Monday, November 9, 2009
Never mind that I choose not to focus on the fact that if a camera in any form is placed in front of me, I will happily pose for it. I choose to relate this to a healthy level of self-esteem; but this I will leave for another day.
Coming back to my love for photography - I never owned a camera until March 2007. The family owned an old outdated Nikon that was lost in my father's cupboard - a testimony to his general disinterested self in the last decade and half of his life. I remember him asking my uncle to buy it for him in the early 90s in the US and airship it with my grandparents on their way back from the US. I believe and hope my memory rightly prods me to say so that Appa spent a decently large sum on the camera. In fact, I remember the pride and content on his face when he first received it - probably among his favorite material possessions. I am personally fond of this camera now for a personal reason - that it adorns my laptop wallpaper; a picture of Appa taking a picture of someone with his camera.
Wow! I do get distracted very easily. But my point of this anecdote was that at some level, I was influenced by my dad's short-lived interest in photography. My first camera was a gift by mom's sister and her husband to me. My aunt definitely experienced relief that I had completed my MBBS and had finally hopefully rid myself of exams. I haven't really pursued photography as a skill, haven't learnt the art of still photography, haven't learnt about influence of lighting or any other nuances. I admire people who take an avid interest in developing this hobby and love to listen to their tidbits. Yet my love for photography is different.
I love taking pictures of people. Maybe it is because I am a people's person; but I reason it is more likely from years of time spent in the local trains in Mumbai silently observing people. As arduous, tiring and even nightmarish that local train travel can be, seasoned travelers will all subscribe to this shared cultivated passion for observing others during the long travel times. Calm, contented, happy, elated, uncontrollable-laughter-filled, retail-therapied, surprised, taken aback, anxious, worried, scared, hopeful, prayer-filled, angry, irritated, disgusted, foul-mouthed, peeved, miffed, discontented, tired, hungry, sleepy, sleeping, dozing, snoring, sleeping-with-mouth-open, sleeping-with-mouth-open-and-drooling, ogling-from-the-video-coach ... and expressionless faces... I would always think to myself about how amazing it would be to capture the entire range of emotions in one moment, in one picture. More ambitiously, I would imagine the cool idea of capturing the same face at different times - a feat possible as we were all 'regulars' who often bumped into each other and shared a quietly acknowledged bond. I missed the camera when my friends and I would jump in a puddle created by the rain. I missed the camera when a friend and I caught one of my studious (annoyingly boring) med-school classmates gorging on a watermelon on the road on one hot summer afternoon - and we couldn't figure out if those black spots were the seeds or flies. I missed my camera when that little 4 footer old man danced cutely with his iktara outside Parel station to the tunes of devotional abhangs.
I love capturing candid moments involving people. Sunsets and birds and mountains and valleys - I love to inhale them and keep them alive in my memory. But people, especially, in their unguarded moments are my passion. What is the use of having many pictures of the same person uncomfortably posing in their apparently most docile self for the camera? I want to capture the spirit of that person in the camera, as difficult as it may be. Everyone is beautiful and everyone makes the camera better - if they are allowed to do so by being themselves. While I do not approve of the candid camera violating boundaries of accepted noble behavior, I definitely heartily encourage the spirit of capturing my friends, relatives, loved ones and even strangers in the narrow aperture of that awesome device.
After all, it makes for great memories.
And my subjects usually love them too.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
While we haven't milked the indifferent Mumbai enough just yet, I choose not to focus on that issue today. Instead, what riled me up was the author of that article - Rajdeep Sardesai. Yes, it was a very well written piece about a situation I am loathe to have been a witness. There again, I am not talking about this particular article. Seeing his name associated with it sent me on a train of thoughts and memories chasing recent news and debate coverage on national television - and erupted the discomfiture.
The 90s cable t.v. revolution brought home a new member - the 24*7 news channel. With it, entered Prannoy Roy into my life. That suave, bearded handsome man captured my semantics-loving heart and I would watch him speak, sometimes without blinking an eyelid. But when I think about it, I realize that I was always struck by his calm unfazed demeanor that never once betrayed his position. He was there to report the news as it was, and that he did without slipping a personal emotion. He was to moderate a debate, and therefore, he never played judge. He never blatantly or subtly played favorites, however agonizingly wrong one side of the argument was. Hence, when it was time for Roy sahib to give roots to his sapling, everyone applauded bravo!
Roy brought in a host of fresh faces, enthusiastic workers with a range of baritones that chirped away updates on current affairs, sports, weather, entertainment and the like. Suddenly, there was a systematic improvement in presentation with attention given to even something as minute as the facade of the backstage drama. In a matter of months, hitherto unknown (but good looking) faces like Rajdeep Sardesai, Vikram Chandra, Sonia Razdan, Barkha Dutt, Srinivasan Jain, Vishnu Som, Arnab Goswami took turns at joining us at the dinner table and spurred hour long passionate debates across the familial table.
