Thursday, 3 May 2018

Nights



There are no bogs, I tell myself. 
There are no bogs or marshes left because I have waded through them all.

I have waded through them and am already at my sweet spot. 
The sweetest possible spot that is so cloying saccharine sweet that I realize it is not a real spot at all.

It is a hollow. 
A big fucking hollow that stretches unendingly ahead of me. 

And I know that every step I take is towards this yawning stretching chasm with nothing but darkness inside. 
The darkness of the night.

The night that gleams at me like a polished gentleman who knows the language of my soul and has read the book of my life. 
The book of my life with all its versions. 
And all its chapters, especially the unfinished ones with their torn pages and wounded characters.


Source: www.dje1231.wordpress.com

The night that gleams maniacally at me. 
Almost like the manic glitter in the eyes of my naughty brother when he used to upturn my papers and steal my pens.  

The night that gleams at me with a blinding glare snatching away my vision and my sanity along with the characters that peopled my life.

The night that gleams with the expectations of a star-studded sky but instead is rewarded with a smoky inky blackness resembling a dirty puddle of muddy water.

The night that gleams with the overwhelming light of hope that the train to the life I seek is on its way here.
The very train whose tickets took me a lifetime to buy.

I have the tickets now.
But all those trains have left, leaving nothing but a trail of dark nights in their wake.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Absence



Image Source : https://www.bu.edu/bpt/performances/absence/


Sometimes, I look at the light and wonder what if it was not light but dark. Pitch dark.
What if white was not white but black. Jet black.
If lies were not lies but truths.
If joys were not joys but sorrows.
In such a world and such a universe, would your absence not be an absence but your presence?

I dream of my tomorrows filled with our yesterdays.
Those light moments stolen from hefty realities that formed the constellations that I stare at. Night after night.
Hoping you stare at them too.
From wherever you are.
Right now.

I think I am a leaf.
Trying to attach myself to your tree even when I know that we were separated by the winds of time long ago.
I don’t know if I will ever realize that my forever just lasted for the moments that had you in them.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Two Years Ago




Picture Credits : Sheetanshu Agarwal & Krishna Kumar






















I am coming from a far off place. A place called ‘Two Years Ago’ that I no longer recognize because it was so hideously expensive that I incurred a ginormous debt while in there. 
A debt, I had no idea, would cost me lakhs of heartbeats and millions of feelings. 
A debt where the currency was people and the interest went up with the rise in the moments we shared. 
I am coming from Two Years Ago, but at a very slow pace. 
A pace that is slower than time itself, because two years have happened and ended, and I am still there, making my sluggish way forward, trying to reach The Present.


Picture credits: Agrani Punj

Of course, once I do, I will earn all that stuff back, and try to repay the bankers who keep the memories locked in a special account of nostalgia and hurt and all things bittersweet.
Once I reach The Present, I will empty my life of all those events and conversations that make the walk to it so hard.

Once I reach The Present
I will not spend my nights awake in the classrooms with a motley assortment of people, who came together purely on a stroke of fate, like a package of assorted biscuits on Diwali.
I will not give in to midnight cravings that strike me like thunder and lose a major part of my savings in the night canteen or on sudden trips to Murthal/ India Gate/ Bangla Saheb.
I will not pretend to listen to lectures in class while doing what I do best in life (read daydreaming).

Picture credits: Pixcell, IIFT
I will not celebrate midnight birthdays on campus or spend sleepy-wakeful nights trying to mug up for exams.
I will not watch those puppies grow into mischievous dogs.
I will not click photographs every second day or dance unabashedly at atrium parties.
I will strip my life of all those things and rush to The Present.

Picture credits: Pixcell, IIFT

However…
On second thoughts…
Let me arrive late as usual.
And take my own sweet time to reach. For surely it hasn’t been so long since we were at Two Years Ago, has it?

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Six





One.
There was one moment when I wondered if I had done the right thing by filling the form. And there was another moment when I realized that one moment of hesitation was not worth it at all because of course, I had been right. There was only one word for it. Perfect.

