Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When death visited

At the break of dawn,

The mullah rises up,

And calls on to allah,

From the minaret top.

An unexpected visitor,

Knocks at the gate of

A house on the 22nd cross.

A widow sobs like a newborn,

As the silent gate-crasher

Makes his presence felt.

Infiltrating into neighbours’ dreams

Each one isolated in his own fear,

No- one dares to wake up and share.

The unassuaged cry

For a thing lost forever.

An animal’s cry

That invokes the deepest hidden silences

Of turbulent storms.

Like a release of locusts,

Everything bursting forth

Through her cords.

A scream for relief

From the ascending conundrum

That runs a havoc in the mind,

With an inimitable inevitability.

As the muezzin’s cry shrinks

Before the widow’s unleashed sorrow,

Little sisters in the next house,

Cover their ears under the pillow,

Trying to shut out a bad dream.

Everyone is alone

In that hour of fear.

Death is a lonesome affair,

A reminder of lonely liberation.

Orange pillow

Orange pillow

Pillow fights

Distant trains

Silent cries

Orange pillow

Yellow sunflowers

Soaking tears

On lonely nights

Orange pillow

Must have heard

Distant screams

And hurtful sighs

A silent listener,

Soft and light,

On the orange pillow,

Rest your head,

For a peaceful sleep

And a restful night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In between songs

I slept to Ennio Morricone,

And woke up to Gustavo Santaolalla ,

What was in between,

I do not need to know.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In Sync

Sit alone in the dark and notice yourself suddenly fall silent. The dark heavy silence envelopes around you and me in a vicarious mercurial fashion . Slowly, noises of awareness start creeping into the dark mass. All objects seem more solid than at other times. All voices seem peculiarly unfamiliar. A desperate run for the candle stick is made from all directions, like it was the most heroic act expected to be done at the moment. ‘A change of paradigm’, a self conceited architect would say. All the noise, all the trash, and the chaos of light, just like jargon, weigh heavy in such dark moments ; suspended mid-air, ready to crash down anytime. Blindness and silence – when juxtaposed with each other, seem such a perfect match. An erasure of vision equals an erasure of sound. Only the music remains , one that deserves a listening. Footsteps tap on the ears in rhythmic beats, in sync with your heart beat. A sync of time and feelings. A sync of synchronous butterflies swimming in symmetric seas to a Mozart staccato. When the lights are out , synchronization takes over.

Standing at the centre of the dance floor , shiny disco lights in rhythm to the DJ’s groove, I feel the warm breathing of wriggly bodies, the complete sync of bodies in a mass, a singular entity in a sea of togetherness. There is an enigmatic duality in the discotheque’s role of connecting you with people and at the same time disconnecting you on a personal level. But everything happens in sync. Like the physics experiment in school on resonance, when you blow into one bottle, and can hear the whistle in the adjacent bottle.

A truck rumbles on the highway and the window pane of a house two lanes away shivers. The truck driver is whistling the latest song, ‘Haley paatre! haley kabbanaa ! haley paper kanahoi..’. He is going to catch the new Vijay starrer flick, Junglee after delivering his truck load of sand. The sand in the truck was dug out from the river bank, where a little boy sits plopping stones into the water , watching the sun dissolve in ripples and thinking about his elder brother who has left him there and still not returned. Two lanes away from the highway, the resonating window pane looks into the room of a teenager deep in sleep and dreaming of drowning in the same sea, wave after wave after wave. As he wakes up to the tremor, the truck driver’s song, the little ripples in the pond ,the waves in his dreams, are all in sync. At one moment in the same link , in different paradigms.

When Cinderella left behind her glass slipper at the stroke of midnight, it was the last figment of her enchanted state. After the 24 hours of being a princess , she went back to her normal self, the chariot back into pumpkin, the horses back to mice, the robe to rags and the lonely glass slipper vanished with her enchanted 24 hours. But the slipper she left behind, remained a reality; a metaphor of her parallel paradigm. The glass slipper lies now on the drafting table of an architecture student. She gazes at it every now and then, and transports herself into Cinderella’s time. Only this glass slipper, with its swooping sole rising high up to a towering heel , perched precariously yet touching lightly upon the surface , stands like a crystal clear negation of all things around, solid and dark. In sync with its ground, the glass slipper beckons to shed her opaqueness and synchronize with the beat of life around her, like water ready to ripple in sync with the breeze.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Remembering My dearest Ajju

