Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Really Random

She stopped abruptly at the door, her hand on its edge; surprised. She hadn’t realized it was almost dark outside. Not because it was late, but because of the thundering black clouds that blanketed the sky above. It hit her, the way every little thing hit her, these past few days. Any slight change, a word, a tone, a touch. Anything different from the routine. She felt like a sponge, taking in so much. Saturated. Brimming.

And then he had called the night before. Because he felt like talking to her, not because he had a favour to ask. That surprised her; he was always slightly selfish, expecting people to be there for him according to his whims and fancies. Nevertheless, she had always been a good friend to him. But yesterday when he joked, she cried. Her usually calm, composed self, wept. It scared him.

“But I am always pulling your leg!”

“I know…”

“So why are you crying today?”

“I don’t know!”

“The reason I like you is because you are usually such a sport!”

She felt like hanging up on him. So she did.

And now she was on her way to meet two beautiful people.

One was her best friend, her confidante, her soul sister – an abyss, incessantly absorbing all that she had to offer- advice, laments, gossip, words of care, of joy, of apprehension, of anger, and of desperation. And giving, in return, exactly all that, in the right amount, to the right degree, at just the right time.

The other one had been a source of inspiration until time and one particular incident had created an infrangible and unassailable wall between them. Today, she meant to scale it. And she did. Their parting hug was genuine. She had meant every touch of it.

She was surprisingly upbeat for the rest of the day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Locked Diary


As I put my book down,
The French windows beckon
And I divert my gaze outside…
Its getting darker,
You are going further away
But I want to take in everything
Every detail, every nuance
I want to.


The mountains rise high
Covered in Evergreens
Laden clouds, gently
Caressing their peaks
I want to be that mountain –
Touching the sky, reaching the limit,
Yet, warm and safe in your arms
Oh, I want to.


Chorus:-
Maybe all there is to this
Is that I wanna be perfect for thee
I am a locked diary
And you’re my only key
I’m not perfect but I am still me
And that’s just the best that I can be.


The cascade makes its way below
Bouncing freely off rocks
Its pristine, white water
Smoothening the cold, hard stone
I want to be that waterfall –
Touching and changing lives,
Yet, never scared of a fall
Oh, I want to.


Chorus…


The silence is deafening
Almost tangibly present
Bringing with it peace
And a deep sense of contentment
I want to be the silence
Never interfering…
Yet, solidly, dependably there for you
Yeah, I want to


Chorus…

Monday, June 1, 2009

A True Hero, if There Ever Was One.

I have never really been an over-the-top fan of Mr. Bachchan although I have always admired him for the person he is. There is a yawning difference, I believe. To be a fan would be to appreciate his acting skills, which, I believe, are just fine by-the-way. But not as great as Aamir Khan, maybe, or Johnny Depp, or Woody Allen, or Irrfan Khan – people who are complete naturals in front of the camera, people with whom acting just flows. So side-stepping on the acting front and coming to what is most important, I am suddenly completely enamoured by the suave gentleman’s humane qualities, his immense capability for hard-work, his thoughts and his life-style.

When he lashed out at Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, the entire world criticized him. People called him annoying, arrogant, even sour! Like somebody of the likes of Mr. Bachchan would ever be sour at somebody else’s success. Here’s what he had to say:

 

"if SM projects India as [a] third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations."

 

I think his views on the over-hyped movie were spot on! All Boyle did was pick up every little defect that India has – from slums, prostitution, traffic congestions, poverty to begging, corruption, misappropriation, robbing tourists and kidnapping – put it through the grinder and serve it to the world on a platter. There have been umpteen movies that have worked on these issues before but at least they have worked on one issue at a time! The underflowing current throughout the movie suggested that that is all India is – a nest of dirt and grime where people behave like animals and thrive on bribes. And really, would the movie have created such a furor had it been directed by an Indian director? Did a movie like Rang De Basanti not deserve a chance when it is one of the best-edited movies of the recent past, with a near-perfect storyline, great acting and music, and the perfect amounts of fun, romance and action? Or maybe a movie like Taare Zameen Par that had an underlying message loud and screaming?

