Monday, December 24, 2012

Excited yet Pained

I wasn’t just happy, I was excited.
Excited to see my past. 
Excited to meet people I hadn’t met in years. 

I wasn’t just delighted. I felt ecstasy.
Ecstatic about nostalgia
Ecstatic about today.

It wasn’t just joy. It was thrill
Thrilled to see old faces with new smiles
Thrilled to meet new people with old stories.

I wasn’t just in bliss, I felt blessed
Blessed to have been there; to have been sent there.
Blessed to experience these emotions.

I wasn’t just sad, I was pained
The lingering pain of waiting another year to meet again
The static pain of not meeting some people, ever again.

 - 22nd December 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trying to rhyme

I imagine you 
and I think of a poem
I think of words for you
Real words describing a fantasy
How ironic can it be? 

Am far from someone I feel so close to
Am close to a distant painful feeling of loneliness and yet I dream
I see poppies and lilies
I see the sun and the rainbow
It's the rain I never get to experience..........

I get a dry throat thinking of you
I am not thirsty, though
Not any more............

I have seen the river
I live in a desert now
A desert so vast, so open and so clean
I can clearly see all around
I have no company.............

Am not expecting anyone either
Its just me and my imagination
Its you, in my imagination..........

You bid good bye for real
My poems lost their rhyme.

27th November 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ask me why am I happy?

Am happy as I know what keeps me happy; as I know what happiness to me is.
I am aware of my limits of happiness; my contentment is my fervour to be happy

I don’t go looking for happiness, and hence I don’t fear loosing it
Some days when I cant seem to find a reason to happy, am not upset
As I cant find a reason to be unhappy either

I don’t race against time, thought or feelings, as I know happiness has its pace
I have found that happiness finds time, place and reason. But only if you are ready to invite it

I am happy as I can think; and question myself
I am happy as I can ask myself; of my desires, my longing
I am happy as I can control. I am happy as I know I can still be happy, without many things.

I don’t measure happiness. I never compare happiness.
I hear as much I have to; I speak only when asked.

I get happy seeing others happy.
Am happy as I am happy being this way.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Alone, but not lonely

Though we haven’t spoken much about it
But enough has happened to prove what’s between us
Neither of us has acknowledged it yet
But we don’t deny the feeling brewing within 

It isn’t that our paths have not crossed
Yes, we have avoided each other for long
Day light does make it easy to keep my eyes wide open
I still dream of the one last meeting, every night

Its been a while I have been upset with someone
Even longer since I have been spoken to, by someone
Though I don’t remember when we last met
But the moment you walked away has stayed with me
I am alone, but am not lonely

3rd November 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The New Me

The brightness of her face soothes me so
That I close my eyes and go into a trance
As if she carries the early winter morning sun….

She manes her ruffled hair, standing on her terrace
The mysterious smile hides her true feelings, perhaps
But her naughty eyes give away a confession….

Speech haywire, thoughts directionless and mood swings
Everything seems going just the opposite of what I want
My heart resisted, the heart is the culprit to give in….

A move makes the winds go wild
A stare makes time stall its move
A step towards me commands my heart beat…

Am searching for my old careless self
I am becoming someone she needs me to be
I love her. I love the new me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I am (still) Thirsty

I was getting desperate now. It was past 8 in the morning and I had yet not got my first tea of the day. 

Thankfully, by the grace of Almighty and training of the hospitality industry, I landed unhurt in Lucknow. The hostesses acted as good hosts and my co-passengers were a good sport too. All of them ignored me royally.  

The moment I sat in the pre-paid cab, I ordered the driver to stop at the next best decent tea stall outside the airport. If he was surprised, he didn’t show it. But he surely asked some intruding and personal questions – starting with a very innocent, “bhaiyaji, was not tea available in the airport?” When I did not reply, he went on, “acha bhaiyaji, I have heard they serve beverages on board too. Didn’t they offer you on the flight?” To which I replied, “No, they were not serving today.” This is when he surprised me. He said, “Oh, bhaiyaji, low cost waali se aaye hain?”

Anyways, as we drove out of the airport compound, my cabbie offered to provide his unsolicited advice on the various kinds of tea and tea stalls in and around the airport. I thought to myself, “I have spoken a lot for the morning, now let’s listen for few moments”. He started with his versions, preferences and preparation of tea in permutations and combination of more milk, less water, tea in spoons and measurement on hand etc. I was reminded of my days while staying with friends, when every morning it was by turns that we had to make tea for the group. And surely enough, everyday tea tasted different. 

Just as rose by any other name would smell as sweet, tea by any other hand every morning provided the same pressure, to ease.

