Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ek aisi Dasvidaniya !(A goodbye like this!)

Some twenty years back, when i use to live in Tezpur, besides that big pond and those hillocks, i had many fears. The biggest amongst them, were of course for mathematics, and for strangers. Mathematics, i never got the hang of, but strangers, i made peace with. I remember as a kid, each day at around 4 pm, there would be this queer guy; old as Moses, dirty as a dog and as secretive as a magic trick, flip floping his sandals and walking past our house in a hawaiin shirt, a sack full of stuffs on his shoulder and an unknown urgency. No one knew where he came from , and where he went. But he did pass our ways for 12 long years, without a single days' pass in between. Sometimes I used to position myself on our window , cup aside the curtain around my face and look at him. He never stopped, never looked aside. Just walked on. Until one day, when i saw from my window, a neighbourhood kid threw a stone at him, that dropped on his head . He stopped. Turned. And looked at the kid. He cried out in a demonish moan of a wild boar. For his eyes, he had two burning coal pieces and for his teeth, he had none. That was the last i saw of him.

Dad's job, my education and then my job, took me to various pincodes in India. Each time, a different bunch of strangers. And strange moments with them. They still linger in my mind and like pickled olive in mustard oil, lined somewhere in memory's backyards ,today i let them out to sun.

Theres this pleasant anecdote about strangers i fondly recollect. It was the evening we received a call from our uncle that our maternal grandpa had expired and overnight we had to go to Guwahati, a distance of about 300 kilometres. We had hired a new driver for our Maruti 800 and off we started at around midnight. Now the driver , being talkative by nature and unknown to the cause of our trip, started to tell us how he was brought up in a small village called Nelli( It was also the place where my grandpa spent most of his life industrialising the business of handlooms) and the hardships his family dealt with until they started their own textile co-operative. Almost evryone in the car was already so overcome by tiredness or grief,that his story went on like the drum of a wasp in the background, until he brought the car to a halting stop and told my dad ,"Saab Nelli aa gaya. Yahaan thoda ruk le? Madam aur bachcho ko chai paani chahiye hoga. Aur waise yehi mera gaon hain."

It was 2 am. Cold, foggy and unknown. We sat in a nearby dhaba whose owner turned out to be our drivers' acquaintance.

"Chaar cup chai", he ordered to the sleepy waiter.

Suddenly he pointed out to me a photo of Jesus Christ hung on the wall and asked," Baba, Jaante ho ye kaun hain?". I thought to myself , how stupid, who doesnt know anyways. Then he pointed to the other wall where, to our utter surprise, a photo of our grandpa working with the villagers of Nelli was hung high, and asked, "Chalo baba, pata hain ye kaun hain?".

Whatever he said then, stayed with me even today.

" Ye hain Jeesu, ye bhagwaaan insaan ban ke aaya tha... aur ye( pointing to my grandpas portrait), ye insaan bhagwaan ban gaya."

And for the rest of the journey, this stranger and his stupid stories actually started making sense.

Its said that strangers are friends you have yet to meet. On the otherhand, sometimes you spend a lot of time to get to know someone to realise that you are really strangers. Eitherways, its a walk worth taking. Tushar, Monil, Darshak, Swati, Gulshan, Aparna, Vijay, Abhishek, the beginning there were days with all of you when i had the freeze and fear about getting accepted. I had to flash that extrra smile, crack the extra joke, walk that extra mile. We all do it with strangers i guess.And look how the years in between melted down everything that was extra , and the only thing extra left with us ,is the extra ordinary friendship that i share with each one of you. I dont think twice about calling Tushar Monil or Djjay at any time of the night to discuss nothing, I can pant with excitement like a dog when i hear Swatis voice on her return to India, i can say without any thought how much i miss our "fake-romancing" with Appy, i can be blindly led by Gulshan through my worst worries, or sit in different parts of the world and still feel joy with Abhishek and Vijay. Some strangers never go out of fashion. My friends clearly top the list.

Though i guess these lines brought in a little joy in what i was writing, but i really started on with a not so happy note. I havent written for about four months now. Damnit. Pretty much because i had nothing readable to write. I made no new friends (except one Mr S Bapat, the new senior manager at the office who sent me an orkut request yesterday and which i could not deny:(:(....), had no great food ,read nothing kicking , went nowhere exciting. All that i have done, is flip flop my steps back from office each evening for the past half year,with the lost day and the laptop hung around my shoulders , through groups of kids playing gully cricket and the womenfolk taking an evening stroll , and somehow, it hurts when i think that these evenings i am not the one who peeps in from the window at the stranger man walking down our neighbourhood, these days, I am the queer guy who passes by the neighbourhood with a sack full of stuffs on his shoulder and an unknown urgency!!
I am the stranger man!

