Monday, December 29, 2008

A short story:

The music had lain there for years, forgotten. Now she looked at it trying to remember why she had not listened to it in so many years. She switched it on. The tunes floated inside her brain, engulfing her in its haunting warmth….traversing down every cell in her body. And then it reached her heart.

It felt like she was struck by a hammer. She doubled over; her arms going around herself instinctively….trying to brace herself from the vacuum that was threatening to pull her in. She had thought she had come a long way…choosing to be where she was. She had stopped her search, forgiven, forgotten.

A blankness surrounded her now. And darkness. Tears poured down un-sensed and unchecked. Panic. She looked up at the darkness, reaching out for somebody….something. But there was nobody, nothing.

Only emptiness. The music had stopped

Another short story:

She didn’t know her father, only her mother and her two brothers. They lived in poverty. Her mother was her only connect to the world. So it wasn’t really a mystery that the two brothers left her when their mother died. She was only 12 and all alone.

She survived growing up to be young woman. Though she was plain looking, she could have turned head had she grown up in a richer environment. Now she wore a colourless dirty peasant dress and tied a scarf around her head…roaming around the market place with her empty cart trying to figure out her next meal. People around her were happy, laughing, talking. She felt like a ghost. Nobody noticed her, talked to her.

She grew older….yet without any connect with the world or its people. She never cried at her fate accepting what was given to her. Desolate and empty.

Now she suddenly remembered and felt the desolation and emptiness after all these years. And finally she cried. Cried at her fate and her disconnect with her world or its people.

At last she knew.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A breather:

From the unpredictability of this city and life itself.

A little road trip to a forest, a hill station, to a bit of history and finally to a golden beach.

We had initially planned to go by train but the 26-11 incident changed all that. So we decided to brave a 14hrs drive to Dandeli in the north of Karnataka. And it was this decision that made the trip such a memorable one.

Taking only two breaks – one at Mcdonalds (yuck!) at 8 and another at a tapri chai joint near Ramnagar at 3 in the morning (where we finished all the eggs and bread he had) – we reached Dandeli at 6 when the sky was just getting lighter. Kali Resort, where we stayed was a disappointment for me because it’s at the edge of civilization and the river there smelt of chemicals. Throughout the night we could hear the sound of the huge machineries of the paper mill across the river. One city bred friend thought it was the sound of the river!

Dandeli, a part of a 5000sqkm forest which stretches upto Kerala, is absolutely beautiful….filled in parts with huge bamboo thickets and really tall trees (teaks and rosewood included). Thankfully the state government is aware and follows stringent rules. Apart from tigers and elephants, this area is home to the gorgeous Black Panther and thousands of exotic birds. What I loved about this forest is that it’s filled with fireflies. When the sky turns a dark blue, the bamboo thickets and shrubs come alive with these sparkling glows….thousands of them. It’s such a magical sight!

One day, a horde of some 40 girls and guys came to the resort for a rafting trip. They turned the resort into a mela-ground, shattering everybody’s peace and creating chaos. No respect for nature or the wildlife….just wanting to have Loud Fun. There’s hardly any ecology left…I wonder whether the next generation will ever learn?

The boys in our group had to leave early and since the three of us girls had a few more days of holiday left, we decided to go ahead and explore on our own….(thanks to our plan of taking the car instead of the train). So we moved on to Panhala for a day, took God’s blessing at the Mahalaxmi temple at Kolhapur and zoomed onwards to Ganapatiphule…reaching just as the sun had turned orange in the sky.

We spent one whole blissful day on the golden shell filled beach…lying down as the waves crashed over us, collecting shells and live crabs, making sand castles, skinny dipping and walking on the endless uninhabited beach.

We set off back home just as the sun was setting, splashing the sky with brilliant pink and grey clouds……cursing our need to earn money and making plans for another longer road trip.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reasons:

It was a gentle day. The train whizzed past. A piece of paper caught the gust and rose high up in the air waltzing to its own tune.