Anyhow, back on the road, the cabbie stopped at a decent tea stall, went out and ordered tea. I waited in the cab, listening to songs on the radio. And then it happened. Radio played the song, “pani da rang....”( Barely, had I taken my mind off the almost missed flight, the miss who ignored me and tea I was missing, that it all came rushing back to me. The hostess who finally quenched my thirst was actually a better host…  or let’s put it this way, she was really ho(s)t!

Tea was really nice. The song changed. It was “tip tip barsa pani….”!! Arre, who on earth would want to listen and fantasize a wet Raveen Tandon at such an early morning time? My cabbie sure did. Well, I liked it too. I was reminded of Raveena Tandon, Divya Bharti and the moment the song changed again to “pani pani re…” is when I realized that the ho(s)t resembled Tabu. It then struck me that theme on radio today was water. If water was the theme of the day, I had to control, and I did. Even my family astrologer had strongly advised me to stay away from water. I resolved not to have any wet dreams… eerr…. Fantasies…. eerrr, let’s call them flash back.

No tea, no coffee, no water, no host, nothing hot. There was a certain chill in the air. October was looking fresh and cold. To stay away from water, I decided to avoid bath too. 

In the coming days, there would be enough food for thought to satisfy my hungry mind. And my thirsty eyes were witness to stories, wet and dry, unfolding in the coming days.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Am Thirsty

I am not an early riser. In fact, there are very few reasons that can make me rise early. And now that I retrospect, most of the reasons are very personal. I wake up early because I have to catch an early morning flight for a holiday or I get up early because I am running loosies… so on and so forth!! The only challenge with me of getting up early is from the moment I wake up, I feel something is not right. Funny part is, most of the times, I am right!

This time, ofcourse, it was a genuine holiday I had picked. After 2 years of wait and missing being there, I was going to be in Lucknow for Durga Puja. Sleep was optional. But I did sleep well, fantasizing… eerrr… dreaming of days (and nights) ahead.

Reaching the airport was easy and smooth. This time, the cab guy was on time. I left on time and reached the airport well before time to avoid the extra security during festival time. To my surprise and not a pleasant one, most travelers thought exactly the same. All queues had taken the shape of Q. Added to that the multiplicity of agonies - entry to the airport had a south Indian guy who could ask the right question in Hindi, the usher assisting passengers to the right check-in queue responded only in English, not realizing the aunty in the saree and gajra is only nodding but not moving an inch. Then, there are “smart” travelers who will keep jumping queues before the usher has finished her/his instruction and mess up big time. I checked in and got through security, just in time when it was the last and final call. For the first time to catch a flight, and in a long time I actually ran! I jogged up quickly to the doors to get onto the bus to take me to the aircraft. On the bus, it struck me – holy crap, today was the day I had the chance to have my name announced in full blast on a public announcement system!! I missed the chance of a life time. (Not knowing then, life gives you a second chance, in quick succession, sometimes!! More on that later)

Once on the flight, I figured, I was the last passenger to board but the flight isn’t taking off. I picked the prettiest hostess, waited for her to cross the aisle and enquired, with my huffing still on after the run. She smiled and my heart said, “now that’s what is called a Good Morning!!”. The moment she informed, “we are waiting for some passengers to arrive through a connecting flight from Dubai to Lucknow, I suddenly said “ohhh, Sheikh that booty”! She smiled again, but for the last time, never ever looking at me for the whole flight.

I tried my best to apologize, though. The most genuine excuse to catch her attention was my early morning cup of tea. The next time she passed by, I again enquired, “can I have tea?” She apologized curtly, and said they are not serving tea. I asked, “coffee”? She again apologized and said “we are not serving hot beverages today morning”. Alas, my slippery mouth and dirty mind. I controlled but just muttered off, “serving hot for sure”. I think this was enough for her to “Sheikh her booty” hard and shoo off never to make eye contact any more. I too lost interest in her and moved on. 

So, I called for next best looking hostess. And simply ordered for water. Yes, this time I didn’t say a word extra. I just said, “I am thirsty”.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Marathon Mind

Recently, I happened to read a very healthy (sic) discussion-turned-debate-turned-english essay on karma, dharma, fruit, cultural roots.

Empty mind, devil's stadium - my thoughts ran and ran till it could stand no longer, breathe no longer and think no longer. My mind and to top it empty! I made my thoughts run, wide and far. No tracks required. When I could not think of anything substantial, I went back to the drawing board; the same healthy and organic discussion on fruits and roots. And I was shocked! In my emptiness and overfilled thought trails, I had actually become a contributor to the script unfolding on the culture vulture page. I immediately withdrew myself from it. 

