March 24, 2010

So the Soul of Alec tagged me as the only man amongst 7 on her blog as “men need to write about interesting things.” Or that’s what I figured out yesterday night as she asked me to “Reveal 7 random things about you”. Well, while I won’t tag anyone, it’s a fun thing to do in a late night at Istanbul. That’s that. So here goes.

1. I love food. That’s not random but good food to me is like a symphony orchestra. I can see the tunes swim around me whenever there is a good food inside my mouth. I feel that I am the conductor of the ceremony.

2. I love taking long walks. There have been times when I have found myself completely lost because I kept walking. And Johnny Walker is not yet my friend.

3. I loved Norse Mythology as a kid. While everyone gobbled up Greek mythology, I ensured I knew everything about Odin, Thor and their kin. It’s a different story I don’t remember Loki’s wife’s name anymore.

4. I am a closet environmentalist. I switch off all the lights and computers I can at office as I am often one of the last to leave. Also when we are going out together I am the last to leave the house so that lights can be switched off.

5. Monica Gellar Bing would love me. I may not be the tidiest guy around but I at least know where my stuff is. I hate chaos. I love organized chaos.

6. I no longer buy pirated books unless it is a second copy of a book I already have.

7. I have almost given up on photography. But one day I will return back to my lost love. I have a last set of photographs to click. I know it’s still there in me. I have chosen the subject as well.

Have fun. If anyone wants to pick this up, just go ahead.

March 21, 2010


He looked at the door for one last time. Years back he had closed it shut and yet a few months back a gust of wind suddenly tried to push it open. A momentary lapse of reason ensured and beyond every good advice from friends he found himself staring at the crack on the door. A flicker of light, of hope, of dreams long lost and regained and finally man’s intoxication with life lured him into its snare.

The door continued to inch open. Putrid air filled his life with memory of decomposed promises but he dismissed it as the mess that had been gathered up behind the door over the years. He persisted. He knew something beautiful, pure, unadulterated still remained behind that door. And while all his friends prayed for his sanity he was adamant.

One night he was out and suddenly he met a stranger who had lived behind that door. They got talking and the conversation led to what lay on the other side. Slowly as the night grew darker and the clouds played havoc in some distant lands, in the other man’s innocent admissions, he saw his innocence get killed.

Lies, betrayal, heartbreak. He felt used, soiled, trashed beyond measure.

He drank his hemlock that night so that he would no longer remember. They said it rained blood and tears as his lifeless eyes stared at the door.

Next day, he woke up in a new country, feeling alive and without any burden on his shoulders. And the door was closed forever. This time for real.

At least he hoped so.


"It sates itself on the life-blood

of fated men,

paints red the powers' homes

with crimson gore.

Black become the sun's beams

in the summers that follow,

weathers all treacherous.

Do you still seek to know? And what?"

March 17, 2010

Being Fiercely Independent

Mom and Dad always taught me that being independent is a good thing. The night they left me at the mercy of Seniors’ Interaction sessions in Pilani, I sat back and wondered why it was that my parents had left me while other parents were literally sleeping on the floors in the hostel rooms so that their children remained safe from the sessions.

Surprisingly, I was not upset with them. Instead, I felt happy. Till then while I was taking decisions, somewhere I knew that they were looking after me. And that night started an exciting intoxicating journey towards independence.

Self Sufficiency was something our Father of the Nation proposed for our villages. Somewhere down the line I picked it up as my life’s philosophy. And it has stayed on.

Few days back something interesting happened. A friend called me saying that her mother had asked her to thank me for some random small thing I had done and she had forgotten. I said, “Cool. I never expected anything different from you when I did it.” So it was supposedly mean. But the problem was that it wasn’t mean. It was just how I live my life. It just makes a lot of things simpler for me.

When my decisions are mine alone, there is no one to blame.

I don’t propose that this should be how people should live. However, it’s an interesting proposition to try. We live our lives trying to please others but when even that we make as a choice, our lives become simpler.

Btw as much as I thought MNIK was an average movie and I would have spent better time watching The Blind Side which finally I watched later. (Do watch) I have decided not to desert KKR. But I have decided not to buy their jersey this time around and that seems to be working.

March 10, 2010

Goodbye Love; Goodbye Rebellion

It has been a long time since I got both the news but I kept quiet. I didn’t exactly know if these would make any difference to anyone anywhere around the world. Yes, news reams would be filled up and people would read them on the e paper or on their toilet bowls but the reality is that no one would care.

