Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tonight, We Feast On Human Flesh

For infidelity, Tiger Woods receives censure and the upturned noses of the entire world. ATP's Player of The Decade is criticized by television reporters and journalists from around the world, his every single following day tracked and pored over. Will he do something again? Will he talk to someone about it? What will he say? How dare he??

Random talk-shows on random networks discuss perversity, unfaithfulness and Tiger Woods all in the same breath. Celebrities offer condolences or issue carefully worded neutral statements, a barely concealed schadenfreude dripping like drool from their mouths.

I don't support what Tiger Woods did. But we still don't know if he had any reasons to push him into such affairs, seemingly in all corners of the popular world. So I also don't support our collective hypocrisy.

Why is that the women he slept with get called on talk shows? Why is it that one after another, as more and more women come forward to claim relationships with the drowning ship that is Mr. Woods, they only gain more fame and more sympathy?

Each and every one of them knew of his marital status. They knew he had children too. What made them get into a relationship with a married man? What kind of mind do they have to be involved in such an affair with such a public person? Surely they didn't think it would always remain a secret? Of course. If you live in America, it is simple to see. It is, both financially and socially, a golden opportunity to have an affair with a married man. Get whisked away to hotelrooms all over the world, be showered with gifts and apartments and cars. Rat on him whenever you choose to, say when his money for you runs out, and society will come forward to offer you a shoulder to cry on for your sorrows and a prime time slot on David Letterman or Oprah Winfrey to give out the spicy gossip.

Again, I do not condone Tiger Woods' actions. I only condone the people who do not dole out the same social exile and criticism to the women who were involved with him.

There are 14 of them, apparently. What are they thinking of now? When some others had come forward to dent and then destroy the sportstar's life, what made them also come forward and throw a few bricks of their own? Where did that sudden conscience come from?

What were they thinking of while they indulged him all those years? Why were they not tormented then by guilt?

One woman came out with the truth, looking to cash in on this shot to instant fame. The others wanted a share of the spotlight too, and came scampering out before the spotlight died out and the story got old. They must be running right now too. It will be a tough few months for them. Doing their best and worst to get on the top talk shows, to have only their voice heard and cheered and applauded by a teleprompted studio audience. Making their story appear most unique - how they hated him all the while, how he was lousy in the act, how sweet he was to them, how swept off their feet they felt, how kinky he was - anything to grab hold of the camera and keep it on them while they still could.

They will be running very, very hard. There is so much to do. In a few weeks, the first books will come out - "My Life With Tiger" or "Behind the Greens" or something else. The first book will sell the most copies. So they will have to run very hard now. Magazine interviews must be sought, with Playboy, Time, People or Good Housekeeping. Secrets must be blurted, by accidents feigned and anger precisely churned, and tantalising details must be released to the press at specific intervals.

I feel sorry for Tiger Woods. Not only is he getting divorced and losing half his fortunes, he is also going to be the most emptied out man in the country. He betrayed a wife for love or lust or fun. Who knows? And now he is being betrayed by every single women he trusted instead, for money and fame leeched out of his own body.

We are a society of cannibals, with no civilization and a God to whom we sacrifice everything truly precious. Occasionally, when the food runs out on us, and it does so every now and then, we pull down one of our own. The bigger he is, the better. We raise up that God, enshrining him and worshipping him. We lift him up over our heads and sing songs in his honour. Then we feast on his flesh, mocking him for thinking he could be great.

We will run out of food one day and wonder what went wrong where.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Of Death

It was damp. The sky was in a perennial dark cloud. It seemed of a single mass, enveloping and overshadowing the town. The sun hadn't been seen, except through a haze, for weeks now. The clouds bore a cold rain, which had beat down without stop for the last three days, drenching the damp earth and forming little rivulets in the mud, which led downstream to a river, black in the darkness of the days. Men shivered in the rain, the cold reached their souls and spirited away any warmth in the blood.

Not a single clean road remained. The paving stones had been broken in the rains the previous year. Those who could repair them and build new ones were not around anymore. The cold, and the dark winds, had claimed them too. No one stepped outside anymore, for fear of the dark wind. The Black Wind, as some called it. No one knew what it was. It whistled past trees and homes, rattling wooden windows and frightening the children. Not just children, the men feared it too, as well as the women. It brought with it death, silent and swift. A healthy man could go to sleep one night and not wake up the next morning. Children died in groups, siblings and playmates. Women were found fallen on the street, still clutching vegetables already rotting in the evil air. It had come upon them. It had come upon them all, and even the priests had no answers except to pray.

The man in the black cape walked slowly, with measured steps. He chanted under his breath to himself, stringed beads in his right hand. With his left hand, he carried posies, flowers that somehow kept alive in these winds and times. They would ward off the evil, and his fingers clenched them in a death grip as he walked down the muddy path.

The rain had slowed to a drizzle, as good a time to be out as any he had seen in recent days. But this was not an ordinary constitutional today. He had been asked to visit. A family had called him to aid their son, an only son, who lay insensate in high fever for the past two days. The parents feared for his life and had called the young priest to heal the boy. He knew what he needed to do, but he did not know how much good it would do. Two days was a long time the boy had lasted. He could succumb to the Wind at any moment now. The priest did what he had to do, however, and bereavement would also be one of his duties.

A group of children was playing in the mud outside, near some trees. It may have been a meadow before, in better times, but now not a single blade of grass could be seen. They ran round and round in a circle, their dresses coated with mud, chanting words in glee. The innocent happiness of children was a blessing at all times, he knew, but parents should be more prudent in such times as this. Girls with their hair in neat ribbons and young boys ran together, round and round. Then they jumped down on to the muddy ground, chortling in joy. Their clothes were blackened with mud. They looked as if part of a funeral procession. The young priest wondered where their parents were. The dirt only increased the Wind's ire, everyone knew that.

Ring around the rosy

Pocketful of posies...

"The world comes to an end, father. The signs are for all to see now." said a voice from beside him.

The young priest jumped in alarm, to the other side. He had not sensed the man approach him.

"We must be brave at heart, at all times. Humanity must stand together even in days of plight and sorrow. Have faith in our Lord and you will yet be saved, my son", he said, more out of rote than anything else. Strangers always came to him for consolation, he expected that. But the numbers had increased of late, and he could hardly walk down any street without being consulted by a man in need of reassurance. They doubted the strength of their God. Death, cold and ruthless, would always hurt the human spirit. But senseless, strange and sudden death, like this, could crush it.

He had heard a lot of talk from the townsfolk, about the world coming to an end. Men had stopped coming to work, taking to the hills instead. Trades were drying up, the supply of fresh produce was lesser and lesser each day. It seemed as if the entire world was beginning to lose hope in its capacity for existence. The endless damp and the unforgiving cold may have shaken their faith, but it was the Wind that had destroyed their courage to survive.

The king, he needed to do something fast for his people. The Vatican should be consulted at the very least. God would not continue to let His children die this way. The high priests at the Vatican would have answers to that. But they had not spoken them out, if they did have them.

"Yes, the signs are all here. It is the end, father." repeated the man. He was taller than the priest, a good foot taller, and his clothes were ragged. They had the look of wealth to them though, wealth that had suddenly become pointless and of no value.

"What signs might these be, son? What do you see that shakes you so?" the priest asked patiently. It was his duty to calm the people as he may. If he could only help the man gain some peace, that would be enough.

"The world comes to an end, father, when even the children sing of death." he said, and pointed.

The priest turned to look at the group of children again, listening carefully to their chant.

Ashes to ashes

We all fall down!

They fell again onto the muddy earth, laughing in delight.

"Come away now", urged the young priest, "Do not pay heed. Come away!"

He cursed the Black Wind and walked again on his way. He walked hurriedly, not caring to splatter mud on his cape. He wanted to be out of earshot of the children.

Death. They sang of death. The end of all things. And the Black Plague.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Climax Redux

The man casually tossed aside two barrels standing one atop another to reveal himself, pointing a pistol at his adversary and arch enemy.

"You! But you … you're … you're supposed to be dead!" he spluttered, unable to believe his eyes. He rubbed them once to make sure. A dirty business that, with all the soot and grease on them. Escaping with a briefcase full of money from an abandoned factory was never a clean job.

"Yes, that. That didn't quite work out", sneered the pistol waving, black-jacketed hero. His enemy trembling before him, he took a personal moment to wave back his shiny, wavy hair. He spared another moment's thought for the soot hanging in the air around him. It would rough up all the good the new shampoo had done. Anyway, he needed to keep himself together now. Later, he would get his hair done again somewhere nice. To business for now.

He continued, "You will not escape me like the last time. This time, victory will be won. Defit will be yours!" At the pronouncement of the word 'defit', one would think lightning had crackled in the blistery afternoon sky outside. The hero, some variety of Vijay or Kumar, did a double-take of his intense eyes for a friendly, but imaginary, camera.

