Sunday, June 28, 2009

The First Rain

It is pouring heavily, the first rain. The smell from parched earth and I feel like eating it. Then I smile, to myself and say silently “that’s like a kid” and smile again, more at the thought of my childhood than the idea of eating earth. I wait under the shed and look in to the darkness around and extend my hand to feel the invisible rain through my skin. I feel the droplets hitting me at my palm and arm. They are cold and giving a pleasing sensation to my skin. I bring my hand back close to my eyes and in the intermittent lightening flashes see the tiny sparkles on my palm and arm. My hairs are raised, and it’s not due to cold. It’s the sensation of drops on my skin which has caused them to rise. Another lightening flash and I look at these hairs again.

Black, short, upright.

I remember when I was a child they used to be golden in colour, now they have turned black.

Just like my heart.

From golden to black, from gold to coal, and I hardly noticed it. That’s like most of us.

The wind has started blowing and I feel a cold gush on my face. I love it. I feel like running into the open, to feel the heaven pouring from above and fresh oxygen going into my nostrils with a rush. I used to do it when I was a naughty kid. I would steal myself from my parent’s eyes, have a gala time splashing in rain and would come back home completely drenched to be thrashed by them. They thought I would fall ill which I never did. Truly speaking I did sometimes, but then I fell ill sometimes even without getting soaked.

Haan, I come back from the nostalgia where I had been diverted just now and try to remember what I was thinking. Yes, I was feeling like having a splash in the rain. I think again. I want to go, but something is holding me, I don’t know. There is no one to thrash me when I come back soaked, but still I am unable to take the step forward, towards the open. There are others who are also in the shade, waiting for the rain to be over. I think again and decide to wait like them. Then, to give more support to my decision, my mind argues that I will fall ill if I get drenched in rain. My heart accepts the argument and I relax and wait leisurely for the rain to end.

One more lightening flash, this one of very large intensity and duration, and I can see the branches of trees dancing to the tune of thunder, the tiny rain drops making waves in the puddles, the green grasses bowed under the weight of water. Despite the continuous dripping sound and the intermittent thunder bolts it feels so calm, so serene.

Suddenly I feel an urge inside me; I can’t wait in this shade anymore. I need to enjoy the first rain, I need to feel the elements of life dripping over me, soaking my body and giving some of the simplest joys of the world.

On an impulse I take the plunge and start walking out of the shade. I feel the rain coming from the front, hitting my head and face with a force, piercing deep into my skin. I contract my eyes in order to avoid the water getting into them, extend my hands and keep walking. I keep walking for a while, lost in myself, thinking about many things but unable to recall any of it. I manoeuvre my way, avoiding any of the puddles on the road walking slowly, whistling in a low volume and wiping the rain from my face. It is a little cold and I feel a very faint shivering in spine. I stop my whistling and start humming old romantic songs. Although it doesn’t stop my shiver, it definitely helps. I see a big puddle and I run around it, I jump in it, splashing the just dropped water, making a big whirlpool. It is joyous experience and I like it.

I reach my home, dry my hairs from a towel, change the wet clothes and retire to the bed. While dozing off, I think about the first rain. It’s just like love. We give different reasons to keep ourselves away from it and thereby deny that indescribable joy which we could get. I ponder more over it, re-read whatever I have written replacing the rain with love and find a very striking similarity.

Yes, this rain truly taught me that Life was what that occurred to us when we were busy planning for it. We were busy concerned about planning for the life at the time when all we needed to do was take a plunge and feel these simple joys of life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Terror Attacks and Spirit of the Nation

Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and now back to Amchi Mumbai. I don’t know when this terror is going to stop. The sorry state of affairs in the country is taking its toll, not only in the form of thousands of lives which we are losing every year but also in the form of fear which is creeping deep inside us.  And to top all, it has exposed the shameless greed of various stakeholders of the nation.

Our country has become a pimpless brothel where anyone can walk in at any time, spurt some shots and then walk away as per their wish.