Coming back to Mr. Bachchan, the reason I am writing about him today is because he portrayed another example of his love and loyalty to the country by declining to accept an honorary doctorate from an Australian University following an attack on an Indian student in Australia. His reply was a polite but firm, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. He claims that his conscience does not allow him to accept a decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity on our fellow countrymen.

One would think that reaching the pinnacle of success is, in itself, a job and a half, but staying put is what is harder, is what separates success from reigning success, mediocrity from greatness. And that is what this great man has constantly proved over time, and keeps doing still.

Monster House

Just a little something I wrote a month and a half back when college was still on and this aimless feeling of not being associated with any institution was not.

After a much-needed and much-deserved three-day break from college (good things do come in threes, after all) I dug at the pile of clothes hanging on a nail at the back of my door for my pair of jeans. Much to my consternation though, a big brown spider had made the crotch of my denims his abode. I marveled at the intricate web for a while, staring stupidly at it and wondering how to demolish it, if at all I should. I mean, I’m sure Mr. Spidey worked really hard on it. Heck, I thought, I have to reach class on time for once. “Dude, get out, those are my Live-ins, not yours!” I muttered, vigorously shaking the pair. Obviously startled, Mr Spidey dove for the ground, scuttled away, and lo! joined another spider at the back of my dresser. Wow, some reunion, I thought and then it struck me just how frequent my trysts with the insect inhabitants of my room had gotten. And then there was Martha (the bathroom lizard) lying squat in the middle of the bath tub. That really was the last straw. And it was also the moment I realized I detest summers. Not because of the heat, or because it is sweaty. Not because I look fat in summer clothes. Not even because it reeks when the metro is crowded. But because of the insects and reptiles that seize my house with no scruples whatsoever; those hopping, gliding, climbing, slithering MONSTERS. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lucky Ducks!

Kids are darn lucky! Their biggest concern in this world is whether or not they would get another slice of that amazing chocolate cake. Any post that they ever receive is always good news - a letter from a friend, a greeting card, an invitation to a birthday party! They can run across the garden in their underwear, caring two hoots about what the neighbours might think of their chubby thighs. When kids are unwell, everything comes to a virtual halt except for mum and daytime television. They can find a coin on the pavement and feel rich; they can find a bone on the road and feel like Indiana Jones. The reason why kids are always so happy is because they put their heart and soul into everything they do. They live in the moment without any repentance of the past or worry for the future. In a sense, they are right- if we play, eat, cry and love the way kids do, time and money no longer hold any meaning.


Experienced, overheard, observed. Highly amused, slightly alarmed.

Our neighbour’s five-year old loves playing doctor. Maybe she is just intrigued by them, maybe all kids are, thinking they have supernatural powers – the way they just know when kids are faking a bad tummy-ache to get out of school. Or maybe they are just bad actors! But either way, I got to witness how kids try imitating older people around them and just how observant they are, when I was sitting over at their place a few days back. She sat behind a desk, looking sternly across the room, as if daring people to confront her with their health problems. The setup was complete – little chits of white paper uneven at the edges, thick glasses on her nose that kept slipping off at the drop of a hat, or a turn of the head, rather. A white dupatta on her shoulders probably compensated for not owning a white lab coat. Her first patient was her dad, who probably thought he’d humour her for a while.
 ‘I have a problem, Doc,’ he started.
 ‘Of course, why else would you be here,’ said the polite little brat.
 ‘Umm…‘
 ‘Yes, please, I have other customers waiting.’
 ‘My right arm has been hurting since yesterday.’
 ‘Oh, that’s all?’ She grabbed a pen. ‘Take amoxee … amockcy… err, four apples a day for two days. That will be Rs 50. And next time onwards, please come to me with a real problem, like cancer or heart attack or something, so that I make more money.’
 ‘Sure, my little well-wisher…’ I thought I heard him mutter.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blogphemia

For over two years I held back from creating a blog because I always thought that there was no point having one when I did not have enough time for it. There was always so much going on and I thought I’d never be able to do justice to it. Then one fine day, I just realized that there is never a good time anyway. Its either now or never. And so I just went ahead with it. And am I glad I did! Just knowing that I have a blog out there pushes me to write. Every ten days my fingers start to itch, the otherwise passive writing pad seems to be calling out to me from my bedside table. Its almost an illness with real symptoms. They should have a name for it - blogphemia, may be. So no matter how much I need to study or how tough my exam the next day is, I just take out some time to write about some random thing. My next post is actually going to be about insects! I have three other incomplete articles too that I need to finish and put up. And I soon will.