Just then, a new thought sprinted across my stadium. In withdrawing myself from a highly contextual topic, was I avoiding getting involved or was I ignoring the existence of a problem? Was I helping myself or actually alienating myself from reality to an extent that I am left alone laughing at myself? I was done and huffing under my nose. I had begun to react again to reality, when a new ray of thought shone on me. 

In any survey, debate and issue based discussion, why is it that the category of "I don't know", "may be", "I don't care", "it doesn't matter" and the likes always ridiculed? Why is it always necessary to take sides? Why do I have to be called a majority or a minority? 

What is so wrong about being ignorant? 

Marathon mind kept thinking. The new thought shouted, its not ignorance. Ignorance is when i knowingly do not show any interest to observe, learn, grow and contribute to the existence of a concept. With time, I loose sight. I fail to gain any knowledge, whatsoever. I have no clue about it. e.g. I am ignorant of golf. Or say, what do you call the car chase…. Yeah, F1. I just don’t get it. I did try to get a hang of these things. Just could not get it. So, left it at that. That is ignorance to me. 

But then, there is something which is different from ignorance. There are things which are highly relevant, very contextual. You are fully aware of the phenomenon and if need be, can actually be a part of the problem, if not the solution! But you choose to refrain. You decide to not participate. 

You avoid.

Most people mistake other people avoiding something as their ignorance. They assume silence as ignorance. And that’s where lies the juice of the matter. According to me, when people ignore, they ignore the topic. They are least bothered what’s good or bad in it. They are happy till the time it does not physically strain them. When people avoid, they do it on purpose. They take a judicious call not to get involved. They avoid the psychological strain. They don’t ignore the topic. 

They avoid the environment. They avoid the people involved. They avoid getting sucked into something which may make them react which is not their natural self. So, even in avoiding, they choose to be themselves. Anything wrong with that? I don’t think so. Till this point my mind was with me. I had successfully ignored the majority and avoided the minority. 

The race was still on. Now, I running behind my thoughts. My thoughts were running behind a cause. The stadium was still empty. I avoided the silent echo.


16th June 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Translation from Diptesh Ghosh

Start (by Diptesh Ghosh)

With the first light of dawn I awoke.
The dew-laden road lay empty.
It meandered through the mountains
And I heard it call out to me.
Old October was already here,
The cold Northern wind was blowing,
The first leaves were breaking free
And winter was already on its wing.

It was so lovely that my heart ached,
I wanted to hope, wanted to stay,
There were tasks I had yet to do,
And hundreds of things left to say.
But the roots were cut long ago,
And autumn winds will shake the leaf,
The wanderlust wind now stirred in me,
And it did not allow for any grief.

I kept aside all the faint regrets,
The dark thoughts in my weary heart,
And set out alone, companionless,
For the empty road and a brand new start.

मेरा कल

सुबह की पहली किरण ने सहलाया मुझे 
पहाड़ों की ओस-सिली पख्दंदियों ने बुलाया मुझे 
सर्दियां दस्तक दे कर दरवाज़े पे संभल रही थी 
सूर्ख ठंडी हवा मेरे साथ चल रही थी

कुदरत की इतनी ज़ीनत है के चुभता है दिल 
पर अब यहाँ रुकना है मुश्किल 
कुछ इकरार करने थे, कुछ काम थे बाकी 
पर सूख गयी सुराही, रूठ गया मेरा साकी 

कशमकश है आज सर्द हवा और माजी की बारिश मे 
इजाज़त नहीं मुझे रोने की भी इस दिल की साजिश मे

दिल के किसी कोने मे ही रहने दिये सारे ज़ख्म 
सूखने छोड़ दिये हैं पुराने आब-ए-चश्म 
निकल आया हूँ उस दर्द की दलदल से 
आज मुलाक़ात होगी मेरी मेरे नए कल से


12th June 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Unravel the Travel (part 2)

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

Another secret is, sometimes unintended and sometimes intentional sneaking into conversations that you pick while on travel. The most common, of course, is when people are talking on their handheld phones. My guess is, some of them actually want people to listen to their highly strategic and seemingly intelligent conversations with their office rookies. Some though, become oblivious to the fact that there are people around who may be hearing their highly confidential ideas and innovations and sometimes their deep, dark and hidden secrets.

Picking from where I so effortlessly diverted in part 1; my recent travel happened to be a 0600 hrs morning flight. Naturally, I was late. I cursed my luck, the cab guy, the security guard, the boarding-pass counter lady and anyone I could see or recollect in my mind. Moreso, the boarding-pass counter lady. So what I was late, she knew I was coming, right? My name was there on her list of passengers. She could not keep one window seat for me. Actually, forget window seat, I got the worst seat possible; aisle seat of the last row of seats. I knew at that moment I was going to have a very loo-usy trip. Five minutes into take off and I started hearing sounds of flush, continuously, for the next half an hour. But soon my stinky times were also flushed away. 

