Sunday, December 07, 2008

TodayI refused love again ...!
If life's acidic sense of irony could be measured in pennies I'd be a Gazillinonaire!
But never call me a hypocrite, I've ruined far too many things in an attempt not to be one..!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Head completely turned in my direction; she stared from across the room, transfixed.
I couldn’t look away either. She was beautiful.
I gloated in pride; I thought; “Its official, I am hot!”
I didn’t feel the slightest bit of discomfort when I discovered that it had almost been for an hour that her beautiful head was turned in my direction. I thought; “Well, I guess if she’s that desperate its worth giving it a shot!”
As I rose up to go offer her a drink and strike up a chat, a guy showed up from somewhere looking positively perplexed and sad. He looked at me and smiled an apologetic smile. As I stood there in the middle of the bar puzzled at his disposition, he turned to her, grabbed her pretty face with both hands and jerked it back to position.
So as I marched back to my table signalling the waiter for another order, I swore never to have anything to do with women with vertebral disorder.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"The bottle has been vacated and needs to be refurbished" said my colleague Jeevan Ballav Panda as I asked him to hand me a bottle of water today morning;

".....with reference to our past experiences, we must ask Shambhu to restore supply of fresh water in our chamber hereinafter unconditionally, I am tired of having to pay him that additional remuneration (tip) every time he brings us bottles of water, it is totally unfair and frivolous, furthermore, I have reason to believe that he talks about us behind our backs!"

I was enlightened that like Jeevan, the madness was getting the better me too when I replied mechanically, "paying him Rs 5-10/- doesn't hurt and let him talk, unlike the others he doesn't have malafide intent!"
Am I on the right tree?...

Well, here I am in office, it has been pouring outside since early morning and here I am INUNDATED with work; one of the cruellest predicaments known to the average, office-going Joe; rains and work aren’t exactly the most encouraging of combinations…

Work in the form of fleshy stacks of pre-pre-historic case-books and files with little chips of rotten paper peeping out from everywhere lay before me, their covers looked horribly worn out and the hand-typed words on them, obliterated beyond recognition.

I’d like to think of these as obese, old men and the torn bits of peeping paper as their lolling tongues; how perfectly these leviathans reflected my state of being, exhausted, old and panting!!
Yet the cruel pace at which more and more files kept flying out of boss’s cabin and appearing on my desk could give any cash-dispensing machine a run for its cash!

Well then why am I writing this and not working? Good question, just common phenomena seen in a few people; when work overwhelms one tends to freeze and go into a prolonged stand-by mode. I am one such “office philosopher”; when the work is too much, let the steam out, start writing.

The subject of this post is a squirrel. One that hesitates but eventually goes for the kill and then screws up. The thing gave me a real shot of life; I can still see him through my window, propped up on the muddy ground, shaggy haired and dirty, looking out at the street.

I first spotted him trying to climb onto an extremely long rope stretched out and tied between two trees quite far away from each other. Balancing himself nervously he scurried along a little distance on the rope, paused, turned around and ran back to the tree. Appearing again a little while later, he scurried a little further, a longer distance this time but stopping again, he turned around and scooted back to the tree, quite apparently scared of the altitude he was in and unsure whether he could cover all that distance after all.
I kept observing him coming forth and going back for quite sometime waiting for an act of bravado, an inspiring example of the will and the way, of the brave and his triumph, of persistence and reward; but our furry hero kept pacing up and shooting back to the branch equally fast.

After quite a while, a side of the rodent’s face peeped out from between the leaves. I thought I saw a glint of determination in his eyes this time, our man was desperate and quite surely this time around he pounced on the rope immediately and started racing towards his destination with lightening speed. As I watched with gaping awe, the squirrel, displaying a dazzling permutation of endeavour, will and natural balancing abilities sped like a fire ball on the rope and reached almost half way between the two trees…and then it happened. The instantaneousness of it was almost cruel; the fur ball slipped and down he went! It must have taken him a less than a few seconds before he plunged into the muddy ground with a soft ‘plop’.
Our man remained there for sometime, utterly shaken and dishevelled.

