for a few days in our new house, but soon it found its rigmarole equilibrium where it has stayed for the past two and a half years. Ah! But change, you see, is forever. Or said less dramatically, things always change. So, the breaking news at this hour is that my home is changing again. For several days now, I have been packing books, clothes, books, my toy car collection, books, utensils, books, the television, books, the music system, books... You get the general idea. My house has been getting stacked up, from the floor to the roof, with rows upon rows of very-boring-looking brown cardboard boxes, all tightly sealed with equally boring-but-sturdy-looking tape.

A bright Saturday morning, this weekend, heralded the beginning of the first war. The truck with the movers arrived at 5:15 am. Since trucks are not allowed to ply inside Delhi city limits from 8am to 11 am, `Operation MoveTreeHouse' had to be timed to perfection. The movers got on the job promptly, and out went the sofa, an assortment of cushions, a pastis of cardboard boxes, a medley of book shelves, one humongous divan and my dear bed. Various mattresses, pillows, bed sheets were rolled together into being strange bedfellows. The movers were a set of four marvelous chaps, who managed to get all this done within an hour.

I rode inside the truck, with the movers, all the while praying that they do not get fined for trying to win a formula one grand prix on the Delhi Ring Road. Another hour saw us standing in front of our new house. This one happens to be more near the roof of the building than the ground, so moving all the stuff upstairs was going to be tedious. But when god calls somebody nearer (about four floors nearer to be exact), he sends his angels to help you on the way! Those movers were either a divine gift, or androids from the 24th century. If ever I saw the tenacity of human spirit triumph over gravity it was then. They moved every single bit of load, up, to the house, almost without a single scratch. Ecstatic and I guess, more relieved than anything else, Dad gave those movers a few hundred bucks more, over and above their due charges. With everybody happy and content (and that's really rare), we were back home (err... Which home is this now? This is getting confusing) by 9 am.

Ok! So I moved my home, but then why is this part one? Because that was only half of the stuff moved from the old (albeit current) home, and none of the stuff placed properly in-place in the new one. Somebody dropped in, after we came back, to illuminate us on the hazards of moving a refrigerator incorrectly. Apparently, if you tilt it more than 45 degrees to either side, the compressor oil overflows (or something like it) and ruins it ! Based on this and other sundry pieces of information, I anticipate there is going to me enough masala for part two. And since I am too tired to even talk about rest of the weekend, I'll call it a day for today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Angry, ashamed, helpless,
Life, looking lifeless.

Savage outrage,
Debauched rampage,
Innocence crushed,
Free speech hushed.

Cold, absurd, hate,
Life, in a checkmate.

Purchased alliance,
Staged defiance,
Phobic reaction,
Fatal attraction.

Greedy, selfish, warfare,
Life, a living nightmare.

Fissile motives,
Nonextant natives,
Unceasing torment,
Nations fragment.

Merciless, scavenging, unfed,
Life, of the living dead.

Monday, May 09, 2005


We had been badgering L for a treat, primarily because nobody had anything better to do. L decided to graciously oblige on Friday (he called it the `treat for unknown reasons') and invited all of us for dinner at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan. The usual delays happened while M got her kids ready, and V asked P (her husband) whether they are joining in the treat or not, who in turn asked V again the same thing. Everyone included, there were nine of us and the kids. A half an hour drive got us to A.P. Bhawan, where we had our Rs.50-all-you-can-eat thalis. There was dal, rice, chappatis, halwa, two vegetable dishes, curd and some of us also ordered some chicken dishes (which of course cost extra).

I started eating with a spoon, and soon spotted L merrily delving into heaps of rice with his hand. He gave me a knowing smile and said `Do you use a spoon at home?' I do not, and I saw the point. I was with friends. I could act like myself (carving out chicken pieces with a knife n fork is so "not-me"). I looked around, everybody - even V's cute little daughter, shared my world and made it that little bit more special. As S enlightened everybody with his theory of super compression, I saw the candour and gay abandon with which everyone behaved. We all waited until V finished the last morsel of food on her plate, as she has a strict no-food-goes-waste policy. After which, battling bits of chicken stuck between my teeth, I followed my friends on walk under the stars to the India Gate. Ice cream from one of the numerous ice cream carts parked all around India Gate was the cherry on this cake of an evening.

Saturday morning had me running around with Dad, trying to get this and that done, when B called, asking if I was free to join him for a trip to Gurgaon. Engrossed in the call, I locked my car keys inside the car, which cost me an hour's round trip home, on bus and on foot, to fetch the duplicate keys. With all chores done, B picked me up from home and we reached Gurgaon in an hour. There we paid a visit to G. Amongst 14-20 story high-rises and very chick malls, Gurgaon seemed... different. G's home is on the seventh floor of one of these high-rises, whose top floor houses a couple of penthouses. I paid a visit to one of these, and I'll not say anything more about that.

After wandering around a mall with B and G for an hour, acting mostly like juvenile teenagers, I suddenly came to the conclusion I am blessed. B and G are my childhood buddies, from school. They probably knew my every surprise reaction to their every frivolous action, by now. Moreover, they too shared my world. I am sure the honour, and the good luck is all mine. For lunch, we gorged on Pizza Hut pizzas. Then I freaked out at a bookstore spending way too much money in proportion to what I earn, while, G spent like an hour buying cards from Archies for someone whose identity he refused to reveal! Then we headed back home.

