Thursday, August 31, 2006

The raging storm


Arms stretched wide
Against the ceaseless wind;
Blows into your face,
Blows away your security -
A feather in a gale.

Beyond, lightning strikes the ground
Turning matter into ashes,
Safety into terror.
All but a blinding flash
Photographing insignificance, you.

Pelting down like bullets in bloody war
Comes the drenching rain
Quenching the thirst of nature
And hope of the carefree sense.
Water gives life, takes life.

I stand rooted in place
Knowing strength within is what matters.
The storm rages on
As night kills the chance of dawn.
I put my hand out
And catch the drops of rain
As everything around crumbles into nothingness
A light shines in the darkness,
Behind shut eyes.

All goes still
In obedience to the heart.
The tempest outside dies its own death
As I remain there,
Arms stretched wide.

Was a wonderful experience to write this. Reassures the soul like nothing else.

Saturday, August 19, 2006



Dedicated to all the women in the world who, many a times, have to single-handedly
bear the brunt of this one big mistake.

She held her to the breast
Cushioned in caring hands
Lest the child feel discomfort.

The suckling grew into a fine girl
Frills danced a step behind her feet while
Those curls followed as she ran about.

Life was fun and joy
Nowhere close to anxiety, worry
As adolescence passed by in a blur.

All this while, mother watched with love
At this beautiful child of hers:
The apple of her eye,
The dream of every young man.

One day, her bubbly daughter came in
With no sign of the usual twinkly-in-eye.
Something serious, terrible seemed to be.

Unfolded the story of youthful abandon;
How she loved someone, made love.
Mother listened; moist eyes.

The shame was too much to take.
How had her innocent daughter lost innocence?
How had she not known?

Her girl, now a woman, gave birth.
Illegitimate child; legitimate love
But her girl ended her shame, ended her life.

Mother held her to the breast
Cushioned in caring hands
Lest the child feel discomfort.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ambedkar Jayanti, Bedekar masala and everyday Indian spice.

Today's bus travel in the morning seems like ages ago. But I remember the school assembly, the patriotic songs and the National Anthem as if I sang it yesterday. Not to forget the guy who got punished for deliberately screaming the last four lines of the Anthem at one teacher named Jaya. Something to do with nostalgia maybe.

Looking back at those days, it makes me think: 'What is patriotism?' Is it pinning a small flag to our pockets or placing one on the dashboard, handles of our vehicles? Or for a major part of the community, is it standing to attention when the Anthem is played in the theatre? My dad's 'new' edition [1974] of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English defines patriotism as "the love for one's country". If this is a correct understanding of the word, then I'm lukewarm. This has been said taking into consideration that the basic definition has not undergone any drastic change in the past thirty two years.

Now before you report this blog as anti-Indian, let me clarify my stand. From this sentence onwards, all names have been changed to protect the individual's right to stupidity. Also, all examples are for better understanding of the opinion being discussed. No portion of this post, in part or whole, can be reproduced in any form [written, photocopied, printed] without explicit permission from the author.

Not that you would want to.

The general portrayal of patriotism by political parties seems to be 'Pakistan is the enemy'. Believe this, and you are a true disciple. And surprisingly, a lot of the gullible junta accepts it. For that matter, you must also be against multinationals, privatisation, Valentine's day, English names for Indian places and the like. What you must support is an even longer list. Apparently, love for country can wait till later. As far as I'm concerned, half of these are non-issues. An example: I'm against soft drink companies and a few other multinationals. Does that mean I don't like all of them? Of course not; they are so very needed. Then there's Bangalore becoming Bangaluru [Bangalooroo for numerologists]. Who cares? Is the number of crimes against BPO employees reducing there? But at the same time, some places named after tongue twisters need the change. So I'm lukewarm.