That afternoon comes back to me , when I went and sat by him on his bed and had a nap in his lap as his soft wrinkled hands patted my head. That vacation , I had got my walkman player, and ajju’s favourite Marathi natya sangeeth cassettes, which he used to listen to , from earphones. Every time, the earphone fell out of an ear, he used to call out, ‘Gonti!..” and I used to run to him and plug him back into his musical world. This was the first vacation I was spending in Gokarna alone, as we sat in the verandah and darkness fell.Having waved goodbye to my father, who left me with dear little grandma and grandpa, tears streamed down my eyes, as I sang bhajans for ajju.. My voice choked as I sang ‘dehi dehi sharade.gnyaanam dehi sarvade’, but soon it was fine, and I no longer felt frightened. Except now and then, when I came across a dark threatening corner or lightless room in the vast house, especially after sunset. I had never felt happier to greet the morning and the sun, as I did then.

It was the last vacation I could spend with ajju, because, on the November 14th early at two in the morning, we all had to say goodbye to ajju. That year we (the family) stayed back after the funeral ceremonies , during karthik poornima. And we went to the Deepotsava that happens every year in the Kotiteertha, the sacred tank.

It was magical as hundreds of lights reflected in the water along with a bright moon who seemed lost in all the celebration, and fireworks lit up the sky effusive with joy. It seemed a fitting goodbye to our dear grandpa. Last week, when I was back in Gokarna on my usual visit, I stayed back an extra day hoping to catch the Deepotsava on karthik poornima. But it is never like that first time, is it? How much ever one tries to re-live past moments, it is never the same. Each time is a new time.

When I was there this time , I dug into the shelf in the study, which was full of books ( as is any shelf in our house) ; but this one almirah had a special taboo attached to it. Once long ago, I had ventured to open this very cupboard, and to my horror, there a was a tiny rat inside which ran right up my arm and jumping off my shoulder, scurried away victoriously ! I was a state of hysteria , as I ran and locked myself in my room and refused to come out , till the maid came and consoled me that she had taken care of it and it was safe to come out now. Later , though the poor creature was a subject of my sympathy and I even wrote a small verse on it.

So, well, after mustering courage , I opened it this time . Happy to see no moving tails or black beings inside. I found a whole range of books on culture, Leninism, Marxism, and the likes, which were from the local library. And each of them had markings in pencil , made by Ajju when he found certain passages or points which were notable. And after long I felt I was in touch with him. I was reading the same passages, that he had read many years ago, and wondering what thoughts must have arisen in his mind then. The very awareness of this idea gave me an immense sense of peace. The signs one leaves behind, signs that remind us of a healthy living thinking mind, signs that give you solace when you need it, signs that give hope when you are in despair. Finding those books, inspired a new zeal , a new feeling of awareness and a bright feeling of joy at the very prospect of discovering things that are waiting to be .

All the letters he wrote to us, me and my brother, are safe with me . Spontaneous limericks on us and advise on how we should read a lot , learn music, not fight, study well, and not worry much about subjects I dint like. In every letter, he never failed to say a little sorry for his handwriting , which he considered illegible. His handwriting in fact was like a mysterious codec to me , evolving in its own speed and design to become a script that could be read by a select few. Now I see my father’s writing follows the same trend. The explanation he gives is that the mind thinks faster than the hand’s capacity to catch up.

I have known my grandfather as a grand daughter , but there is also the need to know him completely through his mind, through his ideas, through his writings. He seems an ocean. I am yet to learn to swim so I could delve into it. Remembering and missing my dearest Ajju , on this Children’s day, November the 14th, 2009.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dil se re

Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se ; the first time I watched it was, long years ago, when I was a primary schoolgirl in Mumbai. Dil se is a picture of me and my baby brother dancing like jumping jack Shahrukh Khan, on top of the double bed, which was our very own train top. ‘arey oyyy!... bhai sahib! Aap ke paas maachis hai?’ Manisha Koirala’s pristine freshness, as the thunder storm blows away the black shawl wrapped around the lady like the night itself was blown away to reveal light. “ek cup garam chai….” Rain drops plopping into two chai glasses in All India radio broadcaster Amar verma’s hands as her train chugs away.