Sooner, they became celebrities in their own right. While I never had a concept of a weekend back then, Saturday 8:00 pm was about Rajdeep's "The Big Fight" and Sunday 8:00 pm was about Barkha's "We, the People". I think I speak for most of my peers when I say that these two reporters captured our imagination by their fiery brand of question and counter-question, impulsiveness, the ability to provoke politicians and then sheer eloquence. Barkha inspired girls to give a voice to their opinions, she inspired a movie character (speaks volumes of her personality in a cinema crazy country). Journalism gained a new-found respect in a new-found avatar and now seemed like a near-lucrative one too. Come elections, Mahesh Rangarajan and Dorab Sopariwala, two contrasting personalities, enamored the elite with their numbers and statistics. Roy took a backstage and allowed himself to play mentor to his proteges except for the election time coverage.
With fame, comes attraction of greater fame. Probably, more so, the attraction of a new challenge. And as the now-old timers moved to better prospects with news TV channels, the audience could salivate at the prospect of better news coverage. But it has turned out a huge mess. None of these journalists have retained their charm. The pressures of competition are seemingly wearing them off. Rajdeep and Barkha are now incapable of playing fair and square. Yes, communal riots get us all riled up, but face it, you have to play moderator and not judge on that dias. You can't invite people over and then give them a dressing down. Last I saw, Barkha spoke more on her show than the guests. And the 26/11 coverage was insufferable, to say the least. Vikram Chandra has managed to stave off some criticism, but it was quite long before we could accept his inheritance of "The Big Fight". Arnab Goswami, the less said about him the better, although I will comment that his handling of the 26/11 tragedy was by far the best and by far the most composed in the face of horror.
Journalism is a tough job. Yes, anyone can strum words and report. But it takes an astute person to separate the wheat from chaff. We need the Prannoys and the Vinod Duas of yesterday. I personally feel that these known faces need to understand that they carry the weight of intelligentsia and therefore, are responsible for a decorous conduct befitting their job. Keep the emotion aside and do your job well.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Don't leave. Anjali's doe-like eyes pleaded. Flooded with tears that stoically refused to trickle, yet refusing to be placated. The soft rays of the setting sun entered between the bars of the window and cast a mushy glow on her that longed to be caressed and held in my hands.
I looked at my hands. Large, rough, hardened. My hands yearned for her soft palms, my fingers longed for her delicately shaped ones that playfully intertwined with mine. I looked at her, at the yellow chiffon dupatta curled around her neck and shoulders. How radiant she looked even in sadness! I stared at her for a while. What was it about her that pulled me away from my world into hers. Was it the curious mix of sheer brilliance of conviction admixed with the genteel charm she exuded? Was it the sharp contrast of her quiet disposition in the public against the opinionated and outspoke I knew when we were in each other's company. She always had and has this knowing look in her eyes, the quiet confidence that I quickly lost myself in. She would listen in wondrous innocence, like a child discovering the world; and then she could speak in a continuous gush of words as if there were no tomorrow.
What was it about her I wondered. I mulled. I hated confusion. I hated ambiguity. I hated this quagmire of not having my answers. And then again, I loved every second of this medusa.
to be contd.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
oh c'mon you ferret
sitting morose and upset
your mirror image disagrees
asks the dead mood to get upbeat
what the hell is wrong
you sing such a dull sad song
the madness is missing
monkeys won't swing along
sorry the hand won't move
the words don't any sense strew
but excuses gotta stop
the champion has to start anew
seeing my own words with pride
i smile and decide
if i can write so much
the thesis should be a jolly ride!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
My life has been anything, but peaceful, in the last couple of years. I lost all father figures in my life in this span, all men in my life just disappeared. To be honest, it sent me reeling. I just don't know how I managed to breathe in the last year especially after my father passed away. But live I have! And my facebook pics are testimonial to my working-weekdays-partying-weekends lifestyle.
Yet, I find the greatest joy in a quiet moment of solitude, in contemplation. Not just introspection, as a matter of fact, I am wary of self-prosecution as I end up feeling cut up with myself. I think about the ways of the world, the times we live in, the events we are witness to. I often think about how difficult it must have been for the first generation Indians to come to this faraway land and alien culture that must have been so hostile to them in the beginning. Hostile climates, clementine interactions. A friend was talking about how her dad came to the US in 1970 from the then Bombay to Chicago in January. And everyone looked at him as though he got out of a UFO. They hadn't heard of a place called India. Strange? More terrifying, I would say.