Lady luck shone one me. I should say, ladies!! The air hostesses came to my rescue. No, they didn’t change my seat. Once the initial formalities of the staff and then the usual morning chores of passengers were over, everyone settled down. The air hostesses went back to their waiting zone and settled too. And then they started talking! Initially, I was sleepy so was not really interested in their conversation. There was a small turbulence in the air and the subsequent announcement by the Captain took away my sleep. Slowly, their conversations started becoming more audible. Now, I made a real effort into eavesdropping.  Once, for a moment, I turned around casually to have a look at these lovely ladies. And that is when I realized that it’s not easy having all your meals of the day standing/sitting outside a loo. I started appreciating them a little more. But their conversation was hilarious!

From where I gave my concentration to it, one hostess was cursing her boss/shift supervisor who makes the schedule. Apparently, she has been on flights for the last 76 hours! The other exclaimed, “no wonder, you are having your brownie with sauce!” The first hostess sounded really pissed off and mentioned that she has already complained this to the Manager. Now, the Manager wanted some “extra stuff” from a city she was supposed to visit. She denied helping him. Manager denied helping her! She finally used the F word. Just then, one of the hostesses’ who had gone to serve a passenger returned and blurted the F word too! She just said one sentence, “why do I only get passengers who fly with their fly open?” Even I could not help laughing along with them. There were chuckles, when the third hostess started off against parents and relatives. Her parents want her to visit relatives in the city she lands after a flight schedule. Her worry was, “they expect gifts every time!” They think duty free means free gifts on duty!!” 

Sometimes, life can make you smile without a reason. I had no reason to listen to them. But I did. And I smiled. While getting down, I thanked them. Probably, for the first time, genuinely.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Unravel the Travel (part 1)

(will be a travel trilogy after a great tryst with people on the move)

″A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

I go a step further. I eavesdrop on conversations too! It not only helps me while away some waiting and travel time.  It also gives me a perspective about people, the world and life. Some are new perspectives. Many observations (and sneak peeks) change existing view points.  

Not that I travel too much. Infact, come to think of it, I had not travelled at all in the last 3-4 months. It was getting mundane. I was not getting new perspectives! Thank God for this wedding invite from a relative, tickets were booked. My family travelled ahead of me. I joined them a week later. (There are observations, sneak peeks and whispers on the pre-wedding, planned rituals and post-wedding camaraderie. More dope on it, once my travel hangover is over.)

One very common perception which people carry – one of the most glamorous jobs is that of an air hostess. Pretty uniforms to wear, beautiful destinations to roam, classy hotels to stay in and to top it all, a huge bank transfer at the month end just to look good and pretty! Well, Mr. Goyal “jetted” careers and Mr. Mallaya as a king, fished out a lot of talent, until “Air of India” started stinking, again. I carried this perception for a fairly long time. And then, I started observing.

You curse your luck for the 0600 am fight, curse the cab driver for coming late because you woke up late and then gave him wrong directions to your place, curse the security guard at the airport for stopping you which is his duty because you are late, curse the boarding pass counter lady for not keeping a window seat for you because you are late and curse the entire population at the security check in gates who are there to catch one of their 0600 am flights and cursing you as part of their late coming plan. Airline staff cannot be late, ever. There will be a guard, always. There will be someone at the counter to hand you your boarding pass, someone to keep your check in baggage, someone to securely check you in, always. There will always be a smiling air hostess welcoming you on the flight. An air hostess cannot be late.

Not to forget, the usual time that this air hostess would take after waking up to look that fresh, stunning and pretty at 0600 am, reach the airport and start smiling to welcome some ugliest of the people. The hostess would give instructions and then try her best to make the same persons understand repeatedly and again and again the importance of switch off mobile phones even after take-off, safety belts, keeping tray tables upright, straighten back rests, and not walk to the loo when “Your Captain” has already announced (slight or major) turbulence. Ofcourse, they have to control (s)lap worthy proposals with a smile from the arrogant and wealthy, avoid the (un)intentional elbow of the aisle seat friendly uncle or simple looking man sitting, sell and serve food, clean your trash and also come running to you because you don’t know which switch to press to switch on the reading light. And mind it, most of all the things she is responsible for, as observed, are performed at atleast 30000 feet above sea level.

If you can balance your body weight, mental state, verbal responses and the tray in your hand, while I observe you top to bottom; I think you are beautiful and deserve a sitting ovation while you tell me, “in case of emergency, there are four exits, two in the front……. “ .