Friday, December 30, 2005

Year end advertising

The year ends. No, that by itself is not anything new... in fact it is a regular annual event. It is what the year takes along and what it leaves behind that is interesting. This year has been extraordinary. Truly fantastic I should say. Let me tell you how.

It actually started last year with this, and then it was in January when I was high on adrenaline. It felt so good to be reaching for the stars. It is such a tremendous high to try and clear that extra high bar. I sure had the gall to try the jump and I floated all through the month, because I was up somewhere midway my jump and was super happy to have left the ground.

February is my month. A month of kindness and love and many first meetings. It passed without causing any major upheavals, as did perhaps March. Except I got a little closer to that bar all the time.

Bang! Crash! It came in April for the first time. The fall. It hurt pretty bad. It was as if I had reached the bar, and somebody pushed me back down. I skinned my knees and broke a few bones perhaps. Rejections are never easy to digest and I got a very big one - one that was rude and made me feel so puny in the grand scheme of things that it almost killed of my sense of self worth. It was only because I had a wonderful circle of people around to hoist me up that I kept standing. Hats off to all of you. April was also the month when I started yearning for someone. This was also the month when I posted my first short story.

If the first fall was hard, the second one, in May, was crippling. But I survived. Though I am not quite sure how. And while the world went mad around me, I wanted so desperately to reach out and be held in a warm embrace. And then my home started going apart in pieces, with my help of course. I also talked on phone with a completely unknown and completely out of this world person for the first time ever

Oh, how can I forget June. It was the month when I lost my sweetheart. I landed up in a new home, right across the city. And I also got my prized pair of khaki corduroys. I look almost "desirable" in them. Ahem!

I moved out of home, into the hostel, in July. I am changed man because of this decision. Earlier I could only eat. Now I can eat anything! I love this story that I wrote. I got the idea in the middle of a phone call. A very important question raised its head in my head (kind of complicated, really!), for the first time. I also remember losing control of how I felt and survived for the longest time ever on a ten rupee note.

August is sort of super special. I met my first ever blogger, and earned a good friend in turn. I realized that I had an uncanny ability to talk a lot. Most surprising! My talks with myself found a reflection in my posts and prevented my sanity from filing for divorce. I decided to walk a certain path, knowing very well that a fall is imminent again. Where did I get so much courage? I never knew I could feel like this.

Why did I write this? Yet it popped up so clearly in my head, that it had to be written. If I auctioned of how every feeling I felt right then and every one was sold for a million, I would still be a pauper. As I battled on one front, another rejection creeped up on me and voila, it's a hatrick of nays at work. I have still not told mum n dad about this one. I think I never will. This one caused me a lot of tension and stress. I was wondering how I got the courage last month, and now I retreated. Somehow, this was harder.

I came close to giving up the blog, and then something mended itself inside, though at what cost. I wrote my first post in Bangla. I never thought I would be able to do justice to the language, but I might attempt another post someday soon. And then the world exploded, and the fire singed me.

In November I finally saw Parineeta. But all I remember about November is work and more work. Amidst all that work I had to explain my actions and words to people I care about. I lost my temper. I think I have found it back again.

I completed something really, really, really big in December. It has required so much of dreaming, love, madness, inspiration and elbow grease to finish this, I still cannot fathom that it is done. I am eternally indebted to the people who helped me on the way. Whew! I met another charming blogger this month. And now as the years ends, life has come full circle. I am ready to fly again.

Will you join me?

In Remembrance

Last year saw the world go through a spate of disasters. Many people lost loved ones and many lives were torn apart. Though I have not really done anything to help these people, I do admire those who have lent a helping hand. Let us not forget these brave people who had the courage to fight the real battle, and let us all help in our own little ways.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Shei Tumi

Shei Tumi
Neel aakash theke neme aasha shei megh,
Kalo megher adhale shei bikel,
Shonali biddut bhora bikeler maajhe shei brishti,
Bhije, thanda, brishti te dadiye, shei tumi.