My life is so simple. I chat with mom everyday, see her face everyday - though she lives oceans away. I can talk to her at any time. My sister is updated with the important events in my life. I haven't as yet held my lil nephew in my arms, yet I see grin and monkey around to catch him smiling on the webcam at least once a week! A long lost friend was rediscovered and I am in conversation with her everyday though she lives in NZ. I cook Indian food and my kitchen is stocked with exotic stuff ranging from kesar to kokum to tamarind to even goda and dabeli masala! All bought in the local Indian store.
Those first generation Indian immigrants were a courageous lot. Traveling miles from the familiarity, comfort and luxury of home to a place not-so-welcoming of them, that calls for courage of conviction. Yes, they sought a better life, but they had to sacrifice a lot to win their medals and build their homes. I can't imagine living in those times. I would run back home. I know I couldn't have survived.
I often chide my parents for belonging to a confused generation that was stuck between the traditions of the old, the liberterian younger generation and their own dreams. Yet, today, I stand to benefit from some of their sacrifices, their inventions, their discoveries. Quietly, they lay a solid foundation for us, the children of the 90s to erect our glorious edifices on. And to them, I credit my comfortable life of today.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
A white morulous swell
Lubbing dubbbing third week
Spouting fingers'n'toes sleek
Squished up inside
A warm cocoon to reside
Months of hibernation
Then kicking in preparation
Our lives squeezed in a funnel
through the whirlpool of a narrow tunnel
We come to the light
Of warm hopes, smiles and delight
Friday, September 11, 2009
Eyes brimming with tears
Oscillating wildly between extremes
Emotional pendulum, I cry
Coldplay cooing a trance
I lift my hands wide in the air to the chorus
Rain drops falling large and fast
Wiping the sweat and wrinkles from my face
Levitating I am in tragicomedy
Who might it be elevating my status
A thousand faces I can fix on those strong shoulders
Bow to thee all, in utter humility
The interplay of laughter and tears
Antonymic in their act
Thanks to you, I survive
The roller coaster we ride together
A peek into my inbox
Has there been a shred of evidence
That we're being remembered this Fall?
Shunt you out, I haven't
Blasphemous a call
Yo-yo goes the plea
For a distance unpleasant
Come back old times
For fun, frolic and smiles
Unbridled with distraught
Bring back the sunshine.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
thinking about you
wondering how you'd be
shuffling in your seat
i am so excited that
dawn will here be soon
and i can call you and chirp
about the last two moons
you will be gone soon
i think sadly
how close we've grown
over the summer gladly
yet i will wait
for your return each time
and sit and fool around
with you my friend anytime!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I've never been overtly religious, but I would definitely call myself spiritual. I explain the difference in describing the form as a disciplined yet ritualistic way of life and spirituality as my own personal connection with a higher form of energy we commonly refer to as God. This being defined, the shloka mentioned is extremely soothing to my frayed nerves. Reciting it or just listening to MSS's version radiates positive warm vibes and in a matter of minutes, I am a different person. I have been practising listening and reciting the Sahasranamam everyday for the past 9-10 months now and it has only helped me tremendously. I often ponder over what could be embedded in these shlokas that has such a powerful effect on me. Is it the words, the tune or the rhythm of the breath when we recite it? The mystic surrounding this befuddles me all the time and yet I am happy to enter the realm of confusion everyday.
Anger, sadness, disappointment are all washed away. The unwanted energy dissipated, and suddenly I experience a suffusion of fresh thoughts, ideas and creative energy. Suddenly, life seems so much more manageable than it was 30.20 mins ago. I also listen to the Suprabhatam in the morning - one of my favorite activities of the day. And the more I listen to them, the more I am inclined to believe that we're all just interacting forces of energy. I'll explain this metaphysical idea another day. But for now, I just feel humbled by the thought that I am actually just a miniscule mass of energy in the play of the universe.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti-hi.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wondrous and amazed by nature's bravado
Spanning insurmountable and ferocious terrains
that lead to serene and felicitous plains
Suddenly I saw myself sitting by the window
It wasn't a reflection or a picture
I was looking at the scene from behind my back
As if that girl were someone I knew from before
I looked at myself intently,
As if this were my own creation
I understood that person wholly yet
I chided and rebuked to her running to perdition
I commended her on her altruism
And pointed out where she could improve
I crushed her shoulder warmly
Hugged her from the back and cruised
A shiver ran down my spine
Did I just travel between surreal and reality
Is this body mine leased to another's soul
Who am I really, i trotted on introspection
Should I be fearful of myself
Should I take a walk down introspection
Was this an over analysis, a hallucination
Maybe I just lull myself into the realms of sleep.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The room was at the end of the dark long corridor, beyond the communal bathrooms and communal tap, beyond three rundown unoccupied homes. The stench didn’t hit us until we crossed the first house. We didn’t need sleuths to suggest that here was ensconced the perfect setting for an unobtrusive act of brutal disaffection. As we neared the flat, guarded by masked policemen, I felt the need to run back urgently and vomit out the lack of guts. Even seasoned officers betrayed their confident demeanor and enquired after the severity of the scene. I gathered my wits and hid behind the inspector’s shoulder as he slammed the door ajar. I wasn't prepared for this face-off. Something told me that today was different. That scared the hell out of me.
