Saturday, August 04, 2007

Private ghosts

Hidden, cloistered, barred, interred
within and without they strike roots.
Sometimes whispering, weeping, angry
accusing, pointing fingers, betrayed.
Screaming inside
when there's silence out there
like a mad screeching, shrieking echo
it resounds within,
clawing bit by bit,
scraping, bleeding,
stinging hot tears in pain, anger
and no understanding.
Of the mind
and its tentacles stretching out
going deep into things unseen,
unheard, unbelievable and unknown,
Walls all around
yet clanging beneath
the iron grills of time and actions.
Wheels grind past mercilessly
as private ghosts hold reign.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Nainital in the Rain

After years I slept under a beautiful tin roof atop tall white varnished walls and the sound of the rain brought me such a warm deep sleep and a night alike so many thousands I spent in my school dormitory in Nainital. The rain drops, as big as they are in this beautiful lake city, lashed against the tin roof making their own merry music, scaring some with the whistling sound of the wind crashing the rain against the windows and putting others to sleep. All the mists, fogs playing hide and seek over the moss green lake and now and then offering a peek into Ramnee-my school- its old buildings, the creamy white and red roofed church, the Mary Ward hall, classrooms...oh the good old school days. The flats near the lake, the tibetan market where we bought woollens for Rs 100 each to battle the chill that came with the endless rain. Then there is Nanak's where I once had mushroom soup with my dad when I cried all the way to my boarding school, the ram laddoo, floss candy and popcorn vendors, an odd Koutons and Provogue outlet newly sprouted on the Mall road, a small games gallery where I managed to defeat my brother at one of 'his' games, the shooting spots where I am taken aback by my own good shots! The Modern book store where I bought all my course books and today pick up White Rabbit sweets and noodles while we chat with the store owner as he goes through the familiar ritual of meeting nainital alumunus. Prince's is holding a garment sale! I try to find the stone pendants I once bought from here. Narain's book store still has a book that catches my eye, the water paintings book I once bought for my younger brother are still neatly stacked. The Good Luck saloon next to it still attracts crowds.
Nainital seems just the same, may be even a little cleaner. Only now I have been able to put behind the tears that came everytime my parents left me at school. Also the boredom that had come in after a decade at the town. But deep in my heart, I so strongly feel so much in love with this place, its rains washing down the town, the churches, the lake and the air of the town and the school that gave me so much that I will keep with me for life. Nainital will always be the most beautiful hill town for me and so many others I know.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Between cigarettes and Godot and E & T

E:- Hey u look very chirpy today!
A: No, not at all actually. I am quite depressed.
E:- Why the hell? What's with u? U have no reason to be depressed.
A: Precisely that's why. There seems to be no reason at all. Why do u think we live E?
E:- Just!
A: So, we r vegetating.
E:-Yeah. Quite. But depends. Some people are genuinely happy in whatever, at home, marriage, family, work. One has to find one's mission, one's meaning for life.
A: What if there is suddenly no meaning? No reason or mission.
E:- That is the scariest thing. No meaning.
A: What if we just like to think there is meaning when there is actually nothing. Like Waiting for Godot.
E:- That's an existentialist phase. We all go thro it. I did. May be u shud join this community I know, might help.
A: What if it doesn't? What if there really is no meaning.Just blind senseless hope?
T:-Gawd! U guys are just plain crazy! What an inane, insane conversation! Why don't u guys just renounce the world or something. Mad women.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A lesson in history at the Red Fort

After years I entered the Red Fort the other day. I watched it and admired it's lit up form in the nights when I drove past so often and kept saying to myself that I had to attend the sound and light show some day but never did. Somehow things worked out and I convinced my husband and dragged him to the show. Passing by the majestic Lahore gate, the Meena Bazar shutting down at 8:30 pm with all its wares targeting firang tourists, the Diwan-i-aam facing the lawns and finally the Diwan-i-Khas area where several Mughal emperors held reign. The show was damn good, recreating the history of the Red Fort passing down the hands of Shahjahan, Aurangzeb, Mhd Shah Rangeela and finally Bahadur Shah Zafar after which the British troops marched in.
Was quite an interesting history lesson and I loved the lighting that made the fort look so witheringly beautiful. Wish though that they'd do something about the mosquitoes that seem to hold fort at the lawns where one has to sit thro for the hour long show. Also what about creating a parking space closer to the fort and what about people who cannot walk thro the whole long distance from Lahore Gate to Diwan-I-khas. Hello, this is the Red Fort ASI and all other authorities! What about making its slightly more tourist friendly? Or do you want everyone to just give the wonderful show a miss. Barely ten people attended the show with me last week. I am sure it would be a packed house only if the guys in charge get their act together.

from tuesdays with Morrie

Something interesting I came across from Mitch Albot's 'Tuesdays with Morrie'. It's a great read.