Meanwhile I am also watching a lot of old English movies (when I say old, I really mean the nineties) and trying to compile a list of the top ten romantic comedies of all time. I know my Number 1 is going to be Love Actually, but not really sure about the rest (Can’t promise you Notting Hill, Swap ;)) Because I want to play fair and because Hugh Grant has a knack of messing with my head and jinxing me into believing that only his movies are good, any suggestions are happily invited. So long!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Memoirs

I didn’t realize just how much we missed the sense of belonging that that one usually associates with a regiment until we had the dinner party at home, last Friday. Mum and I call it ‘the unit-like feeling’ – it is like having an extended family minus the fights, plus loads of jokes, snacks and drinks (hard, of course). Papa was in one of those moods of his, where he cracks one joke after another and we all laugh till our sides ache. Defence humour is so clich├ęd, yet so endearing. And then there are the myriad anecdotes that nobody seems to be ever running out of.

My favorite one is of mum’s academy experience at MCTE, Mhow. She tells me about how a hundred officers and ladies sat on long wooden tables for dinner. Newly-married and from a non-defence background, mum sat tensed and rigid, surrounded on both sides by high-profile, senior officers and stealing nervous, surreptitious glances at papa. He gave her encouraging nods and got back to his plate, deftly using the fork and the knife, like they were nothing but extensions of his fingers, perfectly oblivious of mum’s consternation. Despite the training papa imparted to her on their use, she nevertheless shied away from taking a helping of chicken lest it rolled off her plate, or worse still, flew off and hit somebody smack on the face. And then there was the problem of speed, and how you had to take the tiniest of helpings of a dish and finish it before the next course was passed along to you (which was a few seconds later), or you didn’t get any of that! So after her fake, put-on dinner on such nights in the mess, mum had her real one of bread and soup back at home. Twenty-two years down the line, and as competent as papa, my mum claims that army life just grows on people, and that she has loved every single moment of it.

Another incident that I can probably never forget dates back to June, 2000 when papa was posted in Baramulla, fifty kilometers ahead of Srinagar. We were devoid of entertainment of any kind, except radios, perhaps, that had cheesy songs playing 24X7, often interpolated with mutterings in Urdu which were, like one uncle claimed, talks of terrorists caught on radio. Whether he was just joking to freak us out, or was being blatantly honest, I’d never know. Anyway, to outsmart the ringing silence of the valley, or the heavy stillness in the air, we often engaged in a little harmless, after-dinner, card-playing. By ‘we’ I mean six officers and their wives, while us kids sat in a corner of the room- reading, playing or just dozing off as our parents’ entertainment night extended to beyond just ‘night’, or as we thought then, normal, humane timings.


Well, it was one such night that our nocturnal gathering was interrupted by gunshots, and the electricity going off. Some uncle, with huge hands (I vividly remember that part because ‘they’ pushed us kids off the bed), commanded in a booming voice that we all ought to lie down on the floor. Our dads, meanwhile, were ready in their uniforms in a trice, and were marching out as we heard the steady resound of gunshots somewhere frightfully close. We were locked in, and I know for a fact that the little kid next to me peed in his pants.

After fifteen horrifying minutes of lying on the cold stone in pitch-blackness, the heart beating so wildly, almost threatening to break through my rib cage and flying out, did our dads walk in. The lights came on too, and we were told that the big stir was a practice session. Just that. Plain, simple, that.

