August 30, 2009

The Words of Our Prophets…

…are written on subway walls. So says one of my favourite songs. Today something happened when I realized that I was wasting my time till now forgetting the songs that I had grown up on.

Basically I met this guy who had got some diploma from this Gujju place called Bhadrapur Institute of Management and has been trying to convince me that The Answer is there somewhere. I too believed in it when I was young. But then my travels taught me that there can be another way of life. This way taught you to make the most of now and leave the rest of the worries to when they actually become realities.

So this Bhadrapur dude has been able to convince me that my safe middle path is not the right one. One supposedly has to choose. But today as I was coming home I was as usual chatting up with my autowalah. After the usual banter about how awesome Mumbai is, he suddenly said, “But you always come home late from work. How would you actually know how great the city is and what it can offer.”

Since I had no answer, I let him talk and between his long discourse I just heard one thing, “Life is too precious to waste without living it fully. And to enjoy life is a responsibility. You would not want to leave this world without figuring out all that it has to offer.”

As I said, the words of our prophets…

August 28, 2009

Planning Weekends

Why would we want to plan weekends?

Since when have we got into the habit of living our lives by a calendar?

Why can't we live weekends as they should be lived?

Why can't we feel on a Friday night that we need to see the sunset from Raigarh fort on a Saturday? And not decide a week in advance?

Why can't we let weekends be what they are? A time to listen to your inner calling?

Why can't we just decide on a Friday night that we want to sleep away the weekend so that the dreadful Monday can come faster

Why do we need to be social when we were meant to be surviving alone in the wilderness ages from now?

Why should we believe we are social animals and not just animals? Raw, unfettered, random, driven only by primal instincts?

Why do we need to plan if we dare to call ourselves free spirits?

(Was originally written as a response to a standard weekend mail of someone asking a group of hopefully like minded individuals to plan for the next weekend. Then realization struck that this response would not even be registered leave alone understood.)

August 24, 2009

Oath Breaker

There are ancient bonds between men which if broken haunts the very existence of the one who defaults on his promise. And the Universe brands him as The Oath Breaker.

It’s late in the night. Very Very late. My flat mates are fast asleep. Even if Megan Fox came along right now and asked them to wake up, they would not be able to. But I just can’t sleep.

A few hours back one of my closest friends got married. The tall lanky guy was somehow one of the very few people in IIMB who believed in me even when I was a misfit trying to find my calling. He was the one of the few who helped me hang on when things got tough. He was the one who would fight to keep our conversations going even when I was lost in the wilderness in the first few months of my corporate life.

Tonight I failed him. I was one of the first to be told about the date and I ditched him, once and once again. I had convinced myself that it was alright to miss his engagement but I missed his marriage, the most important date in his life.

If I can’t even keep the basic vows of friendship, what am I but an Oath Breaker.

But there is salvation for the condemned. For every marriage I have missed, I have ensured I meet the person concerned post the date. Even if it means waiting for two years.

Debts of this life have to be paid in this life itself. That's the only succor for Oath Breakers

August 21, 2009

The Precipice

I stood on the precipice looking down at the dark silent sea miles beneath me. One more step and I would be inside its darkness, embracing the huge nothingness that would surround me. The best part was I knew the choices that I had made to lead me to this point in my life. I knew everything. I was aware and yet I had chosen agony over ecstasy.

Pride was not there the night I walked over to the cliff. In some distant land he was fighting the dragons. Physically being over two hands taller than I will ever be he had the power to drag me back to my senses. But tonight, I was alone.

Within me constantly a war rages on, between desires, reality, and future. All three want to exert their supremacy while I am torn apart. I decided to walk. Suddenly Halo appeared over the horizon. He looked at me and said, “Don’t do it. You’ll only hurt yourself.” But, all was in vain. He vanished.

I called upon Nand Gate. That’s funny, isn’t it? It adds up the bad parts in your life and negates the entire sum. Nand asked me to input what I felt and showed me the output. Life was just a bunch of logical choices.

I walked. But instead of hitting the sea, I just fell a couple of meters in soft sands. It hurt a little. Nothing great. I heard soft sounds of laughter. Halo and Nand were laughing. Between them, they had made the sea of pain retreat. They had saved me once again from myself.

Hooves could be heard in the dead of the night. Pride was returning back hurt but alive. And pride, I knew could pull me up to my feet again.

The soft sands reminded me of the feather beds of my childhood. I closed my eyes and waited. Waited to feel alive again.

August 18, 2009

Plays and Movies Again

A midnight show in Fame Andheri is a treat in itself. The Visual stimulation that can happen at such settings often takes your mind away from the task at hand, which in this case was watching Love Aaj Kal. Now LAK is a good movie to watch. I know there will be people who will find it extraordinarily boring and unrealistic but then sometimes you need to watch a movie for the performances and not just the storyline. Saif Ali Khan continues to amaze me. He is slowly becoming our own Hugh Grant. Deepika Padukone on the other hand can not seem to get out of the image she has created of herself. And I still remember how refreshingly different she was in OSO.