The sun, low on the horizon peeped thorough the palm leaf and turned my living room golden. The leaf swayed with the wind and the sun danced on the wall. A stray ray caught my lashes and the world got speckled with gold dust.

The warmth…. played hide and seek with me. Now here now gone. It’s not mine…..but I want a few drops from it. Like an elixir……revival till another day……

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Do I matter?

Something has snapped. Not just in me, but my friends, neighbors, the whole of Mumbai…and perhaps the whole of the country. Everybody knows that this time, it was different…..very very different. Stretched too far, even an elastic loses its resilience…..we are human beings after all. This time, we know that we Never were and we Never will be safe. That our leaders have bled the nation and sold fellow countrymen. That they never cared. That they have betrayed us.

Though this is over, we don’t feel relieved.
We can’t. Not yet.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Maybe:

There’s a crow which lives on the tree just outside my living room window. He knows he’s different. Because I often find him spending time clearing his throat, making strange guttural sounds and then cawing in his own peculiar manner. He sounds like a teenager whose voice is just breaking. He keeps cawing continuously trying to sound normal like the other city crows. I feel bad for him….. ‘cause he sounds desperate in his effort to mingle with the others, sound like them….and not stand out from the homogenous mass. I wish I could tell him that he’s normal because he sounds like the crows in the Himalayas….only that he’s in the wrong place.

I wish I could tell him that I love his voice because he’s different….that it reminds me of my haven…..which now seems some light years away….
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More than three decades, and now it seems like a lifetime. A phase where things do not bother me like the way it used to before. Things are far from satisfactory but I feel calm.
There’s still lot to be done, lot to learn and I think I can roughly chalk out my path ahead. But what refuses to let go of me is this feeling since my childhood….this strange vague sense of longing…of searching for something which is perhaps not there. Usually the feeling is suppressed and lost in the daily grind…so much so that I don’t even remember it. It’s only when I sit by the sea looking at the sky turn orange and then purple that it boils over. Everything around me turns unreal and then all I want to do is run and escape….to some real parallel universe…..

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ghayal Nagar:

An apt sign which I saw behind a truck one night. Wounded city. That’s what I would call Bombay now. Infact for that matter, most cities in India now. Wounded time and time again. Survive, rebuild and then get wounded again. Sometimes I wonder, how long till one gives up and lay waste.

I once took a local at 6 in the evening. I looked at the watch and panicked. Wasn’t this the time when the train blasts had happened.

This time in Delhi, I hesitated before going to Lajpat Nagar to shop on a Sunday at 5 in the evening.

This is what life has finally come to….calculating time and place….wondering what is next.

If not this, then it’s a mad rush to accumulate all things material. You have a house, but you want another house. If not in Mumbai, then in Pune. You’ve got an Alto, but its time for a Chevrolet. A budget of Rs 1 crore for a house is no big a deal anymore. When I turned around and exclaimed that it’s an obnoxious amount, people around looked at me strangely. Watches, Clothes, iPhones, ipods, Macs…..you name it and they all have it. And still wish for more. There’s a mad rush all around you. Mad. Mad. Rush.

The more people crave for these, the more they repel me. Why do you exactly need them? And why a house in these congested, claustrophobic cities and fill them up with the latest bar from those expensive furniture malls?

Or is it just a way to keep away from the reality? That they are all wounded. Wounded souls in wounded cities…….And that’s its okay to be.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Into the Wild – 2:

http://sunsettrails.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html (hyperlink not working)

I saw the movie by Sean Penn a few months back – out of curiosity. Good effort because he did manage to capture almost all details of the book. But can anyone really explain in just an hour and a half exactly what Chris McCandless was all about…..his passion, his beliefs, his soul?

Hence I find it strange when I hear people say that they were affected by the movie. Affected by the story of his life or affected by what he believed in? No one can understand until one has felt even remotely what he yearned for from life – and that is Freedom.

The only thing which I felt came close to Chris McCandless is this song by Eddie Vedder – Society.

