November 11, 2013

Lord of Chaos

Lord of Chaos looked down in horror at what he had created. For years he held a secret. He was a closet perfectionist and no one knew why, not even him. He thrived in chaos. He plunged his world into an incessant array of activities and watched them unfold, jostle for space but ultimately what came out of it was perfection.

It is said night finds her life in day, the darkness seeks out light, evil loses its purpose when good fails temporarily. Perfection was beauty, something his whole life was dedicated to destroy and in its perfection he found his nemesis and some say, even his redemption.

But today, as he looked at the scattered pieces, he knew even he had gone too far. The bridge had been crossed for once and everything seemed to have a mind of its own. The puzzle no longer had an elegant solution at the end, it all seemed lost.

There would be no more chance of redemption, no more chance to have a perfect ending. He stepped back waiting for the inevitable to happen. His world was no longer going to be the same. He waited.

Yet nothing happened. He slowly turned to go back, to exit the stage. And suddenly it caught his eye - a faint glimmer of a pattern. He turned around, unsure, expectant.

And then it dawned on him. The pattern was hidden in plain view by pieces which were not part of the plan. It was up to him to choose. This was chaos at its perfectionist best. This was what will make his life worth the pains.

This was his greatest dance ever for now he danced for himself and himself alone, for his own survival.

November 07, 2013

The Invasion of Man

(Continued from The Jungle)

“Enter man, who burnt a clearing in the jungle and himself a hut.

Those that use claw and fang, have nothing better to fight with. Those that don't; shouldn't try to fight.

They should burn the jungle down.”

Man looked down upon the gathering in front of him, his eyes glowing with rage. The jungle was closing in on them, mocking their efforts to find a space in its entwined limbs. His tribe was helpless, cutting each other down in a last frantic effort to find an opening for their clan. They hated their clan too but they needed each other for survival, for passing their genes on. Other clans were a different matter, they were expendable.

Across the world the battle was fought, the first of many to come, man vs. Nature, each trying to dominate the other, each trying to mark its supremacy but none prevailed. Generations of Man vowed to win, to survive and yet nature seemed invincible.

At night, Man lay on a rock, shading him from the torrents of rain that nature was throwing at him, ready to give up, ready to accept defeat, ready to be another species hiding from nature’s fury. In a last pang of frustration, he picked up a pebble and with all his hatred threw it at the rains outside. The winds howled in laughter.

Man kept throwing rocks and nature continued to mock him. In one last fit of rage, he picked up the last rock with his bloodied hands and threw it at the floor in front of him with all his remaining strength. They say, he wanted to break open the heart of Gaia, the Spirit of the Earth.

All he saw was a spark.

October 21, 2013

The Jungle

It gets darker at night. But when the sun is gone, the predators are around and the jungle is scarier than ever. The jungle demands sacrifice; the jungle has no empathy; the jungle plays you like a puppet.

It gets bloodier as the years pass by. And the food chain churns and spits out all who fell behind. And just when you were sure you wanted to leave, the jungle would conjure up an oasis; short lived but enough to let you prod on for a few more hours.

It gets lonely as you grow old. The pack you grew up with falls apart, the new wolves no longer are your brothers, the world belongs to the alpha male who wins; only for a short while though before his heart gets torn out in a battle. The battle scars are marks of a fake glory to a fake deity.

It gets godless every passing moment. There is a restlessness, not for the presence of evil but because in the jungle, the old gods have left leaving behind a void like no other. And in the godless darkness there are no rules.

It gets restless as time passes by. The world needs to be violent to sustain, a mind numbing posturing is what seems to do the trick for the day and there no longer remains any space for the wide eyed doe. She has to run, run like the wind all day just to survive, till the day evolution gives her fangs.

The jungle waits, quiet and calculating, waiting for the next games to begin.

July 08, 2013


The clouds pass by, looking at the worlds beneath them. The sounds of the evening Azan drifts over the wind to call the faithful to prayer. The bells of the Arati at the nearby temple sing a tune beyond what men could dream of. The symphony begins as the first drops start falling and then the lightning strikes. It tears through the sky, brilliant, alone, majestic. The cloud rumbles as the drum rolls begin and then suddenly the drops become bigger, mightier.

Men run for cover, unable to embrace the drops and they fall, uninhibited. Some cry, tears can’t be seen in the rain. Some smile, the dazzle lost in the white streak across the sky, some call out to their friends, their voices drowned in the thunder. Kids brave the torrent till the stern hand of the mother snatches them away from the feeling of freedom.

The world takes a bath, Gaia cleanses herself of the filth of her children and suddenly a gust of wind blows away the stench of the asphalt and the moist smell of the earth fills your nostril. The childhood memories come flooding by, the streets, the rainy days, the towel in your mother’s hands vigorously rubbing your head.

The wind howls, pained at the separation, pained at the loss and yet the ages have dimmed its memory, it no longer knows who it cries for. What’s left is only a hollow filled by the gusts. The wind knows the pleasure, pain, the scent of first rain.

The stars hide, no longer able to show their faces, the light of the universe gets blotted out till what remains is the cover of darkness, engulfing everything. Till everything is made visible by the brilliant flash of light. And then there is darkness again.

The water stings your skin, eager to breach the barrier of the clothes, eager to feel your earthiness. It swirls around your feet, cleaning the scum off, taking it far far away. The water fills the lake, quenching the thirst of billions.

The rains recede, their energy spent, their madness calmed, the drizzle is all that’s left. The umbrellas in the park move tentatively out, checking out if it’s a false hope; if they can spend a few moments more hidden beneath them.

The world returns to normalcy. The symphony ends, the cars honk, impatient to get back, the screech of the tires, the smell of burning asphalt fills your lungs. The show is over.

The clouds pass by, looking at the worlds beneath them.

June 19, 2013

Happitee Happy!

I feel happy when the net is fast,
I feel happy when the perfume lasts.
I feel happy when the rains hit the ground;
I feel happy when her silence is the sound.

I feel happy when my rose milk is chilled;
I feel happy when my stomach is filled.
I feel happy when there’s a happy end;
I feel happy when a shoulder she lends.

I feel happy that I have no foes;
I feel happy if I can touch my toes.
I feel happy when songs do play;
I feel happy when “come home” she says.

I feel happy when I make an ad;
I feel happy when I train a lad.
I feel happy if the chocolate’s dark;
I feel happy when she takes me to the park.

I feel happy when I read a book;
I feel happy when I do a shoot.
I feel happy if no one frowned;

But I don’t feel happy when she’s not around.

May 30, 2013

Bro-mance and Other Stories

So on a late Friday evening, when physically younger souls were doing a modernized version of a folk dance done in Punjab (without any rhyme or rhythm) to the tunes of Trance in the various watering holes of the city, we near the water storage tank of Mumbai were having a serious family debate on whether it bordered on uncontrolled lunacy or evolved geekiness to want to walk out of the comfort of your four and three quarters of a square meter of home at mid-day to go and watch Star Trek.  Yes the discussion lasted all through the night.

Finally, puppy eyes and a few sighs as always did the trick and we trudged along to watch the greatest Bro-mance of 2013- Star Trek, Into Darkness. In what is perhaps the most convoluted storyline in recent times, (beaten only by Gippi, which we shall come to later) Zachary Quinto stole the show. These days Sci-Fi movies have decided to dumb themselves down to the levels of elementary school, so that all of us who might have spent years in the wilderness of wiki trying to cross reference the mythology of various universes, would completely be flabbergasted. For example, the screenplay of Iron Man 3 would read like, Iron Man likes gadgets, Iron Man no likes bad guys, Iron Man wants to fight, Iron Man fights, we will see Iron Man 4 soon. Well, I am being unfair on Iron Man, it was a great visual treat, especially when the suits become voice activated and Sir Ben proves his greatness in a five minute sequence.

 Anyway coming back to Star Trek, it sees the return of Khan, (clearly Sherlock needs to do something while planning his return in Season 3) which my ‘Always SRK is awesome’ movie partner asks nudging me with her elbow – “Should the K be from the epiglottis, like Kkkhan?” If looks could kill, I would be next door neighbour to Sanju Baba or the Malayali pacer. And then suddenly, the entire awesomeness of Khan goes for a toss, when he is no longer the primary antagonist. But what he did was kindle the fire of Bro-Mance, which Uhura will always find hard to blow away.

In order to recover from the epic-ness of Star Trek’s visual awesomeness, and because the sun was still scorching hot outside we went into Epic, being the only couple in the movie and raising the average age of the audience by 5. But Epic was interestingly nice. Beyonce does not add much, but ultimately it delivers what it wants to deliver; which unfortunately is quite a lot. The greatness of a movie is not its multiplicity of plots but rather the depth of its central theme. But then, the kids laughed, we had our shwarma roles and cheered the Leafmen as they fought the bugs.

In other reviews, which I have delayed unnecessarily, Gippi was bereft of everything that made Udaan a great movie. And yet it had everything that one could hope for. Seeing Gippi, I realized rarely does anyone understand the complexities of a school election. In fact, come to think of it, the best portrayal of school tensions and elections is still Neev, the defining serial on DD in the late eighties. Divya Dutta was brilliant as usual as a single mother without resorting to the exaggeration of her pains that Hindi movies often fall prey to, but somewhere Gippi lacked the heart, while having the right intentions.

Ek Thi Dayan, was surprisingly a great movie –one of the best supernatural thrillers I have seen in recent times. Emraan Hashmi continues to surprise with his choice of movies and Konkona is a delight to watch as you wonder who she is portraying. In fact for horror movies in Bollywood things have been going good. Raaz 3, Aatma, 3G, quite a few of them hit the theatres and had interesting storylines to boast. Often though, how things connected back to the central theme, left us asking for some sense of sanity, but then as long as you get scared enough, why bother?

The biggest disappointment was however Bombay Talkies. 4 stories, each different, perhaps individually a great idea, fell flat when they were supposed to celebrate Indian Cinema. The closest was the adaptation of the Satyajit Ray Short Story and despite Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s great performance; it never could capture the human emotion that Ray’s story portrayed.

It’s good to be back watching movies and writing about them :)

May 06, 2013

Mumbai Meri Jaan! We Meet Again

Honestly, the only affair I have had in my life has been with Mumbai. We were made for each other. We loved, we hated, we fought, we cried and we survived and grew together. And how much ever the Delhites complain about this city, I am in complete love with her.

Now that I am back again to the city, I realized my love was the unfettered, ill advised and completely irrational love of the youth. And as such, we had completely overlooked the fact that our love story was doomed from Day 1.

It has been a couple of months since we have been here. No, it has not been Bandra, fortunately as far as the Missus is concerned. She hated the traffic at Pali Naka and the crazy snail on Linking Road. It was one of those ‘meeting the ex’ that never works out I guess.

So we ended up near a lake. With water being a concern every summer, at least I can take a bucket to the lake every now and then if need so arises. And with the city already gasping at the very beginning of summer, we sense a long, dry Indian summer ahead of us.

And with the glamourous goggles of Bandra finally off my eyes, I realized Mumbai’s beauty is often exaggerated by enamoured young individuals like me. Why else, a city, which is the heart of one of the future economic super powers, be reeling under infrastructure woes?  Why else the green covers of the city are non existence? Why else would a child be inhaling toxic fumes, every day in her commute to school?

There was a point of time when I swore by the restaurants in Mumbai. Today I find them unable to stay true to cuisines, culinary skills and finesse. The magic wanes as you grow older I guess, but Mumbai to me was more than magic. It was a story of hope and of resilience. Today I sense only an acceptance of fate. And slowly that creeps up on everyone. Sab kuch chalta hain.

I still love Mumbai, but I am no longer blind to her mood swings. I have realized over the years that not attempting to correct what’s wrong only leads you down to an abyss, further and further away from any utopia.

And so this time, Mumbai my love, every day an auto refuses to pick me up or a road looks like it has been bombed by WW II fighter planes, do not expect me to accept you as you are.

The days of love, blind and forgetful are over my dear!

