Thursday, November 22, 2007


Change moves in spirals, not circles. The sun goes up and then it goes down. But every single time that happens, what do you get? You get a new day. You get a new one. When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you're a little bit different than the one before. We're always changing. And it's important to know that there are some changes you can't control and then there are others you can.

Such an inevitable constant it is.

Half Nelson, 2006]

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guest Blogger: d SINNER!!!

Meenakshi opened the door quietly. A blank expression marked her face. Within a second her face became a canvas, a multitude of expressions came and went. Agony. Pain. Helplessness. Then it went blank again. She held her duppatta to her face, afraid if Riya would wake up hearing her sob. She sneaked inside the room, tiptoeing towards the bed where her only daughter lay!

She ran her fingers through her messy hair. She looked beautiful but ill and the marks on her face were rather obtrusive. How cruel could 'He' be, Meenakshi thought. Or maybe 'They'. Her hand reciprocated, caressing Riya's forehead but her eyes wandered elsewhere. She felt as if the remnant energy in her was sapped empty by a parasite. She felt sick as she got up and sat on the chair lying next to the bed.

An hour went by. She woke up hearing the doorbell ring. As if in a trance, she walked towards the main entrance. It was Riya's father, Alok! He came in and didn't even look at Riya. She knew it was hard for him too, so she let him be. After a fleeting fifteen minutes, he emerged from one of rooms. He glanced at Meenakshi, too many questions lay unanswered in his mind.

Alok: How's she?

Meenakshi: She is sleeping now.

Alok: Did she eat anything?

Meenakshi: Yes. A little.

Alok: Did you speak to her about it?

Meenakshi: No.

Alok: Didn't I ask you to? Meenakshi, she needs to be taken to the police station! Don't you realise it's a police case now?

Meenakshi could fathom his anger spliced with frustation. She sensed it. It was not always that Alok used to call her by her name.

"Don't you want to...."

Alok: What?

Meenakshi: ...see her, atleast for a moment?

Alok: No! No, I cannot.

Meenakshi: It's been a week since you came back…

Alok: I know. I know! But I can't...

He couldn't stand it any longer. The pain and anguish was unbearable. He quickly made his way to the other room.

It was 4'O clock in the evening. The maid was doing her mundane chores in and around the house. Meenakshi kept moving around from one room to another. She was so restless that nothing comforted her. Sometimes she would peep into Riya's room, only to find her sleeping. Trying to distract herself went in vain. She tried watching TV for some time, ran a few errands and even tried conversing with the maid about obscure things. But inevitably, a thousand questions clouded her mind.

Meanwhile Alok entered the room. Meenakshi wasn't aware.

"Wake her up".

Startled, Meenakshi turned around.

Alok: We need to report this to police and then we need to take her to the doctor again.

Meenakshi: Allright then.

Alok: But..But...why did you let her go?

Meenakshi: It was her birthday, Alok.

Alok: She could have invited her friends over here. It was your responsibility to keep a lookout on what she was doing, where she was going! You could have told her what to do, and what not to do. You should have disciplined her, after all you are her Mother!

He fell silent. He didn't want to say anything much. Rather he couldn't. But both knew that it was too late. And Meenakshi knew she was responsible.

She sank down on the sofa. Everything came back to her in a flash. It was Riya's birthday and she was turning sixteen. She had demanded a cell phone as a birthday gift. Alok argued on this subject with her and Riya, before leaving on a business trip to New York. He made no qualms about throwing a plethora of excuses at her.

"Why does she need a cell. She needs to concentrate on her studies now. These are crucial years and they make or break one's life. Doesn't she already chat a lot with her friends through the landline. Such a distraction should be avoided"

Meenakshi had strongly objected to Alok's thoughts.

"Girls of her age, need cell phones now. She is grown up enough to have one. Think about it this way. It will be quite easy for her to stay in touch with us, especially when we both are working and moving out of station, so often."

Riya was on her own but she did try to make her dad understand. But it didn't quite serve the purpose. He left for NY the very next day and Meenakshi, after her office headed straight to a shop to buy her daughter a birthday present. Riya had asked her permission to go to 'Alley', the famous discotheque in town to celebrate her birthday with her friends. Meenakshi didn't argue on this. She had alway seen Riya as a responsible child. But then she shuddered at the thought of what happened that night. If only Riya had been equipped with a cellphone before, things would have been so different! She could have bought her a cellphone instead! But why didn't she? She had only herself to blame.