Piyush, one of my classmates, swears by the flag pole in our campus - he's that patriotic. But tossing the lunch wrapping on garden premises every single afternoon is his right. Mention it, and he will wave it off with an air of confidence that would make Rahul Gandhi sit up and notice. For the love of country!! Why is throwing dirt from the window or spitting out of the car normal but soiling the Tricolour a crime? Get real; that flag comes out twice in a calendar year but you are part of your environment. Drink to your heart's content, fight with your neighbours; or worse, beat up your wife and children. But observe 15th August and 26th January as 'dry days'. Still lukewarm.

Leaders stand to military attention during the Anthem. Some even get goose flesh and mistake it for a patriotic orgasm [in the non-sexual way] but are ready to sell country and all for personal benefit. Rajiv, representative of the common man, is no better. As long as his spouse is satisfied [read 'not irritating'] and the children have a promising future, the rest of the world can go to hell. It takes an unrealistic movie like Rang de Basanti to get him all worked up on national issues; that's how low he has reached. We salute the flag while trampling on our neighbour's peace of mind. You guessed it - lukewarm.

If a statue or memorial of a freedom fighter is blackened, the nation will know it in within thirty minutes. That just got reduced to twenty in the past two years. So when Ambedkar's statue was garlanded with footwear some time back, it was big news. But treating that poor labourer like dung is permissible. If we can take offense to an act of disgrace to a person's memorial, it better reflect in actual life.

Now I'm not one of those guys ranting for a perfect country. I don't want it to be so because there's beauty in imperfection. I don't agree with being called patriotic for the simple reason that brotherhood and social acceptance/tolerance mean more to me. What good is tradition if it's void of the original meaning? I'd rather donate blood or sponsor an orphan.

I like India - its beautiful history and nature. Not to forget the cliches on culture and diversity; I'll spare you those. The people and atmoshpere are just awesome. It's tough to call any other place on earth home. But I'd rather not restrict my loyalty and love to geographic/political[ly disputed] boundaries that some governing body decided long ago.

It's time we freed India - from ourselves. Jai Hind.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bob the builder

Sara-sahara's coming down, coming down, coming down;
Sara-sahara's coming down, my fair lady.

Immortal tune. With the BMC, MCOCA court and other shortformed government organisations growing spine, this strategic demolition has sent out a clear message. 'Don't build on our land or be ready to see it kiss the ground'. Pretty uncivic-authority-like. But they need to do their real work from time to time. That brings me to my question: How did the structure come up if it was (till it got razed) illegal? A very dumb question to ask. All the more because the answer(s) is(are) known to all who are above twelve years of age and not mentally challenged.

It's probably fun to see buildings fall and whole shopping complexes pulled down in a day or two. But why waste human effort and precious years before the fun? Because there's a greater scam going on, like bad background music camouflaged by an amazing solo. When big structures owned or backed by heavy-weights are being targeted, one tends to lose focus of the small-time crooks. A million of these is a greater threat than our beloved Dawood and family (non-blood relations included). I'll give you a sneak preview into my future plan - something that took me about a month and twenty odd boring lectures to concoct.

I'll begin by hiring a middle man. You see, novels are of great help to society. They inspire movies and real life criminals like me (I know I run the risk of being arrested if the government-nanny reads this). Same is the case here. I don't need to start mentioning the blessings of a middle man when in a shady business. Then get him to buy a couple of hutments in strategically located places. Thats the tricky part. The location chosen should be such that a builder is planning to construct a housing society/mall there in the near future. In about five years, the humble dwelling(s) (let's be polite) will earn permanency. If they don't, bribes work equally well.

So when it is time to start construction, the builder/contractor will have to compensate with accomodation elsewhere. Don't worry about this - there are a few activists enthusiastically fighting for the wrong rights. At the time of possession, act as if you didn't like the place, get it sold and move out with a neat sum. All the while, the middle man does the dirty work. If the initial stages of the plan were executed well, more than a dozen such criminally legal moves can be pulled off.

There you are. Sorry, there I will be - education complete (hopefully) and housing finance taken care of (surely). With the pace at which changes are taking place in the governing of our country, I guess this plan may even work for my granchildren. As of now I'm off to search for the middle man.