How can you ever be prepared to die?
"Do what the Buddhists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks,"Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?"
He turned his head to his shoulder as if the bird were there now.
"Is today the day to die?" he said.
...."The truth is Mitch,"he said "Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I had almost stopped reading for over a year now and what's more done the unthinkable- left the most amazing books midway! Something I wouldn't have done even a decade back in school at the peril of failing a test. But the last one year or so, I had bought books and never leafed thro them. Books got added to my study but not to my memory and to think my best fren n I devoured books thro school, graduating from MBs to Georgette Heyers, classics when I studied English Literature in college and got completely addicted to book reading every night till 12, 1, 2...whatever time it would take to finish just one more chapter. The first affair that began with comics and then found its way into the richly stacked libraries in Ramnee at Nainital, later at college libraries and finally at a small second hand book store hidden in a busy local market in Delhi. The pity is that the man who runs this small store packed with all the books in the world, can't read at all. Wish I had a collection as awesome as that. The bigger pity is that I had stopped reading and I have no idea why.
After an eternity and lots of determination I picked up Friedman's World is Flat sometime back this year and struggled thro the first few chapters, keeping the fires of a dormant interest burning somehow. Only towards the last 200 pages of the brilliant book did the love surface again and it's such a massive gift.
Took me 4 days to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the time of cholera. The beautiful last chapter stays with one so like the smell of the first rain on settled dust. What an epic on love in its myriad forms and the one love that takes over all else but takes patience and a will to move mountains. The protagonist lives thro' decades for a love unyielding,unreturned but all-encompassing. Must read all u lovers. I wish I could have recommended it to some people I can never now. Just to read books like these, I wish I have years and years left in me. I am a fan Mr.Marquez.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Face Reading

I attended a conference the other day which had delegates from several countries participating. It was an interesting melting pot of sorts and I was trying to get to know people from various nationalities and we all communicated through the universal language of smiling. One delegate returned the smile and came to talk to me and asked me where I was working. I returned the question and he said-" Cant' u see from my face? I am from China". But the whole thing is I was never quite sure despite his features. For all I knew, he could be an American born Chinese representing god knows which country? Or he could be fromHong Kong? Or he could be Indian, actually, pointed out a colleague who had a similar experience where a person she thought south east asian turned out to be an Indian from north-eastern states brought up in Russia! In a world where cultural and political boundaries are blurring in the minds even when they are firmly etched in red lines in world maps, is there any scope or relevance of face reading? Phew, we are becoming world citizens:)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shootout at Lokhandwala

The last movie I watched. I know its gory, violent, a constant series of gun shots pumping out blood. Also there was no TV journalism happening then. But what I like is that the movie is open-ended. I watched Rajiv Masand review on CNN IBN where he said the movie failed because it was not clear which side the director was on- the cops or goons. That is exactly what I like. The movie is grey and that's more like real life. Ofcourse, the slick shots and un-chawl like chawl shots are far from real life like! Viveik Oberoi though seems so in character of Maya Dolas-makes a good villain.

Flat world

Just about to finish reading Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. Started reading it on recommendations from one of my bosses and tho' I am not a non-fiction person, this one really got me hooked. We really are living in interesting times, blogging, orkut, e-banking- all this was unheard of when I was in school. So when we left school, we could not even give out e-mail addresses! But here we are- all my school's on orkut and I have found them a good ten years or so after I passed out. But what happens to all those who get left out of this 'flattening' process- the accessibility to technology changing by the minute- Friedman says the built up frustration fires up these deprived sections, sometimes driving them to terrorist acts. Scary but true. We have no right to leave the others behind, no one must miss the 'flattening' effect, the google, orkut, blog and e-mails of the world. But what worries me is that the personal touch, the intimate signature on postal letters that travel through days via red letter boxes and mail vans, the pleasure of meeting your classmate 'unvirtually'- it is all just fading off and that's painful somewhere, somehow-despite orkut.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Opening lines

So why become a journalist? Do u actually think you can write well or do u have pretensions to changing the world or something? Or is it just the 'byline' as journos say- ur name printed in fine little black letters on he left upper corner below the bold headline- ur name visible to largely u and to some other morons like u in other papers worried about 'missing' a story.
How mean can u get? I am a journo mainly bcoz I like writing. I enjoy writing.
Ha. U mean u want to become world famous writer one day. High hopes huh!
May be. Why not. What's wrong with it. It's better than wasting time with a piss off deflator like u. So while I wait for my book to come to me, I am going to blog and will call it Roshandaan so there's some relief, some breath of the sea breeze from Goa down there or the hills up north to keep me going in this city of traffic jams, smoke and honking horns. Delhi can be so irritating but it's work and it's also fun thrown in between. Here goes Roshandaan:)