"This time? Last time? What last time? And why aren't you dead?" blabbered the graying, middle-aged villain, simultaneously stroking the well-laden briefcase he felt he may be parting with very soon. Oh yes, he had a feeling he might not now be taking that trip to the Bahamas. His widow would be furious over him cancelling again. Though, he had a valid excuse this time, didn't he, being dead and all? No. She couldn't care less. The woman was a monster to her core. Funny, a second voice in his head said, funny how you can think of all this while a dashing young man in tight t-shirt and low slung jeans points a pistol at you. He shook his head to clear his thoughts as much as he could possibly and asked again. "This time? Last time? What last time are you talking about? And what are you doing not dead?"

"You have a remarkable thirst for knowledge, old man. But I will humor now, before you die. I shall tell you the why and when of it as I point my father's pistol at you, as per noble tradition. First, you defitted me on the plains of the holy Ganga river when you slew my father. You had your men hold him from behind while you laughed and shot him like a coward. He fought you to his dying breath, pausing to spit on your face at the end when you peered down to see him struggle for life. I was there. I watched, old man. I swore vengeance. Since then, I have been chasing you." He finished with his eyes narrowing even further, as he took aim to make sure he hit the right side of the chest. His left, so … my right. Ya. Okay.

"The plains of the holy Ganga river? What was I doing killing him there? I don't remember doing such a scene," he reasoned. Not that he would mind having such drama to his credit. But this was just untrue. A pity that it was, but then again.

"Oh we had a house there. A little corny, and I never had many friends to play with. But my father liked it. Couldn't even play in the water. Holy water is not for you, son. Holy water is for the Gods. And the germs and bacteria, daddy? He didn't like the joke much. But anyhow, that's where we lived. How can you not remember? We had a big swing outside and a well so that we could actually sometimes have some clean water. Oh wait, you'll remember this. We had like this really noisy chicken coop. I mean, they'd be bawling all the time! You couldn't get them to stop."

"Oh that place! Yeah I remember. Annoying chicks, those. Hope you got rid of them. I killed your father, yes. True, that." He was glad to have at least remembered the reason for his impending death. "That was quite long ago. I mean, seriously, I don't mean to tell you what to do or anything, but let it go already? Get a life, or something." Sheesh, he thought inside, if I lived with so much hate held inside me, I sure wouldn't last very long. This guy is just a time bomb.

"Oh I will get a life. In fact, I am about to get one right now, old man. Yours." He felt good about that. He had worried incessantly - somewhere deep within his steely heart - on the way to the abandoned factory that once he got there he wouldn't really have a good line to say. Dialogue mattered so much in such things. But this was good. Very good. He chuckled as he saw the fear in his victim's face. Victory this time. Not defit.

"Pardon me again. But you said this time you would win. This pre-supposes that at a previous point, you met with defeat. Mark the word down by the way. Defeat, not defit", he argued reflexively. He knew he should be scared stiff for his life right now, but the young man's arguments just had so many holes in it. He couldn't help it.

"After you killed my father, you and your men laughed over his dead body for a good five minutes or so. I sat and watched from behind the well, petrified and teary-eyed. Then when you started walking away towards your Maruti, I ran shouting wild cries and bit your leg. You scraped me off with your other leg. As I was flung to the ground, I vowed revenge a second time. That was my first … defeat. But now, I will win. I did not die by the hands of your minions, you villainous brute. I was just sleeping. Prepare now to meet your end, old man and arch foe." He stiffened and pulled the pistol back up at the man, determined to not be distracted by silly questions anymore. It wasn't like he had nothing else to do. There was a dinner appointment to keep and he needed to be up early for the flight back tomorrow. So, to business.

"That was you? God, you were scrawny! I thought it was a bug or … something -", he began, suddenly delighting in this whole reminiscing business. The good old days were, indeed, good and old. Business was better, his liver wasn't being such a nuisance and he had hair on his head. A dashing hair-style, if he remembered correctly. Perhaps he should ask the young man? In case he remembered? He seemed to remember an awful lot. But then, that pistol was a conversation killer. And he was pointing it at him quite animatedly now.

"I just took time growing up! I wasn't scrawny, I was just a little behind the other boys. Some people need more time!" he shouted. Stupid, old father-killer, hitting him where it still hurt sometimes. Those other boys, all calling him Shorty and messing his hair up all the time. "Wouldn't let me play cricket even …" he mumbled half to himself.

"My boy. You have suffered. Indeed a lot. Let us sit here, you and I. Let us talk about this. Tell me your troubles. I mean it, I do. Take a barrel. Take two, be comfortable."

"Well, my father always told me I'd be big and strong one day. But those days I couldn't believe him. The other boys always bragged about gaining a half inch or a full, and I had nothing to show for myself. It was hard, growing up. Next to the freaking holy Ganga, for God's sake! It was so ... so hard." He opened himself to the villainous murderer of his father, seeing in his soon to be dead face a kind gentleness he hadn't seen in many years.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

He Does Strange Things After Hours

"Hey, you there! Peon, yes. Come here. Why is that turbaned man dancing in my office??"

"He's very happy, sir. He has got a rocket."

"Rocket? WHERE??"

"In his pocket, sir. He's got a rocket in his pocket."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Diary of a Hitman, Chapter 1: Initiation Ceremonies

The two men in black suits, one of them startlingly handsome and the other not so much in comparison, quietly exited the black Audi R8 which had arrived at the corner of the street in stealth mode. Not a leaf waved at the arrival of the black car-monster, specially modified for its silence mode. No baby would even stir in his or her sleep, if the Audi braked at 60 miles an hour. It was made for a purpose, aside from looking awesomely gorgeous.

"I still think we should have brought the black Lamborghini", said the startlingly handsome one, obviously right. The Lamborghini brought infinite style and a sense of rogue wildness, resembling his own character.

"Let's concentrate on the mission, shall we?", said the other man, reeking of envy at his own inferior looks and weaker personality.

Whipping out his black cellular phone, the other man called HQ for confirmation.

"Yes. I've reached the location. Confirm that we are as yet undetected. Plan is proceeding as per, well, plan. Yes, ammo checks have been done. Yes, I had my milk before I left."

The other man looked over to his cooler partner, to see whether he would be sniggering. He wasn't. Even in his coolness and infinite style, he understood the gravity of the situation at hand and the task ahead. The task ahead was no mean joke.

Some months ago, the organization had been threatened with destruction, a terror which would strike at its very root and dismember its centuries old extended agencies. The source of this very real threat, those in power had confirmed it was very real and very imminent, needed to be found and taken out.

Well, he thought wryly, take-out was his favourite kind anyway.

He was really funny.

But he was on back-up watch right now, and there was all the need for precaution. He took up a good position behind the other man, with a clear panoramic view of the street's buildings. No one should escape under his watch.

The other man, the lesser man in all but experience, looked to his left and to his right as he crossed the empty street. He took out a black bar-shaped object from his pocket. It looked to be quite ordinary. This was because it was a chocolate and he needed his energy. Like an A4 sheet through a shredder, he quickly decimated the chocolate bar. Nothing was left to suggest he had been eating on the job, except for maybe his well-fed plaque on the left inner molars. Quite thorough he was, this less gifted man.

The other man took out another bar from inside his trench-coat, cut in the Neo-Matrix style. This was a special device, this bar. Clicking a near invisible button on the top of it, he scanned the buildings in front of him, one floor at a time. The bar conducted a thermal scan through the walls, feeding visual data into his glasses. His glasses were black too. The other man was slow at his job, felt the younger back-up man in the suit which fitted him better. But he knew he had to learn to rise to the top and this was part of the process.

The other man stopped suddenly in his scan. He had found what he was looking for. Red-bricked building, 4 floors tall, a large wooden doorway at the front. He walked up the porch and examined the electronic lock system. He could break it if he wanted, but that would be unnecessary ruckus. Anyway, the target, was just next to the window to the left side on the 2nd floor. He could make it from the outside.

The other man gestured to his cooler half, signalling for him to come and join him at the porch. As the cooler partner strode up in his masculine, powerful gait, the other man felt another stab of jealousy. Why him, he thought angrily. He is much too young and much too cocky.

He was correct. The younger man was indeed much too cocky. His impressive strike rate with the females proved that.

But the job needed to be done and the other man knew he had enough years and active hours on the agency's payroll to take care of this.

He signalled the stud to stay quiet and communicate only through signals and facial contortions. He showed him the facial contortion for "I'm shot! Down there! I'm dying, but save yourself!" to remind him of the danger of this mission.

The suave, sexy man nodded gravely. He understood. He always understood.

Signalling "Start Position", the other man took a disc out of his trench-coat. It looked like a chikki, a fried Indian snack. And it was. He ate that too, giggling at his humor. He didn't realize he wasn't very funny. There were a significant number of things he didn't realize.

He took a second disc out of his trench-coat. Although this one looked like a chikki too, it wasn't. As he whirled it upwards towards the terrace of the building, it unwound from his fingers. Voila! A climbing rope, strong enough to carry an ox, were the ox able to acquire fingers to climb the rope in the first place. The rope would hold, always. The scientists at the organization didn't spend their funds on discs for nothing.