True when they say, every man dies,but not every man really lives. And this piece is my birthday resolution to live till i am alive..Welcome me back!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Che not Guevera !

Now why am i doing this? But since promise breakers are shoemakers and thats not what my Mommy would want me to be , i better go ahead with this one.

Heres to Che, this piece.

Now before you guys start writing a comment without reading the entire piece lemme ensure you something.You are as much lost on the topic as i am. I dont know the guy i am writing about in this piece as much as you dont. But then,when you are impulsive on a stupid Monday afternoon at office,you tend to do crazy things.But write about a guy who you havent met? Well.

There are some faces of strangers that we would love to try.At present, for me, its Che. Well, if you are thinking of the Cuban rebel Che Guevera, I pity your strong history basics. The namesake Che i am talking about stays at Mumbai, circa 2008, does copywriting for money,less money he would say, and sniffing around lifes' gullies for pleasure. Women,all about women, quiz, destiny,rains, rollingstones,mermaid, wine,counterstrike, old monk, popcorn and love-hate are some of the prominent topics/tagwords in his blogs. Undressing and cute guys, i missed out on. WTF!!! Even that.

Now why do i spend a precious jobless office afternoon on a dude i know nothing about when i could have prepared myself for the table pe chai at 2 pm with a quick post lunch nap? Well, opinion poll inside my mind all throughout the afternoon reveals that 15% of my grey cells feel that i have nothing better to do, a tiny 1% says the recent gay march in Mumbai is working inside me, 4% of them say because i have promised him this piece, 7.8% say that henceforth he will be sweetly conquered to write nice comments on my blog, but a wholesome 72.2% say that somehow this guy comes across as a very different entity from the usual dog-inside-the-man public ! He is the only man-inside-the-dog bloke i know. And sau takka original.

Well, jokes apart, he is really funny. Picture this, the phrases he uses,.."I was as confident as the Indian government in the no confidence vote".Or this para,"So you all have been wondering where is the blog I had promised at the end of my last post? Well here it is! And why wasn’t it here before? Because I was too sore and tired. And why was I so sore and tired? Gah! Do your questions ever end?
Well first I need to answer another question from my last blog. In it I had mentioned some shopping I had done which I promised to explain later. Well here is the explanation. The shopping was done for socks, training shoes and a supporter. What is a supporter you ask? Erm it’s the male equivalent of a bra, except its much smaller and worn much further down.
So why the shoes, socks and the supporter? Isn’t it so obviously silly? I have joined a gym. A what you say? A gym you moron! Grrr. Now stop laughing and get off the floor!"

This is Che. And his cool WTF approach to life. Simple. Hassle free. A complete no no-nonsense . Bad times seem to melt away like blueberry topings inside the mouth.Effortless. I mean, seriously, no ones escaped life alive. So why worry about it anyways! And junta like Che use this simple "spending money on a boob job and coming back with the same boobs. I mean what’s the point" logic effectively to leverage on lifes funny moments and make it bearable! Shopping, popcorn, wine, weekends, friends,beer, computer games,movies, masti, crap,more crap,and even more crap...pleasant references to live life by. Somehow Che,you leave me with that feeling everytime . And I can go on about this piece, but then, why spend words when all that is needed to describe you is a plain Whatevrrrrrrr!:)

This is to life's good times.And you,Che.


You guys, catch his writings at

And Che, that would be 100$ on you for the service!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

And then, it rained !

6 pm. Walking back from office alone, under an unusually dark sky , kicks feelings.. Huge pockets of clouds, about to burst , like a hurt girl at eighteen..both filled with nothing , yet something. A couple of ten year olds teettering back from school, discussing cricket over cut slices of unripe salted mangoes, reminds you of your age.You suddenly miss all those came, went and taken for granted joys of your life and the word bygones become the only tagword for your memories.
And then it rained.
Thick sheets of H2O whirling down my glasses in gay abandon.A blurry aquatic world everywhere.A girl racing past her bicycle in a dirty yellow raincoat silhouetted against the grey sky instantly remind me of Raveena Tandon. Ola :) The old woman selling hot bhuttis to young lovers.Frogs croak from the nearby pond, the dog stands shelterless on the road ,the chai shop does brisk business and my baniyan hugs onto me in unconditonal assurance.

Suddenly you remember all those days which had a weather like this and when all those things happened . All those rainy treks, fights, talks, trips, walks hit in the 70mm of your mind. You suddenly remember a long lost person. And then suddenly try to get over it. If you are sentimental enough you would sing "Nahii saamne ye alag baat hain..." to yourselves. Or recollect painfully how she left in the lightning and the rain.. Rains have it. Hurts and compromises of the past float up and out of you like unkept naughty secrets.