It's a mystery to me

We have a greed

With which we have agreed

You think you have to want

Mthan you need

Until you have it all you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed

I hope you're not lonely without me
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I have completed a year now in Mumbai and I can say with conviction what the others have always said….that the Monsoon is The best season here.

Throughout these months I was worried sick of getting stuck at some forlorn place because of heavy rains and not manage to reach anywhere. Even on the day when a similar event as that of 26th July threatened to occur, I could not help but admire the lashing rain and wind which almost blew the autos off the roads. But I did realize something - fear psychosis that occurs as a result of destruction by nature, is far greater than any other created by man.

Also throughout these months, I did not miss the sun at all. I loved to see the grey sheets of rain in the morning turn white at night. Wind which sprayed the sea onto the city and rain laden gusts which drenched you despite the tightly wrapped wind cheater. Wet floaters, spotting the black layers of cloud rushing towards you and the mad scramble to get the cover down on both side of the auto before it came gushing down. Everything turned clean and misty…even the Powai Lake which looked so surreal when the clouds hid the hideous buildings all around it.

I obviously did not miss any opportunity to step out of the city on the weekends….driving with friends through the Ghats….. sooo green that it hurt my eyes. I have never seen this colour of green anywhere else in all my life. Vibrant, pulsating with life, purely fluorescent. It’s difficult to stare away from the greens so abundant all around and not to stop and run and dance around in the meadows.

After those few escapes out of the city, I’m finding it difficult to do anything city-like. No pubs, no coffee shops, no shopping in malls. No closed spaces. Life is not this.

Just wide open green and grey spaces. And fleeting clouds. That surely is Life.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

In search:

It wasn’t my illusion
The Oasis
I saw it, I felt it
I surrendered my weary soul
It showed me the reason
And my Haven

I wanted to touch it
The Oasis
I did touch it
But a blinding mist, so thick
It permeated through my skin
To the very soul
I lost my dreams and my reason
I lost my truth and also my Haven

I lost my path
Ahead or behind
And in losing all, maybe I’ll find
A life that can finally be mine

Monday, July 28, 2008

(Ad) Venturing Out:

Like any other non-Mumbaiyya, I am scared of the locals. For almost a year, I resisted vehemently to any suggestions of trying it out even once. So in the strange way that life operates, I am thrown in a situation where I am forced to travel partially by the locals. And strangely still I am kind of warming up to it.

I have learnt which trains to take in order to avoid that mad rush; how to figure out whether it’s a 12 coach or a 9 coach train and stand according to it; just how fast to run in order to reach the first class compartment on time; and how to stand near the door without inconveniencing the mass of women getting in or getting out.

I know now that when one says ‘empty’ it means that you’ll eventually get a place to sit, when its ‘comfortable’ it means you can stand without being jostled.

Its like an assault to your senses when you enter a station…all you see is a moving sea of faces and bodies. But look around and you pick up stories.

Like the woman sitting in front of me one day. She was talking gently on the phone when my feet accidentally touched her feet. She threw me such a venomous look that it felt like a physical blow. So much stress, so much aggression and so much bitterness….and I’m sure she’s not even aware of it.

Like the two blind girls who came and stood at the correct place meant for them – the compartment for the handicapped. They were confident and happy – talking non-stop. In a place where it’s a daily struggle for everybody, they stood out like an island of happiness.

Like the girl who didn’t know where she was because she was fighting with her boyfriend on the phone. I tried hard not to hear what she was saying but I did hear her say a couple of times – “if you don’t take care of me…you’ll lose me”. She was young and her words made me think how much she has to learn.

I have realized that one has to stay aloof from all these stories that are abound lest you get sucked in its vortex everyday. So I avoid the peak traffic times and I stay miles away from the second class compartment. I love to stand near the door and feel the wind and the raindrops on my face when the ‘fast’ train speeds past the stations.