His messy, mud stained fur sticking out in all directions, he reposed amidst the muck like a beaten soldier. Still as a cadaver, he sat there looking out at the hustle and bustle of human civilization. I sat watching his tiny, lone, tousled silhouette against the busy hustle-bustle on Old Post Office Street; the contrast sent a chill down my spine.

I saw the other side of the coin today; I saw the beaten and the down. The endeavourer yet the failed, a proviso to the age-old notion of ‘try, try and try again till you succeed!’ Do these proverbs do nothing but encourage our minds to escape, to run away from the thought of failure or the inevitable? This is of course not to say that failure is actually inevitable, but how big a role does fate have to play in our lives? Seated at my desk I wonder if all the work I am doing is ever going to be of any real use to me if destiny makes all the decisions, was I born to fill out files or was I born to be a dreamer. You achieve if you dream.

If I ever felt that the tree I were on, was not the one I was meant to be on, and if I tried crossing over to another, undergoing great risks, would I end up deep in the mud one day all alone, staring out at the world rolling by?

After some time the rodent seemed to decide on moving on, he quickly crept up the tree and disappeared inside a hole in the tree-bark.

I’ll try looking for him tomorrow again. I admit, I am a little anxious. Maybe a little desperate. I hope that he keeps trying to get to that other tree. If he finds his tree, I am sure I'll find mine too.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My work-in-progress compilation of Bus-art (Subject: Spidey)….

Presenting the ultimate Bong avatars of the webbed hero, your friendly neighbourhood- the ‘Bhodro’-not quite in shape-Bangali Spidermen!!

The artistry in these masterpieces is significant as the artists seem to have kept in mind the proportions of the everyday Bengali while painting them; also, these paintings seem to be subtly conveying that a Spiderman lives in every Bengali...

Theres lots more to come!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Botu’s Puja

His friends in Rashmoni Ashram were quite jealous when Botu told them that his mother would be coming to take him home for Durga Puja. Most of them were orphans who have been growing up with Botu in this Ashram for destitute children.

Maya had been planning this for weeks. Her 5-year old Botu must be missing her. She still remembered how he clung to her when she met him last.

“I must give him some time this Puja”, she thought.
She had always been a tough one. Short, dark, with a nonchalant gait, she was considered quarrelsome by her friends. A tenacious fighter, she struggled for survival when Botu’s father died four years ago in an accident at Behala Chowrasta. As a helper in a truck he couldn’t leave much behind for Maya to take care of his one year old son and an ailing mother.

Maya fitted into her new role of a provider for the family quite well. But what she was earning as a domestic help in two houses was hardly enough to support little Botu and her mother-in-law. She had to find a solution.

Getting Botu into Rashmoni Ashram was Ashadi’s idea; “Your son will get two square meals a day and some education too”, she argued! “You can see him or take him home occasionally”.
Ashadi worked in the Primary Health Centre at Amtala. She helped Botu in getting admitted to the Ashram. Maya was very grateful to her.

Leaving Botu with their mother-in-law in their village home, she left on Panchami day for her work, Botu wouldn’t leave her, for him the Pujas had already started. He cried and finally sulked. But Maya had to go. She would be free two days later, on Asthami day to come back to her son. Her employers had promised to give her three days off after ‘Saptami’.

Kamala was sure she had heard her neighbor talking about Ma Durga coming riding an elephant that year. But the incessant rains told a different story. “Ma must be coming on a boat” she wondered. It had been pouring from the morning and Botu was getting restless for his mother. Kamala wondered how long she could keep her grandson engaged within the four walls?

“When will Ma bring my new dress?”, “It is already Saptami?” “She promised to take me out to the Mela”. “Why don’t you take me out and buy me candy floss?”
Botu’s constant crying and demands were making things worse for Kamala. She had her own worries. She had nothing to cook nor did she have any money left. In her own way she had also been desperately waiting for Maya to come. She needed her badly. “But it is only one more day” she consoled herself, “she should be here by tomorrow”.