Jinke sar ho o o , ishk ki chaaon, paaon ke neeche jannat hogi..

Chal Chaiyaa chaiyaa… I had the whole song memorized by heart, gulzar sahab’s urdu lafz and all, not even wondering what they meant. It all sounded too esoteric and mystic. Kalma wohi mera nagma wohi, taaveez banake pehen use , woh yaar hai jo emaan ki tarah. The afternoon comes back to me, when sitting in the living room of our tiny Mumbai flat, my brother and me religiously sang out the whole song , to papa, and had a victorious grin after we had finished.

So the enigmatic Koirala , like a fresh lily with dew drop on her nose listened glassy eyed, to the tinkling chai gilass from the ajnabee crooning over aakashvaani , awaaz de kaheen se. ‘woh jo doodh dhuli masoom kali…’

wooshki chaayeee..nahe haay’ smiles a beaten up hero. Lying on the stretcher, with swollen bruised lips , but as happy as a school boy , he tell his friend, ‘ushkeeee…. Shaaadi.. nahi hui hai…!’ And laughs.

Cascading through the white Ladhaki landscapes, two beings bask in illusive happiness of togetherness. ‘Main farsh pe sajde kartaa hoon, kuch hosh mein kuch behoshi se..’ Satrangi fakirs in lofty play of a veil blown by the wind ; a veil that at times conceals , at time reveals, at time is and at times exceeds love. ‘Ishk par zor nahi , hai yeh woh aatish ghalib…’

I loved every bit of it, do so even more today , because with it comes back that time of smallhood , those fleeting bubbles of joy , when sister watched her baby brother sitting in their verandah of their house by the beach and screaming into the sea breeze till happy exhaustion.. ‘Oooooo, ek soooraj niklaa tha…..

Dil se ; from the heart . It is the essence of living , isn’t it ?

Friday, October 23, 2009


Grapevine nail polish
Dripping from her glass
As fingers rap in rhythm
With her mascara lashes.

Scenes seem to change
with the bat of an eyelid,
Inking tears and memories
together into an esoteric wine.

Sitting at a table
where nobody waits,
Legs crossed,
Stilettoed high,
On hopes of blissful bewilderment,
She raises a toast
To violet moments.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Floral scars

Unsung notes hover from

A mad woman’s song .

She walks with a white cloud in her palms

Heavy moments inside.

Orange jasmines trapped in

The mud walls of her home.

Brittle petals and floral scars.

The dung polished floor wafts up

With orange acridity.

White marble glistens

Like a pale diffidence

Forced into a solid pretence of confidence.

Yamuna caresses it like a watchful governess

Trying her best to convert

The weak marbling into

A precipitated, curdled monument.

Lotuses , jasmines,

Tendrils and rubies

Capsized into the moments of curdling and age.

Symmetric symphonies in frieze.

As she walks into her muddy domesticity

Smelling of orange twilight and curd,

The jasmines are tender again,

Blooming forth from mud packed walls.

She picks them out

One by one from their walled captivity

And tucks them in her hair.

There on the banks of Yamuna,

The marble mausoleum

Stands naked.

The capsized rubies have conspired,

The emerald leaves have rebelled,

The flowers on walls

Have fallen like shattered glass.

Paused in space.

Hung in suspended action

Awaiting a bearer to walk by.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Makhmalbaf’s Silent Song

Sokout ( the silence) , Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 2007 release, leaves one surrealistically floating in twilight hues. Through an intensely affectionate door, we walk into a little boy Khorshid’s dark world of sweet sounds , silent waters and crimson cherries, while his little friend Nadereh dances to dulcets with petalled petunia nails and a porcelain chastity so ethereal, that one fears for her fragile beauty.

While Khorshid tunes his master’s delroba, Nadereh prances with the cherries dangling on her ears and hands swaying to the waves of his untuned stringed notes. The effect of the scene is ephemeral. So are most of his other imageries in the film. Just when we think we know what we see, the moment turns into a surreal canvas where we no longer know. The beauty of the film lies in this shift in our state of mind where we move from a bourgeois information seeking state to the state where we no longer feel the need to know or be informed. We simply surrender to its experiential spell.

Replete with metaphors , the film takes on a poetic liberty typical of Makhmalbaf.Perceiving a world through blind Khorshid’s ears, the movie captures sound in its most beautiful visual form. Sights that we see, he hears.Little Khorshid , however, hears only sweet sounds.. be it losing his way in the market following a folk singer, or teaching pretty schoolgirls poetry from their own textbooks. So he is made to stuff cotton in his ears, lest he be distracted on the bus and lose his way . Silence for Khorshid , sounds like the lapping waters of the stream where his mother catches fish for a living.

With childlike naïve optimism and with a brazen outlook of an observer of life , the director takes us through a rich canvas of light, colour and texture, and turns them all into sounds for the boy. The boy lives in poverty. He works to support his lonely mother. They face eviction at the hands of their landlord. Time , as always, is cruel in running faster in the face of such situations. These are factual stains of their lives. And the director leaves them untouched with a dignified silence. What he does is to show us the beauty, the wonder, the love and the innocence of purity. The affectionate love of the director towards this boy is embodied in the tone in which Khorshid's mother calls out to him every single time,'Khorshid... Khorsheed jaan!'

Khorshid needs only his sounds, his music and Beethoven’s fifth symphony to make him feel complete . Nadereh , needs only her mirror to make her a queen at the banks of the stream. The street singer needs only his instrument to play out his loneliness for him. Makhmalbaf needs only this silent song , to make us hear the sound and colour of silence.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Gora , by Rabindranath Tagore , stands as a vast discourse by Tagore for a society which is highly aware and sensitized towards a higher spiritual goal, that surpasses a mere individualistic cocooned frame of life. Tagore, talks through his key characters of the book, and evolves a story of two households that symbolize two schools of thought and religion of Colonised India in the 19th century. The intellectual and ideological turmoil of the Brahmo Samaj and the Hindu Samaj sets the stage for the story, of seemingly normal middle class families which transcends its mediocrity through its highly evolved and critical characters. Binoy and Gora are the two indispensable friends, who’s bond is very beautifully elaborated by Tagore through the story, being sensitive to many little details of typical human nature , be it their follies, faults, their shortcomings or their morality. In fact, Gora emerges before us, not as a flawless protagonist but as a case – study of man’s many dilemmas in his struggle to realize the essence of his existence. He is the symbol for the constant , undeterred anguished struggle that every human conscience undertakes at some point of his or her life , to place himself in the bigger scheme of things, to define his locus within societal co-ordinates.

However, the stimuli to the actions in the story are its heroines, Sucharita and Lolita. Having been brought up in a Brahmo household, and encouraged to freely discuss personal opinions,(as opposed to the traditional Hindu woman of those times) , these step – sisters are the igniting spirits of the story , who by entering into the heroes’ lives brew up a storm between principles of the head and logic of the heart.

What strikes about this work, is the immense consciousness of the theme. In today’s times, a book based on one ultra patriotic soul urging his fellow men and women to act in a way, as to keep in mind, always, the higher goal of a united ‘Bharatvarsha’ , may seem highly improbable. Yet, the theme stands its ground, speaking from the pre- independence days to this very generation of today. The ringing notes of an individual’s awareness of life as it unfolds in terms of events, of self and of those connected to him, turn into an intense personal churning.

Gora , gradually , succumbs to the trap of an extreme individual identity. Unknowingly , he limits his vision into conventional shackles.His desperate urge towards societal acceptance and an idealistic vision of an efficient social machinery, leads him to embrace dogmatism blindly. He is victimized by himself. However, with the fact of his birth and origin being shattered, that he is in fact of a British parentage and only raised in a Hindu household , Gora is liberated in his state of non-identity. To be one and to be all. Not belonging to any set of beliefs but to be a maker of one’s own.

Gora , is an intense journey. It raises so many questions in your head, answerable and unanswerable, that once through, one cannot but be a changed mind ; in outlook as well as in conscience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

june rains , gokarna #6

8th june

The feeling of homecoming is overwhelming and I cant stop the smile on my face.As the bus crosses the Sanikatte salt pans, I know, I am in my territory. I surprise ajji with my early arrival. Well, it so happens that she always seems surprised. I see an older, ajji, little weak and frail in movement, but with a content and energetic mien. I have to make my own tea this time after being asked reluctantly by ajji if I can. I succeed only after I have my initials hiccups with the gas knob, and not before ajji has to walk all the way in , a little irksome at my incompetence at the simplest act of making tea.