I don’t want to become a part of that world.
Or maybe I have already become just another story.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Monsoon Limited:

However little I have experienced of it, the monsoons is a completely different way-of-life here. With the heavy pre-monsoon rains, there was a flurry of activity all around. Everybody including me ran to buy the rain essentials – umbrella, wind cheater coz your umbrella would be blown off by the wind and floaters so that you can walk without any worry. There was an easy camaraderie among people….all seemed bonded by one basic element – the rains. What I find amusing is that heavy or light; the rains don’t seem to affect any aspect of life here. The swarms of people walking on the roads everyday never reduce. They walk as fast and purposefully as they walk everyday – completely nonchalant about the sheets of water pouring down all around. The only difference is that the trousers are rolled up and the bags held a little closer under the umbrella. But I added a pair of extra clothes, shoes, biscuits and water bottle in my everyday carry bag.

With the first downpour, I rushed to my favorite place in the city – the sea. I sat under one umbrella with my friend N and watched the grey sea froth and fume. It was a beautiful sight – a raging sea under an ever darkening sky and sheets of falling rain blowing into your face. I love the sea when it’s like this – in its true form. The calm sea always agitates me – it’s like most people around you – a different exterior to give a false sense of well being, alluring you and then pulling you down in its murky depths. The angry sea is the reality – there’s no temptation….only those who can float on its surface can really belong.

Then one day through my bedroom window, the monsoon showed me the actual reality that is our society. I saw couple come out of their house in the rain. They were under one umbrella and trying to stop an auto. The woman clad in a sari was holding the umbrella making sure that the husband (am assuming) didn’t get wet. She was only three-fourth inside while the man was completely under cover with this shirt sleeves and pants rolled up. An auto stopped. The man got in first followed by the woman. I kept wondering – shouldn’t all this be the other way around?

But now the green hills, the wet roads and the misty climes beckon. That would actually be the real monsoon experience.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hmmm.....

My friend R’s philosophies - contd:

There are some things money can buy; others things are obviously not worth it.

On hindsight, if yesterday is always better than today, are we then headed for a grand catastrophe?

Seen, Read or Heard somewhere:

Life – Dream = Job

There is pleasure sure...
In being mad, which none but madmen know.

Just remember. If this world didn’t suck, we would have all fallen off by now.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Breaks:

I don’t look forward to the future. I am comfortable with the present. But it’s the past that makes me stay grounded. A quick break back to Delhi helped me reign in the directionless thoughts and clear a few cobwebs from my mind. It’s that time of the year when the brilliant orange gulmohars starts fading and the sunny yellow alamtas brighten up the roads. The heat during the day was stifling but the nights and morning saw a spate of thundershowers. A few easy hours spend with friends at places where I had left a thousand memories; a quick shopping trip for friends back here in this city and a couple of days spend with my sister and parents…..all simply took away the fatigue that was slowly seeping in.

I hate the fact though, that it started pouring in the city just a few hours after I left it.
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I went with D and a few city-sleekers and first timers for a moonlight beach hike. We started the walk at the dead of the night through a completely empty stretch of beach, tree-lined road and a quaint Portuguese style village. The air was muggy with just a whiff of breeze here and there. But the almost full moon that shone on the water was utterly surreal and illusionary.

When we reached our camping point after 4 hours, everybody in the team immediately went off sleep. I and D went behind some rocks to change and when we came out, we saw the most spectacular sight ever. The silver moon had now turned golden and huge as it lay very low on the horizon. It blinded us with its light and I felt as if I was in a strange planet in a far away galaxy. I looked at the sleeping figures on the beach and wondered how anybody could go off to sleep on such a beautiful night. I stayed awake looking at the stars, the dark clouds rolling in and out, the sky lightening and the stars fading, the lone villager going past in his bullock cart….feeling a strange sense of awe, loneliness, contentment and detachment all jumbled together.

When the first rays of the sun hit the hill behind us, I drifted off to an easy sleep.
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This is going to be my first monsoon in this city. I am dreading the four months of no sun shine, fungus, water clogging and stinking taxis. But I am waiting eagerly for those four months of rain, brilliantly green hillsides, wet roads leading to stormy sea sides, sitting by the worli sea-face when the first dark clouds roll in, feel the sea spray on your face when it dashes against the wall at marine drive while getting drenched in the rain.