It was decided that Meenakshi would pick her up at twelve from the club. But she reached late at the night club, only to find
Riya nowhere. She hovered around the place like a madman, frantically searching for her daughter. She checked out every place around but Riya was nowhere in sight. The club wore a deserted look. The dark streets had an errie feel, with street lights casting ghostly shadows here and there. She tried reaching out to Riya's friends but she got the same reply from everyone.

"She was waiting for you, auntie".

Meenakshi cursed herself. How could she be so careless, she thought. The grim image of Riya's unconscious face, lips smeared with cheap lipstick, tangled hair held together by a gaudy ribbon, swarmed across her mind. She closed her eyes and tried to fend off the thought. The police had told them that their daughter was found in a shady hotel in a red light area, but the convict had escaped. She was found after two long weeks, unconscious and tied to the bed post. Time and again, such a thought tormented her. But now, she couldn't do much. Everyone around, knew what had happened but no one talked about it. Alok nudged her and told her to wake up Riya. But Meenakshi sat still. He understood her silence and proceeded to wake Riya up himself. She felt a bit relieved. She wanted him to go and talk to her. He stood beside Riya's bed quietly. Meenakshi knew what Alok was going through. She could see his eyes watering but he tried to conceal it. He touched Riya's hand. Riya started sniveling. He bent down and kissed her forehead, her hand held tight by him. Both of them felt strange when suddenly Riya got up in a daze, only to undress herself slowly.

Aghast and helpless, he ran out of the room, fighting back his tears and leaving Meenakshi behind, only to realize the untold!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dancers In The Dark

I gazed silently at those nimble pair of legs which moved in haste. A few steps forward, then a quick flip. A moment later, bending on the gravelly surface and writhing back and forth through a hoopla, without so much as to touch it. Pushing it aside the next moment, sprinting forward and taking a gravity defying somersault again. A young girl of the same age, fidgeted nearby, playing a small dhol tied to her neck and singing to the tunes of popular bollywood numbers. Another kid belonging to the same clan looked on, waiting for his turn next. I felt as if every single act of theirs, was smeared in a monotonous semblance. But then, it was their conditioning which blurred such an axiomatic display to a large extent. Helplessly I watched, however trying not to, at times. A sight as such made me dwell earnestly on the cruelties meted out to such pitiable young souls, clinging to a parallel world soaked in abject poverty and hopelessness....

Read my complete article at Writers Blend >> Dancers In The Dark

The Last Humanist

Milton:'s like a bag of fucking bricks. All you got to set it down. Let it go.

Lomax: I can't do that.

Milton: Who are you carrying all those bricks for? God? Is that it? I'll tell you. Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do? I swear for His own amusement, His own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time! Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Aha! And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, fuckin' ass off! He's a tight-ass! He's a SADIST! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!

Lomax: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" that it?

Milton: Why not? I'm here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began! I've nurtured every sensation man has been inspired to have! I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him! Why? Because I never rejected him, in spite of all his imperfections! I'm a fan of man! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist.

[The Devil's Advocate, 1997]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Once Upon A Love

That was a time I first fell in love
But now I wail, I lament
'Tis sad how I lost so much time
To compass my content

The day wherein I saw too late
Oh, the follies of a lover
The moment I felt such loss
As care shall never recover

That fateful night, the minute of mishap
Makes me thus to plain
The doleful fruits of a lover's pursuits,
Which labor lose in vain

Doth make me solemnly protest
As I in pain, parted from this clove
No time, year, day or hour
Nor a minute, good to love

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Indian Potpourri

Tamils are always proud to be Tamizhs; Quite courteous (that's what they think, at least!). They speak yenglish but sorry, no indi (Hindi). Saar, what da??? The plebeian Madarasi ( huh?) is an ardent fan of kireeket matches. Their counterparts in Mumbai think they live in America but speak Hinglish like..."are you sure ki Sujata aa rahi hai or I'll go akela!" And they take great pride in making stupid mistakes in Hindi Grammar. Hypocrites? ahem, probably the best in the world.