Did anyone care when Gangubai Hangal passed away in the middle of last year? Newspapers, which are a true reflection of what the public thinks is important had this news in one corner in some inner pages of every publication. If I tell most kids today this news, they would say Gangubai Who?

Anyway, the reason I am writing this tonight is because I just read my Valentine’s Day post and really felt bad. It should have been on the person who for the first time showed me what Love really was. I still remember the year. I was in Class 7 trying to convince a fellow Bosconian that the movie Dil might be great to watch but he didn’t have to emulate it in real life. Being love struck, he of course was paying no heed to my discourse and handed me the book. And I read it mesmerized from the very first page. Given the Victorian snob I was then, having read Romeo and Juliet in the original I thought I knew all about love. Of course I had also watched all Uttam Kumar - Suchitra Sen movies, the other source of knowledge about love for most Bengalis born before 1990.

Oliver and Jennifer made love so much more contemporary and real than the fight between the Montagues and Capulets. And I sat down on the staircase near the chapel and read. For the first time, the monitor was later than his classmates in attending assembly post recess.

The best thing about Love Story is that this was one book which did not change as I grew up. I never understood anything differently as I re read it again and again. Perhaps it was just another tested American formula but who cares in the end.

Acts of faith, Doctors, The Class followed. One of my close friends adored him and an inspired me completed the entire works within 2 months. But still Love Story remained where it was in my heart.

My Valentine’s Day post should have been just two lines, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” If only people realized that.

I met Holden Caulfield on a train journey from Calcutta to Delhi. I never had much faith in the so called “highly recommended” books. I do not care about Yossarian; neither do I have much to do with John Galt. The only book which did not disappoint me was perhaps, “To Kill a Mocking Bird”

Anyway coming back to Holden, I read it on the journey and then handed it over to C and asked, “What’s the big deal?” C replied, with the classic disgusted look, “I think it’s a big deal if someone after murdering the greatest rock sensation ever born, sits down to read it” and walked away without paying for the Sheekanzi.

I was aghast. Mark David Chapman would now decide what I would read!!! But I did some research and found out a strange connection between literature and revolution and rebellion. Chapman had said a large part of him was Holden Caulfield and the smaller part The Devil. Holden Caulfield was to the US teenager what the Hungry Generation of poets were to the Naxalite movement in Bengal. Literature gave voice to people. And sometimes people hear those voices in their heads.

I re read the book many times over the course of next 5-6 years and today I understand the significance to some extent. Mind you I still do not consider it a classic, but I realize why it is such an important part of the West growing up. And I realized his delusion of being the protector and catching the young children as they fell down from the cliff

We all want to be Gods. And we become one so many a time in our lives for Gods are Crazy. They love messing us up. Ten years down the line perhaps Holden Caulfield will inspire the rebellious teenagers of India.

But till then, it’s goodbye to love and rebellion.

March 07, 2010

Walk of Life

I stood outside Juhu Mocha, dazed and confused. 3 days from the press of the button I stared at defeat. In her sarcasm she was scathing; in her negativity she was all pervasive and if it could be her calling, she would have declared the patient dead before he could look at the operation table. The mind was numb with fear, the senses subdued; I broke into cold sweat. I stared ahead, the sea was calling. I walked towards Juhu Beach as the world I lived in went to sleep.

The policeman came running towards me. I was stepping onto the sand after 1:00 am. He was tired of driving away couples from the beach and had enough trouble on his hands. He did not want one of the office types, with a laptop bag on his back to be creating any more problems. I stared straight through him. He wasn’t sure what to do and blew his whistle.

Sounds break trances. At least it did for me and on the spur of the moment I decided to walk back home. It’s a strange city. Here pimps, drug traffickers, police and honest hard working people co-exist. Every one has their sphere of operation and the microcosm of life is seldom disturbed.

In vain I searched for God. I wondered if this was how Joan of Arc felt as they buried her alive on the stakes. I tried to reach out to Him in a Godless world but I soon realized how separated I was from him by my own inner demons.

I walked through the sea of humanity, through the perpetrators of a thriving commerce that was looked down upon by the stated hypocritical norms of society. Slowly the fear subsided and the mind cleared. Life goes on and it would be stupid to give anything more importance than life itself. Probably, He heard it above. Probably He didn’t but that night, while on the Walk of Life I resolved to find Him again.

One day, the mind will once again be without fear.

March 01, 2010


Clint Eastwood does it again. Watch Invictus. That's all I have to say. Moving, subdued, yet powerful beyond words.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley