Thursday, October 06, 2011


I've always wondered why I respect grief more than happiness. Happiness, almost always, seems shallow. So much so that, even when there are moments of genuine happiness, it seems more valued and lasting, only if viewed from the context of grief. I mean, let's say I find myself in a 'moment', I'm in the presence of true beauty, say a beautiful ocean, at sunset, and I'm at peace... surrounded by good people and memories of good times. Simple, plain happiness.
But, at such a moment, if I think about the bad times, difficult times, when I was messed up (OK more messed up than now), when things were a lot more messed up, the peace of the present moment seems worthwhile, and the happiness, memorable. Happiness, by itself doesn't seem meaningful anymore.

Well...not always :)

I think the reason behind it is.... humility. We are humbled by grief. It takes us to places within us that are true, genuine and meaningful. It is always honest. Happiness is not.

Well...not always :)

One such exception was a moment I had a couple of days back. It was just past midnight, and I was on the Bangalore Metro on one of the trial runs. The train stopped at the SV road station I think, and I got down and started walking on the parapet adjoining the tracks. A little while later, I turned back to see what was the position of the train from where I was. The headlights were at 'high-beam' and blinding me and I had to cover my eyes. Seeing me, the driver dimmed the lights and what do I see, the gentle silver-violet train at the station, and right behind it, the moon, and it was HUGE! Not white, but yellow and yes, HUGE!! By the time I whipped out my phone to take a picture, the clouds had done the needful, but it was just WOW, that scene, that moment. Not because it was beautiful that moment, but because it was the culmination of a period in my life which was honest and satisfying. It was like someone telling me at the end of it all that I'd been a good boy


Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Every time Ive read this poem, ive seeked it myself. And it has never failed me.

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Jeevan mein ek sitara tha
Maana woh behad pyara tha
woh toot gaya to toot gaya
Ambar ke aanan ko dekho
Kitne iske tare toote
Kitne iske pyare choote
Par bolo toote taron par
Kab ambar shok manata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Jeewan mein tha who ek kusum
The us pe nitya nichawar tum
Woh sookh gaya to sookh gaya
Madhuwan ki chaati ko dekho
Sookhi kitni iski kaliyan
Jo murjhai phir kahan khili
Par bolo sookhe phoolon pe
Kab madhuvan shok manata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Jeewan mein madhu ka pyala tha
Tumne tan man de daala tha
Woh toot gaya to toot gaya
Madiralay ka aangan dekho
Kitne pyaale hil jaate hain
Gir mitti mein mil jate hain
Jo girte hain kab uthte hain
Par bolo toote pyalon pe
kab madiralay pachtata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

Mridu mitti ke hain bane huye
Madhu ghat phoota hi kartein hain
Laghu jeewan leke aaye hain
Pyale toota hi karte hain
Phir bhi madiralay ke andar
Madhu ke ghat madhu ke pyale hain
Jo madakta ke mare hain
Woh madhu loota hi karte hain
Woh sachcha peene wala hai
Jiski mamta ghat pyalon par
Jo sachche madhu se jala hua
Kab rota hai chillata hai

Jo beet gayi so baat gayi

- Harivansh Rai Bachchan
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Saturday, August 13, 2011


Kabhi tanhaayi mein jab khamoshi mehsoos hoti hai
Teri aawaaz jaise goonjti mehsoos hoti hai

Jise sochon ne dhaala ho, khyaalon ne taraasha ho
Wo chehraa dekh kar khushi kitni mehsoos hoti hai

Main thodi der bhi aankhon ko apni band kar loon to
Andheron mein mujhe ik roshni mehsoos hoti hai.

Tasavvur mein teri tasveer jab bhi main banaata hoon
Mujhe har baar rangon ki kami mehsoos hoti hai.

- Anonymous.

Bless you.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Do tasveerein

Do tasveerein dikhaayi usne mujhe
Pehli wo jismein hum the, tum the
chamkeeli dhoop, roshni hi roshni
aur wo sab jo na aaj hai,
na ab kabhi hoga

Doosri tasveer mein na tum the, na hum
wo tasveer thi kisi aur ki
uski soorat thi to bahut pyaari
par dil ko yaad aayi bas tumhaari

Kuch kahaniyaan yaad aati hain,
Kuch aur...bhoolne laga hoon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shine on!

I was reading Stephen King's The Shining a few days back. I must say this book.... is severely Cool! And delightfully wicked. Definitely one of the Unputdownables. For those who haven't read it, the term "Shining" refers to the psychic ability that allows certain people to read others' thoughts, communicate telepathically and most importantly, foresee certain incidents before they actually happen, also known as clairvoyance. That's when I remembered that I'd had a very interesting clairvoyant vision myself about 9 years back in college and felt it must be on record here.