Shetpathorer shei koekta sheedi,
Sheedir upore uthe shei purono baranda,
Bhenge jawa barandar konaye shei mishti duphurer rod,
Dushtu duphurer roddure lukiye, shei tumi.

Dur, bohu dur cheyye dekha shei poth,
Klanto pother sheshe ekta budho bot gaach,
Gaacher chaayay shuye dekha shei shopno,
Preme podar shopne phire pawa, shei tumi.

Koikta shada kalo choole dhaka shei maatha,
Pagla maathar sharathi shei duti shukno chokh,
Shukiye jawa chokhe shei haariye jawa jol,
Phonta phonta jole meshano, shei tumi.

Woh Tum
Neele aasman se zameen par utre woh baadal,
Kaale baadalon ke peeche woh shaam,
Sunehri bijli se bhari shaam me woh baarish,
Geeli, thandi baarish me khadi, woh tum.

Sangmarmar ki woh kuch seedhiyaan,
Seedhi se upar chadhkar woh purana jharokha,
Toot te jharokhe ke kone me woh meethi dupahar ki dhoop,
Natkhat dupahar ki dhoop me chhupi, woh tum.

Dur, bohot dur khoya hua woh raasta,
Thake hue raaste ki manzil woh budha bargad ka pedh,
Pedh ki chhaya ki neendon ka woh sapna,
Chahat ke sapno me phirse mili, woh tum.

Kuch safed kaale balon me dhaka woh sir,
Pagal sir ki sarathi woh do sookhi aankhen,
Sookhi hui aankhon me khoya hua paani,
Boond boond paani me ghuli, woh tum.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Life uninterrupted

Many things have happened. Life has been whizzing past while I stand frozen, like these lines from a Salil Chowdhury song,

Aamaar chotur paashe shob kichu jaaye aashe,
Aami shudhu tusharito goti heen dhaara,
Aamaaye proshno kore neel dhrubo taara,
Aaar koto kaal aami robo disha haara.

I spent last night at S's place. S is a temporary bachelor, as his wife has taken off to Kolkata for the week. S lives in a rented house in C.R. Park. For all my years in Delhi, my night life experience is actually quite limited. In fact the first time I even returned from a pub (absolutely sober and quite alone) at two in the morning, was in a small town in the French Alps! So when S asked me if I wanted to have a double-egg-double-chicken roll on a very chilly evening I was duly tempted. I don't know which billowed more vapour - the hot chicken or S's cigarette or my mouth. Much as I detest smoke, my best friends always turn out to be smokers! We wandered about, taking in the ambiance of roadside stalls selling gud (jaggery), bodi (dry dumplings of ground pulses), narkol (coconut), fish cutlets, old books and mishti paan (sweet paan). We returned home and while S worked away, I caught a movie on the tube.

Then at around 10 p.m. we went down to the kali baari cafeteria, and had a sumptuous dinner of bhaat, daal, aaloo kopir dallan, macher jhol and tomator chatni (rice, pulses, a mix of potato and cauliflower cooked in way I cannot translate, fish curry and yummy tomato chutney). And guess the cost of this three course dinner - 35 bucks! We had two huge helpings of everything (it's an all you can eat meal, except for the fish). Then I came back and watched "Aranyer Din Ratri," vintage Ray. There is nothing more intoxicating than a movie which makes you forget that you have a brain, it just seeps in through every pore of your body. I do not understand cinema as perhaps a connoisseur does, but I do live the stories of the movies I like, in the moments that I watch them. And trust me, there is nothing else which is more liberating and more escapist than this.

But you might be wondering what was I talking about when I started this post. Life seems to be treating me like a king. It certainly has been, and I am not complaining. The point, however, is everybody is moving on. Y got married. B has become a father. S got a job which is going to make him a millionaire overnight. I am still where I was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. I do not even know what I am complaining about here, because I have this feeling of unprecedented calm which has descended upon me. I am content. It is driving my parents crazy, because to them it seems that I have suddenly become addicted to compulsive laziness. But I have always been lazy, yet this, this is scaring the wits out of me.