Treading the room with caution and fear, I skewed my eyes hoping to notice pieces of evidence possibly missed by cursory glances. Kali, the goddess, looked down with rage - her hair flaring with anger, her tongue spewing fire at the enemies of her devotees and scorn at friends who couldn't help them, her eyes protruding with disgust, her hands shaking with the raw instinct to avenge the losses. Suddenly, my field of vision was invaded by an image that will remain etched in my memory, even if I get struck down by Alzheimer’s disease. The little boy. I remember the boy sitting shocked in a fetal position with his head between his knees, still in disbelief. He found solace in the corner of the cold 10 by 12 feet room. The one-room house exuded the aura of raw instinct, of exceeding human passion, of the horror of neglect. The blue distemper was peeling off in large parts and the mosaic tiles uneven in their lay. The walls were now newly painted. Large bold streaks and splashes of dried dark red blood besmirched the old walls. Pieces of torn clothes were strewn on the floor, the minimal furniture in utter disarray. The foam of the torn cushions mirrored the frothing at the mouths, the blotches of spilt ink resonated with the sight of large bruises.
What had he seen? What did he know? Would he recognize the barbarians? There was no flicker of emotion on his face, just an empty stare. He didn’t blink for many minutes at a stretch, as if forcing himself to retain the memory of the incident. I wanted to touch the little boy, pat his head, hold his hand; yet I knew that nothing I said or did would reverse the chain of actions that left him orphaned and abandoned. Cherubic, button like black eyes, a soft plump nose, thin pursed lips, with thin plucky hair, in khaki shorts offset by a blue polo necked t-shirt, barefoot. Unharmed. Untouched. Untarnished. Yet the scars couldn't be missed. I could have made a nursery rhyme describing his appearance had it not been the brevity of the circumstance. Just about 3 feet tall, he couldn’t have probably seen more than five years in what was now a dastardly cruel world. Did he want to hug his mother and hide in the pleats of her sari? Did he want to tug at his sister’s hair and run all over the place? Did he want to sit by his father as he narrated stories of how the pen was mightier than the sword? What was he thinking? Was he thinking anything at all? What was to be done of him? Did he understand the gravity of the situation? Fear painted his tanned face a pale white, mortification made him a rigid frozen statue. I had been down this path before, yet I had never met someone so young and innocent there. I wanted to scream, but my throat was hurting with dryness, my voice lost to the the helplessness of deep sorrow.
This wasn’t my first assignment and won’t be my last either. Yet, there was something lecherous about it, something extraordinary. Perhaps, it was because the man lying with over twenty stab wounds was a close friend, a fearless journalist, a true patriot. Or was it because the woman, happy in her ignominy, played a silent hapless victim to the ruthlessness of her husband’s murderers? The woman who sent her husband on his mission, praying silently for his safe return, while cradling her unborn child in her womb. The elder daughter whose laugh filled the ears and hearts of all who knew her, opened the door of her life to the ones who'd close life on her forever. But weren’t similar stories played out to us before? What was it about this incident that affected us so much? I knew the answer and I think I was scared to admit it because of the futility of our endeavor to bring justice. Wasn’t he the man braved his life and went undercover to reveal the modus operandi in the slum rehabilitation scheme? Yes, he was the man, who socialized with crass and class that looted the city under the garb of rehabilitating slum dwellers. He was the one who traced the path of corruption from the lowly servant to the highest echelons of power. He knew the path ahead was full of thorns, he knew he held more than his life at stake. He’d gathered a dedicated coterie around him, but sadly, he failed to recognize the Judas. So much so for his bravery, he lost all evidence, his family and finally his life. The threats had been coming for a while. But he wasn’t among those to be daunted easily. He mentioned it casually to the Commissioner once. The next day, police in plain clothes hovered around him unobtrusively. Nothing happened for a few weeks. Then suddenly, in the Nov 26th terror attacks, the demoralized police force recalled their men from these extended services. And here we were, the morning of Nov 28th, in this room, amidst strains of news reporters belching ‘live’ coverage of the military retaliation.
… I remembered why I was here. I was here to do a job, and not allow my train of thoughts to take me away. I felt my hands shivering and feet glued to the floor. I shuddered to fetch the lenses from the case and capture the scene for posthumous justice - and posterity. As I started the mundane routine of clicking away strategic pictures, I felt vindictive adrenaline coursing through my veins. I felt the need to attack every nook and corner into the aperture of my weapon. As a crime photographer, I was supposed to observe and gather evidence bravely, dispassionately and impartially. Yet, within the walls was encapsulated a gush of violence that was breaking the walls of my emotional dam at its seams.