Given the deteriorating sex ratio in Punjab, the director had to resort to a Brazilian model playing a Punjabi Kudi. Aab yeh toh na insaafi hain. The movie has great dialogues at places when it is not trying to be preachy. I thought the idea of a Breakup Party is really cool. I mean we all decide to make compromises. And that is the reason many relationships break down. But they are not meant to drive us into mourning, right? I hate when people get the blues over past relationships.

Learnings from the Movie are simple – Long Distance relationships do not work. Do not have burgers for lunch. Don’t play PS 2 till late into the night. Shave when you go for work. Get the girl’s mom on your side when you are eloping. If you are a woman, date your boss only he is the reincarnation of Gautam Budhha. It’s ok to tell your husband while he is planning your honeymoon that you actually love the guy you had dumped around a year ago. Even if you are dating Playboy’s Playmate of the Year, come home to our very own Desi girl.

If you still are not convinced about watching LAK, then you should head to watch Proof, if you are in Mumbai. A beautiful play outlining the choices made by a genius for her family and how societal stereotypes refuse to accept genius unless they find it at the usual places, Proof never lets go of the storyline. Powerful performances ensure that you wait excitedly for the answers to come in. But most of them you find that they are interwoven into the story itself.

Brief Candles was a Mahesh Dattani play which tried to deal with the concept of death and how people around cope with impending death. Somehow life has taught me to deal with death with a certain detachment. The other day a friend and I had a huge argument post which he called me heartless. Basically it was about this Orkut profile of this person who had passed away and his friends still kept on messaging him, leaving scraps. I found that hard to accept. It’s not letting him go. Sometimes, that’s the best answer.

Watch Proof, if you can. And watch LAK, Saif deserves a view.

August 16, 2009

The Rise of the Wuss Brigade

So I am a proud member of the Wuss Brigade. Wuss Brigade is the highly secretive society of men and women who have always claimed that they want something meaningful in their lives and that their lives are for a higher purpose. They seem to be looking for a calling that never comes across. So Wuss Brigade allows them to meet together and crib about how their talents are getting wasted over a couple of beers and Red Bulls or over long distance calls. They are a member of the Brigade till the time they still feel bad about not doing anything about their lives. Then like Lucifer has always wanted it, they conform. Few do leave the brotherhood and actually do what they have always wanted to do.

Now I have always been a proud member of the fraternity. But then some people did some stuff which really stunned me. My erstwhile roommate one fine morning woke up, quit his job and left for Pune to work with ‘Teach India’. One of my most favourite juniors quit his job and is going to try for the IAS. And the other junior from school stuck onto his dream of becoming a doctor and actually has become one.

So yesterday when I was still debating whether to go to the Hospital to take a tetanus injection or not I decided to call him up and over the phone I got my first self inflicted injection. It was good fun to have this kid giving me advice in his suddenly found professional tone and I was so happy I knew all these people who were no longer members of the Wuss Brigade.

We are The Super Stars’ Neighbours

So our Raddiwala is a great talker. And a great businessman. He ensures that he does not pay us a single penny over Six Rupees per Kg for our well kept and mostly unread newspapers. But he gives us information.

As you guys might know, I missed living in Bandra by less than 500 meters and had to settle for Khar. Now, given that King Khan lives in Bandra and that’s what is thought hep and happening by all you Non Mumbaikars I always felt a bit down. But no longer shall I despair. Here is what I know about my neighbours, all within 3 minutes walking distance from my house.

My closest celebrity neighbour is supposed to be Shatrughan Sinha. Given that both of us are proud of our Bihari pasts, we would hit it off well together. It’s just that he has too many guards around. Also our Bihari Babu gives his Raddi for free, very unlike the other stars near our home. The domestic helps at their places ensure that they make a quick buck by selling old newspapers.

Exactly a hundred and thirty seconds from my house stays Bebo. Yes, everyone calls her Bebo these days. The bunglow of Sadhna, the yesteryear superstar is also close by. Bips stays exactly 90 seconds from my house by cycle. And you have to agree that you would also cycle a bit fast, if you were going to meet Bips. And of course on the same building is John’s flat. However, I do know that his Pali Hill flat is more famous. So technically apna John has two residences. At least 2 that I know of.

Kiran Kumar, (anyone remembers him?) also is my pseudo neighbour. However, I have to cross the main road to meet him. Mahima Choudhury, is just opposite, well almost. And then we have Gabbana and Juice where everyone who is someone but not yet THE One come to get a haircut and buy a dress.