Two.
Two cabs accommodating laughter and gossip, titbits and tales, texts and the people writing them. Two sauces – red and white, mingling with mouth-watering pasta and eye-watering jokes. With the two arguments over the double cheese pizza and the extra mayo-ed nachos. Two hundred party venues being looked into before homing in on one- the one with the best deal, the best time and of course, the best people.

Three.
Three a.m. meetings where brainstorms would occur at the speed of light and ideas would be debated with religious gusto. Three a.m. confession sessions at the Top of the World where intimacies invited confidences and secrets were traded in the hallowed institute of trade.

Four.
Four thousand emails skyrocketing into the inbox. Four hundred aspirants to be answered to. Four and twenty articles to be written. Four thousand messages to sift through and apprehensions, turmoils and uproars to be contained.    

Five.
Five people sitting side by side in guest lectures, noting down moments and their significance, noting the similar-sounding words like distinguished, esteemed, welcome, campus and leadership, but in essence recording mainly the five million expressions of the ones sitting right next and secretly laughing at their inane comments. Five people taking down notes and one clicking away the five pictures to go with them, but mainly just filing the pictures away in the memory cabinets for flicking through them some time in the future.

Six.
Six we were and six we are. I know that six is the devil’s number. And I think it fits us perfectly well. Because we are devilish. Devilishly good together.  

#ApnaKaumMediaKaum

(The above reference would only be clear when you have spent two years (or even one, for that matter) in the sacrosanct precincts of the Media Committee at IIFT and discovered a kind of religious fervor in the writing of a blog, the organizing of chat meets and of course, TEDx or even answering aspirant queries.)  

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Madhouse

It is a brand new year and I was just thinking how to give a new start to this blog. But then I realized that my blog, much like my life, has been a series of fits and starts. Perhaps that is how it is supposed to be.
My writing has been pretty scattered the past year what with verses written on tissue papers, short stories noted on cellphone, and blog posts on the university website. As a result, this space got easily ignored. Now, as I begin the end of my journey at IIFT, I decided to bare my thoughts here on this old space of mine.  




Blood is made of a red substance; they call it haemoglobin.
But madness is made of a substance which they haven’t named yet.

It is made of songs sung tunelessly in the dark streets around Sanjay Van. 

It is made of dreadful PJs that emerge from minds that don’t know how to crack jokes because they haven’t learnt the art of laughter. 

It is made of steel. Steel bars of the benches where we sat for hours that disappeared in the web of time. 

It is made of power banks. Power banks that we snatched from each other because our phones were never fully charged. 

It is made of khakras and theplas that they brought every time they came from home. 

It is made of chairs where we sat and sipped bournvita. 

It is made of crumbs. Crumbs and remains of the rusk biscuits that accompanied the bournvita and the tea. 

It is made of chilli potatoes. Chilli potatoes and paneer tikkas that we ate at buffets where we gorged till food threatened to kill us. 

It is made of hands. Hands and legs which moved in every whichever way when we danced inebriated with laughter in the atrium. 

It is made of wings. The wings of wisdom that we saw everyday as we devoured the sunlight while walking towards the ice cream stall.

Our madness is made of a million things. Bits and pieces. Bits and pieces of rights and wrongs, dread and jubilation, thoughts and sensations. Some tiny and some long. Tiny moments snatched in an eye-roll and long hours spent studying presentations.

They say blood makes you related. 
But they don’t know that madness makes you family.

Friday, 6 October 2017

It's Review Time!

Rain- A Survivor’s Tale
by Sriram Subramanian

(A Critical Review)