The home minister, to fight back the serious allegation about his incapability in handling the home affairs, announces in the public before the national media about the minute details of the program of dispatch of NSG team from Delhi which is aired live by our breaking news obsessed media so that the terrorists holed up in Mumbai may get the information to plan their move. The channels beaming live telecast of commandos being air dropped, which is being seen by the terrorists in the Nariman House. I am sure they must have laughed loudly on our country and the way it is functioning.

For politicians it is more important to prove (that too falsely) that they are not cleaning the Italian toilets in Janpath, even if it means putting the lives of few more commandos at stake.  For news channels it is more important to give the ‘first news’ or ‘breaking news’ or blah blah news even if it means there would be no one left to hear those shit.

What more? After ‘performing’ their duties, our journos and politicians will dig out 3-4 words like resilience, tenacity, spirit from dictionary and then they will be overused till a new terror attack occurs, a new place is destroyed, few more men have died and a new ‘spirit’ comes to limelight. They don’t know that we don’t have any spirit left. it is just we have to choose between certainty and probability, livelihood and bomb blasts which is not a choice at all and that is why we are forced to display this spirit.

For sure we are heading in a dark tunnel that too at high speed, just hope that there is no dead end in it. 

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Greatest Irony of Life

Iris is over and classes are going to start, there will be n number of quizzes starting from tomorrow and I am in no mood to study. God has given me a, what I call, gold class mood. It always behaves opposite to requirement. And so here I was, trying to write a poem (my 1st attempt) when what I really needed to do was immerse myself into the world of finance and quant. thankfully my maiden attempt failed, and so you are spared the task of reading some piece of garbage dump, which I was going to call poem.

You are spared the poem, but not the contents, which I am going to write in the form of prose anyway. It is all about the great equation between dream and reality. Call it the dreamy reality or real dream, or anything else. It is like a gentle brush with the soft innocence of romance which disappears after a head on collision with reality so hard and harsh. A beautiful glassy world, you are so pleased to live in, breaking down another moment in to pieces of shards. The glass once so fragile and lovely to look at, now sharp enough to make you bleed.

When it comes to pure dreams you don’t stop to collect those sharp pieces, to save as a souvenir. The moment one world collapses there is another one, ready to move in, just like a rented apartment, you move in and move out, without much sorrow or joy. This is the beauty of dream; this is the baseness of dream.

Pure reality, by definition, is just opposite of what a dream is. Your heart is the garbage dump, which collects all the broken pieces, bleeding itself in the process and dropping some salty drops in response.

I don’t know which one is better. But yes one thing I am sure of. What if all the dreams come true in reality? Won’t it be playing two roles for the same part? Trying to forget something by keeping a memorabilia of it. 

Doesn’t it sound ironical? 

Yes it is. But so is our life. Ironical by basic definition.

Born to be dead. 

The greatest irony of life- Life itself.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Five Alphabets of Life

I am really bored up. The excitement which was there when I entered this B-School has lost its shine in the unending effort to save myself from a D. This is what our life has become; oscillating between the five alphabets. A, B, C, D, F- the five elements of life and death at an IIM. Out of these F is the deadliest, an instant poison, the Cyanide, the one you should always avoid. D is like a Hindu god, who forgives you three times, but if you commit the same mistake for the fourth time, you are out. Dead.

The irony is it’s the letter D which always maintains a close relationship with me. And why not D? After all it’s the letter which starts my name, and also my home town and not to mention the name of all the schools I studied at. Those were pleasant days and so were those Ds. But this is the untouchable D, the untouchable D & F of IIM, from which you have to keep a safe distance always, just like an explosive laden lorry on highway.

First term was kool. I came here with minimum expectation, just to pass in every subject and miraculously I managed to do that (MWC grades are still to come). I enjoyed the campus, the classes, the nocturnal routine, all of which I had left at ISM two years ago. It was very exciting to discover back those treasures in an entirely different place with entirely different people (with the exception of Nitin). I relished those treasures and am relishing them. The maggi at night canteen, the BC on LAN, the biking at the curvaceous roads of planet-I, the Saturday evenings at TI, the attention of girls on orkut, gmail, Indore city or even in the train while going back home. I enjoyed these things, every moment of it.