They climbed up, stealthily. Their trenchcoats adapted to the red-brickstone colour of the wall. As the other man climbed first, the hot chocolate man behind, they were soon camouflaged against the wall. It had begun to drizzle, but their training ensured they did not slip.

As the other man reached the window, he lifted it open gently, without making a decibel's worth of sound. He may have been less attractive than his partner, but he had his specialties. Wasting no further time, the two men climbed inside into the darkness. This was the room. The target would be asleep.

The two men, in black drench trenchcoats, scanned the room with their thermal scanners. The target was right in the center. The other man signalled his sexier partner to approach but with absolute stealth. He understood. Like always.

It was a distance of merely 2.5m to the target, but they covered the ground slowly. The target should not awaken before time.

Crossing coloring books lying strewn and crayons scattered across the floor, the handsome man stiffened within himself in distaste. He knew the job was necessary. And he understood his duties. But moments like these really served to remind why he did what he did.

They reached the cradle. And then the other man did something totally unexpected. He signalled his younger, awesomer colleague with the sign to execute.

He looked up at his senior,limper partner. For confirmation, in case he had misread the signal in his self-distraction. The other man repeated it.

He smiled to himself. This was going to be his breaking in. His initiation. He crackled his knuckles, not caring for the noise anymore. Before the baby could even react, he had landed a sweet right hook on his chin.

They exited in stealth and agility and dexterous speed as the baby's wails filled the building. As he sunk into the passenger seat of the black R8, the ravishingly handsome man sighed to himself. Stunning good looks aside, he couldn't help feeling giddy. He had just completed his first field assignment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bring Me This Disco King

Perhaps the strangest thing about it is that, well, almost anyone and everyone can do it. Right? Or at least so they think. There isn’t anyone who thinks he is or she is a bad dancer. Well, sure many admit that indeed they’re horrible, and must have exchanged their feet with jelly at some point, but that’s not exactly a personal opinion. It’s borne out of the shell-shocked facial expressions they noticed on friends on or strangers the first time they made their ‘moves’ public. And/or the more direct retorts they had thrown at them. But before that happened, causing them to observe one of the remarkable ego-bubble bursts of life and react with either a blush of shame or the furious blush of defeatist defiance, they did really think they were quite alright. And at that moment they preferred dance to any music of the spheres or song of the Greek island people.

There is a perfectly valid reason for it too. Although you may never have thought of this way, it is really is there. The trouble you would have in believing me may stem from one or both of two popular, oh-so-well-loved sources bearing aggressive verbal projectile. One, that surely the speaker is an idiot. He must be wrong, unless he’s being very entertaining about it, in which case let’s believe everything he says. The second excuse or, in your prized opinion, valid counter-point would be song. How can dance better song? It is eternal, it was, it is and it may well survive the nuclear world war. Why not? But, in both these hypotheses, and here I am even honoring your bilge and derision of my contentions as hypothesis number one, you would be slightly incorrect.

More than slightly, but we have really all day ahead to demolish your two counter-arguments. So we’ll get to that later. Good debating technique dictates that one present the bone of contention before one spotlights the dogs sharpening claws over it, and I have erred in that already. In the spirit of forgiveness, forgetfulness and ‘better late than never’, I offer my humble argument. Said bone alleges that a major reason why everyone thinks they can dance is that actually everyone can. The backbone supporting this outrageous notion is that through ages, eras, lands and tribes and civilizations, nothing else of one has more perplexed another. Also, nothing else of one has matched less with its equivalent across the ocean. By its very nature, dance has always been as diverse as music. Unlike music, however, it has always been more to every single individual than song.

You say that songs are eternal. I agree. You say that music represents the pure perfection and pristine truth that our words and works are never quite able to capture. I agree. You say that songs have remained unchanged in generations and sometimes we still sing the songs of people hundreds of years dead, showing our perpetual connection with all of mankind even if the words and tongues are lost forever. I will agree with that too. You are correct in each one of your statements, and I’m sure you have some more to give me. But, really? Allow me.

Songs will always hold their position in the world. Their beauty is for everyone to see, to acknowledge and to concede. That unfortunately is what renders their defeat.

Dance changes with time and with mood. It changes in form, in cause, in effect, in desired result (some expect rain) and is rarely passed down the same way as song is. Where are the pillars of perfection? Where is the world’s greatest of all time, at any one time? My very point is that they aren’t and there isn’t. The mystery lies in what it arouses. The secret, as to why we dance, lies in its catalysts and not in the drum-machine beats of a disc-jockey with gelled hair and fancy clothes. Dancing, and I do not mean that word in any but the most unconventional sense, belongs to one and all. Everyone can do it. Everyone can be a good dancer. You do not need to train for it. You do not need to be born with it. You do not need to undergo harsh discipline to cultivate it or make it your life’s goal.

It comes from within. It is every man and woman’s naturally gifted talent. Something God ordained and made provisions for. Some woman pole-dance too, but more on that later. The union of your physical body to the excitement in your mind, to the euphoria of the senses, to the abandonment of reason, to the embracing of momentary madness does not require a prescribed process. Although I know some of you attend weekend classes with your soulmates or your wives, you don’t really need the 1-2-1-4 process memorized in your feet to achieve it. Inside your head, you already know if you are happy with it. Lose yourself, your arms, your legs, your hips and your head to the rush inside, and you have dance. Stay tight inside a circle and barely moving your elbows, and you may still be dancing. The brilliance is that you are dancing, each and every time that you think you really are.

The mind and the body are one. The next time you go clubbing or to a fancy ball somewhere, wait for that moment. In that moment lies the joy of living – a pure, unbridled celebration of being alive right now. In that singular moment, you will see … infinity.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Life, My Terms

The world is a blur around you. Sights and sounds, buildings and neon, pedestrians and beggars, garbage and billboards. People zoom past, looking hazy around the edges, as you perform the daily tasks of living. As you perform the daily tasks you call living. In earnest enthusiasm, we jump the bandwagon, grab this life by its horns and make our place in a ruthless, backstabbing world to build our own bungalows and achieve our success and EMIs.

We begin to lose focus. You stop noticing things, when there's just so much to see all around. The mass media entertainment package of the world blinds your eyes and covers your ears. Skinny girls who want to sing like Mariah Carey and dress like nothing stare vacantly out of magazine covers. Deodorants and suits promise to bring you loves and passion and endless sex appeal. Facebook and iTouch, children and divorces, promotions and sales pitches – your life is more comical now than a board-game.

Stop. Look.
Think. Change.
Begin. Today.

Live. Breathe.
Don’t stop. Today.

Today, make your life a little bit different.

Go out in old clothes. Write a poem. Talk back to your boss. Demand your rights. Shout on the streets. Sing aloud. Smile at a stranger. Buy a lottery ticket. Just to see what you get!

Hold your life in your hands. Be strong. Be proud.

Punch a baby.

Today, surprise God. If he really is watching.

Monday, November 02, 2009

111 Hai Bhai! (Hint: Binary for Bond)

"You know how it is, don't you? The first few weeks of a job are always a struggle. One has to find potential clients, advertise one's skills, put out special offers and all that. The worst part is when sometimes people do not even understand what I'm talking about! So I have to sit them down and explain my job. Nothing is more infuriating than that."

"Yeah, that can be very irritating. What is it you do again?"

"But who can really fight fate eh? One has to do what one is destined to do. One should simply be glad that one has found what was one was destined for."

"Unlike two?"

"Vocation and avocation. That's the words. Where the twain shall meet, apparently all is fine."

"Not to mention, its needed at this point in the world isn't it? Everyone seems so lost, in dead-end jobs and fixed emolument schemes, not knowing which direction to go or what to do with life."

"The trappings of society, alas. We get so wrapped up in pursuing what is kept dangling ahead of us that we don't even stop to think if we really even wanted it. How few people ever stop to think about what they want to do in life! They stay just like that always, stuck in a workplace they don't care for and which doesn't look after them."

"The funny part is, this isn't even restricted to the ones with dead-end jobs. I know many high-flyers of the yuppy generation who are minting money, thanks to oodles of IQ and sharp acumen and what not. But are they happy? No!"

"The meaning is missing. The meaning for life, the thirst to reach for more, the satisfaction after having found it. People have lost their way. Thank god I found mine. I can't tell you how satisfying it is to be where I am. Helping people, truly helping people."

"You didn't tell me what you did."

"Even though right now I'm struggling a bit. The market is looking up, and its a growth industry. I'm hoping to capitalise on the recession boom. A wise man once said, supply creates its own demand. He was so right. You wouldn't believe the number of people who need this done professionally!"

"The recession...boom?"

"Yes, its a strange world isnt it? The recession works well for my industry. The more the number of frustrated people, the better the playing field. They look for me. So often I've explained my work to them, my art really, and seen a look of joy come into their faces! They spread the word, sometimes, at parties and events. I've been getting more calls of late. I'm keeping busy."