This will be my first real, actual Indian monsoon. And I am waiting.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mumbai Chronicles: Contd.

It’s almost nine months now….and I’m finally warming up to Bombay and living on my own. Random people still ask me the same question….which is better, Delhi or Bombay….and I still give them a clich├ęd answer about traffic and infrastructure and people and all that blah.

Over the months, my reactions to this city have mellowed. I have stopped comparing everything to what it’s like in Delhi. The apartment which seemed tiny when I shifted here now seems luxurious in comparison to flats in the suburbs. I still crib about traffic but now I have found many lanes and by-lanes leading away from the traffic. I know where to go in order to avoid rigged autos or taxis. I know the taxi chart by heart. I can even give directions to a Bombay-wallah. I know shops which sell original perfume at half the price, salons which gives fantastic head massages, cute lingerie stores, melt-in-the-mouth home made ice-cream parlours, markets for buying good yet cheap curtains and bedcovers, yummy muslim food joints. Despite what other people say, I still like Haji ali’s strawberry and cream than the Bachelors’. I know how much time it takes to reach Town at 5 and at 7 in the evening. I have learnt to take a taxi or auto ride home at 1 in the night without sitting on the edge of the seat all the way. I like watching canoodling couples in the back seat of the taxis. I have realized that Bombay gives you lot of personal space while Delhi gives you only physical space. I like the vastness of the sea and the fact that I can sit alone for hours without being bothered. I have found that this city is full of evasive melodious koyals. But mostly I like the attitude of the guys here….who unlike Delhites will not think that you are looking for sex if you touch them when you speak.

But what I yearn for the most is the closeness to the Himalayas. I have stepped out of the city a few times but nowhere have I got the high of the clean fresh air of the mountains. I love the fact that I know the mountains like my own backyard and that most Bombay-wallahs don’t. Somehow I feel that they are immensely unlucky that they have never known the mountains. How else can I explain what it feels like to take a bus in the night and wake up to a crystal clear sky and pine scented air; what it feels like when the cold mountain wind tousles your hair and your skin begs to feel the warm glow of the sun? To look at the millions of stars in the cold night sky and feel the warmth of the silence around you. To go on those long walk with friends without feeling the need to speak or those crazy laughter sessions over a nightcap, that echoes throughout the little town. How can I explain that standing there facing the snow-peaks, you feel alive like you have never felt in the city; that it’s the only place where you can be you.

Delhi will always remain one-up for me in this regard. Bombay still has a long way to go. One day when it makes me pine for the freedom of the sea….then I’ll completely belong.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Colour of my Love:

I had just finished my 12th Boards and had two months of pure freedom before the results catapulted life into an unknown territory. My father had been posted at the then summer capital and home-town for a year; so my mom and I packed our bags and left my childhood town for good to join him there.

The quarter that my father had got was almost at the outskirts of the town and very few families lived around it. The house overlooked a temple atop a hill in the distance and the roads were broad, lined with trees and empty even during the day. We had a massive kitchen garden with snakes and other crawling creatures living among bushes and a huge lawn with a well tended garden in the front. My father chose the flowers and maintained the garden himself. He had created this big area on the left for a rose garden and had handpicked rose plants from nurseries across the town. He gave me this patch to look after as my job for the summer.

I loved tending to the plants. I used to spend hours in the morning and evening watering, de-weeding, de-bugging, pruning and adding manure to these plants. All of the plants bloomed – in amazing variety – red, pink, yellow, double shades, king sized, creepers, tiny white ones and wild bunches. Except one. I waited for this plant to flower. A week passed yet nothing happened. I was dying to see the colour of this particular one. My father said it’s probably a barren one and wouldn’t flower. He wanted to pluck it out but I just couldn’t let him do that. I started to whisper to the plant, urging it to grow and flower….days passed and then it became my best buddy…I used to tell it everything, what happened in the day, my hopes, my fears of shifting to a new city. Then almost two weeks before the Board results, I detected a tiny bud.