This is how life is here, exciting at some time, boring to the hilt at some another time. There are some really good lectures but the very next can be so soporific that you can’t help but sleep (there by losing your CP grades). Though there is an enforced ‘dryness’, there are wet spots which oozes out the ‘spirit’ of IIM. You can smell it on Saturday nights while passing through Manand’s or Vinay’s wing. That is the life at planet-I, a microcosm of the life outside, composed of five elements, evenly balanced against each other. Balanced, because every Mr. Green Eyes is counter-balanced by a friend like Mittal Saab, every dull fuddu is outshined by ‘ever sparkling’ Sharmaji. Yes I know that everybody is not fortunate enough to get neighbours like I have got, but again here is a balance. Every unfortunate soul having those Mr.Green Eyes type neighbours is counterbalanced by fortunate fella like me. 

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

From Rumi

A lover knows only humility,
he has no choice.
He steals into your alley at night,
he has no choice.
He longs to kiss every lock of your hair, don't fret,
he has no choice.
In his frenzied love for you,
he longs to break the chains of his imprisonment...
He has no choice.
- Rumi

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Holi Trip

My train is at 2:30 in the morning and I am in no mood to catch it. My both sisters insist that I should take the train, as leaving it will mean waste of money; after all it was booked on tatkal sewa for which there is no refund. My Jijus say it’s up to me to decide. They want me to spend some more hours with them; after all it was some sort of family reunion, with my younger Didi and Jiju coming from Bilaspur and me from Delhi to my older didi’s place at Raipur. Finally I give my verdict- I am not going to catch that goddamn train and so now we have a full night and then a full day to spend with each other. There is a seemingly difficult task of getting a confirmed seat in the next train which is at 4:00 in the evening, but I know I can manage it. I make 2-3 phone calls and it is done.

‘No need to worry. This is not at all a problem. Just buy a waiting ticket tomorrow morning and give the PNR number. That is all you need to do’.

This is how things work in our country. If you know some babu in Rail Bhawan, be assured of confirmed tickets for the lifetime.

Long live the Indian bureaucracy and long live the Indian telecom revolution. My Jijus are impressed. ‘So you know few IASs in Delhi?’ I just give a vague smile in reply and the conversation is lost here. we have a good time for the rest of night and day and the time of departure of the next train has come which I can’t dare to miss; even if I dare to miss it, my dad will shoot a bullet from Dumka killing me at once.

So I pack my small bag with my two cloths and say good bye to everybody who are not going to station. Outside it’s drizzling a bit and I offer to drive the bike which is instantly rejected keeping in mind my speed and rashness. So I ride as pillion enjoying the somber mood of Chhattisgarh weather which matches mine currently.

The train is behind schedule as has been the case with me for ever and we have to wait for some time at the platform. The platform is clean and un-crowded unlike the platforms at all the Delhi stations. There is something which reminds me of Dhanbad Jn but I am not able to find out what it is.

The train comes after some time and I go to check the reservation chart, almost by compulsion. It’s not there and I am disappointed. It has become almost like a routine during my train journeys to check for all the Fs in my bogey in the reservation chart. Not finding an F of suitable age is disappointing but not finding the reservation chart is highly disheartening. It has stolen few minutes of cheap thrill out of my life.

The signal turns yellow and the train starts, just like me, behind schedule. I realize that I had been always behind schedule. It’s not like I have not run at all. But it has been more of running in loops, pausing for breath, wondering over some dark shadows in a moonlit night.

I stand on the foot board at the door. Incidentally it is a moonlit night today, the train is sliding very slowly on its track and the country is looking very serene, very calm very relaxed and very bright. I see a silhouette leaning against the door opposite and I feel a sudden jolt. Dark shadows from past pounce on me, threatening to tear me apart.

You can avoid your future but it is the past from which you can’t escape unhurt.