"That's good, that's good. What kind of job is this?"

"Oh, I'm a Babypuncher. Freelance Babypuncher. My card."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Peace And Nothing But

In a fresh bid to end attrition between the two countries and get on with life already, India has put to Pakistan the offer of Lata Mangeshkar in exchange for putting an end to terrorism and surrendering POK, recalling the famous Pakistani cry of the 70s - "Kashmir rakh lo, hume Lata de do!"

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after a particularly exasperating summit with Pakistan PM Gilani, who insisted on playing peek-a-boo and wouldn't come out from behind the sofa when the topic of cross-border terrorism was broached, offered to fulfill this decades old demand of the Pakistani people.

"I remember when these cries first rang out. Lataji's voice ruled the radio-waves and cinema-screens. The Indian government failed to appreciate the good bargain they were drawing. As a move towards achieving peace and ending his relentless demands that I join him in peek-a-boo, I ask the Pakistani Prime Minister to stand true to his nation's old offer", said Manmohan Singh in an official statement.

The Pakistan government has not yet issued an official statement, although excited muttering was audible in the background when they were informed over the telephone. It is believed that the government will take some time deliberating over the matter, issuing at least 2 to 3 false statements to the press before confirming their stand.

In a comprehensive dossier, with color pictures and large font so nothing is misinterpreted, India has lined up a list of complementary gifts to "sweeten up the deal" as one insider puts it. The list is said to include such national sand-bags as 80s'-almost-made-it-big-hero Jackie Shroff, nasal artist Himesh Reshammiya and a T-shirt worn once by Salman Khan.

"The T-shirt at least is practically unused! It can't be a fairer deal!" exclaimed Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

With escalation of civil terrorism in Pakistan, it seems India is making drastic moves in order to ameliorate its position with both sides of the war-torn nation and become the good guy in the picture.

The Indian parliament is pondering over the ethical dilemma in condemning its citizens with such a transfer. Talks are being held with Ms. Lata Mangeshkar and Mr. Jackie Shroff to sound out their position, especially considering the stale-mate position of their careers.

"It is not like they're really doing anything at the moment anyway," said Home Minister P Chidambaran.

The PM & parliament both refuse to comment, however, on the selection of Himesh Reshammiya. Rumours abound of the government looking to make it a general policy - of dumping its toxic waste in Pakistan. Several sources claim that the nasal virtuoso may be a spy on India's side, to gradually destroy the morale and sap the energy of Pakistani terrorist elements. That all or any of the rumours are true, we cannot yet ascertain. But much may be debated on the humanitarian rights of innocent Pakistanis who would collaterally suffer the consequences of Mr. Reshammiya's singing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Whaat Aee Joke!

"Alright then. I'm off."

"Really? Why? What's the hurry?"

"Well, I'm not feeling very well. I think it's heart palpitations. Like a bit of a fluttering, every now and then. I don't feel very right. No, your hand across my neck and waist is helping much."

"Huh? Why is that? Did you eat something wrong last night? Maybe you should stop thrusting your hips like that."

"I don't know. I'm just afraid ... of things. People, maybe? I don't know. My lifestyle? Maybe. Maybe, myself. Does that happen? Can I really scare myself?

Is this love? Is this the romantic feeling I'm supposed to embrace, this flutter and discomfort? Really, I think I should just go."

"That's just nonsense! You can't be in love if you're afraid of yourself. The two don't work in tandem at all. Look at my horses prancing about. No, seriously listen. Stop jumping on the bales of hay. If we are going to solve this, we need to discuss things properly. I'll get my face out away from your navel. Want a hug? There. And I've even put aside my sling. Happy?"

"Look. I don't think it's working out, stable boy. I really also need to change out of this blue, frilly dress. Maybe then I'll be able to breathe! Alright? Off I go then."

"What? No! Wait! What's your bloody hurry, bitch?"


And here you are -->

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Demand A Remake

The three men, in dark suits, gulped as they stepped off the helicopter. He smoothed his own suit and led the way into the cave-like opening. A tall, gaunt guard at the opening of the cave checked them for weapons. He snickered malevolently and let them pass through. Not that they dared carry anything in with them even slightly dangerous.

Inside, the cave floor was lined with large blocks of stone. The walls were smooth and painted white. More guards walked about in procession, armed with automatic weapons and grenades. With additional daggers and darts, the weaponry was on the ostentatious side, but considering the operations involved, it was difficult to trace the line which marked sufficient from extraneous arsenal. He understood all too well, wishing he didn't need to come here so often.

A guard came up to them, and gestured curtly for them to follow. In single file they proceeded deeper into this cave, this stronghold of the most dreaded terrorist ever to infiltrate Indian jurisdiction.

As they walked, they could hear the constant beep of information being processed and exchanged, pertaining to matters they could only wonder at the nature of. More guards, more weapons and several more gates, each with a towering soldier for protection. Ostentatious, he thought, but also powerful. Very powerful.

The final door opened when the guard pressed the code on the keypad in front of him, and they entered into a vast hall with white pillars and a throne at the opposite end. There, he sat, watching them with his hawk-like eyes.

Was it anger he saw in those eyes? He couldn't tell from this distance. He hoped it wasn't. Once again, he gulped.

They were walked up to half the distance of the hall, until they stood in a line in front of him. Ready to be praised, he thought, and also ready to be shot.

But he had good news, which he knew would save him tonight. He knew that, but it couldn't stop the sweat from pouring down his forehead.

Now, the man sitting on the throne in front of them. Dressed in gold tasseled attire, he was regal. His hair was in locks, and when he stood he cut a mighty, majestic figure, ruthless in bringing order and obedience to his business of bringing chaos to the world. He rested his left hand on the arm-rest of his throne, at the end of which was a globe of the world. His fingers, ornamented with heavy gold rings, tapped the globe's surface - the symbolic gesture was not affected, he really did dance this world on his fingertips. The man, this lord of chaos, looked at the men before him and nodded, allowing them to speak.

They blubbered over one another, in getting the words out. The grain stores had been adulterated with stones up to half in weightage. They would be selling poor qualities of rice to the Indians for exorbitant prices. The entire nation's food supply would soon be controlled to his plans. Weapons had been supplied to the various insurgent groups in the country, with strict instructions as to their usage. Knowledge of IEDs was being disseminated to them. Soon the entire nation would explode in communal violence. Riots and bloodshed would drain the nation of all its unity. India would be his for the taking. They spoke about their misdeeds under his orders, each seemingly disconnected but essential to the overall scheme he was executing through them and through hundreds of others.

The man smiled. They could see his approval and they felt glad. They would all be alive to return home tonight. He smiled and he tapped on the globe at his fingertips. He looked at them with razor-sharp eyes, now liquid with malevolence and an embodiment of evil.

He looked at them, as they exhaled in relief and exhaustion, and he said - "Mogambo khush hua."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jai Kisaan

Manipal, 21st September: Faced with the consequences of downsizing in the post-recessionist economic scenario, thousands of students have decided to abandon the desperate clammering for IT jobs and resorted to farming on Facebook's popular real-time simulated world, Farmville.

"Instead of spending 6 months training under an IT company, for a job which they may cancel at any time, I prefer the hands-on education and experience I get on Farmville. The very, real feeling of physical labor and toiling on a virtual field is well, very real", says one student.

Farmville's growing popularity is due to the satisfaction of productive employment it provides to users and final year students without the need of getting off their beds in the morning. A tremendous surge of Indian users is attributed to the nation's long history of agriculture and its influence in time-old Bollywood movies and mythological folklore.

BJP leaders hail this as a positive turn of events as more and more youngsters interact with each other across the nation, speaking in terms of cows and cherry trees instead of iPods and evil coffee.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Something's Wrong With The World ...

... when a newspaper cites a report declaring "Cancer linked to depression among patients".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The [insert num] Rules To [insert good quality]

The path to inner happiness lies in being happy with your own self and making everyone around you happy too. He who is selfish and cruel to others will never find contentment. He who takes the last slice of cake will forever be plagued by indigestion.

The joy of living is in bringing smiles to the faces of your friends and family. Spread joy. Spread sweet happiness. Wake up with a smile. Eat dinner with your family. Don’t waste too much time watching television. Brush your teeth twice a day.

Be selective with your friends as you are with your clothes. Do not allow every wayfarer into your life. They will only bring sadness. True happiness lies in having a close knit circle of understanding friends. Remember to trust them and to show them your love and respect for them. Never be afraid to tell them how you feel. Massage their feet and lick their fingers.

Read the works of fine authors such as Paulo Coelho and Shiv Khera. The essentials rules of successfully running your life are contained in their beautiful masterpieces. Do not worry if life hands you the shortest straw. It only means that God has something special planned for you! Self help books sell millions and millions of copies. Every second person in the world should be giddy with joy and contentment. “Self-help book” is an oxymoron.