I had finished my job and packed my bag. Investigations had picked up a frenzied pace. Tempers were soaring, papers flying around. Phone calls were attended to in voice modules of servility. But something tickled my conscience and I decided to stay. I usually manage to maintain my equanimity. What was it then today? I stared into a distance as if looking for an answer, but I found my neck turning to the little boy. How was he forgotten in the melee? Why wasn’t he taken away? I remembered a poem from school that described how a warrior’s widow remained still in shock and cried only when an old lady place her newborn baby in her lap. What psychotherapy could I offer? I was a cynic, who always wondered how we could have the audacity to predict human behavior. Living in the world of crime only strengthened my belief and denigrated any iota of respect I’d had for humanity. Yet, I knew, I had to something.
I trudged toward the boy wondering what to say. Should I be solemn? Should I smile reassuringly? Should I just sit by him? I held out my trembling hand and touched his shoulder. I don’t know what pulse of electricity jolted him. He turned to me with piercing eyes, and a moment later, he was in my arms wailing for his mother and father. Like a dark cloud slapping another heavy dark fluff of moisture. Like a flood arising from the juxtaposition of a storm with the high tide. Like a dam broken.
Everything came to a standstill. He clutched me tightly and refused to let me go. I stroked his hair, he cried out for his father. I kissed his cheek, he yelled out for his mother. I felt helpless in my ignorance and ashamed of my hesitancy to help. Yet, I felt responsible for him. What was it that just connected us momentarily? Was it humane touch? Was it destiny or a past debt? Was it a relation that trespassed the boundaries of blood? Then I remembered something I'd heard a long time ago. "Some things in life do not follow the rules of logic. Some things in life are not meant to be within the realm of conscious understanding. Some things in life are inexplicable and are best left so". Where did those words come from, I don't know. They weren't mine, they belonged to someone I'd discredited a long time ago. Now, my karma had just boomeranged and was standing in front of me. A doubt erupted. Should I be brave enough to think aloud? Yes. Should I take him and leave him with authorities. Yes, maybe. Should I? Can I? Maybe I can. Could I be the plastic surgeon who wouldn't be able to erase the scars entirely, but could at least graft them with new memories? Will my hands have the power to soothe away the pain and gore? Will I be able to live up to the responsibility? Am I suffused with immature enthusiasm? Am I running away? Oh my God or whatever supernatural energy you are, where the hell are you now when I need you to give me the answer?
I closed my eyes for a minute. I envisaged. A vision of my future appeared, surrounded by an illuminating halo. The halo encircled me with the boy in my arms, his head resting on my shoulders. My heart was racing. The boy experienced trust and peace. I was filled with warmth and happiness. We were happy. He and I. My heart was beating to a slow peaceful rhythm. I opened my eyes and found myself standing with my head firmly on my shoulders, head held high, bursting with a sense of purpose. I looked at the little boy. Curiously, warmly. Suddenly, he meant more to me than just a colleague’s son. Suddenly he was more than just another child. Suddenly I felt wanted. I felt the presence of another in my lonely life. He lulled himself to sleep in a few minutes. The feeling was comforting. The embrace was humbling. I looked around to have a last glance at the past and to prepare myself for what lay ahead – the task of erasing painful memories and building a new life. For him, and for me. I felt a surge of blood in my heart, a sense of belonging. I took a deep breath, picked up my bag and walked out into a new world.
Friday, July 17, 2009
we're sitting together, yet it all seems anew
seems like moments ago i walked into your life
even a week ago we laughed with delirious pride
feel taken for granted, it really sucks
to think of what came between us
suddenly i find myself waiting in the line
twiddling my fingers hoping you'll find the time
you would walk into my door, held ajar for you
i gave you the liberty, yet i find myself eschewed
was i just a replacement for a love gone by
not even that, maybe just a substandard alibi
i've noticed you talk to me, but your eyes digress
im not edgy, yet the surrender is amiss
i can't deny, i've feared this time
thought i was prepared, but the insecurity can't be denied
suddenly it seems im out of your league
i throw pebbles in water, won't the anxiety recede?
since when did you forget our code decodes
your signals are more noise, expressions a cloak
come back to me, i can't even say
cos you're still with me everyday
but i am not the person you'd rather inform
and though it hurts, i understand it's your call
Thursday, July 9, 2009
never did the moon seem brighter than its reflection in you
sitting by you, i experience a calm, yet
i walk on thorns for fear of uttering a perturbing sound
your graceful sway, a temptress, a delight
you purse your lips and whisper a cool breeze in a teasing display of might
but when did this breeze become an angry wind?
and when did you trample homes with your angry gait?