I wanted to research a piece on undecidability in computation, and look what came out instead. It is like I am no longer in control, and I am content to let it take me where it does. Am I being foolhardy, or for the first time in my life do I see things clearly?

Dil ke kuch shikwe jo baaki hain dil main,
Unhe tumse kehne ki chahat kyun baaki nahi rahi,
Agaar aaj, abhi, isi lamhe me zindagi guzar jaaye,
Dil ko marna gunah hoga, ya daba dena usme tamannaye unkahi?

I actually had planned on posting this on Christmas eve, thinking I'll be working as always, but as things turned out I was with friends watching Chicken Little, eating a huge pizza and jingling away to Christmas carols. Then I got a cute message from D, asking me whether I had a date for Christmas eve. When I said no, she asked me to it's about time I got around to seriously thinking about having a serious relationship. Seriously!

So, as I end this post, I smile and I savour the warm sun on my face, and I am thankful for being the way I am, and where I am, today.

Shayad phir tumhe dhoondne ki koshish main,
Zindagi se kahin phir mulakat ho jaaye,
Shayad phir khwabon ke aasman se utarkar,
Kamsin chahat ki baarish bhigo jaage.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Her eyes. Hazel eyes. Eyes lit with dancing flames. Eyes which spoke that which he could not bear to hear. Eyes which betrayed that which she would never bring to her lips. And so it had been, every evening for the past year, when he had walked her home.

"Every finite dimensional vector space, with an inner product defined, has an orthonormal basis." The first line he had ever heard her speak, when he had entered her first class on graduate linear algebra ten minutes late. She was graceful, intelligent and always smiled when anybody gave the correct proof for a theorem. He was not smitten by her instantly. But when she turned out to be the only person who could hold his attention in straight conversation, he had to admit something was different about her.

That had been a year back. Now, as he walked beside her on the concrete pavement, neither of them spoke. He just looked at her. She tried not to hold his gaze for more than a few seconds. The air between them hung like an old curtain, with layers of dust making it too heavy to blow in the gentle breeze. He opened his mouth to speak. She looked up and tilted her head to a side, and he caught her pleading glance. He struggled to keep the words inside. Cars and busses roaring down the road, hawkers on the pavement and the traffic policeman whistling with all his might to halt the flow of cars. He could hear none of these. The only sound he wanted to hear did not come.

They reached her apartment block. As she started climbing the small flight of stairs, she looked back. He caught her eyes, twinkling in the street light reflected from shop windows nearby. He turned away, for he could not bear to hear what they spoke. Her eyes.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Glimpses from going back

Ah winters! Short days and long nights - right out of my 7th class Geography book. First thought which comes to my mind as I walk out of office at 6:30 pm. After a short call home, to tell them I'll be home in about two hours, I begin my daily trek to the bus depot. It is dark, and I am feeling hungry. I take out my muffler and wrap it around my neck. Though the winter has been a benign cohort from my childhood days, I've learnt not to trifle with the ice cold air currents which romance the velvety evening as I walk down the street.

Now, something has to be said about my muffler. It has a bright green border, and is covered with a pattern of black, red and white diamonds. I have had it since ages, and my friend G says that I look like a doodhwalah with it wrapped around my head. So I am quite used to the curious surreptitious glances it attracts from all around.

I walk down a long well lit street to the gate of the campus which opens onto the main road. And the world erupts in a flurry of headlights, taillights, street lights and red lights. As if being blinded is not enough, I am simultaneously deafened by blaring vehicle horns from all around. Between all this commotion, I accompany two college students, a portly aunty all tucked up in a shawl and a nervous old man holding a perky kid's hand, in their attempts to cross the road. We alight from the pavement, dodging first the bicycle rider, then the Maruti 800 and then stop dead in our tracks to let the DTC bus pass. The wine red Tavera screeches to a halt inches before aunty, just as she puts up her palm as the divine gesture asking him to stop. Everybody scrambles onto the safety of the road divider, and then a repeat performance ensues for the other half of the road.