Work honestly. Come back home to a loving family. Give your best to your boss and give all your love to your spouse and your beautiful children. Understand their problems and play with them. Be silly with them, make faces at them and be a part of their lives. Your life will overflow with mirth and hours spent in warm sunshine. The laughter of children is the purest, most unadulterated happiness in the world. Try the same with your boss. A new job is life’s way of asking you to refresh yourself.

Follow the 7 stars to success, or the 8 rules to happiness, or the 63 guidelines to inner peace. You will surely reach your destiny. Remember, God has put someone special in this world just for you. Remember, God loves you. Remember, man too is capable of loving and living joyously if he thinks from his heart more often.

Pass this to 20 people and God will answer all your wishes. He’s been bored lately and is looking for weird kinky things to do with his time. Hence, me. Hence, this. Pass this to 20 people or mad monkeys will come and steal your genitals and scratch your face.

Your Choice

You are what you want to be. You are what you think of. You are what you speak. You are where you stand. You are the first thing that you want to write on a piece of paper. You are what you make.

Your wish is the command. Like the planets and the stars, you bend your universe around you. Everything takes the shape you give it.

Accept the responsibility.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Earth History

A civilization constructed physically impossible and geometrically daunting tombs for their dead kings, displaying unparalleled artistic and engineering abilities. Stone boulders more than twice the size of any man are placed in a circle, with astronomical significance and remarkable constructional precision. A man walked on water and cured the sick, turned bread into wine. The son of God was among us. Tracking by stars, ancient mariners exchanged and traded, in volumes not known and languages not spoken anymore. Mongols swept through Asia and ruled the world, sparing only the then barbaric European tribes, unworthy of even conquest. An Alexander dreamed to unite the world, and conquered in a single line of battle-field genius. He read the Iliad every night and died at age 33. An empire invented democracy and brought civilization to Europe. Power led to megalomania and thus was the fall of the Roman Empire. A descendant of the Mongols conquered India and established a dynasty that would define prosperity and unbelievable riches. In a continent yet undiscovered, a civilization quietly foretold the end of the world would come. A man wrote plays of the world and its people, their lives and their aspirations. He is still not forgotten, even if his authenticity is questioned. Kings, without number, ruled over lands, rode and killed, conquered and reigned in fields and over lives uncounted. Letters were passed, from empire to empire, and diplomacy was created by a man whose name grew to define treachery and deceit. Explosions tore the land as man began to play with fire. Can you count the screams and shrieks that fell to the cannon since the invention of nitre? Boys shoveled coal into fires, and died of asphyxiation, but a train was made to move and distances grew smaller. Ships navigated across ancient seas, finding new lands and madmen eating one another. A man dreamed and wrote of a flying machine and submarines and barometers. His dreams were answered within a hundred years of his death. Evil men set hegemony over a factious group of rulers, looting and draining the Golden Bird till all was emptied. Inventors changed the world, and fought for their right to a better life. Religion and science divorced and never reconciled. Revolutionaries were propped by a vicious human reproductive system, to rise and shout and lead and die. Their voices were to resonate till long after. The world changed, sometimes gradually, sometimes abruptly. It was changed by a philosopher, it was changed by a warrior, it was changed by an artist, it was changed by an inventor with a thousand patents to his name. Man ruled his worlds with utmost control and utter chaos. The world plunged into war, a war to end all wars. Men were pushed down and made to apologise, then shot. Angry men stood back up, to fight again. The world fought again. Inventors, innocent and destructive, made new arms to help man kill his neighbor. As diplomacies grew to wet blanket this madness, borders were settled, the world slackened and sat down, in front of the TV.

The art of reproduction, safer and more indulgent, spawned millions who grew to billions. In the limbo between two ages, if there is another one ahead, man struggles for meaning and for purpose. Disillusion, depression, anxiety, workaholic, global warming, empowerment, equality, racism, white collar, glass ceiling, 9 to 5, stock crashes, prime lending and the fabulous lives of celebrities. The icebergs are melting. The ozone layer is vanishing. Tigers are becoming extinct.

We are on the verge of a global nervous breakdown.

This is 5000 years.

How much do we know? What are we worth?

Homo Erectus, with an under-developed brain and no television, thrived for 1.25 million years.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Buffets confuse me. Even more than menus.

What really is the correct strategy?

1. Pay due respect to every cuisine offered. Indulge in small quantities of everything.

2. Take what you like, at that moment. Ignore the rest of the dishes.

The problem with the former is that you over-indulge. Walking back becomes very difficult.

The problem with the latter is the cruelty and discrimination inherent in such decision-making.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Citizen Journalist

He heard her scream.

Not just once. Twice he heard her.

The first call to alert anyone nearby (as they were advised to do), followed a few seconds later by the unrehearsed, desperate scream for help.

He would remember his hurried steps, which had not once slowed down, but quickened instead. He was scurrying, scurrying for cover, he thought. The notion was ridiculous, but one he could not get away from even after he was out of earshot of the incident. Of whatever nature it was.

Turning the key in the lock, his breathing only grew faster. Silly again, he thought to himself, as if it was he under threat. A random girl! Who knew her? She probably deserved it!

In labored breathing and fast pulse, he ignored the bitterness in his mind, as he threw his coat to the rack and entered the living room.

The children were sitting in front of the television, the white noise and the white lights making hallucinations in their rapt minds and casting shadows in the furniture behind them. He sat down on the couch to join his family.

His pulse slowed down again. His breaths became normal. This is good. I'm okay now. Just needed this.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fighting Fighting

“Do you think they … ?”

“Of course. It’s a first principle. Everyone knows that!”

“But wouldn’t it be a little silly to do that? I mean, one can’t typecast them as frivolous, fruity fools, can one?”

“One can. Nice thing that, by the way. Let me try. Shallow, silly sociophiles.”

“Is that a even a word? Sociophiles?”

“You behave like an idiot, again. Has that ever stopped me? Now you go.”

“Hmm. Extreme ear eroders.”

“Not bad. Insipid, incessantly insensible idiotine!”

“Okay! Mindnumbingly … hey, just wait. Stop this. I was making a point. Can I continue?”

“It is a delightful topic. You may, you may. Don’t stop on my account. When we meet, every now and then, over a mug or two of this and that, it is a natural law that your wonderful life be the topic of conversation. How dare I? HOW DARE I?”

“Oh yes. Of course, how could I forget? So self-centred of me. I do this every time.”

“But am I good friend. Even to a Narcissus as you. So, yes, do carry on.”

“Thank you. So, you’re saying they do? All the time? Every day?”

“Not all the time. No, that would be impractical. But yes, whenever they assemble in groups of 4 or 5, and there is nothing much to do. Then, they do.”

“But that’s all the time, isn’t it? I mean, when do girls ever have anything to do?”

“That is a fair point. Your brilliance radiates a halo around your head. I would kiss your feet were you one of those who take regular baths.”

“Right. Later. Thus, seeing as how they’re constantly free and up to no real good, you’re saying girls do get together and…?”

“My friend. My good friend. You must trust me. It is so. I say this not in jest, nor to trick you in any way. It is the truth. And nothing but.”

“So they fight, do they? All the time, whenever they’re free? Jumping up and down the beds? Laughing and giggling like soft, mad children smug in the woolly cotton brains of infancy? The Doors. Hehe.”

“Yes. Armed with pillows.”



“All the time?”

“It’s a beautiful world.”

Sunday, June 07, 2009

None Really

With great power, comes great responsibility.

That applies to the power of freedom as well. If your facebook page says "Political Views: none" but can proclaim loudly which Bollywood actor you will grow up to become, or whether you're a bloodsucking vampire or an evil genius, there is something wrong there.

There will be no foreboding. There will be no chimes, or bells in a stormy night. We will be overpowered silently. Worse perhaps, we will ask to be overpowered.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Man of Action

Sitting lonely.


Except for your thoughts. Resounding off the walls.

Coupling. And stringing together plans.

It is time to act now.

Get up. Flush. Recapture your life tonight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Need Indeed

"Did you ever think that ... maybe we talk too much? Just sitting here, every now and then, talking?"

"So ... you wanna do stuff with me? Dude, I'm not so sure."

"Not in that sense, insanely insecure prick. I mean, a little less conversation. More activity? Get out there? Do things?"

"Look, calm down. I just don't want to jeopardise our relationship. We're friends. You don't want to lose that do you?"

"No, you git. When I say do things, I don't mean do things with each other."

"That's good. Because we're friends. And that's all that it should stay as."

"Yes! Alright! That is not what I mean..."

"Good then. Just to lay it out in the open, friendship is more valuable than love. Of any kind."

"I know! Now, will you just please listen?"

"Go ahead. All yours."

"Thank you. As I was saying - "

"By 'all yours' I mean, of course, that the floor is all yours. That's all."

"Anything else? I mean, let it out. More to add? Any more metaphors to subtly drop? Corrections to make? Puns to spill?"

"None at all. You may carry on your selfless task of bringing up to date with the whirlwind that is your fine mind. Did I tell you how much I admire your parents for the fine job they've done? They don't make DNA like yours anymore."