I think it was the 1st year of college when we were just getting to know each other in class & outside, beginning to hang out together, forming our own little groups which we'd stick to for the rest of the 4 years and choosing the people who would figure in almost every photograph taken in those 4 years. After the end of a very normal day at college, when I hit the sack that night, I had the most unusual dream. I was standing in front of the main college building, and in front of me, behind the Mech Engg Dept & next to the hostel block, was this huge new building getting constructed. The brick & cement structure was just being completed. I walked towards the building & reached the entrance.

A sprawling circular lobby area lay ahead of me & besides it, was a winding spiral staircase. I decided to take the staircase & started climbing. There was water dripping everywhere because the the cement structure was still being cured. Up & up I went until I reached the uppermost floor. I continued to climb to reach the terrace. There was a door to the terrace, but it was not locked & slightly ajar. When I peeked through the opening I could see...rose petals on the floor!

I opened the door very slowly & silently. And who do I find there? A pal of mine, with a girl from our class(who we hadn't even spoken to till that point) in a small pool or a tub (can't remember clearly what it was) with rose petals floating all over! It was so weird I woke up with a start, totally spooked out. What kind of a twisted, screwed up dream was that! There was no building out there in reality, it was just an open, barren ground & that girl...she was almost a complete stranger!

I told the guys all about the dream next day in college, it was an interesting dream to share & that was that. But it was a bit more than just that. In the next few months, the same guy & girl in my dream would begin to get closer and ultimately be in a very serious relationship almost right through college. Weird? There was more to come. About an year later, a new building to house the CS & IS departments was envisioned. And it was built at the exact same spot I had seen in my dream. It would be the tallest building in the campus & would tower above the rest, just the way it had in my dream. Getting weirder? Maybe not. After all the most obvious place for a new building would be the biggest open space available on campus. Where else could I have imagined a new building in my dream?

Well here's what I think has to be the eeriest turn of events which gives me goosebumps every single time I think about it. This new building that came up, had a spiral staircase, winding up from a sprawling circular lobby on the ground floor atop wide rows of steps leading up to it, exactly matching my dream, frame to...frame. See that grey-blue building next to the cricket ground in the picture below? That's what I'm talking about.

I haven't figured out how to explain this. Neither have my friends who heard me out that day when I told them about this dream & then were witness to whatever happened after that.

I really did SHINE that night!

Friday, May 27, 2011

My bucket list

I find a lot of people talking about their bucket lists these days. A list of all the stuff they really want to do before they die which usually includes traveling to God forsaken Amazonian jungles, jumping off cliffs or aeroplanes, making uncomfortable conversation with ex GF/BFs & then convincing themselves that they've made up for past sins, driving a Ferrari etc etc. Here's mine(not that I don't wanna do any of the above):

  1. Wander into a Lawrence & Mayo store & ask for a jar of mayonnaise
  2. Defeat my friend Padma in at least one game of carrom, even if it means tying both her hands & blindfolding her.
  3. Find out the color of Karunanidhi's eyes.
  4. Figure out why parents are against the concept of young men & women living on the same planet.
  5. To be on friendly terms (to at least know the imp events going on in their life) with 1 more person than my friend Murali. He knows everyone!
  6. Meet the guy behind AbstruseGoose.
  7. Find out what hyper-emotional journo Arnab Goswami is smoking.
  8. Live long enough to see politicians being more expressive on TV & with the press in general. I mean, just imagine Dr Manmohan saying "We welcome the decision by the United States to lift controls on export of high technology items and technologies to India. Woo Hoo!!!!" or Obama(not Bush) saying "We will hunt him down & kick his Ass!!!"
  9. And the one last question I'd like to be answered before I pop is, what the hell happened before the Big Bang?

Not a bad list eh?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Whole 22 Yards

Just like 99% of Indian men, I love cricket & everything associated with it. The remaining are those who say things like "I stopped watching cricket after the 1996 world cup" which just shows how hurt they were after that fateful night.

In my house there are as many classes of cricket enthusiasts as there are people (3). My mother, who will watch a match depending on the number of movie celebs in the stadium and hates it when the players dirty their clothes, pitying the poor souls who will have to wash, dry, blue, starch & steam-iron their uniforms to crisp chamakti Wheel safedi.

And then there's my father who will calculate & re-calculate the current & reqd. run rates after every 3 balls accurately to the second decimal & then look at me & smirk. He has also mastered the art of completely failing to distinguish a replay from the real-time pictures & therefore every time they show the replay of someone getting out, he'll yell "Aii Ayyyo!!! innu obba hoda!!!" (OMG another one gone!)