The novel revolves around the life and times of a man who is in conflict with his past and his present. He challenges the forces of nature and long-standing conventions, loses badly, learns his lessons and starts over. As the subtitle suggests appropriately, the story is about a survivor, a person who goes through all the trials of fire and emerges purified. It touches upon a number of issues, starting with the problems of a northerner marrying a Marathi girl as the protagonist does. It beautifully captures the way a language can alter the status of a person. The protagonist despite his love of all things Maharashtrian is not able to express his fidelity and loyalty to the community due to the fact that he does not know the language. It expresses aptly how language barriers create family rifts. The book starts with the relationship dynamics in Jai’s family and highlights the entrenched blind faith in certain traditions and personalities like the great astrologer Pandit Borkar whose prediction sets the wheels of events turning and effectively begins the novel plot in earnest. What follows is a story of a man walking on a tightrope of his dreams and others’ expectations, trying desperately to establish himself, walking in his virtuous father’s footsteps and keeping everyone happy. An atheist, he tempts fate by openly declaring his intentions to thwart the great Borkar’s predictions of hard times in the near future and swears to build a bungalow for his wife, Sarika. He ignores her intuitive feelings when she tells him to pause and warns him repeatedly regarding opportunistic friends. But inebriated with the will to succeed at any cost and heady with the lucrative big business deal he lands up, Jai ignores Sarika’s misgivings.
What results is his complete collapse when not just his client breaks the deal, but he has to file for bankruptcy when his business partner and long-time friend turns into a venomous foe. All these difficult times are worsened by his father’s death leaving behind three thick diaries that take Jai on a soul-searching journey back to his past. His demons start resurfacing and skeletons begin crawling out of his past closet turning his mind around and creating a miasma of guilt around him, a whirlpool which he is not able to escape and eventually gets sucked into.
The adventures of Jai when his business crumbles and he takes to the streets takes the reader to the grimy underbelly of the city of Pune and unveils the tragic fates of those who make their living on the streets. It also exposes the political drama that goes behind the scenes of an election.
Various themes sprout up in the novel at different times, for instance, the Marathi pride and fierce sense of belonging towards their own community, the ambition of politicians, a mother’s blind love, misplaced anger, infidelity and so on. Jai’s father-in-law is the father figure in this book, the man who is able to view everything with an unbiased perspective and provides sane advice to anyone who needs it.
Jai’s past deals with a crucial social matter of how rumors can ruin a person’s life. The reception of a sibling by a child has been sensitively portrayed in the novel. In fact, Jai’s story of Sunny is the crux of the plot and a prime mover in his upbringing, his relations with his father and the major cause of his leaving his hometown. The author has carefully threaded this delicate issue into the book, taking into account honest, unbarred feelings and giving them voice in an effort to understand and learn the nuances of such a touchy matter. 
The thing about the characters was that they were predictable. The good thing was that they could be easily identified with. A bit of unreality crept into the story at times, when the protagonist takes to the street and farm life easily, giving it a very movie-ish feel. But there is an element of unconventionality in the plot when Jai’s difficult decision with Ashok bears no fruit and he is relegated to unknown parts of the country because of his own decision never to meet Sarika. The reader is kept wanting for the two star-crossed lovers to meet but is tormented for quite sometime. The jewel on the crown is the worldview of the holy man who wanders into the village where Jai has settled and shakes him out of his torpor, giving him the peace of mind he had been seeking so long. 
False friends, hypocritical relations, critical naysayers, hurt beloved, tormented protagonist- all the major elements of a potboiler combine in this book with the burning concerns of the age what with corruption, domination of females, plight of the slum-dwellers, the dirt of politics, and the state that the country is in to give it a contemporary fast-paced feel.
The novel moves through the political centres of the city of Pune to the smelly dilapidated hovels beneath the flyovers to tranquil farmlands seamlessly telling many tales in a natural voice of a common man who abides by the rules, is moderately ambitious, dogged by guilt due to his past and wants to transform his life.
Some incredible life lessons emerge suitably in the final chapter where Jai finally gets his salvation from the honeyed words of a great man, who in some beautiful and powerful lines, explains accurately what life is all about. It is beautiful to note the role of rain in this novel. At the outset of the novel, Jai prayed for the rains to be delayed as opposed to the majority of the population for whom rain was a blessing in disguise. As rotten luck would have it, it rained cats and dogs soon after and life took a severe downturn for him. However, the end of the novel shows how Jai reconciled with his lot, forgave himself, reconciled himself to the harsh realities of life and ultimately came to love the rains.      


***

Here is the link to buy it online :)
https://www.amazon.in/Rain-Survivors-Tale-Subramanian-Sriram/dp/9385854119

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Rapunzel Story

“They have silver in their hair, gold in their heart… and magic in their hands.”