"That being well and good. But, like always, here we go, at it again - "

"Hey hey! Watch it with the puns."

"God. Ok. I'm only saying that we're doing this again, talking and talking. We should be out there, devouring the field. Making the moves, assessing the crowd, taking a pick, hitting the button and ..."

"The girl rejected you, huh?"


"Which explains the urgent expediency and expressed concern over the lackadaisical demeanour towards getting jiggy with it as often as possible?"


"It won't work."

"But why not? It's all a matter of trying hard enough. One can't accept defeat so soon. One must fight, struggle, maybe fail sometimes but always rise to the challenge again. Such is life. Obladi oblada. Etc."

"True. Everything you say is true. But you must account for all the variables before you consider the wisdom in trying again. For instance ... "

"What kind of variables? You mean, level of rejection? Expression of disgust or not on her face? The velocity with which she rushes to a new guy? Multiplication factor of sad joke intensity?"

"Allow me to complete the list for you. Stinson's Law of Slap Intensity. The Proportional Balance of Mockery to Ridicule. The Self-Destruct Laws. The Mujahideen Stroke. And so many more. But, you see, yours aren't these problems at all. You can come back from these ones. Bounce back, if you prefer that. Or rise from the ashes, if you like the idea of having golden feathers."

"To the point, please? What is my problem then?"

"Your problem? What do you mean?"

"You exasperate me. Since we have already traversed across the realm of discussing a conscious decision to take charge of life and carpe diem it to hell and back, to the wide grassy plains of oft-promulgated and widely discussed theorems expounded by damned you ... let us please at least finish it. Why don't I have success?"

"You tell me."

"Do I crack too many jokes? Do I need to buy a different perfume? Should I cut my hair shorter? Keep it longer? Buy her all her drinks? Flatter even more? Simply set my goals low? What do you say? Tell me, again, my friend, how I should run my life. What is wrong with me?"

"You are ugly, my friend. Yes. As simple as that. Being ugly, your choices are limited and your goals have an upper limit set infernally low. Women, who would be open to being approached, tend to run away from the sight of your Halloween pumpkin heading in their general direction. Your parents, might I say, got the brains okay. But they forget to adjust for the looks, and we are left with a remarkably hideous specimen before us.

Don't get me wrong. Maybe you weren't always like this, and that is why you find yourself unable to adjust. Maybe those warts weren't always there. Nor was the sickly green skin. Maybe your teeth weren't going every way before and your eyes held some evidence of life. Maybe your voice rose above a squeak and your manliness was more pronounced instead of actually pronounced.

It is fascinating. The astounding degree of pure ugle that you have managed by now though, makes a return to the normal impossible. You are my friend, yes. As I gaze upon your ruined countenance, I feel a tender pity, a sprinkle of sympathy, some compassion. Also, nausea."

"Oh. Okay. I see. Hmm."

"Life has played a mean trick on you, my friend. Yes, yes, sit down by all means. Take a chair. Take two. Let it sink in. Accept it. The world is a horrible place, and you are a repelling man with a face someone farmed with a tractor upon. Easy does it."

"So its not even my fault? I'm just ruined, without anything I can do about it? No luck, no lucky, no walk into sunset?"

"Life is a rapist, my friend. Carry pepper spray. Always."

Friday, May 15, 2009


"A Horcrux is an object in which a person has concealed part of his soul."


"Have I told you how often you sound to me so terribly naive? So ill-fitted in that look of a smart somebody? What gives your parents right to raise a child that would look all the parts of an intelligent, sustaining human being but inside be as empty as a shell?"

"What did they think they were doing? Why did they have to do it? Why didn't they strange me as an infant? I know it already. You told me all about myself last week. To continue? Some sense, please?"

"Conceal part of your soul to protect yourself. Wouldn't you want to protect yourself against your greatest fear? But no, wait, really. I said it last week? Encore tonight? I feel more ... inventive!"

"It was a double tonight. Hence, the dramatic 'inventive'! Seeing this Horcrux idea of yours as utterly original and spontaneous then, the greatest fear, may I take a shot in the dark, is death? And you want to kill me to split your soul? Am I correct, sir?"

"Tchah. Tchah, you numbskulled stain on the otherwise charming handkerchief your family makes. I know what that Horcrux is."

"Well then?"

"In your, might I say imbecility..."


"Well, might I say imbecility?"

"Oh of course. Go on. You may say imbecility."

"Stupiditude. In your humble stupiditude, you fail to recognize your fears correctly. You aren't really afraid of death. No. Death is all around, everywhere at once. Every day. If you were afraid of death, you would be, well, dead of it already. We all know death. It's coming for each one of us. So it's not really fear for it you have. No?

It's hurtling towards us as I speak. Are you scared? Right now? Are you? Its coming, right now it is."

"So it's not death. What is it? Tell me again this new fact about myself. What am I most afraid of, mahareeshee?"

"Love. Losing it, having it, holding it in your grip, flying with it, lying with it, killing it, saving it, nurturing it every waking moment, burning in it. Even ignoring it in a small party.

You can live with anything, if you can live with knowing that death is always coming for you. But you can't live with such responsibility.

What you, what we, want is the glorious idea of love holding us in it's arms, caring for us all the time, enlightening us. You want love to hold your life. So much easier to let it go, watch it tease from afar, only urging that we accept it and it will come back. But you won't. It's not a gift, you see. You have to keep it. You have to hold it. Every single day, you have to wake it up and give it a bath. Feed it, nurture it. Grow it. You can't do that!

So ... Horcrux."

"To save me from my fear of love?"

"Don't be so daft! You aren't afraid of love! Listen to me! You're afraid ... the responsibility. Because when they grow up, those beings, they coil around you. Supported on you, they grow and they entwine. Taking your energy to survive, your strength to stand and rise. That is what scares you."

"So ... Horcrux?"

"Yes. You have it after all, some of that delightful family gene. So, Horcrux. If you keep your love whole and together, it stands to fall and be destroyed together. All of it, at once, in one swift stroke.

So, Horcrux. You split your love, concealing it in a Horcrux to protect it. The more the parts, the greater the protection. And you will stay alive."

"How do you store your love in an object? Not that it wouldn't be cool! Easier to safekeep than to risk losing, eh?"

"Have I told you lately, how every day in every way you surprise me with your, might I say, idiotine?"

"Not that again! You have, you have. Back to the topic? Where's the bad part still? Horcrux equal to Bad Thing. Right?"

"Right you are, Russian child-prodigy. You see, if you split your love, you lose your colour. You lose the variety of juices that make your skin glow that way and your hair shine in the golden sun. Things like that.

You will live, but as a spectre. Or a spectator. To life. Be less human than the rest of them."

"So ... how do you make a Horcrux? What does it look like?"

"Horcruxes are people. Your friends. Your unending search for endless lovers. You split it into them, just so its never enough for a single person. But not too less to be noticed. No one gets enough. Everyone gets some."

"How do you do it then? The splitting? Isn't it an act of violation, against nature? How do you do it? By committing an act of evil - the supreme act of evil?"

"Your superbly subtle sarcasm leaves me, once again, in awe of your family tree. Mere mortals they could not be. But, yes. By an act of evil - the supreme act of evil. You split love by killing yourself. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: he would encase the torn portion in another person. A new person."

"By killing yourself? Isn't that just, dead then?"

"Not kill as in death. Disregard death, my stupid child. Wipe it off your slate. You kill yourself when you cut a loved one out. Lower someone in your life from their deserved position. Make them common-place again.

Live in the pain and the misery for a while. And when the love comes choking out of you, you spill it on some one else. Let them have this regurgitated love. To hold and to love back. Let them have it. Better than you.

You will stand then, over time, lost to the glow and all that shining sun. Not able to recognize the signs on even another person. Not understanding the reason for that stupid smile. Over time, you will find, Horcruxes have a mind of their own. They will not come to you whenever needed. And just like the fictional ones, these too can be destroyed by another, intent upon destroying, finally, you.

So you will stand, thin unbreakable strings clamping you. Occasionally one will pull, then the other. All at once, not too much, not too strong. But just a little. Not enough. But not too less either. Pulling you here, pushing you there. Making a fool out of you and your mind.

Your torn soul will wonder what causes this mischief, and why is all the rum gone.

You, my fluff-brained buffoon, will forget what you have done. Where did you hide the parts? How do you make them whole again? Where are they now and why don't they love you anymore?"

"And life will become a struggle against a million chains, pulling and pushing at random, enslaving the man and bending his back. Eh?"

"Right you are. You really get me sometimes."

"So, isn't it better to not have any chains in the first place? Stand clean? Not have anything to do with the love and the split-up? Or with ties and with a half-million half-baked loves?

You're saying it's best to abstain from it all? Not bad. It makes sense."

"It doesn't make sense. You have to have it. In wholeness. You have to."

"Why? Why take the stupid risk of tearing it off and leaving shreds here, there and everywhere? And on everyone. Why the chance, when everyone seems to fail?"