He is source of other information too. When he heard about our dire financial straits, he also gave us tips on making easy money. Well, it’s really easy. But since I do not want to ruin my odds by revealing the secrets, I shall stop the conversation now.

And Oh! I almost forgot to tell you. The Buzz around the Khar Security Guard grapevine was that Rakhi was really upset when her watchman was late in opening the door. And no, they have not yet seen Elesh.

So the only thing to do now is to meet my neighbours, Wish me luck.

August 10, 2009

Life Changers

For few weeks now, things have been tough. But don’t worry; this is not a crib post. I hate cribbing in public as it basically means either I can’t handle it myself or I have run out of friends who can handle it for me. This post is about something that happened over the last 24 hours of my life.

The way it began was scary. There were deadline pressures like the usual and I was just keeping my neck above water when suddenly my laptop crashed. I knew it was coming but I hadn’t expected it so soon. So the IT support team asked me to submit my laptop by 5:00 pm.

That was a shocker. I realized all of a sudden that I didn’t know what to do at 5 in the evening on a Friday if I had the chance. Today I did have the chance and as I said I didn’t know what was to be done. Coming out of Office at 5:30 for the first time in 2009 seemed unrealistic and yet it stared me at the face.

I realized that somewhere in the mad rush of Mumbai I was losing myself. Work home work cycle, though virtuous, as it pays my restaurant bills, was making me into someone I was not. I was once a person who knew what could be done in the city he was living at whatever time of the day or the night.

Luckily for me, two friends called up and both wanted to be out of office by 6. And there it was - Friends to the rescue again. We hurried to Metro and sneaked into the theatre to watch Public Enemies. (In an aside, a great watch and highly recommended for the sheer directorial brilliance) In the interval, in search for comfort food, we walked up to the Gelato parlour where we ordered our sinful desserts. But imagine our surprise when they said, they can’t give us a spare cup as all cups are counted!


Now a lady behind me suddenly spoke up. “You do miss the good old Dinshaw at times like this. Don’t you?” Wait, was I hearing her right? Was a full blooded SoBo considering me a part of her clan? She was talking to me about Dinshaw? I ran down the stairs so that my tears of joy would not be seen by her.

After the movie, we realized we were poorer by quite a bit and had to recover the money. And since still we didn’t know what to do at 8:15 in the evening on a Friday night, we took a BEST bus ride back to the suburbs.

Well, I remember the Chuck and Larry movie for one reason. There is a line that goes, “this shows to what extent a friend can go for another friend.” And I think the bus ride was one like that. And frankly it didn’t disappoint.

Look to be very frank, I have been droning along for so long because I wanted you to get bored and leave halfway. But then there’s a limit to that. So if haven’t stopped reading, here’s the meatier part with all the blood and gore.

I have been neglecting my cycle for the last ten days or so and thus I gave it for a complete servicing. While I was on my way back and my “Tour de Khar”, a speeding auto came and hit me from behind. According to physics, the force required to displace a body with a substantial mass is also substantial. So luckily for me, I didn’t fly away to the other world, but rather lay sprawled on the road at the side.

You see, I am a safe cyclist. I observe road rule and travel only to my extreme left. But as I lay down and saw the truck behind me screech to a halt, I realized somewhere I was loosing the plot. When I was old enough to read, I had read Ulysses the Poem and had always wanted to drink life to the lees, even before SRK came and said, Khao Piyo Jeo Muskurao, Kya pata kal ho na ho. And I was forgetting that. I was working over weekends trying to beat the clock and I wasn’t slowing down to say hi to a lot of people who mattered.

So a crashed laptop that didn’t allow me to work the weekend, a freak accident and friends, I guess all these three together were making a point.

I guess this is what you would consider as a wake up call.

August 04, 2009

When You Say Nothing At All

It feels odd when I face a wall of silence. I wait for the signal but then nothing happens. Nothing was ever supposed to happen. But then somewhere deep within hope raises her small head and whispers of lands never seen, of tales untold, of sorrows that turn into joy. And I want to believe.

But beliefs will have to be renewed. Beliefs will have to be put to the test. Because when beliefs are not supported on the pillars of reality, they often become empty fanaticism.

Past and the Future meet through our present and at this very present my choices before me will decide which future will be mine. All of us have innumerable futures, each a result of a choice that we make. Every moment we kill a few possibilities with the choices that we make.

The other day one such possible future queried about my past. How it would know that deafening silence was all that was allowed for such inquisitions. Silence faced future and slowly I saw it melt away into nothingness. Once again the past had destroyed a future through her power over the choices we make.

A future is lost. Thousands remain. And this time, the past will not interfere with the choices. The chains are weakening, the bonds are breaking and the Wheel of Time is finally nearing its desired end.

(Written under heavy intoxication caused by home made bong food and Jazz on a crowded train)