Time melts here , from one moment to the next and before you know it, it is either lunchtime or teatime or dinner time.(although I must admit, dinner time comes a little slower than the rest). It is calm after a heavy downpour of rains yesterday and the town seems to be in calm slumber. I make my routine trip upto Maneshwara. Quiet and ever lashing, the sea is still there. The beach is still awaiting consumption by the July monsoons. The tiny people are there, screaming at the sheer joy of being in the sea. As always, their voices travel much louder and clearer over the long distance compared to the scale of their sizes from the distance. Everything seems just the same.

Once back, Protima Bedi’s memoirs “timepass” makes me wonder if its an appropriate book for the landscape around me. Scandalous, overtly cathartic and immensely indulgent, the book seems some different alien mind zone from the mind zone of small seaside pilgrim town that is my native town. Nevertheless, I manage to finish the entire reading within the next day, partly out of the fact that it is fast reading and has some juicy insight, and partly because I want it to be out of my way , so that I wont be left disturbed by the dichotomy of the world inside the book and that around me and can enjoy my home.

Up on Ramateertha, the mineral water spring is gushing with monsoon effervescence. Clad in just towels, some pilgrims are bathing free and without a care. I avoid looking , and proceed up to the concrete deck, that for once seems to be the only concrete creation in the town that seems to make sense in serving a purpose. There is a magical spectacle in the sky, as it turns dark and stormy as the rain clouds charge towards me. One has the rare privilege at sea to see the rain clouds bring the menace slowly from the distance; so the element of timing ones run to a shelter offers some excitement and gameplay. That is exactly what I do; wait till the point where the rain curtain is just few kms away.. and then make a dash for home – some sort of mental race with the rain.

Don’t we all do it? Race with the sunrays through the window, race with the seconds hand of the clock, race with the street dog who doesn’t really care ; mental races.

The following morning, I wake up at 5 am and watch a full bloom moon shedding its beautiful moon rays onto the sea waves. The sea gleams silver, ethereal and unearthly.

It is more of the light falling all around that is mesmerizing than the tiny shiny dot itself.

It is like the Midas touch. Moon rays turn everything they touch to ether. I go back to sleep with ethereal dreams.

9th june

My early morning walking circuit takes me up the hill to Maneshwara, across the hill to Ramteertha, and down the hill to the beach. A foreigner dressed in a yellow cotton shirt and an orange dhoti is sitting at Maneshwara, puffing a cigarette and watching the sea. He looks at me in my boyish red capris walking up the steps, and give me a perplexed smile. Perhaps , he expected a more stereotyped Indian in the setup. I have half the mind to ask him , whether they had the audacity to smoke in their churches too.

I carry on. It is just the beginning of monsoon, so all around the yellow grass has just turned lush green , but not grown long enough for snakes to play hide and seek in them. Therefore, I can walk without being scared of being bitten by a snake and dying in obscurity. The super tall network signal pole (or is it the lightening conductor pole?), stands tall perfectly balanced with its radial chords holding it down , like a captive hero in a movie. There was a feast of tiny cute green birds perched on this pole net, flocks of them, the last time I saw. Watchable yet, unreachable. This time it is barren. There are none of the green wonders to see , only those hidden chirps from the forest , with their own symphony making the silence of the acacia forest a happy silence and not the silence of a graveyard.

As I climb down to the beach, I realize how, everytime, the waves and the sand manage to surprise you. Yet, the surprise is shortlived. Soon , I am a part of it all and no longer a distant object. With sand in my hems and bag pockets, I decide to drop in to check if the little wise one, Chaya and her little devil sister Chaitra are at home.

As I peep in from the porch, out the head pop, one in a frock (as she has not yet got her new school uniform) and the other in her navy blue school dress, getting ready for school. I am reminded of that feeling that comes with morning and school . the little churning in the stomach even if you know you have finished your homework. That feeling of leaving your workbook at home or , wearing the wrong uniform on the wrong day.

They are the same. They haven’t changed. Not even in size. I am quite relieved inside. I have always dreaded coming back to odd grown up freaks turned out of the kids I left behind. They feed me good breakfast and send me home with a nice big jackfruit from their garden.

