Saturday, December 12, 2009

100 sqaure feet

100 square feet of pure mess....
Of empty bottles below my bed
Of random pages with half - written thoughts
and the several chapters erased ...
Of the peppery- spray for “just- in- case"
and miniatures of old monk for exactly the same..
Of jhonson baby lotions and the anti- ageing creams too
Of laptops and ipods and the old radio too
Of “lenses on offers” and expensive perfumes
Of the never- utilized “candle light dinner” dress
and of used up candles from the dark rainy nights ...
Of glossy invitations and menus,
and plates of Maggie cooked on the yesteryear days...
Of the ladoos mom packed for me,
and a flight ticket to escape farther from her ...
Of shimmering gift wrappers preciously tucked away
and the gifts sitting idle waiting to be touched
Of the webs on the wall and the walls of life creating the webs ...
Of days of broken heels and nights of broken hearts,
of dazzling dusks and the murky dawns
If and when the time to leave arrives, I ll look back …
At this alien piece of land- my home, a nameless life- now my own
100 square feet of pure mess, I enjoyed creating it all…

Sunday, October 11, 2009

To Nowhere..

A Saturday evening…a bout of self- love. I choose to spend this evening just with myself…
I buy a pirated copy of one my favorite books…I have read, read and re- read this book a couple of times in the past few years. Interestingly… every time I have read this book, I have been in a different city…each time life has been a little different than the last time I read it.

I walk back, not necessarily with an aim to reach anywhere. I let myself walk through the small lanes, not knowing where they will lead me to …
Paths which lead to the unknown, are worthwhile to tread on…

It’s a beautiful night.... The air is crisp and cold… it starts drizzling…the cold rain drops pleasingly pierce my skin. I have reached a divine place overlooking the city which has death- like calm and a life- like vivacity. It is dimly lit..very calm, forlorn….. a place, where I suddenly feel alienated from all the things which I am a part of …It is a feeling of being possessed by everything around and not having any possession of my’s beautiful, almost like a string of magic moments..

I want to scribble a few lines to capture these moments..I do so on the blank pages of the book I just bought. A few lines on the next page attract my attention….it talks of mistakes, of fate…and the mistakes which make our fate...of letting life choose the course by itself ...
I sit here thinking… the last time I read this statement in my dilapidated apartment on a winter night years ago in the city of joy...I had no clue I will read it once again in this city, I never thought I will go to...

My journey from there to here, then to now…it took a lot of strength and a little fragility, a lot of love and a little hatred, a lot of turbulence and a little peace...a lot of "letting- go" and "holding on" ...big errors and little mistakes

I sit here wondering...when we let ourselves on anonymous paths we come accross lots of illusions, apprehensions of what may happen next and a fear of not being able to find the destination again…but I guess that’s the price we all pay for a few magic moments like these..

I bookmark this page…for the next time and the one after that…

Friday, September 4, 2009

Of Doubt & Trust

It never ends, I wish it never does
These last few moments of doubt and trust…

No more it matters if I win...
And it doesn’t matter if I win a lil less
It is meant to be broken, destined for an end
I see it going…was never mine
It never goes, I wish it never does
The last few moments of doubt and trust…

No more it matters if I will miss it
And it doesn’t matter if I ll miss it a lil more
Yesterday has disappeared, tomorrow will too..
I see this day fading away soon
It never fades, I wish it never does..
The last few moments of doubt and trust…

The dawn is elusive, the dusk is too
A Fathomless abyss between me and you
Where the doubt is charming, and the trust is too!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beautifully Implicit

Most things in life are done out of compulsions – few explicit, most implicit. Being punctual to office belongs to the latter (if you are into HR). It’s a usual morning. After snoozing for approx. 20 minutes, I finally push myself out of the bed. As I slowly descend from the astral world, I realize the only thing “usual” about this morning is the eternal internal conflict of “to bunk or not to bunk”. The sky is gloomy, rains haven’t stopped pouring since last night, the air is fresh and cold – it carries a fragrance better than the one trapped in nina ricci bottles….it is ideal – a hot cup of coffee, my bed and day full of “nothingness”…but..

I give in, I have to rush – the corporate butchers do not understand that there’s much more to life than to earn a living….do I?...may be not! none of us do …guess the “implicit compulsions” are more potent than the explicit ones.