At night, H called. H is a friend from college (a.k.a. UG days). Another friend of H needed some information, which I gave, after which H informed me that he is getting married on the 27th. Congrats! I must've shouted so loudly on the phone, H went mum for a good ten seconds. Guess he's practicing keeping his mouth shut. Another friend, another world.

At the end of all this, I formed this theory. I am the center of my world, as are my friends the centers of their worlds. Our worlds intersect. In doing so, we make each other's a bit more habitable. Their colours intertwine with mine to paint my days in the menagerie of chaotic hues, which form my life. It makes my existence less boring, more complicated and a lot more interesting. And for that I am thankful.

Oh... there is always room for more chaos in my life, so you are welcome to come and intersect my world!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Kya tumko pata hai?

Kya tumko pata hai?
Makhmali raat ki chadar mein,
Tumhare zulfon ki khusboo hai,
Samundar par leheron ki harkat mein,
Tumhari aankhon ka jadoo hai.

Kya tumko pata hai?
Zindagi ki madhosh dhadkane,
Tumhari sanson ki deewani hai,
Junoon ke har zarre ki tamanna,
Tumhari simat ti javani hai.

Kya tumko pata hai?
Asma mein suraj ki lali,
Tumhare hoton ki rangat hai,
Is nazm ka bekarar intezar,
Tumhara likha har khat hai.

Kya tumko pata hai?
Sharmati kaliyon ka phoolon mein khilna,
Tumhare choone ka ehsaas hai,
Meri humsafar, mere chalne ki manzil,
Tumhari parchai ke paas hai.

Kya tumko pata hai?
Zamane se jeetne ki himmat,
Tumhare awaaz ki kashish hai,
Meri soch ki nason mein daud rahi,
Tumhari chahat ki khwahish hai.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Every once in a while

My weekends are usually lazy replays of the other days of the week past. But the sudden rain had ushered in a great looking Friday evening which had `great weekend ahead' written all over it. Delhi acquires this uncharacteristic fresh beauty after every rain... but then that's the rain-and-Delhi-and-me speaking more than anything else. Saturday started like any other Saturday... I was working. Well, I was mostly helping S out with his work, but that is work nonetheless. Then suddenly, a very anorexic girl decided to faint in the corridor right outside my room. After all the flurry of activity that generated, died down (with the girl being carted off to the nearest hospital - she's alive though), I went back to helping S. I was all set to return home early, when S asked me to stay back a while longer... and then again a bit more... and a bit more. Helping a friend in need ensured by the time I left work, it was 6:30pm. In between all this, I had rustled up late night movie plans with B. And I had to be at his house by 8pm, so I was way late already.

Being late, however, did not change the fact that the day after was Mom's birthday. So I decided to shop for some pastries. I turned up at the nearby confectionery shop and got some chocolate truffle pastries (finger-lickingly delicious). Then I also stopped to pickup a couple of chicken-sheek rolls (need I say more). There was this interesting couple, also waiting for their order, while I waited for mine. Suave looking middle-aged guy, and a hep and relatively young girl (I am really bad at guessing a woman's age so I might be mistaken about that). They were having this technical bits-n-bytes conversation, while their double egg rolls were being deep fried. With the rolls served and eaten, they got up and went out the glass door. The girl lifted up the waste-bin flap and threw her paper plate in. And the guy - he decided to emulate Michael Jordan very badly and missed the waste-bin by miles. And then, with total callous disregard to the environment... walked away without bothering to clean up. I had half a mind to catch him and give him an earful, but my rolls arrived and I decided his girl would probably dump him anyway. So I rushed back home, dropped off bought goods and rushed to B's place. Met this total stranger on the bus, who was quite friendly and wanted my email. Barely made it on time, thanks to the awesome driving prowess of DTC bus drivers.

Then it was straight off to PVR Saket for Hitch in B's new car. Funny movie. Got back home late, n Mom was awake and waiting, as usual. It was five minutes past twelve, so a warm Happy Birthday hug put things into place, right away. Sleep.

5:30am, Sunday morning, I was thrown off my bed because we (me n parents) had to go and cleanup our `new' home at the other end of the city, where we would be shifting sometime soon. A 30 minutes drive in a cool Delhi dawn was quite charming, and dangerous, as I was half asleep at the wheel. Better part of the day was spent scrubbing wall paint off furniture and doors, negotiating with tailors about curtain colours and fixing the one broken tile on the bathroom floor. Mom seemed to be in an entirely blissful state, trying to tidy up the place - what a way to spend her birthday, but then that's Mom. Returned home dead beat. Stayed home till late evening, and helped finish off the pastries. *Happy Birthday Mom!* Then B called with plans for another movie.

And so we were back at PVR at 8:45 for the 9:15 show of Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi. B was a little doubtful about the movie, but he usually succumbs to my choice. Houseful! Dejected we made our way to Mark-Pi and had two plates of heavenly chicken momos. With our esurient spirits buoyant and satiated, we waited for that chance last-minute cancellation at the ticket counter, and voila - two tickets. Which turned out to be right in the center of the last row of Audi-2. The movie was good. And I mean good. It was a movie about a lot of things - deep things, heady things, but mostly it was a movie about love. Of many kinds of love, infact. B liked it too. It was also a movie about somethings everybody understands but nobody can explain. Like I said... love.

B drove me back home at midnight. Everything I do, Lady in Red, Take my breath away... Cool breeze. A fantastic music system in B's car. Empty roads. Super friend. Delhi on a rain soaked night. Home.

Every once in a while, clouds do have a silver lining. And then, there is a Monday!