Source: DesiComments.com


Or at least in my grandmother’s hands. This is not just because every dish she prepared made my taste buds go ‘this is nirvana!’ or even the simplest tea she brewed was so much better than any I ever had so far. It was because her hands worked magic on my hair. Every afternoon when I came home from school, I would get over with my ablutions, and before mother could place my bowl of rice in front of me, I was off to see grandma in her room, where she sat caressing her tresses with oil. My grandma had luscious, beautiful, wondrous, jet-black hair. She loved to tell me her story of her Rapunzel-like long hair and how when granddad’s parents came to see her, the first thing that amazed them about her was her hair. They asked not one question after that. And just like that, their marriage was settled.
“They liked your hair so much that they wedded their son to you?” I had asked incredulously.
“Absolutely!” Grandma had answered with that beautiful laugh of hers and the familiar twinkle of her eyes. “In those days, one’s hair was one’s pride.”
“It still is.” I had said. “But hardly anyone has the kind of black hair that you do.”

But it was evident why that was the case. Grandma oiled her hair daily, not missing even a single day. And that is what she had done to me as well. Every afternoon, I would sit in front of her, my arms around my knees and my mane spread out. Grandma would then run her old veined hands over my hair. First slowly, and then with a little emphasis to ensure that every strand of my hair got the massage and nutrition it needed. She took care of her hair like a plant, watering (oiling) it, and helping it grow by nurturing it carefully.  No wonder I too had long, black and shiny hair. Not just because of my genes, but because Grandma had put so much effort into caring for my hair.

She always insisted on coconut oil. She said it was the best oil for one’s hair.

“What if my hair is oily or say, dry and flaky? Isn’t there supposed to be different types of oil for different types of hair?” I would ask when I entered adolescence and saw my peers doing all kinds of things to their hair and feeling just a little bit left out.

Coconut oil is the best.” She would say with a finality that no one could contest. Parachute was her constant. And consequently, our staple.   

***

“Come on everyone! Be seated quickly!” I ordered.
Mom, dad, grandpa, my little brother, uncle, aunty and their two daughters were all seated as per my instructions. We were going to witness something today.

“What is it? Will you tell us?” everyone was asking.
“Just wait and watch.” I said and switched on the video.

On came all the snaps that we had taken at different times in our life - right from when we were tiny tots to weddings, birthdays, celebrations, occasions all the way to our current year. There were also photos from times much before we were born.

“Who is that?” My cousin exclaimed at a black and white photograph of a beautiful woman with long black hair that reached her knees.
“That is your grandmother, kid.” Grandpa said fondly, a tear escaping his eye. “This was the picture I had taken of her when we got married.”

Everyone gasped in surprise.

“How did you arrange these pictures? They look ancient! And so beautiful.” Mom lauded my efforts, making me blush.
“This picture relived all those moments again.” Grandpa said a little sadly.

It had been three years since Grandma had left for her heavenly abode. I still remember how we used to celebrate Grandparents’ Day when Grandma was alive, with all due ceremony, cake and music and good food…

But ever since grandma’s demise, this had seen a cessation. There was no more celebration, no more cakes, no more laughter, no more good times on this wonderful day.

But this time, I was determined to celebrate Grandparents’ day. Because I am sure that's what grandma would have wanted. Because she would have liked to see us together and happy. Because it was simply the time to #LoveJatao.
So, I had done all I could to gather our fondest memories and to relive all our cherished times.

I rushed to the kitchen and brought out a tray. In memory of Grandma, I had arranged a cake, with ‘To our favorite Rapunzel and her Prince’ etched on it in lovely pink icing.

Grandpa had tears in his eyes. As I fed him a piece, I'm sure I heard grandma’s beautiful laugh somewhere. She was still with us.

***

Happy Grandparents' Day!
Hope you cherish these moments with your grandparents forever!


***

#LoveJatao #ParachuteAdvansed #BlogAdda
I look forward to hear from you how would you celebrate Grandparents Day. Do share a selfie with your grandparents on Sept. 10, 2017 on Twitter or Facebook with #LoveJatao & tag @blogadda to win a goodie from Parachute Advansed.