And here am I struggling on my journey to the future, fighting the assaults of memories I can’t avoid.

It is the most enjoyable moments of life which haunts you the most in retrospect.

They had been a sweet dream come true at some point of time but now they are the worst nightmares you have. There was a time when you wished that train journey to never end and now you get frightened by the same trains as if they are being haunted by some evil spirits. This is how it is- carrying the burden of old memories on the shoulders, getting crushed under its heavy weights.

The stoic in me wakes from the brief slumber. Err it was not a slumber, can call it a nap, so now the stoic wakes up from a brief nap. What a euphemism we use when we mean a stoic. Stoic is nothing but a heartless cold blooded bastard, and incidentally I am one. In fact I am the most heartless cold blooded bastard in the world (Koushik claims to be the second in line :))

I walk back to my berth to be surprised to see a girl in front of my berth. She is about my age, a little fat, just a little, but her face is cute. I start a conversation with her, just some casual chat for some time. There are two kids also in the nearby berths and we ask them to join in. we play some children’s games like ‘Raja Mantri Chor Sipahi’, ‘Chidia udd’, ‘dash kosh single bulbul’. It was so much fun that we laughed all the way. After few hours train stopped at Nagpur and the girl takes her leave and get down. I go up and sleep for the night. And here comes the real masala of the journey.

In the morning I find that one of the families which were traveling in my compartment while going to Raipur is returning in this train itself. A small family of four- Hum do, humare do. The man is bored up and we have some good conversation. He asks for my no. so that we meet over a mug of beer some time. I am not interested in friendship with strangers, but nevertheless I oblige, afterall what's the harm in giving your number. We have some more chat and I will quote the most interesting part of it in hindi, so that its meaning remain intact:

‘Aap Noida mein rahte hai, wahan to bahut ladkiya hai’


‘fir to ghumne phirne ka poora jugaad hoga’ he seems to be certain about it.

‘bhaiya sab kuch ka jugaad hai’ I reply, boasting the things.

‘sab kuch ka!!' he picked only this part, with a dirty grin.'wah yaar, aapne to poora intjaam kar rakha hai. Aap to rehte bhi akele ho, isiliye koi problem nahi hoti hogi’ he tells in a way as if I have a hen which gives me a golden egg daily.

‘haan koi problem nahi hai mere yahan’ I start smiling on my lies, but seems he doesn’t understand it. He thinks that I am being shy.

‘aap to sharmane lage.’

I just smile at this again and he continues ‘makan malik kuch nahi bolta?’

‘makan malik nahi rahta is ghar mein’ I can defend my lies quite well. I never knew this about me.

‘arrey wah, fir to chandi hai aapki. Peechle janam mein jaroor kuch achha kiya hoga aapne ki dilli mein aisa ghar mila’ he says, as if he envies me.

‘yaar jugaad to mere pass bhi hai, lekin jagah nahi hai’ he continues, but this time in a sorry state of mind and then ‘aisa karta hoon, main apni girlfriend ko le ke aapke yahan hi aa jata hoon, aapko koi problem to nahi hogi?’

ohh god. What is this? I was completely shocked.

He seemd to read something on my face, but again wrongly.

‘Don’t worry. Main mil baant ke hi khata hoon. Aapko bhi milega, main girl friend se baat kar loonga’ he said shamelessly.

‘lekin aapke to biwi bachhe hai…’ I just trailed off. And what a shocking reply I got.

‘yahi to problem hai. Nahi to main aapke yahan aane ka thode na bolta’ he said, genuinely upset.

I don’t say anything, but feel a very strange kind of rage. I don’t know what to say out of it, except that Sigmund Freud seems very true in his study that men are inherently polygamous by nature. Some time has passed like this, doing nothing, thinking randomly and it is a tremendous relief to see the train jolting to halt at Nizamuddin station. It feels like I have been freed from a fourth degree torture in police barrack. I pick my bag and literally run. While going out, I can hear his voice promising to call me on Sunday.