The bud took up most of my time – I was paranoid that it would die. And then the Board results were announced. In the ensuing mayhem and a depressingly average score, I forgot all about it. Just a day before we were to board the trains and head northwards towards a very uncertain future, I dashed to see the rose plant. And what I saw simply took my breath away – one single rose of the loveliest purple shade with an almost bluish hue to it. If I didn’t know that blue roses don’t grow naturally, I would have called it a blue rose!

It stood out amongst a plethora of colours, as if to tell me not to lose hope – that patience and labor of love would throw up miraculous results like this always. I felt alive and happy when we took the train out of my beautiful home-town and childhood life forever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Philosophies:

I have come to realize just how cathartic cooking can be. When your mind is fucked up and you cannot make any sense out of life, when friends lovingly try to comfort you but don’t exactly understand you...then the best thing to do is cook. The chopping, cleaning, grinding seems to take away all the anger, the anguish and the pain. By the time you finish making that last chapatti, you realize that you are singing along with the music playing on your deck….unmindful of the world.
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There was a time when nothing I cooked ever came out right. My sister and mom used to poke fun at me whenever I wanted to cook dinner….telling me to start in the morning so that I could finish by dinnertime. Now I am amazed at how fast I can cook – a full course meal in one and a half hours. And to top it all my flatmate often tells me that ‘it tastes amazing’. My mom still refuses to believe me.

I think the real taste of cooking comes out when you cook for others. That’s why Mom’s cooking is always the best.
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My friend R’s little philosophies…….

………. “Life is good when you don’t have anything. The real fun is in the wanting and waiting. What’s the fun in having everything?”

………. “Life is like a pattern in the sand….just when you think you’ve figured out what it is….the wave washes it away and creates a fresh pattern.”
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Graffiti: Eat healthy and Die anyways!

Behind an auto: Dosti pakki, kharcha apna apna

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Moments:

I’ve always wanted to cycle down an empty road with the mountains in the distance and along a rolling meadow…perhaps picking wild flowers on the way. When I went with J and a group of fellow enthusiast to cycle in the interiors of villages near Malshej Ghat, I realized that reality was not that easy or romantic. The gently undulating road passing through stretches of yellowed field with the hills in the distant was straight out of my dream. But covering even a stretch of 5kms on a geared-cycle was too much for me. My head spun like a top and my knees buckled. With age and no exercise, some dreams should be left at that…..a dream.

The next day however, I managed to salvage my crushed dream and rode 15kms downhill on the fantastic stretch of Malshej Ghat. The clouds kept rolling in and out and the wind was high…tearing through my hair as I reached a speed of 45km per hour zipping around bends.

I’m waiting for the rains to come and to go there again. Its beautiful at this time….I can only imagine just how breathtaking it would be when it pours and washes everything clean.

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The yellowed leaves fluttered down from the tree outside my window. The sun was golden and a lazy breeze carried them far away. I suffered again a bout of nostalgia, remembering my childhood days. Wonder if ever life will give me another chance to be as carefree as I was some three decades ago.

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Why doesn’t it feel weird to actually dream of my own death?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Winter Romance:

I love it when the days are bright and sparklingly sunny; the sky a perfect blue with not a single puff of cloud. And the wind so freezing that it opens every nerve cell in your body. The Earth seems happier, the people brighter, thousands of stars light up the night sky and the moon's light is razor sharp. There’s a strange hope in every heart and a twinkle in every eye… Happiness takes on a different meaning then and you just have to spread your arms wide open and feel the beauty that is life.

I love it when the days are dark, cloudy and wet; when the nights get masked by the silently swirling fog…as if one is traveling through a fairy land. Two sweaters, one overcoat, woolen socks and even a muffler don't dispel the cold one bit. That one cup of hot coffee at a friend's place on a day like that, secures the bond more firmly than hundred cups of coffee on any other day. And coming back home shivering to your family, to be tucked under a blanket with hot chicken soup… the conversations can be nothing other than warm.