you're so simple, yet frittered with complexities
unpredictable and quivering in your stance
one moment you laugh like an innocent child full of wonder
the next you rage with ferocity and drive yourself to the abyss
your path transpired peaks, you conquered valleys
yet you remain edgy among plains and landscapes that are friendly
why do you tread with precarious balance
why can't you accept the offer of unwavering trust
equanimity and balance are not easily conquerable traits
yet once acquired, you'll walk head held high with a peaceful steady gait
the angst will go, fear will disappear
take my word, it's not a spiteful bait
Saturday, June 27, 2009
counting our falls and splashing around
the spirits kept floating in one by one
angels and devils together on a song
friends sent the beaded necklace to do their thwart
of the evil eye sending fires by
but we believed the garden of love
was impervious to the flashes of envious draughts
but ashes remain, the shards of the wine glass poke
charred are the bouquets and the cards swim afloat
it was fun that time, the red dress on, the mile long walk and the rainsong
that was years ago and time moved on, now i see your silhouette on the horizon.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Today, I only remember odd quirky things about Appa. Yet, I am so choked with emotion that I can't bring myself to smile. But I am going to allow myself this effusion. I think I must go through these motions of grief... if I truly intend to move on.
Move on, I must.
... and it is getting an iota easier with the passage of time. I'll be happy with that.
Miss you lots Pa.
I'll especially miss the huge b'day signed "With Love, Dad the Great", the lovely bouquet and the black forest (with the biscuit base) that came every year.
I miss our daddy-daughter dates. (though we last had one 5 yrs ago).
Thanks for everything.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
that aside, he's a madcap i've known for a while now!
His cartoon strip Boze M.D. is hilarious and provides me my daily boost of laughter. Highly recommended to those who suffered the trials and tribulations of sitting in the library with a big fat Harrison.
I read the transcript of that speech ... and it looks like an award-winning essay. Obama is well-traveled, has the distinct advantage of mixed parental and step-parental lineage, highly educated and more than that an enthusiastic deep thinker who carries him nothing more than the force of conviction. But as much as I respect and love Obama, I am wary of how much he can translate his words into action.
Yet, I have hope. I was talking to one of my Iranian friends (perks of living in this new world) and she was obviously terribly upset over the rampant blatant violence and injustice in her country. But it was the voice (more like hearsay) of another Iranian acquaintance that caught me... He says that it doesn't matter whether Ahmadejinad or Mousavi come to power. It won't make any difference because ultimately, as the world is witness to, Khomenei and his orthodox puritanical clergy are the 'supreme' power in the country. He said, the rebellion should actually be directed towards ousting the religious heads from fiefdom as they are truly responsible for the unrest in the country. The cry for change is one for a more liberal society and not just for a change in leadership...
Which reminds me of something that MP once said... "A country based on religion can never be successful"... in the context of the 1947 partition. And the more I think about it, the more it seems true. Pakistan and India are cultural twins. (and I can vouch for this as I mingle with quite a few Pakis here). Jinnah apparently envisaged a future for the two countries as one similar to the bond between the USA and Canada - competitive but peaceful. The only reason Jinnah pushed for the creation of Pakistan was to ensure a living in accordance with the principles of the Quran. Yet, even in a country that is homogeneously Muslim, their people are caught in the midst of strife - Muslims killing Muslims. Israel, also created for religious homogeneity, is constantly striving for survival... with ambitious surges of expansion. India on the other hand (while truly not secular), has relatively managed peaceful habitation and co-existence amidst a garden of religions. The USA is similar. Yes, there is no denial that there is a constant show of religious one upmanship in these countries... which makes MP's statement stronger. Personally, religion for me is just a way of instilling discipline in our lives... the matter of God is more spiritual. And you can't dictate the correct way of living... it is a personal choice. MP, you're absolutely right.
I hope the Hindutva ideologues see this glaring evidence. For the love of my country, I pray that we are never wholly saffronized.
P.S. ... we keep teasing MP about being a kid... but he does seem to have some sparks of brilliance and mature thinking. ;)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
What a year it has been.
It was a year of win some lose some. Throughout. I made great friends, made some im-definitely-not-your-friend(s). One thing I will attest to was that there was no monotony. Maybe the constant action and reaction was tiresome.
I got over some well-entrenched prejudices, saw myself in a new light... i.e. accepted that I have my faults and I am really not as perfect as I imagined myself to be. :)
It's been a year where I've done some growing up. And some age-defying regressions.
If I sit with an account book, my family size has stayed constant.
I've learnt so much in the past year, I think I haven't retained even half of that. And I am not talking academics here.
My weekend love notes are a hit. Atleast with some ppl.
Cooking has been good too. Though tidiness needs to be worked on.
Love for clinical medicine is returning. That's a change since my last year's b'day post.