At 9 in the morning one of the busiest roads to travel in the city is the “hi-tech”, where thousands of techies drag themselves to work each day – decked up, wearing the rectangular access/ID cards around their necks which reduce each one of them into a number, but does give them some sort of “identity” we all crave for.

The traffic is totally jammed. I am happy as it gives me some more time and a valid reason to reach office late. Still at the same spot as I was 10 mins ago, the music in my ipod starts giving me a headache. I put it off and look around...

A pretty girl in a rickshaw doing and re-doing her make-up with complicated colored pencils…impatiently looking at her watch time and again…An old woman wearing a faded saree in another rickshaw...contemplating in silence, in no hurry to reach anywhere…

A white school bus stuffed with kids- all of them tearing each others clothes apart….a group of younger children happily selling flowers, thanking the traffic jam to give them maximum client exposure.

A black Mercedes (something to die for) and a disturbingly handsome man on the back seat (something to live for: P) …too engrossed in his palmtop to notice anything around… A cycle with 27 chickens on each side tied upside down …the fastest one to twist and turn and make its way out of the commotion...

A “formally dressed” mid- aged man on a pulsar continually convincing someone on phone getting ready for his sales target …. A old bike - 3 friends , adjusting themselves on a red caliber having the best laugh of their lives…

A rainy morning….a standstill corner of a fast paced city made us all look like the “self- absorbed” characters of a similar story – ever flowing , ever moving from someone, something, somewhere to someone, something ,elsewhere. It is few explicit stops in life like these , when I wonder how everything around is indeed beautifully implicit!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May Be...

When one routine ends ...we simply dive into a new one. As I come back home this Friday night , I take a break from my cellphone ,e-mails and myself. The day I wait for every week is here - Tomorrow ,I can skip everything I hate – Waking up early, forcing my eyeballs accept polymers to see the world better, going through my “To-Do-List” on my way to the office and making it on my way back.

I stare at the city , so well framed by the window of my room - this is where I lose myself everyday amongst the thousands ….it’s still alive …colours, lights, savvy people ,the latest cars …the noise,the rush and the charade.

A New year in a new city, new roomies , new targets and a new role to play ….I wonder how it still is the same old struggle everyday to hit certain life targets that we all are so programmed to achieve - A secure job , a family back home and a hope that the years to come will be better.

I slept off , without managing an answer to the question I ask everyday --What if someone wants to miss the pre-planned targets ? May be one such impulsive Friday night holds the key to my question ….

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some with wrappers ...some without

A piece of advice: If you are on vacation/ born jobless/ a 2009 B-school pass out - never grant a license to your friends to drag you to places -you don’t want to go . It was one such morning , when my SPF 75 sunscreens could have been put to shame… I was made to travel to a not so nearby hospital , to sign on some papers for an emergency operation of a distant friend.

Under normal circumstances , for normal people this would have been a “good” deed to wash away sins of the past week…but to be frank , I can’t stand hospitals- courtesy : the painful childhood memories of fractured nose and toes .

This day was meant to be cruel. The swanky invitation card resting in my purse, reminded me to wind up as early as I could. I had to attend a “Meet” in a newly opened hotel in the neighborhood….did I say hotel? Anyways More on that later…

We arrived in front of the massive structure; swarming with people …it took us directions from 5 men, 10 signboards and 15 phone calls to reach the corner ,we were supposed to.

I had never been to a government hospital before. This part of the world was non-existent, until today . The feeling was that of being trapped inside a suffocating cardboard box where life was peeling off every second. The overpowering smell of the phenyl, bodies placed on cold steel plates, huge curtains speckled with blood spots - The starkness of this reality was sharp. The white boards reduced people to numbers – some circled, some not….of course If you are circled, you are dead (literally). The strain on the limited resources was evident, the ease with which everything was handled more so. It was complex …it was simple, both at the same time . I walked out …

I was late for my meet. The ornate name of the venue , made me imagine a plush banquet hall. I wasn’t wrong …I was stepping into a new concept - from one of the top brands of Indian hospitality. This wasn’t a hotel…but a star category hospital- set to be the “top-of-the-list” choice for people born more equal than the others.

The exquisite interiors , spotless glass all around, elaborate Ikebana on the reception – I walked carefully on the silk-like aurora marble , so as to not harm its beauty .
The upper floors housed the patients. Each with a glass cabin…in pure white attire. The doctors ... almost models . This place was a treat for your eyes , in every sense.