PS1: he called me on Sunday and this time I told him very ‘politely’ that my flat was not a brothel and there are plenty of cheap rooms available in Paharganj and so he should excuse me.

PS2: don’t read much into the polygamous thing. I am unmarried and so can’t tell you for sure how correct Freud was on this theory.

Monday, March 03, 2008

In a warm cocoon

The room was dark and warm. The heater, which had been heating the room continuously for more than two hours, had made it warm. A shaft of mild light from a street lamp, after filtering through mango leaves and dark green curtains, was falling on her face, illuminating those big beautiful eyes. Beside her Ashok was lying on the bed, just few centimetres away, holding her hand in his and gazing into her hallowed face. Her lips were slightly parted which though a little thick looked very cute. The room, like her face, looked calm.

Outside this cocoon, it was bitterly cold. The street lamps were in full glory, trying to pierce into the armour of fog, but in vein. There was a very slight breeze, which made the atmosphere a little colder, but none the less more romantic.

Cocoon, however, was oblivious of its surrounding, just like an isolated system in chemical thermodynamics. Its two inhabitants could feel each others’ exhaled air on their face, which felt warm, and sometimes gave a tingle on nose. It was a pleasure to hold her tightly. No, it wasn’t lust, for there was no pleasure in the groins. But it was something very hard to describe, like the taste of water on your parched throat- though tasteless but tasty.

There had been many nights which passed like this in that warm cocoon, with Ashok stretched on the bed beside Piyali, holding his hand around her shoulder looking deep into her eyes while telling the new story he had written. There was an enchanting world inside her eyes where he got lost often only to find himself brought out of it by her. Today he had to remain extra careful. He could not afford to get himself lost. After all he had some duties to perform. The duty of a bread winner to supply the monthly ration after his father got disabled, the duty of a brother to earn for the dowry of his sisters. He had already wasted years writing those silly stories in which no publisher was interested. Now he could not afford to waste anything else.

‘Has something struck you? You looking so dumbstruck?’ she sounded a little anxious.

‘Just got struck by your dazzling beauty ma’am, I can’t describe how beautiful you are looking today’ replied Ashok, in a manner it seemed as if he was rehearsing a romantic classic. The words had their effect which showed in the form of a pink blush on her face making her look more innocent. ‘I know why you are praising me today’ she said, trying to hide those blushes and look sterner. ‘But don’t think that I will get fooled. No entry into my room if you don’t have a story to tell. Go away right now if you don’t have anything to tell.’

‘See I don’t have a story today. I will tell you two stories some other day. Put one story on my credit account. Charge some interest on it if you wish so’ pleaded Ashok.

‘No credit, only cash’ came the reply in a manner of a child playing the role of a bania in a play.

‘What?? You charge money? And all these years I had been thinking of you as a respectful girl’ mocked Ashok with a mischievous smile on face.

‘Shut up’ she shouted, with a light giggle on her lips and hit him lovingly on cheeks with her both hands. He in turn held both her hands, kissed them lightly and then in an artificially serious tone said ‘I am going to Middle East, will earn a lot of money there and like sheikhs there I will also have a big harem of my own having beautiful Arab women’

‘If you want me to envy you for it then my dear Ashu you are wrong.’

‘No, I just thought you will envy those beautiful Arab women’ giggled Ashok, looking at her intently. Her brows were slightly arched but at the same time her mouth broadened a little giving on her face a look of mild pleasing frown. The kind of look people generate when hearing a good joke being targeted on them. She mumbled something but stopped, but Ashok was not in mood to stop. ‘But don’t worry, I think I will miss you’ he continued ‘Sometimes’ he added after some moments with even broader giggle.