They have promised they will come after school , in the evening. I will wait.

I have just finished reading “timepass”. It is a thunderous book and sure to leave any reader a little dazed. It walks the thin line , at the heavy risk of sounding very exhibitionistic and repetitive. The core, the sentiments and the essence of the book is very familiar, appealing to my sensibility and quite amusing. The only thing that beyond my rational understanding is her need for the indispensable male company. I like the letters she writes to her son Siddharth, who later committed suicide away from home. The letters contain the sensitivity and sense that feels so right and positive and parental.

10th june

It is the most pleasant morning. I wake to the voice of my moon; it is music to my ears and resounds long after. The beach is breezy and afloat with my joy.

In my red capris, I get the wild thought of a bull coming charging towards me and tossing me by its horns! Such filmi thoughts cross my mind often.

Two letchers on the beach jeer and smile. I stare back indignantly and the shameless jerk smiles! Now, I am the stupid one to have given such impudence even some notice; shouldn’t have. The beach is infested with such pests. I move on.

Walks on the beach are inherently set to an inherent rhythm of a stroll with necessary pauses and waits. They are far from the fitness regimen workouts with nike shoes on. I find myself smiling so many times. I wish one could telepathically connect. The waves seen from up Bharatgudi hypnotize one into a pin drop stance. Each waves with its white foam trail carries along my palpitating breath and lulls it into a slow rhyme of a steady nothingness. A marine blue kingfisher wakes me up in its flight. It is time to get back to real time.

11th june

Chaitra comes home, hopping in her anklets in her new frock. It is her sister’s birthday, and I am called to go for a small simple cake cutting ceremony. The birthday girl is in a salwar kameez, busy with her dupatta. On the beach we play ice and water. I run like a child. I don’t seem so bad at the game after all. Spoorthi’s dogs come and join us. One is Raja , the old guy, the other is Pinky, the doe eyed furry tailed daughter of his, and the other is Gunda , her new found goy friend. I hear, that Raja is not on barking terms with his wife, Rani anymore. Sad , indeed.

Chaitra is a funny kid. She suffers a little from the over-shadowed syndrome. Always in comparison with her bright talented sister, she seems complexed about her lack of talent. But she is the caring endearing one, who shares her chocolates with all, clings on to you and plays the wannabe big sister. While Spoorthi and Chaya dance and sing perfectly, she watches on silently, thinking hard ,as to what she can do to impress me. ultimately, she recites an English poem for me. Charming. The little bunch is an immense package of pure joy.

13th june.

As I pack my bags and sit in the verandah in the dusky sunshine of the evening, all I do is soak in every detail around me. Every little movement, every distant sound, every inch of the canvas before me, and every breath of my dear ajji ; as I leave her alone, sitting in the verandah under the newly repaired incandescent street light , waving back at me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

june rains , gokarna #5

june rains , gokarna #4

Pattern language.

Waves in a constant race

Of frothing patterns

And splashing cisterns.

As water, salt and air bubbles

Salivate at the beach front,

They leave behind patterns

In the sand.

Lately I see patterns in me.

On my skin, in my breath.

As waves heave and crash within.

A bovine herd crosses

The beach.

The pattern of their hoof prints

Makes it simpler,

To pass the time.

june rains , gokarna #3

Kotiteertha is being drained dry.

It seems they want to clean it.

Of what? Of sins?

A million thousand sins must

Be afloat in the tank water.

A water pump , most probably,

Would not want to mess its machine

With this sinful business.

Maybe a sin or two, distilled out

And got stuck into the gear box.

A crystallized sin,

Deposited into one of

Its pipes perhaps.

A layer that reforms,

Every time you scrape it off.

Maybe then, a thoughtful boy,

Chancing upon a precipitated sin,

Bottles it up and

Sells it for 20 Rupees.

Sin on sale !

Are there any buyers?

june rains , gokarna #2

Standing tip toe

On the edge of the rock,

She is an experiment in physics.

Bernauli’s theorem,

Venturi’s law,

Eddy’s currents

Boyle’s laws.

All seem hard at work in

Balancing this girl in her

moment if action.

She is the only link

Between the storm above

And the earth below.