This was another world. I rushed; I was late for my meet, which turned out to be nothing more than a pathetic lecture on medi-tourism.I chose to float my soul into the fragrance of the potpourri .I munched on the candies wrapped in stylish wrappers. Oblivious to everything around, I kept staring out of the window blinds.

Men and women , old and young -pierced with needles, inhaling life from the steel cylinders … everyone equally helpless .There was no door that led to the escape.The similarity between the two places I visited today was absurd... People in both worlds struggled with the same contents …just a small difference – for some the stylish wrappers were provided ... some managed without them.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

An Ideal Women's Day....

PINK!!! It took me a few moments to realize why my otherwise classy-looking copy of Times Life is giving me a headache. The top left read “8th March, 2009”. Our leading ladies stand there, wearing the designer couture, staring at me…so confident, so perfect on the front page of this edition of “International Women’s day”.

Except for the 50% discount deals at major shopping destinations, nothing really managed to hold my interest. It was the usual – Shoba De’s sharp and acerbic work on feminism, Bachi Kakaria’s attempt to tickle you with “The Pink Chaddi campaign” , Neeta Ambani’s lifetime achievement on “the art of balancing” and some other powerful single women talking about “how being single is not equal to being lonely/unhappy”!!!

Year after year, the same handful of women – tries to create an illusion of how we have “progressed”. I am not a feminist (much against the popular belief), all I can’t do is register the “differences” between two human beings …Something which is so conveniently woven into the minds of many around me.
Celebrating days like these is nothing but an exercise in futility. Days like these are a consolation for some, and a joke for some like me.

As we (me and my girlfriends) embarked on our shopping voyage, we spoke about the concept of women’s day . We gave our grey cells a break….And came up with an ideal(and funny) version of “An Ideal women’s day” …8 points for an ideal 8th March…njoy

1. A day when instead of “kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi” , there’s a demeaning show called “sasur bhi kabhi jamai tha”!!

2. A day when men are supposed to look "fresh" and smell "nice" after 10 hours of work, when they come back home to their wives/girlfriends.

3. A day when we can see men cutting “bhindi” balancing themselves on the fourth seat of the Mumbai local trains, after a long day at work.

4. A day when the mommies of our dear co-bachelors do not have the right to filter the girls photographs for marriage…and instead this privilege rests with our mommies.

5. A day when a 26 year old boy starts worrying about his wrinkles, and pimples, and myopia …in short – a prospective groom. (Oops bride).

6. A day when bachelors wear sherwanis and a façade of being “culturally appropriate” ( and in some cases also sing a song…lol) while visiting a girls house with a marriage proposal.

7. A day when the tradition of serving bed tea at 5 in the morning is abolished by law.

8. A day when guys are not intimidated by girls who are “smarter” than them [:P] .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In The Name of God...

It was a Sultry Sunday night. She sat by the window of her huge dormitory, staring into the dark void and thinking about the past one week – that had changed a lot in her life . Normally she would have slept by now, but today she had lost the track of time.

Weekends were usually busy. Sundays brought with them the can-be/ would- be parents to the shelter and thus came the hope of a new life for all the orphans. On Saturdays , everyone spent their day washing and keeping their best dresses ready, combing their hair and practicing the “Good Mornings”- to impress their fates the next day .
Adoption , is and was always stigmatized- only except the magnitude of it has reduced over the years. Also, when it comes to picking up a kid – usually the elder ones ,the girls , the dark-skinned and the unpleasant looking ones are conveniently left out of the consideration set….and so she remained invisible to most people visiting the shelter, despite her efforts .

This Sunday was no different, only except for the fact that Mel wasn’t with her.
Mel was the youngest Nun and the most beautiful woman, she had ever met . Despite her grey habit and a tattered apostolnik , she filled colors in everything around. Mel was the one who knew - when someone had skipped dinner, or escaped brushing their teeth. She was the one who plaited her hair and sometimes painted her little pink nails.
On Sunday evenings ,when all the hopes went dim- it was Mel, who told her the stories of Krishna and Ram , of Jesus and Mother …as she dozed off holding onto the rosary under her pillow, besides a colorful picture of the Krishna .Through Mel, She realized God- not religion.

To all of them, shelter was the world and everyone lived in oblivion of the outside tensions (which were quite frequent ). Since a few weeks, there was a clash, between the radical groups over the issue of conversion. An already resource- scare shelter, where getting enough food for the children was a challenge, security was the last thing on the list.
This evening, the huge but weak doors were locked from inside, and the lights were put off. As they heard the mob approaching the shelter with the loud war cry of Har har Mahadev , children clung to each other . The mob had torches and weapons , the furious flames made the saffron coloured scarfs and flags look daunting - as she saw it from the small opening of the window and reported to the others.

The mob approached the room- the heartbeats grew louder, no one moved …held their breath so as to maintain pin drop silence . Each one said a quite little prayer- with clenched fists, which were now cold and almost blue in colour. The noises then moved away …from this particular room , towards the end of the corridor to another one.

She didn’t realize when she fell asleep amidst the chants interspersed with screams . As she woke up the next morning, the shelter was abuzz. She looked outside the window- a huge fleet of ambulance was waiting. The stretchers were not free even for a moment as they carried the dead bodies now covered with pure white sheets.

There were cameras and microphones and blatantly excited bunch of people, who forcefully chatted with each and every person who passed by the shelter . She was confused, and worried. She started walking out of her dormitory; the entire area was now being sealed.
Men in khakis seemed to be doing a stocktaking exercise with hundreds of papers and documents- the only things that seemed important to them. She looked around for Sister Mel, and as minutes passed she became restless.

Suddenly the confusions grew; The noises reached the peak and cameras clicked. A elderly man , dressed in white kurta walked through the corridor, blabbering about peace and unity . She was pushed to a corner and her eyes scanned the crowd, looking for Mel.

She never saw her again. Tonight, The saffron color in Krishna’s picture , brought back the fear and the memories . She opened the window next to her bed and let it slip away ...
In the name of god, something was achieved. She converted herself, quietly to a nonbeliever.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And I Shall Miss....

With less than 2 weeks left for my 2 year B-school journey to end , I wondered how much will I miss these days – and If I will , at all ? How much ever I would like to believe otherwise – I know , I will. There is always something - about everyone, everything and every phase– that is worth cherishing. My two years were no exception to this.

As the DJ played the cliché “yaaron” and “summer of 69” towards the end of our farewell bash, we couldn’t help but become a bit “senti”. As we walked back to our hostel rooms on this chilly winter night ,I was caught between the past and the future . But let the future rest for a while , I will use this space to scribble some moments of the past ….those which I will miss the most..

Ø I Will Miss my friends – who knocked on my door at odd hours , wore their dirty chappals and walked around in my recently cleaned room , borrowed stuff and conviniently forgot about it, also never expected getting their possessions back from me . I will miss those night-long “addas” in our hostel rooms , where hours flew away with the aid of maggi spiced up with “short stories of x, y and z”. The expert opinion of everyone on everything, the hours spent on analysis of the past and plans of the future .

Ø Will miss..Waking up at 12 noon , bunking classes….knowing that a friend is giving proxies .Wiling the time away , mastering the art of doing “Absolutely NOTHING”.
Ø The immense utility derived out of that first paani puri or the first bite of a mayo-filled Mc burger after weeks of “mess(y)”soda rice and mirchi rasam.....sigh!

Ø I will Miss “acting like an MBA”, competing for our GPAs -- saturating every statement (intentionally or otherwise) with our favorite jargons – ROI, competency gaps , Maslow’s , locus of controls , TQM ..and blah blah .. will miss cooking a common recipe to every problem and every case , writing exam papers as easily as writing a blog and still managing a respectable CGPA.( also writing every damn thing in bulleted points like this :P )

Ø Making presentations with the most incompatible group members on a night before, arguing and cursing them- smartly and selfishly avoiding those slides which wouldn’t fetch marks -but still being a “team” rather than a group the next morning.

Ø I will Miss my companion, my virus-ridden laptop and the junk within, where to create that “extra space” for a new movie – we deleted projects crafted by our blood sweat and tears in the last semester.

Ø I will Miss my Nirvana @ 6. To silently view the sunset from the terrace of my high-rise hostel is something to die for- to witness the world change its shade from a serene blue to a feral saffron to a melancholic purple…and finally to the gorgeous black studded with silver stars.

To put it simply - I will miss- “belonging” somewhere ,where I found many things worth missing. Its a new end ...its a new beginning.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Peep Into The Closet

A lazy afternoon, my Monday started at 12 :D. I decided to clean up my closet, since there was nothing better to do- well that’s not entirely true (with hundreds of assignments and their deadlines impending ), but to stay away from books this was a pretty good excuse.

I am a neat freak , but this only remains a reality till one gets to peep into my closet , as I dump all the mess from my room inside it . This creates an illusion of orderliness in my immediate surroundings: P

I opened a drawer-----long forgotten pieces of receipts ,tattered greeting cards in all colours possible , photographs which I took in the old old times when digital tech. was still far away and in which I stood wearing the then “HS” and now “LS” fashion , junk jewellery and the oversized hoops – now corroded and entangled , just like everything else around , the numerous studs, the anklets , the stick-on tattoos with incomprehensible designs – which were very central to the then incomprehensible phase of my life .

Right at the corner , a bundle of paper was resting - almost yellowish now , a red threadbare rubber band tied around it . It was my collection of letters, and my collection of memories .In Life, I have been lucky to meet a lot of people ,and to make a lot of friends out of those and also to collect a lot of goodbyes. This bundle was a memoir of those people and those goodbyes.

I sat on the floor ,with the floor now as messy as my closet, and I read each one of them. There were “ Why I will miss you ?” notes from my Mgt. Trainee batch of the previous organization – (this was an exercise done to improve our teamwork and people quotient during our training , but it def. had much more significance ….so much of it that after 3 years I still preserved it and cherished each word ). We were a closely knit gang , spent 25 hours of a day together :D
I read each word, remembered each one of my friend and each moment of the most wonderful 2 months of my life.
I smiled and I laughed , I remembered and I missed , and I enjoyed myself on this lazy afternoon in my hostel room . It took me sometime to decipher few signatures on those notes, of those whom I am no longer in touch with - those who were buddies before and now are just another name on my “orkut” list .

Then there were other letters, some even from my school days – "the corny ones", the "I am sorry ones" , "the confessional ones" , the overtly "sentimental and/or hilarious" ones , the ones which were “important” for survival in our teenage, and the ones which were the lifeline of our gossip sessions all night long . I spent an hour going through them – and it was an hour spent well , there was indeed nothing better to do than this , today on this lazy Monday afternoon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Of Life , In Life

The most noble truth amongst the 4 , which Buddhism preaches is that 'attachment is the root cause of all suffering' .I can’t decide whether to appreciate the simplicity , or the complexity of this statement. It took me a few years , number of books, a small amount of research, some “enlightened” people and hands-on exposure (ouch ! ) to realize that why everyone from parmhansa to osho invented the same recipe to moksha.Recently, I witnessed something that made me think of a slightly different version of this noble truth .

Waiting for my friend on the station, I was busy preparing a mental list of what to shop , where to shop and plunder as much as possible with my limited resources. An unkempt malnourished middle aged man, stinking of a mixture of sweat and ammonia in oversized clothes came and sat right next to me. My reflex - a disgusted look and an intentionally rude, audible “tch ” , before I occupied another bench nearby. I later noticed that he was a blind fellow and the guilt pinched me hard.

He was holding a yellow/ now black bag close to himself with his two arms wrapped around it – staring into the darkness, closely watching the void with his fictional eyes. He then lit up a beedi , holding it between his third and fourth fingers , thick end inwards , followed by deep drags . He seemed to be in bottomless thoughts, his head tilted in an angle as if sensing everything around him.

He took a half-torn piece of paper, and scribbled something on it, or attempted to do so. To check whether the pen worked - he held the paper close to his nose and smelt the paper, then the tip of the pen- one by one for 20 odd pens and bundled them together .They were cheap plastic pens – fluorescent green and shocking pink – which u and me will never buy.

The train approached, he headed towards it making his way through the crowd. Each individual in isolation would have been keen to the poor guy, but when the same individuals make the crowd – cruelty creeps in. He was pushed and yelled at, was given those contemptuous looks when he brushed against anyone- the same treatment which I gave him moments ago .

He managed to board the train and tried to earn his evening bread through those cheap 20 pens, which he made sure worked, but about which no one really cared. His feeble life, a hopeless one …
I wondered why the effort to cling on to such a fragile life after all? “To attain moksha give up attachment with happiness.” ----In this case where was happiness in first place to be attached to?
Each noble truth has an answer in spirituality, but there needs to be one more truth and one more answer.
Why In spite of utmost suffering, there is utmost attachment? Or is it because of utmost suffering, there is utmost attachment? .I wish there was a recipe to overcome just this only inconvenient truth – of life, in life!