Rains also bring out a riot of colorful memories. You remember the time when you feel so relieved as Dad reaches home by the first streak of lightening and all of you enjoy chai-pakora in the veranda discussing neighbours, tv serials or planning Diwali puchase. Until it stops raining and you put on your canvas and run wild outside with your friends.. Or think of the night when it rained the hardest and you thought of the poor guys in the railway station from under your blanket.Or the time when your tuitions were cancelled for the rains and you had all those three hours to kill with your friends before reaching home.Or the time at hostel with friends and how rains made everyone miss home. Or the first time in the rains ,you gave your jacket to show someone you care.

Walking along my thoughts, i couldnt help notice this young couple i was following all this while.Arms in arms,head to head, both entwined into each other.All wet, both of them. The boy carrying the girl on one hand, and a closed umbrella in the other..God bless, i wished and turned my way.
True when they say that the best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The right to be left!

Did you ever wonder why men's and women's clothing are buttoned on opposite sides?Or why wedding rings are worn only on the third finger of your left hand?Or why left handedness is banned in the game of polo?by now,i presume you have hit at what i am guessing.yeah,welcome to the "sinister" world of the gauchies,or plainly,the lefthanders.......the word LEFT,since time immemorial has been considered to have a malignous connotation,and an evil presence in our lives.The whole of chinese philosophy depends on the concept of yin and yang,or positive and negative bundles of energies,depicted by the right and the left respectively.Virtually ,all of the worlds religions associate the left with the evil,or dirty.Even clocks go in the right direction,and so do compasses.The christians still believe that Eve was made from Adam's left rib.and strangely, in modern day japan,a wife being left-handed can be a solid ground for divorce!!!!! ......
Innumberable trivias follow the world of lefties.some interesting,some ridiculous,but at the bottom, very very painful.this world is made for the right handers i must school ,has anyone of us seen a left handed desk?they dont exist.novelty coffee mugs are made with the picture or text for a right handed pick-up.then again scissors are for right handers.only lefties understand this.(another trivia: around the world , 2500 left handed people die each year using right handed products!!!in all,studies confirm that left handed people live an average of ten years less than their right handed counterparts!!).... and the mouse you are using as you read this is designed for right handers.the list spreads onto other products like the spiral bound notebooks,playing cards,rulers,belts,ATM machines,bowling balls,water jerrycans, all.

.I still remember,once when i was in my second standard,the note of caution that my teacher sent to my parents when she caught me practising my cursives with my left hand. It read" the boy uses his wrong hand for writing.take care of it.".though my dad let it pass,henceforth,i could see my mom bending over me often to check if i ever used my left hand while writing.though i switched on to become a "rightie",i still have that note preserved safely ,a reminder of the first discrimination of my life.........this world beleives in why not give lefties a chance.not to return to right handedness,i mean ,but to be as they are..When Colonel Baden Powell ,the famous founder of the boys scouts,entered the city of ashanti people in 1896,he was met by one of the chiefswho came to him holding out his left hand for a handshake.baden powell held out his right hand in return,when the chief said out aloud,"no,in my country , the bravest of the brave,shake hands with the left hand."..So started the legend of the famous left hand handshake of the boys scouts. Even today when a scout meets another,they extend their left hands to express solidarity and oneness.

Btw,today,August the 13th, is Worlds left handers day. You can choose to write a greeting note to Angelina Jolie,Amitabh Bachchan, or well,Darshak Parmar!

Keep the faith!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Short is sweet!

Haikus are special poems originally from Japan which are known for their brevity, punch and having this distinctive ability to ring a bell in your mental silence and let you waltz in that cling for long lonely afternoons thereafter.. here i go with a couple of mine..


You still hurt.


5 am.
faraway trucks roar.
in the pitter patter of the downpour.
The tea stall radio sings
Along the bicycle bell clings.
Thud. The newspaper all wet.
You pull over the blanket.
Its Sunday.


Long after the storm.
The tree remained


Hiding my thoughts
At the back of the moon
hoping that
no one will find it there.
but it ditches me.
every night.


The last of the whisky over.
And the stones all into the pond.
The end of happiness.
The beginning of peace.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Jaane tu.. ya jaane naa..


Ever realised when does someone become more than just a friend?Or days when you simply cant stop looking at her, long after her story is over?Love blooms.And like weeds after a rainy day, almost anywhere. Enemies fall in love. Competitors fall in love. And often, friends fall in love. Dont take my words?
Watch Jaane tu ,yaa jaaane na!

Ready.Clap.Action. And you are immediately transported to an era we all lovingly look back,to the college corridors,bubblegum gossips, basketball courts, hot chicks, and cool dudes with open buttoned shirts and a three quarter romance story. In search of the missing quarter. A quintessential college story, in which love makes life so confusing, but then , without love, would we really want to live? .