"Because of the colours. Because of the glow. The golden sun. All that stuff."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Things I Grew Up On

Now I only remember ... MOJO JOJO!

God knows how many times I've seen this movie...

"They're dancing in the aisles in Sharjah!"

The peak of my cricket-fan fervor. I think Indians were meant to stay underdogs forever. I cannot support a dominant Indian cricket team.

Power Extreme Treme Treme! Also include minor fascination for Crystal Kane.

Fall over laughing and perish, die, cease to draw breath. The absolute funniest episode I ever saw.

Classic cartooning days. Boomerang on Cartoon Network.

Some images cannot be shaken from the mind of a young and innocent child, even after 15 or so years. Kindly note how they 'do it in the road'.

I'm yet to meet anyone of my generation who grew up not watching this. In the Hindi dubbed version.

The absolute pinnacle of underdog greatness.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Fool's Hell

"What do you think happens when people invent their own lives?"

"In the sense of creating a reality? How do you mean?"

"I mean, you and I, we drink. Right?"

"Well, yeah. Cheers, by the way. What do you mean?"

"Cheers, it is. I mean, when there isn't enough time to have done all that you want to be doing already, and you don't really like waiting for life to come - what do we do? We invent our lives."

"So, we make believe our victories? Pretend to have lived more than we have?"

"More importantly, we pretend to have suffered more than we have. Life's greatest lessons lie in suffering. So we pretend to have suffered and seen and pained and shelled ourselves. More than we ever could have, in so short a time."

"So everybody's a liar?"

"If you believe it yourself, you're not really lying. True deception, so much like a true high, resides in believing your lies and in your dreams and in your nightmares."

"So, anyway. What happens if we do...invent our own lives?"

"We age. Faster and faster. The more the illusions, the stronger the belief. The more support from all sides, the more the people to sink with. The greater the despondency, the worse the misery, the more true the reality. And so, we age.

We are who we believe we are. The lines take over our faces. The back droops. The spirit dies. Quicker and quicker. Our voices begin to croak. Our memories grow hazier and black-n-whiter without a shadow or a fog or a cause."

"A shade too melodramatic, perhaps?"

"Smoke rises from the lips, blown out of a tortured lung, carrying with it a piece of frivolous, eternal, lost youth. We are brokers, you and I. And we sell short our souls."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Life Has Value

Over 1 billion people.

I want to know what we are made of. I don't understand how we function. How do we stay together? How are so many of us staying in this same place, quite easily too small for 1/6th of the world?

These aren't philosophical questions. It is just about rationality. Rationality does not seem to apply to this at all.

How do we stay together? So many religions, so many different beliefs - cutting and thrusting at each other every day.

How do we meet each others' eyes every day, at work, at school, on the roads? So many stereo-typings, so much bias against each other - jokes, declarations, proclamations aur yeh toh aise hi hain.

I'm very curious about India and how it lives with itself.

Or, forget that for now. I'm very curious about how we, as Indians, manage to live with our country.

No right thinking, educated man sincerely believes in any political party. They cheat us - all of them. Each and every one. There are hundreds of them - sprouting up out of bushes and jails and gangs. Not educated, although probably a criminal. We know it. None of these politicians, these statesmen, these MPs or these MLAs are going to clean the crime. No one is going to reduce corruption. No one is going to clean the streets. Nobody wants to educate us. Then we'd all know more than them, and that's a problem.

Except, we already do. Enough of us at least. But still, we vote. For one party or another. People bother to listen to speeches, they bother to cheer, they bother to analyse with the sincerest scrutiny where the lesser of the evils lies. Who is less likely to cheat us less than the others, given half a chance of doing so? Who would probably maybe not totally ignore every single thing he is saying right now, even though he said the same 4 years ago, and opposed it for the last 4 in opposition?

So, how do we not split at the seams? Why don't we scream in this horror of hypocrisy? I mean, come on people! This isn't a joking matter! This isn't cheating at cards or in your history exam! This is cheating with one billion people, over and over again, the same tricks and the same bluff. They don't bother to even ask. They just take it all. I am very curious to understand how we still exist.

There is a rat-race in the name of success. The bright youths, bright as earnest young bulbs, children only to the age of 15. Then it's time. The world's responsibilities are plunged on our shoulders. Think about your future. Think about what you are going to do. Think about your job and your position and your salary and your degree from that university. But wait! Not that way! Do not think of it as a dream! Do not think of it with a smile! You fool! This is serious business! Everything is! Stop smiling about your future! Drop that cricket bat, bundle away the tennis racquet. Enough child's play. Come, be a man/be a woman. Stop laughing and study.

Where were we? Yes, engineer or doctor forms please. No, nothing else. Of course not. What ever should we think for? Your whole life's ahead of you, so don't start living it just yet. Let us put it on hold while you open that book with the big equations. Feed it in. Stop dreaming!

Uncle ke saamne bolo, beta. Kya karogi bade ho ke?

I want to be an engineer. Or a doctor. I am studying for both.

Good boy. Now dance a little jig and go back into that dark room lit by the table lamp. We shall discuss your options and decisions. Of course you can have another sweet. There you go. We always have your best interests at hand.

How do we still do this to ourselves? How do we not grow up, in the way we were supposed to? When do we take control of our life the way we want to? How can you stand a dictatorship, a rule, a given path, an obvious route? There is no such thing!

You won't be successful until you pass out of IIT? Give me a break! You're trying to tell me that the alumnus of the IITs are the only successful people in India? Or the IIT-IIM package, I forget. A formula makes a man. You are where you come from. You will be only what sports you gave up as a teenager. Wealth is directly proportional to listening to others.


How do we stay with all this in our heads? When did we shut our minds and just accept the stories? We know that nobody successful ever did that! So why don't we idolise them? Why idolise the guy with the 25 lakh placement, over the man whose company hired him?

Selective memory. Deployed in the most important decision of a person's life. His life. The decision left to the majority. Since when is the majority right? Show me a person who says success comes from following the herd. If he's an Indian, he will follow that up with a rote passage on doing what elders tell you to do and not messing up your life.

Long hair, loud music, thinking different. Stop it now! Grow up. Real life has nothing to do with you or how you want to be. Be like us, because we are all...what?

It doesn't really matter. Nothing really matters. Anyone can see.

I'm very curious about how we still think, how we still act, how we still are, despite all of this. Despite the pollution, despite the politics, despite the pressure, despite the 'ground reality of Indian life'.

How do we, the youth, still live? It amazes me.

We sit at CCD, in blue jeans, yellow shoes and a brown coffee mug. We loiter in campus, sleepy in the middle of the day, throwing garbage just 10 feet from a bin. We muse over love and romance, watching that hideous Shah Rukh Khan with wide eyes, then marry a spouse pre-selected. We can read about the hot sunny days of Ayemenem. We can quote from Harry Potter.

We can listen to people telling us the way to live, because that's how it has been done for years now. And tradition must not be let go of, at any cost. Seriously, any cost.

Because if we lose tradition, we lose everything.

I think so too. If we lose our tradition, we will lose everything. The simple fact here being that we have nothing else.

We hate our neighbours, because they are from that part of the country where people are loud and boisterous. From that part of the country where people eat strange things and dress all alike. From that part of the country we haven't been to and every one looks just alike. From that part of the country where the language sounds just nonsense and the music from their living room is unbearable. From that part of the country where they only eat sweets and talk shop. We hate other people. So we think of us as separate entities.

We hate our politicians, because they rob from us. They cheat and steal and make no claims otherwise. The tax collector will take a bribe. The passport office will not work without more money. The local municipal does not exist. The police are scarier than the thieves. And the politicans won't do anything about it, because the politican is the mightiest serpent of them all. So we're scared. Unless we can sit on the serpent a while, and take a trip around the office. Let's not pay tax if we know the commissioner. Let's not pay the rent, if we know the policeman. Let's not stay together, in case the others want in on our fortunes too. Especially that man from that state, living in 3B. Those [North/South] Indians, I tell you!

So we stay away from each other.

How will it ever go away? The stupid rat race for a job, for the exact job that the boy in the newspaper with no social skills got himself. The giant, humongous monstrous corruption (unless we can get away with it ourselves) leeching off us all the time. The evil causing war and devastation in so many parts of the world. The stupid, unaccountable bureaucracy which cannot protect us from bombs and mad terrorism.

None of it will go away. No one can do anything.

I'm very curious to understand why we must all think this way. That we are alone in all of this. That only I suffer and only he suffers and only all of them suffer? No, you idiot. We suffer. Use the right word. We.

That is a collective noun. A. Collective. Noun. More than a billion people saying the wrong words every single morning of their lives.

Open your eyes. Look up to the skies and see.

We are in this together. Learn that word, we. And we can get out of it too. All of us. Stop scurrying for cover.

We are not alone. We can all stand. We can all fight against all of this.

Yet we are all the fools, trying to live just one day longer. Just one day more, and I can finish the EMI on the TV, on the new car. Just one day more and I can also afford the new apartment complex. Then we won't have to complain about the water supply. It won't be our problem. Just one day more.