My favourite season - Winter. Maybe the universe knew how badly I would miss it this time and gave Mumbai one of its coldest winters and me a lot more hope.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

God and I:

The driver of the taxi was an elderly Muslim. I wanted to ask him what he thought of Tata’s Nano but somehow the conversation digressed to religion. He told me of an instance where God saved him from certain death when he was caught by a rioting mob. His faith in his God was unbroken.

His faith reminded me of an incident that happened almost a decade ago. I did not have a car or a mobile phone back then. I had missed the last of the chartered bus to go back home and I decided to take an auto. Someway down, the auto-wallah started acting funny and I was beginning to get scared. There are two routes to home…one which everybody takes and the other was the mostly deserted outer ring road. On this road, there’s a cut which connects to the other busy road. If however you miss this cut, then it’s a very long way through dark empty stretches till home. When the auto took the Ring road I thought that he would take the cut. He however did not take the cut and kept on driving straight…a route which nobody takes. I was beside myself with fear and shouted at him to stop at a bus-stand. It was 8.30 at night and not a single soul at the bus-stand and the autowallah kept insisting on taking me home. I was planning to jump on to the next bus that came but that too was nowhere in sight. Suddenly out the blue a cycle-rickshaw wallah came and asked what was going on. He was an old man – maybe 50 but looked older – and had only one eye. I told him where I wanted to go and he immediately understood. He firmly told the autowallah to take me back and from the right route. The autowallah did not utter a word and meekly agreed. I sat at the edge of the seat till the time I reached home. It was only when I was safely home that something struck me as strange. In Delhi, cycle-rickshaws are allowed only in some areas and never ever on either the Ring roads. So how did that rickshaw get there in the first place and at such an odd hour? Moreover, the rickshaw-wallah was frail and the autowallah burly…if he had decided to hit him; he would have died on the spot. Yet the auto-wallah never uttered a word.

My relationship with God has been in the least turbulent. As a kid I believed in Him earnestly. I used to ask him for small favours like ‘please let my parents buy me some more Amar Chitra Kathas’ and which got granted. Once I asked him for something and I didn’t get it….that day my childish faith was broken. For a long time after that I remained an atheist. During my college years I had started questioning everything about life and death and slowly my faith returned; though I never asked anything from Him for myself. I knew that I would get when my turn came. Almost a year back however I asked him for something out of turn….I really prayed. He took me high up, made me believe that I had everything I had asked for and then just pushed me down. I almost heard Him laugh when I fell and bled. I was very angry and I hated Him for sometime. But I still have my faith in Him….because I know that there is a reason. I just have to wait for Him to tell me one day…why He did what He did.

He always does.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Death of a notion:

Not too long back in the past, there were a group of people called ‘Explorer’. Now you don’t find any. Only ‘Internet Explorer’. Does that mean that there are no more new things to find, no more unheard places to explore?

Has the earth been finally owned?

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Something broke within me the moment I read about the Juhu New Year incident. I had felt suffocated in Delhi and hence came to this city – for a bit more freedom. This incident seems just the starting point of a spiraling down of the notion. If one does it, everybody else will….its just a matter of time. Evil propagates faster. What scares me here more than anything ever did back in Delhi, is the mob culture which exist just under the surface of the city.

I took an auto home at 1130 last night from Bandra. I kept thinking – what if somebody decides to follow me or just pass comments and everybody else feels like doing the same. Nothing will ever stop them. What is worse is that there will be no scope of escape.

So where will women go when the last bastion of their freedom falls?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

High and higher!

Hone hone de nasha, khone khone ko hain kya
Ek saas mein pee ja, zaara zindagi chadha

Hai yeh toh ek jashan, tu thirakne de kadam
Abhi saanson mein hai dam, abhi chalne de sitam


Happy New Year, Folks!