April 01, 2013

The Boy Who Came to Singapore

In 2011, a boy came to Singapore. A bachelor and decidedly alone. Interestingly he was very happily a bachelor living out his last few days of freedom. And Singapore with its plethora of activities and a buzzing life seemed just the place to be.

In 2013, a married couple went back to Mumbai from a city they both have come to love as their own. And this is a post to celebrate the love they have for this city.

But let’s start with the boy – egoistic and childish when it comes to whose voice should this blog be in. So the boy when he landed in Singapore was first of all struck with the greenery all around. The city seemed to rise out of a forest. Huge trees lined the roads, the sea broke on the beaches and the rocks but what amazed him most were the people and the city itself. Disciplined, courteous, helpful but non intrusive, he began to appreciate what being Singaporean meant to a nation which was amongst the most successful. And the city of 5 million people moved like clockwork. Efficient, clean and ever striving to be the best in the world, Singapore clearly became the favourite city of the boy.

And the food – Oh the food! Paris may boast of her cuisine, Rome may boast of her cafes, London may boast of the world creating a potpourri of flavours, but to the boy nothing can beat the variety of Singapore. From Asia to America, from Russia to Australia, from the Middle East to South Africa, cuisines were made available to him. And while keeping a look out on his ever expanding waistline, he indulged.

It took him a good six months to cover the basics and then some more. But boy, did he love the food and the choices!

And then he got married!

Now don’t get him wrong. Being married did lots of good things to him. They conquered the highest peak in a country thrice; they went trekking all over the country and then cycled for 17 kms at a stretch.  And they continued experimenting with food and cooking. Thai and Italian became their favourite and Mustafa became their hunting ground for exotic spices. And they made friends beyond the ordinary. Friends who put up a barbeque for them to bid them bon voyage; friends who called them over to the office the evening before they flew to give them the last hurrah; friends who even cried a bit but tried to be bold enough to not show it.

In the last 2 months that the blog has been silent, they have been busy trying to rebuild their lives and while they have their memories and their fantastic Osim massagers (which incidentally are their only 2 material acquisitions during their stay in Singapore) they realize they have left a part of their selves behind in the city that made them from individuals to a couple.

So without a hint of regret, they would like to thank the city and her people who welcomed them with open arms.

Majulah Singapura! May you continue to be the example that every city must follow.

January 28, 2013

The Green Man

He started his professional life as a Green Man, learning to despise the colour yellow and at times grudgingly admire it, sometimes even envy it. For around 5 years he toiled, harder than most, to understand what it meant to be a Green Man in the lives of millions of women around the world. He travelled all over the word, bar perhaps the Americas learning about food and about culture. He went into kitchens, learning how to cook exotic dishes along with mothers, trained himself to understand flavours and at the end of it create magic on the table.

He believed that nothing was more sacred than Food, the foremost amongst the basic necessities of life. And perhaps nothing else in the world could easily straddle every step in Maslow’s Hierarchy. Imagine working in a category where every single individual you spoke to across the world was concerned about what she was eating that day. It makes you realize that your success can spread smiles across continents.

Surprisingly, he became a decent cook, a lot less fussy about food, a lot more experimental in what he ate and slowly he began to understand what drove billions of moms around the world every day to make a tasty meal for the family.

And he learnt when it comes to food, moms seldom disagree.

He loved being a Green Man. But then when he looked at his hands from time to time, they were turning green and he figured probably it was a good time to wash them. So he decided to leave KSS and return to his old organization SNDU, planning to wash away all the germs in less than 10 seconds.

But leaving your love after such a long time can be a bittersweet symphony. As he walked around his desk, cleaning up for the next Green Woman, he realized that there is so much that he will miss. He will miss the Bros, he will miss the dictator in the kitchen, he will miss the cheerleaders of weight loss and he will miss the mother hen, the lunches, the bets, the coffee and the free starbucks for every second thing.

This was a life free from internal strife, free from one-upmanship, free from endless debates. This was a life of learning and fighting against a common enemy, fighting for a common friend.

Interestingly, just as he shall no longer be a Green Man, he can also no longer fall in Love with Green in the foreseeable future. And that’s how he realized that the Wheel of Time turns!