Its the story of a boy(Imran, Wow f
resh material!) and a girl (Genelia, the usual college babe but who has a good side to her!) and a pack of five insane friends at the backdrop, just graduated, and raring to take on the world by their wild wild ways. You have just settled in your seat when your heart is almost taken away by those initial strums of the guitar in the Kabhi Kabhi set against St. Xaviers' famous basketball court. The story moves on in the predictable lines of Kuch kuch hota hain, where boy and girl dont realise till a long time that , Shit, its been love all the while?? thought and when they come across it, its too late. Almost.And then, a good sense dawns on both that its not too late still, like in Jab we met and then a lot of chasing, flying, horse riding and gate crashing to redeem that missing quarter you were always searching for . We already knew this story , didnt we? But still, Jaane tu... kept hearts glued, guts rolling out laughing,theatres houseful and a whole generation rooting to go back in time and relive their college days once again. Magic! .

Strong storytelling, fresh dialogues (Remember the scene in which Aditi enters her brothers room , sees his paintings and spells an unheard, whaddaf***! Adorably cute..), and new faces apart, this story clicked because of two things. A fresh,rainwashed take on relationships, and second, its on the face simplicity !

A few things i cant think henceforth ,without thinking about this movie would be..
  • College time, even with the worst assignments,irritating profs and terrible canteen food, is still the only dreamy part of our entire life. And like all good dreams , they end fast. Like when Aditi wonders where her college years went by, Jay's mom says, Phone pe beta, phone pe...
  • Never say you dont love a person when you cant let go.Like when Aditi drives with Jay and Meghna in the night , and Meghna gets down at her home but Jay wanted to get down as well and spend a few moments together with her ,when in fact Aditi wanted to spend time with Jay, she says..Ab aur kitnaa drop karega... I still smile to myself thinking of that scene:)
  • Without distance, closeness cannot grow. When Aditi sits by the sea all alone after being dumped by her fiance, and when Jay enters the camera frame,after a long time you see them together in the movie again, you just know it, they are so meant to be together.This is it, you realise! Beleive me on this,Distance lends its own charm.

  • In matters of the heart, better never than late! Do something,anything. If you screw it, start over. Try something else. But do.Now.
  • Sometimes when people repeatedly say they are so happy at the moment, Just take it, they are plain lonely and all they need is an arm around their shoulder saying, This too, shall pass.
  • In love and in any relationship, there is just one rule, that there is none. Preparedness is many a time, a simple myth.You might wait for the moment when you and she would be all alone, atop a cliff with a band playing in he backdrop, when you would speak your heart out, but chances are nine out of ten that you might end up being late considering all the uncertainites and ultimately when you realise its her, Boy! you sure gotta gatecrash through security checks in some airport , slidding through x ray machines and baggages, and just in time with handcuffs in your hand and without giving a damn to lay, sur and taal sing out tera mujse hain pehle ka naata koi... yunhi nahi dil lubhata koi...jaane tu..ya jaane naa..
Anything for love. Just Anything.
  • And finally, Friendship often ends in love, but love in friendship, never!
. Period.Name casting. As i came out of the theatre with these thousand sweet little lightbulb moments telling me, Hey .. hasde hasde hasde hasde hasde tu zara..Nahi to bas thoda thoda thoda thoda thoda thoda muskura, i realised, i have just watched a masterpiece which is gonna stay in mind for some time now.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Falling leaf!

(#118: A chance encounter. Written for Sunday Scribblings)

I have a special penchant for photographs.The way they are.Without a past .Without a future.But only a present.Trapped in its frames in all shameful nakedness.A couple of days back i came across such a couple of shots by a photographer by the name, Soham Gupta.Brave shots of faith and hope.of Life .of Death.

The one shot that really touched me was of this hungry poor man on his bed with a strange expression on his face.Perhaps awaiting death.i will never be able to take those pair of eyes off my mind. the color same as of a dirty , mossy pond.Green.Deep.Disturbing.looking straight into my eyes..with arrogance.seeking answers to disturbing questions.

i could sense Life moving away from him like the receding landscape in your car's rear glass.if Death could have a Face,it would have been this...with no lust for life.for living.his incisive look as if doubting Life itself.flickering to close,like the last page of that huge novel.the vast ocean of his eyes inked by the cold green of hopelessness.two camera lights twinkling in the midst of his eyes like lost boats in a mighty storm.far from everything. I thought to myself , this man was once a boy,wasnt he? he had his childhood, he might have been a sturdy young man,he might have been proud,he might have gone for walks by the Victoria Memorial and thought about Communism, he might have loved rosogollas,he might have played football on muddy Kolkata parks, he might have once wished to live forever. Alas,today, he is a mere photograph in his daughter's cupboard, another article on my blogpiece, or alas, an award winning merchandise on Flickr albums with 3487 views.

I began to understand, Life down there, is just an illusion!