And then there's me. Good ol' me. I started watching cricket since the 96 WC & have been hooked ever since. Neither have I inherited the mathematical acumen of my father(a fact well established in class 10) nor the street smart savvyness of my mom(a fact well established when as a 5 year old I refused to eat street food in Delhi's Bengali market citing ideological reasons. What was I thinking?). I just lap up everything thrown at me by the Tube. And I've lapped up so much that its beginning to feel very repetitive now.

Every single time Ravi Shastri does the presentation ceremony, he starts with one of the following:

  1. Ladies & Gentlemen, what an absorbing day's play it has been...or
  2. What a cracker of a match we've had today...or
  3. We've witnessed a spectacular game of cricket today.

My ears keep ringing with "Its been a quiet period, I just get the feeling something is about to happen" or the extremely prophetic "the last thing India need now is to lose a wicket". How they manage to lose a wicket immediately when anyone, especially Ravi Shastri says it, is a mystery.

But despite all that I remain a loyal, dumb, couch potato cricket fan who is no different from the million others out there. If I'm at work during a match, there will be a Cricinfo browser tab open & will be refreshed like crazy. If I'm driving, my avg speed betn home & office will be at least 5 kmph more than non-match periods. Every morning, the first page I read in the newspaper is the last sports page. I still don't move an inch when India is 102/4 needing 110 from 20 overs. And I will pump my fist every time India wins.

Last year I had gone to an IPL match with friends where we sat next to an old man probably in his seventies who had come alone & would stand up & dance & cheer in his own inimitable style. Something tells me I'll be no different. I just hope I'm not alone even then!


Saturday, May 07, 2011


When the alarm rang today morn, I still hadn't got Aaaar Seeeeee Beeeee, Gayle & the whacking he gave the 11 hapless punjabi boys out of my system (thx Ali, u totally like....rock man). And that match will always remind me of the rasam or shathamdu as its called in my house....o that tangy, spicy Tam/Kan delicacy was simply sublime, and who'd have thought I'd run into such exemplary culinary expertise at the Chinna stadium! Moving on... I opened my eyes to find texts telling me the ever-punctual Kafi was ready to hit the gym. So I scoot to the gym to find him there with that look which says....."Again?" But Im a master of my art too... All I had to do was give him my trademark disarming goofy laugh and greet him with some hyderabadi "kya miyaan aisa dekh re tum mere ku?" & good times were back again. Once we inside we were joined by Vika & a certain stranger. This guy is a droll I tell you. Never a dull moment when he's around. Every couple of minutes he would yell at the top of his voice one of the following 3....ummmm....what-should-I-call-'ems:
1. "Come on Jockey!" Dont ask me who jockey is.
2. "Come on India! Josh maaa!" Dont ask me why the nation needs to get itself worked up for his workout.
3. "Barli maaa.... josh barli!" The closest I can get to translating that accurately is "let it come... Let the adrenalin flow"

Well all that motivation was a good thing... We promptly folded up & hit the nearest Idly-vade outlet, no bigger than a single room in size but with a huge heart when it came to keeping those streams of sambhar steadily flowing & devoured countless steaming hot idlys with dollops of chetney & sambhar or kozhambu as its called in my house. Which reminds me... I must write a piece on what is the ideal accompaniment to idlys...chutney or kozhambu? And likewise for the more premium..vade or vadeyyy as its called in my house. I have very strong views on the matter. I must also write separately about why I keep saying "as its called in my house". That post will be called iyengar tamizh 101.

Yannyhow, after that spiffing start to the day, with a whistle on my lips I scooted back home expecting a grand welcome....for no reason. But I was greeted by locked gates. Why? Because our hallowed house-maid leaves at 9 & it was now 9.30. Gates are locked at 9 to prevent unwanted people from entering. Everyone except the maid is unwanted in the morning. So i clanked the gate & yelled Amma!......Annnaaaa! & you'd expect the parental love flowing & them running to let their son in, apologizing profusely for making me wait in the sun ouside. Instead there was silence. I was not the maid... I was not wanted. That left me with no other choice. The master mimic in me rose to his zenith... and I mustered the best middle-aged maid voice I could & yelled...... "ANTIIIIIIII!......ANTIIIIII!" its actually "Aunty" but must be pronounced as "Anti" for the correct "maid-in-a-hurry-in-the-morning" effect & it produced instant results. Both my ancestors were at the door before I could say Yepppadi! I had claimed victory. Although all they said when they saw me was "eevan aaaaa?" i was still not the maid you see.

And that was Sat morn!

P.S. Thx Ms Anonymous for those comments on my previous post. Brought the spice back into my life ;)