All around is void,

Vacuumed and paused

Spectators to this tension

That seems infinite.

june rains , gokarna #1

A battalion of clouds, they seemed to me. Starting out as a stripe in the sky, they gradually transform into a menacing dark shade. Floating above , with their blackness engulfing the sea straight from the horizon, they charge forward , and the curtain falls.

Like a see- through black lace dress , enticing sunrays in its pleats, the rain curtain is dragged along , scoring the sea- face with their heavy anchors; like a stubborn child dragged home from play , the clouds carry their rain children home.

I know it is coming. I can see it. Yet I sit here , waiting. The wait for something which is in your sight is restless yet exciting, because what you see keeps changing from one moment to the next, although the object itself has remained the same.

I see it first as an identifiable object. The horizon, the clouds on top, the canvas in between.

But as they slowly approach me, boundaries of my frame blur and the object melts into an experience. It cannot be dissected into components; something that comes whole and passes on as a whole. I have been sitting here for timeless moments, waiting for the taste of a rain drop.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The lady with gumption.

                Kate Winslet strikes hard in Revolutionary Road. Her Oscar win as lead actress in BBC film production directed by her husband Sam Mendes seems vindicated. The ironical depth of the film's title itself stands for the essense of the movie's storyline."Revolutionary road", has a deeper truth in it beyond being the name of the street on which the Wheeler family (Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet and their two children) try hard to live out the happy middle class life; it symbolises the revolutionary path that they never took. 
The story revolves around a close knit weave of details of a series of subtleties of family life and seemingly minor issues that in reality bore into our lives and before we know it, leave us as mere empty shells, mere pretences. With its intense script and dialogues that edge on the idealistic , the film takes us into it slowly and in steps.It takes refuge in the small thoughts in an average person's head and elevates it to its rightfully deserving contemplation, through the medium of Mrs. Wheeler,who is the crux of the film.

                 The small thoughts, the little ideas in your head ; that make you day dream , give you the escape door to fantasy land, are an indispensible dosage require to live. I dream of going to Paris . Yes , it is a cliche, a whimsical fantasy , image driven and very eluding. the thing that incurs sniggers from your fellow mates. Nevertheless , my thoughts are my own.
So when the Wheelers decide one fine day, (actually it is Mrs. Wheeler who decides) to move to Paris in the hope of 'living' again as the 'special' couple they had always considered themselves to be, I couldnt help but feel like getting into the tv screen and hugging her! She is the strong woman, the one who values every thought in her head, the one who believes that one must be able to do what one always wanted to do. She wants to do things, get things happening, and cant stand wasting away into a mechanical existence. I like her !

                   In front of her, Mr. Wheeler seems faded, jaded, a person who is trying too hard at the wrong things and has lost himself in the process. He is the cliched and rubbed over concept of the middle aged family man who has taught himself to think that his teenage ambitions were mere fantasies.In one of their numerous high voltage arguments she says " You need guts to live the way you want to live and you dont have it!" , which  more or less rounds him up.

                   The most intense anti-climax is the morning after their most distrubing fight. Kate winslet stuns with her acting, and Mrs. Wheeler stuns her viewers by appearing in the kitchen smiling and dressed tip -toe like the ideal  housewife and asks her husband "Good morning! would you like scrambled eggs or fries eggs for breakfast?" It is the most tense and yet visualy the most calm sequence of the film with the apparently happy Wheeler couple having their daily breakfast together. She seems so old and wisened while he still seems satisfied to enjoy this make believe pretence of happiness. it is an unmatched pair of great zeal  and timid acceptance.

                  What entails is, of course again, another cruel irony .You could watch for yourself.
Though she lives in the wrong time for herself, perhaps the time needs people like her to get some gumption back into living.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The kabootar khana

The kabootar khaana buzzes

At the junction with

Pigeons willfully

Caging themselves in

The hope of being fed.

In hope of being


As the plump businessman’s

Ticket to salvation.

To vindicate his salivation.

A thirsty tongue

Lapping up gold and diamonds

And stubby fingers

Caressing pigeon feed.


The railings of the the khaana,

Once a rusty red,

Now gleam white in pigeon poop.


(Ambassadors of peace ,

Who decided on the poor pigeons?

Now they fly on roof tops

Of the Taj Hotel with black soot

Choking their nostrils,

Blackening their glistening green-blue manes

Now they must wear ear plugs

If they have to nestle on the top

Along with gunshots and grenade shrapnel.)