Let me just survive. That is enough for us all.

I'm still curious. Can anyone explain how 1 billion people continue to think like this?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Burning Bridges

In keeping thoughts to yourself, there is a feeling of security in knowing that secrets are safe and nobody can judge. Of course, since nobody can know.

He knew this and practiced this. The feeling of security was well worth any downsides, as past follies clearly illustrated.

Small wonder then that when the chronic illness showed itself for what it was, he was in too much shock to understand. Denying, refusing and all those funny stages of non-acceptance were followed by a resignation to where he was. There was no way back, he realised. He would live now, without it.

Remembering unemotionally the days that had brought him to this, the childish pains and the immature temper followed by that petty age of revenge and sleep-depriving ego, he could see himself cutting off the connections.

Now he didn't know what he did. Or why he did it. Why did his friends all leave him? Why couldn't he explain his moods or his reprisals? Even to himself!

Slowly, with a blunt knife which sharpened with use, he had severed himself. And become the man who had cut his mind away from himself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

To All That Could Have Been

You died a long time ago. I denied it at that moment, when I first saw your sleeping form. I have continued to ignore it ever since.

Today, the denial has broken down. By itself. Weeds grew slowly against the wall, expanding in the many crevices of slipshod, hurried construction. The endless rains battered the stone and the patchy masonry was washed away.

Now, worse than your dying, what hurts is how long ago it had happened. So much time has passed, since you were put to sleep.

The denial was useless, of course. You will never wake again.

Tch, to my fellow bloggers of an age past. Tch.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gangster Murder Train Idiot

Yes, Mr. Hashmi, I am very pleased to inform you that I have a major part for you in my new movie.

Really? I'm so excited! What do I do?

It's really something very unique. You play a gangster, waylaid since his early childhood. The pains of his growing up years have hardened him up inside, and he lacks the open emotion of a normal person. Everything is bottled up inside him, since he has never had anyone to let into his life. So, he doesn't show any visible emotions on his face at any given time or scene. Is that good?

Sounds perfect. Anything else?

We're going to give you a few action scenes with guns. Big guns.

Good, good. And?

Well, you have long hair. And your character possesses a curious disposition to stand in the middle of the street, across the divider and raise his arms up to the skies while singing from a potpourri of Urdu words in a deeply nasal yet soothing voice. There is no evidence of the character ever taking vocal training in Sufi music or such like, being too busy trying to find a square meal a day. But this sort of stuff goes down well with audiences.

Right, right. I totally agree! What about rain? Does it rain in the movie?

Ha ha! I can't believe we haven't worked together before, we think so much alike! Of course it rains in the movie! Incidentally on all the occasions that villains of rival gangs come to beat you up, in the hope of quashing your intense manliness with their larger numbers and long hockey sticks. Then again, we very cleverly arrange for it to rain whenever you go to the bus stop to check out your co-actress travelling to and from college.

Really! You must be some sort of genius!

We are. I mean, yes I am! You see, even the gods empathize with you, our lead character. They gratefully manipulate Mumbai weather to mimic and model your moods in this tumultuous life you lead. Did I mention we have a cameraman who simply loves you? He insists on swooping down from insane angles and perched up heights to capture the essence of your glorious stubbled visage, as you see thugs approach or your lady walk away in a fit or your friend get crushed under a horse's hooves or your shanty get evicted because your neighbors, although they love you as much as they do, do not want any trouble or anything like that. And you, sir, are plagued to bring trouble wherever you go, to your loved ones as well as your closest friends. I mean, what are the odds of getting crushed under a horse's hooves in this modern time and age, eh?

I'm very glad we're getting along so well on this. But you still haven't told me about the most important bits, you know. How many kisses do I get? Something different this time? Can I do a Spiderman?

Well, we have looked over our script several times. Analysing your character from one angle and then another, we don't really see a kissing scene cropping up anywhere. He remains pretty much on his own, you know. He's also kind of ugly.

But, but, you have to give me a kissing scene! At least one. Right?

I don't understand what you mean, sir. The script doesn't allow it. It's really very tight. Everything is already planned out.

Stop pulling my leg! Ha ha! You can't be serious! Really not even one tender liplock, to bring out my conversion from a stoic, roughed up ruffian/hitman to experience the thrill and warmth of life and love (its true essence)? No scenes in which I experience a breaking down of my inner walls, built with hate and the need for self-preservation in the wicked streets, and let in the gushing streams of love for the whole world as expressed by loving the beautiful heroine opposite me? Even if she belongs to another, she shares with me one passionate night before she must leave, playing her part in catalysing my humanism and growth as a...growth as a human being? Our love lasts forever? And occasionally, in my old age, still roaming the streets and talking trash, I can find solace in the memory of my night of love? And we could have sepia-tinted replays played out in slow motion, with the sound (comprising moans primarily) intentionally slightly out of sync with the video to make it all seem overly chaotic and intense, to further push the idea of totally mad love-making scene?

Are you...are you...some kind of idiot?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Career Planning

[With more than sufficient high-fiving and over-due credits to Trivik. Happy?]

Put on a parachute and jump off a plane, into an ocean ten thousand feet below.

Go sailing in Australia and pick up the accent. Run Parkour, drive thousands of miles and live in a shed in a ranch 200 acres across.

Smoke up in a police station in Amsterdam. Hit a policeman, run around the buffoon calling him names, drunk and delirious. Call Su to bail you out. :)

Be a tourist guide in Athens, for one Grecian summer. Amidst sculptures and heroic tales, smuggle in drugs and milk the foreigners. Visit the little homes, pick the rarest rugs.

Live in Spain, driving around in a convertible. Speak the Spanish, fight in bars, woo the ladies, stare down a bull. Have a couple of months on the coast, in a villa abandoned long before. Then drive off into a Spanish sunset, someone stroking a guitar on the radio.

Report in Afghanistan. Listen to the stories, of wars and battles and living through them all. Ride the horses like only the Afghans do.

Train in Ferrari. Engineer a F1 car. Watch it race to victory and money and millions.

Crash land in Brazil on an old, battered bi-plane. Love the women. Infiltrate the gangs, make your way up. Scheming still, run away with a shipful of goods one day.

Party in an Armin van Buuren concert. After party with Pamela Anderson. Or Carmen Electra. Or Jessica Alba. Or anyone really. Don't discriminate so much beyond a certain threshold.

Climb the Alps. Sit at the top and shout at the world.

Walk all over India. Or take the trains. Learn at least5 languages. Visit the places they don't take you, and are still untouched and pure. The green and the rains in the hills and the vast waves of sand in the deserts. Drink chai at road-side shops only.

Find Hatori Hanzo. Learn the katana, the kung-fu, the ju-jitsu and the elusive art of the chopsticks.

Own a Lamborghini. Explore a pyramid. Be seduced by Salma Hayek. Go to a Playboy party. Find the island of Dr. Moreau. Read Homer and Leo Tolstoy. Make a sword. Run a marathon. BE at a Led Zeppelin concert. Be 6 UP or 24 DOWN on the Times crossword puzzle.

Save the world before bedtime.

Friday, April 03, 2009


In a land far, far away once, a man screamed.

In a land (as compared) merely far away, the wise woman heard.

She swallowed, feeling his pain.

Her piano she played, mournful that night.

Sadness travels faster than the speed of light. Are you listening, Mr. Hawking?

The keys strike notes within the boundaries of a chord, frozen in time, an arpeggio to some.

Reaching out in every direction, connecting with but one. Not so much to the others.

Yes, crying out to only one more mind in the world, I wonder if he...or she...hears.

And understands, and listens. And passes on the sorrow. And the pain.

What a waste it is, if no one does!

And tough luck it is indeed, if someone does!

One of a few billion is he. Or she.

That's several hundred in a million that is.

Hundreds and hundreds of thousands.

And so many thousands of hundreds.

Le kapiche?

The next time you play your keys, little woman, remember this irony.

Nobody may be listening, although everyone still is.

Maybe sadness is slower, very slow indeed then.

Jump in anyway, will you? It's time you did.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Humble Statue

Cries of screeching birds
Over a lapping shore
Rocks glisten, smooth in black
Moss growing beneath my feet

Still Steady Unmoving
The mist flies over the rocks
Little airplanes screaming to war
Chaos, Brownian, in the desperate pleas
To die and kill
Or to survive and somehow, in some way
Return to normal?

The closer I move
The tougher it is
The waves block my vision
Spraying endless shrouds over my eyes

But I see

The vast plains of water
Constant in all directions
Mild approbations appearing as waves
Mobilis in mobili

Across the miles a ship rises
Sails bellowing against a wind
What does he shout that fisherman?
Hark, perhaps, or a dare!

It is a different harmony created here
Beautiful in a cacophony
The sounds make no sense together
Except to distract thought.

I wonder to myself
How would these places go
If I don't ever leave
If I come back everyday
If I stay in this body
Just like this
Unmoving Steady Still
By this shore
For ever in this mind
Right now.

What then?