That day, horrifying as it was, was also a reality check. I know it was something they knowingly signed-in for, but we didn’t! For those fifteen minutes that seemed like an eon, we had no inkling if we would ever see our dads again. Their ‘devil-may-care’ and ‘bring-them-on-and-we’ll-show-them’ attitude, their tremendous grit, and their total disregard for their own safety as they calmly walked out of the secure barrack was disturbingly crazy. And that feeling, and ironically enough, that pitch-black night will forever remain etched in my memory.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reflections

A hint of sadness

A touch of misfortune

A scintilla of desperation

But then days of laughter

 

A shadow of grief

An iota of desolation

A dash of emptiness

But then days of love

 

A smidgen of melancholy

A tinge of darkness

A shred of suffering

But then days of sunshine

 

A pinch of agony

A spot of longing

A trace of gloom

But then days of contentment

 

An age of endurance

Months of anguish

An eon of misery

And then days of… nothing?

 

 

 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Moments...

It felt like I was transported to an entirely different world today- I saw the most beautiful place ever- a war memorial, with rows after rows of graves; all set in white marble, and of British soldiers who died way back in the forties. Yet there was something so breathtakingly beautiful and calm about that place, complete with well-manicured lawns and white archways with pink Bougainvillaea creepers, that it was almost surreal. A haven set in the midst of nowhere. The serenity of the place was numbing. You could hear a leaf let go of its hold to a tree, wind its way down in a spiral course and hit the soft earth below. If it were not for the top of a hillock from where half of Delhi was visible, I'd have bet my I-pod that I was back in Goa. 
It is actually a tad unsettling that one minute, here you are, sitting at home, reading 'Introduction to Graphics' and cursing your luck; and ten minutes later it seems like you have travelled miles to a distant land, to a different time, leaving the humdrum of Delhi far, far behind.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beyond Words

As Serene Woods is on the threshold of being launched, it feels like the curtains are falling on a drama that was being unfolded over the past few months… except that it has all really just started. The last couple of months have been nothing but a circle of obstacles, ideas, solutions, implementations and finally… results! And how! More so for the founder, than for anybody else but because he so graciously made me a part of it all, I’m certain I feel as close to the project as he does. In entirety, it was a learning experience of an inexplicable degree, and much as I enjoyed every little part of it, I can barely wait to see what comes next. It’s the final act of the drama now, the real test… and together we’ll make sure it comes out with flying colours. Thanks for making me a part of this, and from my side, I hope I can be of as much help as you could ever possibly need.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Serene Woods ...

The rustle of the leaves,

the crackle of the twig,

the chirp of the mynah,

the monkey and its jig.

 

The wind in the trees,

their swaying to and fro.

And across the green lush,

the peeping eyes of the doe.

 

A rivulet in its womb,

its surface clear and calm,

meandering across the length,

like veins on a palm.

 

The tang of honeysuckle,

the whiff of fresh air,

the aura of gentleness

akin to a mother's care.

 

The woods are like words

with meanings manifold.

Deep, dark, mysterious

with myriad secrets untold.

 

The woods are like words-

They bring out the best in you.

Earthy brown, dark green.

Calm, beautiful…serene.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A woman's world - online !

My mum claims that try as she might, she cannot comprehend why 'we kids' are totally hooked on to orkut. I try to see her point and more often than not, I don't. Orkut did let me get in touch with a hundred and ninety-eight long-lost friends – of varying degrees of closeness, I accept, but friends nevertheless. And when was it not fun to find out how the last couple of years took a toll on their lives? Or that the girl you detest so much got a bad haircut? Or that the guy you had a crush on five years back is oh-so-single!

And although any girl would vehemently deny it, it still is a great morale booster to receive compliments from a guy who apparently landed on your profile because it was 'divine intervention' or 'the Gods wanted it'. And while he continues to thank his lucky stars, you visit his profile, check out his communities, judge his taste and go, 'He's not my kind, anyway'. And you'd probably say that of every damn guy. No sophisticated guy would ever send random requests to girls because they 'couldn't take their eyes off my photograph', I reflected. Flattering, I know, but lame. Oh, we do whine, and grumble. And complain. But that doesn't ever discourage us from logging on twice a day (three times on weekends) – sometimes only to decline requests. It is almost sadistic. We revel in the glory. Bask in the sunshine. Feel smug. And then click on the little 'No' sitting in the corner. Aah, it IS a woman's world. It is our world; our time. And it always will be.