I've begun earning. And more than half my pay goes in paying rent for a house I hardly live in. Apparently, it's called modern-day life.
I am pathetic at negotiating.
I still get tongue-tied with people I have crushes on. It's ridiculous.
I was blessed with an awesome roomie. Hopefully I'll say the same thing same time next year.
My old friendships stayed intact. That's cool!
Hmm... so much to mull over. Should do that on my shuttle ride.
Have decided to start making to-do lists. For everyday. For life.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
i am still standing... or rather finally standing. but not without wavering.
the tubes still haunt me. the bruises from the needles still tarnish the lasting memory.
the grief remains. it's a lil easier to deal with and accept now. but it hasn't lessened.
i guess this is what the others meant... you'll move on. but it never goes away.
how can it go away? how can he become just another piece of memory stored in my limbic system?
he's watching over me. i feel that all the time. i feel the strength.
... and that's what keeps me going.
i have two dreadful exams in the next two days. but he told me that the only thing i should fear is fear itself. yes, i am learning dad. learning the hard way - because now you aren't around to chase away my fears and i have to do it on my own.
i wonder why i don't have a recording of your voice. but i am assured that i'll never forget the baritone.
love you dad.
more with everyday. and i know that you know it too.
love and hugs,
Saturday, May 2, 2009
But butter turning to stone has been a recent sight
Few moons ago, we could melt in each other
Now we stay apart in silence, such a pathetic plight
Introspection is tearing neurons apart
Silent voices make a lot of noise
I am trying to identify the right signal
That will give me the true association to set this right
Why is our interaction regressing into a confounding variable
Your presence positively modifies the effect of my happiness
It doesn't matter how close or how far we keep the variables in the equation
How do I assure you that your significance in my model will never depart?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I trudge along a desert of emotions
Try to keep pace with the wind pushing me
Halt please, I can't, I say in a pleading voice
But the gushing wind can't hear me in the whooshing noise
The desert suddenly transforms into a whirlpool
I am panting for breath, squeezed into the tiny space
Not a second to react, not a moment to think
I feel weighed down by the boulder of a heavy heart, the wish to sink
Then I hear a warm voice thundering me to gather my wits
I recognize the sounds from a really long time ago
A lady who soothed me when I threw tantrums and kicked
In the confines of a cocoon, in her cozy womb
She gave me my senses and taught me to use them sensibly
Sensitivity and sensibility is what I inherited from her
I fail her every now and then, but she eggs me on
I am with you till the end, she says, and pushes me to take the plunge
Without her, I am lost
Without her, I am a stranger to myself
She brought me to the world
And now she's introducing me to myself.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I don't have access to any newspapers here in Balto; neither can I afford subscriptions to NYT or the Washington Post right now. Google News has been my best friend for a while. It's got the most relevant feeds and I keep tabs on India as well as current affairs in the U.S.
What is appalling and saddening to me, everyday I read about war. Everyday. The news isn't glorifying wars, but that is the truth. Though I might just be an insignificant speck of life in this whole world, the thought that millions of people are dying of bullets, infections and starvation as a retribution of human fallacies and greed, pains me each time I see it. Is this really the beginning of the end of times? I wonder if I will stay alive to see the proverbial 'Kalki' come to our rescue.
The pathetic situation in Sri Lanka brings tears to my eyes. Innocent people being held ransom - each second must be a torture for them. For some reason, I remembered this song from the movie Kannathil Muthamittal that I believe is more a prayer for peace. Thanks to Google, I found the translation... and here it is... a desperate heartfelt prayer pleading for peace.
Song: Vellai Pookkal
Movie: Kannathil Muthamittal
Vellai pookkal ulagam engum malargavey!
Vidiyum bhoomi amaithikkaga vidigavey!
Manmael manjal velichcham vizhugavey!
Malarey soambal muriththu ezhugavey!
Kuzhandhai vizhikkattumae, thaayin kadhakadhappil
Ulagam vidiyattumey, Pillayin siru mudhal sirippil...
Mazhai paadum paadalgalum,
Oru mounam, poal inbam, tharumo?
Kavi koartha vaarthaigalum,
Thuli kanneer, poal artham, tharumo?
Charanam - 2
Engu siru kuzhandhai,
Than kaigal neettidumo,
Angu thoandraayo, vellai, nilavey!
Engu manidha inam,
Poar oindhu saaindhidumo,
Angu koovaayo, vellai, kuyile!
Vellai Pookal (Translation)
Let white(peace) flowers bloom all over the world,
Let peace heal the unrest world(not the best translation),
let the sun’s rays fall on this soil,
Let the flowers lose their laziness and bloom.
Let the child open its eyes
in the mother’s lullaby
let the world wake up to
In the breeze’s melody,
In the music created by raindrops,
Is there anything that give utmost joy than silence?