By this time Piyali was completely enraged; her female vanity hurt. ‘What do you think? I can have many storytellers, like you, employed for me round the clock for their service. You go to hell or your harem in Saudi Arabia, I don’t care.’ She started blabbering. The more she saw the expression of mockery on his face the more her rage rose. ‘And don’t dare to miss me. I was never yours. I have not cancelled the ticket my dad has sent me for my engagement with Sushanth. I know he is better than you, not at all as mean as you’

Hearing the name of Sushanth the mockery on his face vanished which eased the frown on Piyali’s face. She relaxed a little, now it was his turn to settle the score. ‘You know, he has a big bungalow in Delhi where we will enjoy a very happy life after marriage. I will have lots of children, can’t imagine how much fun it will be.’ She was relishing the fun now. Ashok’s face looked blank now and he seemed to be lost somewhere.

‘What happened, are you feeling jealous of Sushanth?’

Ashok forced a smile on his face and said that of course he was jealous of anybody getting a wife as nice as her. Piyali was again at her usual cheerful self. ‘So do you think that I can make a nice wife?’ she inquired with the innocence of a child. ‘Haan baba, off course you will be the best wife anyone can have’ replied Ashok with a little weariness, but it pleased Piyali.

‘Don’t worry; I am not going to marry Sushanth. You are my kuchu kuchu man’ she started playing with his nose, pressing it and then rotating the tip in all possible direction.

‘Piyu, has all the issues settled between your dad and mom? You know that you can’t take any big step at this point, else it will hurt both of them badly’ Ashok sounded very worried. ‘In what an intricate web we have got ourselves entangled. There are some duties to be fulfilled, then your love life need to be taken care of. And then, as if these were not complex enough, people generated another nasty thing called Divorce’ said Ashok, the philosopher, to which Piyali cut him short and said ‘can’t you novelists stop sermonizing others. How many times I have said that things are going to improve, and once all the issues between my mom and dad are settled we will marry. I know that it will take some time, but it will be settled one day. But why will you bother about my point?’

‘I even doubt that whether you love me’ she continued with a hint of tear in her voice.

‘I love you Piyu’ replied Ashok, almost pleadingly.

‘How much?’ was the next question to which he got up on the bed, stretched his hands perpendicular to his body and said ‘this much’ and then immediately fell over her, with hands still in stretched position. She squirmed loudly and then started to tingle him. He started giggling to which she also giggled. They laughed like children till they got tired.

‘I love you’ she whispered very softly in his ears when she started feeling sleepy.

‘I love you too, and will miss you always’ he replied


‘Nothing dear. Goodnight’


Piyali slept for what seemed like an eternity. After getting up when she didn’t find Ashok, she fell back to sleep again. She got up again and seeing Ashok still missing she got out of bed looking a little worried. The door was unlatched from the inside and there was a white sheet of paper on the table, with something scribbled on it in very dirty handwriting. Obviously it was Ashok’s. She picked it up and started reading.

Dear Piyu,

I know how you will be feeling after reading this letter. You know that I never believe in explaining myself to you, you are a part of me and so must be knowing it quiet well that why I did it. The moment you will be reading this letter, I will be on a flight to Kuwait so there is no point stopping me. I must have told you about a friend Sujeet who has been working in Kuwait. Sujeet has got a job for me there. It will take around 5 years of work in the oilfields of Kuwait to get enough money for me to fulfil the responsibilities I had been avoiding till now and makeup for the time I have wasted in trying to publish my silly stories. I know you love these stories so much and that’s why I have kept all the manuscript in your cupboard. You had been criticising my lousy handwriting forever so initially I thought to have computer typed prints of it, but then decided against it. My handwriting will remind you of my lousy face and I know that from now onwards you are going to love it.

Now the big question which must be in your mind- I am fleeing in the dead of the night because I don’t want you to see me doing this. I didn’t tell you tonight about all these because you would have never liked it. Your cries would have made things unbearable for me which I wanted to avoid. I wanted to imprint a beautiful smiling picture of yours in my mind which would sooth my mind whenever I remember you. A picture with lots of giggling, full of innocence mixed with little rage. I got it today. Thank you for this.

Call me a coward for not having the courage to part with you face to face, call me selfish for not being there with you to wipe the tear drops from your beautiful eyes but please never doubt my love. There are people who are better than me in all the qualities but you will never get a person who can love you more than I can.

Will be missing you badly


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