Thamizhs, are verrry lecky to have simble neighbors in the Keralites who are a komblex race of peoblle (they migrated around 2000 B.C. from the middle east, I guess; and now even the Sheikhs feel wary of them!) but they have excellent GK, eat a lot of chooclyte, own 99.998765% of tyre shops in the world and form 99% of nursing community.

Trudging behind the kerals is the Telugu Desam, who are totally againesht flaunting their wealthu to the woruldu, though they occasionally come out withu brick red shirtsu and parrot green pantsu with pleetsu (pleet). Worustu, no?! But they (think) are greatu in CICSu, Microsu and COBOLu! Generally sane peoplesu (and so you can always findu them judgingu, probhingu, queschioningu othersu ...)

The Canadians (err, excuse me), the Kannadigas aor (are) the coolest lat dobun south but if there is political unrest in Hersogovnia oare (or) an ebola virus outbreak in Zaire, they bash up the Tamils in Karnataka. Damn! Cauvery crusade! Talking of the great Rajkumar, if a fly sat on his nose, they would burn the entire city of Bengaluroo to kill the fly! Dishoom! To hell with Silicon valley! I-ron, firshtu, girlu, Lasht Bussu, roadu, crickeatu, filamu are some of their favourites.

Maharashtrians are a conservative, rather confused, complex lot-kar. -Kar? that's because gavasakar, tendulkar, on, so forth. Take your pick. Confused? that's because sitting pretty in the southern part of India, they would ask the other person "err, are you from Maharashtra or from south India?" and genuinely wonder as to why the other person takes time to answer the question! They like the principles of pheejix and their favourite character in the alphabet is Zay (God only knows where that came from!). Though soft natured, peace loving people but they elect the Shivsena to rule them. Phew!

And right there next to the Maharashtrians are the Gujjubhais. They like to keep kes in the benk and their favourite past time is eating snakes (snacks!) like paav bhaji, masala papad and pijja at the local snake bar. They gobble down palak sev as if their life solely depends on it and believe in the brotherhood and sisterhood of man and woman (everybody is either a bhai or a ben!!!).

Stray further eesht and you meet the Oriyas in the land uf Udissa - the land of irron ('r' unsilent) where sombalpuroa and Bhubaneshbara are big towns. The people are bery cordial and if you are Vikram they bill soorly ask you B or Bhe. They do not sout, sam or soot but occasnally bawsh their phace at the wasbashin. James Bond Mohanty in our colleze had a roll nomber jero, jero, sebhen. LOL.

Bong Bong Bengalees are bery bery similor, but or bery proud oph Subas Chondro Boash and Shoatyojit Roy (WTF?! I know a director by the name Satyajit Ray who was quite a prolific genius). A friend of yours spots you and yells "ki Boka*****" or an unknown bystander greets you with a cacophonic "Dada" (I use to habe a friend by name, Dada. Still wonder...what his name was!) Bot I most conphess, Roshgollas are bery goooood, though!

Bihari kids are supposed to be the smartest kids in India (if not in the universe?!). How we wish they grew up the same way. But Biharees are bery phond of Laloo and Patna. "Kaa babua, isse bhadiya tumre pass kooch hai ?! SPIT. SPIT.

UPites and MPites are busy going to ischool and studying metals to make lots of ishteel. Loads of it!

Punjabis are the cherubic sorts but aggressive, mind you! I was asked, "Oye, Rotti ShottiKhayega?" I replied "No". Pat came the reply "Tage itu, yaar!" By Godu! Surjeetu, what happenedu, oi?! Then of course, everybody's a paappe or a kaakke. That my friend is Punjab for you.

Kashmiris are a peaceful lot living in the valley of diverse cultural imprints (Kashmir called Cashmir by many. May be because of the amount of cash spent to keep it in India?!) I know Roja (or Roza?) was shot (C'mon, I mean filmed!) somewhere nearby.

But at the end of the day, wherever you are on this planet...whether it is in Sunnyvale, CA; Birmingham,UK; UmmAl Quwain, UAE or Serangoon Road, Singapore...nudge yourself and ask them who they are and you'll get just one answer- "INDIANS".

[From the mail archives]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Scanner Darkly