Would a crore melodies and words penned by poets be as meaningful
as a drop of a tear shed?
Let the moon rise in the place where the child reaches out its hands
Let the white bird sing in the place where there is no war
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Soaring above the misty clouds
I dreamed a dream of flying across valleys and hills
Of diving through depths and emerging at long bounds
I wished for sight that would take in at lengths
The ants scurrying below the people in the market
Eagle eyed vision is what you'd call it
Unfettered freedom, would it beget?
I like the feeling of being held up
The kite runner's anchor drawing the string
Letting the kite fly without fear of fall
Fly with confidence and innate joy of all
I fear for the kite when the anchor fails
Cos the kite then loses its way
Sight becomes oversight, enthusiasm is foolishness
Without a direction, the kite falls in its sway
What is a kite without it's anchor
The hand that holds its string, rules its world
Unfettered freedom it doesn't truly enjoy
In its anchor, it places its whole life
Yet, I prefer such curtailed freedom
To be able to relate to another, is what I crave
What life would it be at the end of it all
If there isn't anyone to shed a tear at my grave
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
I went to my old favorite stall that sells Kolhapuri chappals. It is this unique stall that isn't lost in the commonness of the Linking Road stalls. It stands separately near Metro shoes. It doesn't have a name, yet it has it's own identity. You can't miss it. I've been coming here for close to 15 years now; initially in accordance with my shopaholic teenage sister, later on my own adventures.
I love the stall. It retains its old world style and design and yet has some new, funky ones. It is nothing but a hutment on the road selling footwear - yet there is this alluring charm to it. Owned by an old Muslim chap who wasn't sitting on his small stool when I was there; his young sons were manning the stall.
Muslims. I came by Bandra station at 5 p.m.. Usually, the mosque there is blaring the evening prayers in a nasal twang that would put Himmesh to shame. (I hope I spelt his numerologically inspired name correctly). Yes, nothing changed. Yet, a lot was different.
There was a subdued character in the air around. Bandra station and Linking road are crazy places to be around in the evening. Yet there seemed to be some order and hitherto never-seen decorum. Crowds weren't thronging at Linking - and there is always a crowd of young girls there even on Monday afternoon.
Something has changed about Mumbai. It is deceptive, only a seasoned resident can detect it. I didn't initially, then I had a glint of suspicion and the more I think about it, the more convinced I am.
People seem to be wary of lingering around for too long. Either that, or young kids really have jobs or colleges that they're attending. The latter idea though, seems highly unlikely to me.
My hometown doesn't seem to enjoy frivolous and idle activities the way it used to. New Year's celebrations were not enjoyed with the same gusto as before. The city is still mourning, still recovering from the shock of being violated. I will be going to the city tomorrow, near the Taj. I am still debating if I want to pay homage; but I argue that it might be superficial and hypocritical. I am still debating.
Baltimore entices me because if offers me quiet even in a crowd. My hometown seems to be luring me with the same idea. Although I'd love of the idea of Mumbai becoming quieter, this pregnant silence is seriously deafening... and heart-wrenching.
There is sadness at home... and there is sadness at home.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Yet, I feel his presence. I hear his voice waking me up in the morning promising me hot coffee. I hear him calling out my name to eat, to sit with him and talk to him, to make him rotis and to give him his medicines. I hear his loud booming voice shouting angrily at irresponsible people, muttering loudly at the pathetic state of governance. I hear him craving for his favorite foods and describing the best hotels in and around the city. I hear him pleading with me to make his fingers move freely - a plea I had no remedy for. I feel him patting my head when I lie down, trying to soothe my worries and lulling me into a deep sleep and into the realms of a utopian world. I feel his presence even though he isn't here anymore.
What he meant to me is inexplicable and verbose enunciation will only kill the feeling. I don't think anyone will even under-estimate the beautiful bond that a doting father and his daughter share. To be able to spend 25 years of my life with a man who exemplified strength, steadfastness, courage and will power is an honour that I have been bestowed with; but to spend it as the daughter of a man who loved to love is the greatest gift I have received. I think my sister will nod in agreement to this testimony. In her, I see his resilience, his strength and the innate resolve to keep things going. In her, I see his large eyes and humped nose. In her, I see his ability to forgive and love.
Appa has been the epitome of will power - and I say this again and again... and I will keep saying it all my life. He shielded us from all the sorrows and took the big blows himself, my mother keeps saying; I cannot but agree with her. He was shattered, but picked up the shards and glued them together and led us to believe that there will be a better tomorrow. But the todays were good enough for me as we were together in it. No matter how glossy tomorrow will be, Appa, it will never be as good as yesterday - for you were there yesterday, to give me hope and to give me a smile and keep me smiling. For you, I will keep smiling, we will all keep smiling; in the wonderful hope that you're smiling with us wherever you are.
Love you Daddy.