I walk into a dark bus depot, with a solitary street light marking the spot where the peanut seller has setup his stall. Five rupees for hundred grams seems to be the going rate for roasted peanuts. I stuff my pockets with peanuts and rewri (small tablets of jaggery and sesame seeds). While I make the purchase, the bus strolls into the depot, like a drunken elephant. Everybody scrams to get a good seat, as do I. The conductor bellows at everybody to pay him the exact change for the ticket, while a dilapidated radio blares:

Zindagi to bewafa hai, ek din thukraayegee,
Maut mehbooba hai apni, saath lekar jaayegee,
Mar ke jeene ki ada jo duniya ko sikhlaayega,
Woh mukaddar kaa sikandar, jaaneman, kehlayega.

Another hour, and I'll be home.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Have some why

Why do I feel restless?
Why do I feel this is going to snap a few neurons?
Why do I feel hysterical?

Why do I need to get an approval from everybody?
Why do I need to get an approval from anybody?

Why do I fumble at the simplest of questions?
Why do I fumble only when someone really asks them out loud?

Why do I feel singled out in a crowded room?
Why should it bother me that everybody is laughing?
Why do I smile as I type in this question?

Why did I spend the whole two hours behaving like a giggly teenager?
Why do I rebuke myself for just having fun?
Why do I have to measure up each time?

Why does it matter if I do not do what is expected?
Why do so many people expect anything at all from me?

Why is it so fascinating to think of running away?
Why is the thought of actually doing it so scary?

Why do I have to explain myself to everybody?
Why do I care if anybody gets me wrong?

Why does everybody have to see my point of view?
Why do I always see their point of view first?

Why is it so important to be nice?
Why is it so nice to be important?
Why being neither doesn't matter at all?

Why do I have to love anybody or anything?
Why do I like what I do?
Why do I do it better than a whole lot of other people?
Why do I bother if I do not?

Why is it essential to be original?
Why is it imperative to be creative?
Why being a snob is inevitable?

Why is it that I think I end up being condescending?
Why does it matter if I do?
Why can I not be rude?
Why is it pleasurable to be nasty?

Why do I have to have an opinion?
Why do I need to know politics from erotica?
Why do I have to say anything of interest to anybody?

Why is it always I before anybody else?
Why should it be anybody else before I?

Why is it so easy to be defensive?
Why is it so difficult to attack?
Why is it even harder to restrain my rage?

Why do I stand ignorance?
Why am I ignorant of all stands?

Why do I try to write, even though I am no writer?
Why is it easier, than to just think all the time?

Why is it that I love to eat?
Why is it great that I can eat what I cook?
Why is it even better when a friend can beat me at it?

Why does it feel good to show off?
Why is nobody watching what I want to show?
Why do I want to show anything?
Why do I want to see what other's are showing?

Why is there always a now and a then?
Why is there always a she?
Why is it that I am always temporally misaligned?

Why are there no links to other blogs on my blog?
Why do I read them?
Why do people comment on my ramblings?
Why do I want them to comment?

Why is this a personal blog?
Why does it not talk about something important to society?
Why should anything be more important to me, than my life?
Why am I labeled separately from the crowd?

Why does chaos make sense?
Why can a fixed point iteration converge?
Why does fever manifest on a paintbrush?
Why is a fugue fascinating to a bear?

Why can I ask all this?
Why is there no end to questions?
Why does this feel liberating?
Why is this post so long?


Friday, December 09, 2005

The Power to Dream

A life I chose,
Of loving those,
Very animated few,
And in lieu,
I gave up being normal.

Streaks of calm,
A star-crossed palm,
Flavour my bewitched brew,
Searching for that ever new,
I fell in love with the search.

Sleepless nights and burnt out days,
Breathless years of ceaseless chase,
Focused on that single spot,
As I joined dot after dot,
I gave birth to my inner child.

Paused now, and standing tall,
As I wait for a tumbling fall,
Burn, and let the ashes rise to see,
To reach for that realm of fantasy,
I am ready to create again.

To everybody who has stood by me all these years and seen me through my madness. I hope each and every one of you get to live your dreams. Thank you!