The air smells of damp feathers ,

Grey stench and the smell of stained peace.


(Masakalli , sits on the terrace parapet

The white pigeon has its wings clipped.

Vain in white, it sits in Chandni Chowk

Far from black soot, gunshots and freedom)


It is a free cage

Just like the maikhaana.

Where he comes,

To cage himself

And relish the anticipation

Of  unchained freedom.


Did you see that?

Right there,

The street urchin crosses the street,

With a handful of stolen grains

And takes flight with

The well fed birds.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What went wrong with Delhi 6?

Delhi 6, entered , with hopes, promises of delight and of course, Masakalli and her white freshness perched on top of Bittoo’s head. Something got lost , however, while R.K.Mehra tried materializing metaphors. From being a “Burger-chaap” centric plot ,
It has took a wrong detour to becoming a Monkey Chaap danth manjan that’s a little too ruddy to chew.
The black monkey, we understand , has been conceived as the dark, wild, animal within each of us who acts on no rhyme or reason. Yes , we understand that personifications, metaphors, messages must drive the movie , but , in Delhi 6 , theres been either an oversimplification of things or a ridiculity of taking some aspects over seriously that leads to a shoddy climax.
When the victimized Monkey man is shot in the end, and in deep agony Bittoo lets out a scream , whats more heartbreaking, is to hear the audience laugh out in amusement at the melodrama unfolding in jerks before them, in , what was supposed to be a new age contemporary urban edged film.
The rustic theme, the fresh sounds , the feel good start, are mired by jerky transitions, an over dosage of ‘ yeh hai India’ sequences.
It all seems to take confused montages into an even more 90’s style climaxes where all the cast is crammed into the frame , and all the loops(if any) are tied up one by one, in sequence, like the abrupt closing of various files. And the audience is left in the seat after ‘the end’ trying to digest, ‘What? That’s it? And was that heaven by any chance? Give me a break!’
The song though never fails to give you a good morning smile!
Ay Masakalli masakalli, tu matakali matakali…

Friday, January 2, 2009

Measurement of time , units of life

The new year buzz just zoomed past the last corner. Two days are up already. What has changed? 2008 + 0001 = 2009 . so in all the four-lined notebooks of school children , the excitement of writing a 09 in the date on the top left hand margin , instead of 08 , is about as far as it goes for the kids. Well, when in school all I remember was that I felt like something significant had happened somewhere somehow , but never could reckon what exactly , except for the change of the dates and exams coming nearer.

I wonder how orphaned or unaccounted for , we all would feel if this unit of measuring our life with time was absent altogether, which trickles down to the very absence of the basic ticking of seconds, milleseconds,nanoseconds….

May be we would all feel so lumpy and massive in our existence like a huge porridge sploch, formless and misshapen as opposed to this lean, sorted out , categorized and sequential noodle living that we have today.

To add a year to your life may mean a lot more to the middle aged adult population of the world.(its too trivial to notice when we are in school or college, when our homeworks , tests and our classroom crush seem like the ultimate driving force of life!)

So imagine the several thousand billions of the aging adult population all over the globe adding up an extra unit of worry , expectations , schedules and responsibilities along with the new year.  What you get is an additional indissoluble , emotionally loaded layer right above the skin of the last year, and the one before that. Quite a suffocating global scenario isn’t it? Like global warming was not enough, I’m guessing we wouldn’t want a global aging phenomenon…

Years seem to be good measuring tapes. These timelines that help us look at our life graphically and make us aware of the full impact of our living till date..we may end up with loads of junk , each with its own sentimental attachments, but junk it all is.

I saw ghajini this week, and its original, memento(a 2001 Hollywood flick) last week. Psychologically thrilling as they were, the very nature of the amnesia, the 15 minute short term memory loss leaves me quite stunned. It is such a modular existence, where 15 minutes are relived from the same start point of nought and with the same ending of nought but what fills them up is what he has lived. The irony being that it will be measured only by people around him. While he still conceives his living at point zero. The very thought leads to quite chilling and unnerving tangents.   


So we continue to measure more of time with our tapes and keep changing dates on our diaries. Waiting for one moment when time will freeze and all we know that we live solely by the sound of our heartbeats.


2009.. come on in..