“It is one more day” Botu thought too. He has to visit the Puja pandal tomorrow. The mike had been blaring away. “How I am stuck inside!” Botu gets angry. “Ma must take me to the Mela”
-Botu gets excited at the thought of visiting the village fair at Amtala. He had an eye on a toy car he saw in the shop. He would ask his mother to buy it.
Gradually, the day made way for noon and Botu was getting impatient.

“Give me money. I will buy candy floss. It is not raining any more”.

“Don’t go out alone. You’ll get everything when your mother comes tomorrow”- Kamala pleaded.

“No, you have to buy me, now”, Botu got adamant.

Tears rolled down his small cheeks. Kamala decided to be less indulgent; after all she had to keep the child in control till the next day.

“Stop crying and lie down beside me” she said sternly.

Botu’s cheeks were still flooded with tears. He developed hiccups due to the constant crying. Kamala couldn’t wait any longer. She lay down for her afternoon nap.

“Do not go out of the house. The pond outside is flooded and we have no fences”, she warned Botu before lying down.

It was too late before they could fish his little body out of the pond. The whole neighborhood had assembled in the small hut.

“How did this happen?” Didn’t you lock the door?” We had warned you to fix the fences!”
Kamala was still wailing, beating her chest. She tried to hit her head against the wall but the neighbors held her back. Botu would never have to return to Rashmoni Ashram anymore.

In the meantime, the mild autumn breeze embraces Botu on his way to see Saptami Puja. It’s a nice feeling. The white fluffy clouds, the distant sound of drums beating, the strings of light illuminating the sky- you could breathe festivity in the air. There is no one to stop him today. He is free to buy the toy car and all the candy floss he wants. He does not have to wait one more day. At last Botu’s Puja has begun.

(This short story is inspired by a real life incident that took place in our family many years back, Maya worked for us as a domestic aid for months; This story is, to some extent, special to me, as long back when I’d first begun writing I had written an original ‘Botu’s Puja’ for my school magazine with a lot of help from dad, who himself is a brilliant writer. I could never find the original script, but herein I’ve tried to re-narrate the entire episode with as much clarity as my memory could aid me with…
Pardon my free usage of terms, names and events typical to the Bengali culture, you are free to leave a comment mentioning anything that you're having trouble understanding and I shall get back to you).

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Of distorted sense of priorities and classic national hypocrisies…
(A much beaten path yet, my two pennies worth…)

(Scraps of news from the front page of ‘Anandabazar Patrika’; 1st May, 2008)

The following is just one day’s front page reports from one of the many newspapers circulated in this nation.

Howrah, West Bengal; 30th April, ’08;
‘70 year old Kadamprasad could just about manage to run a few steps following the bus, he had just been hastily shoved off from, before clutching his chest and collapsing on the dusty ground. All the old man wanted was his bag that he had forgotten in the bus; the sight of an elderly man struggling to chase the bus, yelling wasn’t commiserating enough for the bus conductor to stop or the people around to try and do something to help. As people around him stood watching, old Kadamprasad sat under the punishing sun crying for help as his pain got worse. Everybody heard him but none came forward with aid till gradually the man passed away slouching against a wall. His body remained where it was for about 3 hours during which two police departments argued about jurisdiction and as to who would take responsibility of the body, robbing Kadamprasad any dignity even after death.’

Somewhere 40 kilometers from Mathura, U.P.; 30th April, ’08;
‘A six year old ‘lower caste’ girl was thrown into a pile of glowering hot ash inflicting over 50% burns all over her body; she now battles for her life in some hospital in Mathura. Her crime; walking through a path constructed exclusively for the ‘high caste’ population in that settlement. Even after an FIR was lodged, the police showed much lethargy in arresting the accused and finally were compelled to do so after the matter began getting serious.’

Jhargram, 30th April, ’08;
‘Suspected Maoist rebels attacked a central bank branch, killing two policemen and making away with their rifles.’

Kolkata, 30th April, ’08;
Didi orders ‘Manusher Mohajot’ (teaming up people) against CPIM...another 'Bandh'?!

Leaf through the rest of the pages of this Bengali daily and make efforts to read through some of the articles and you’ll see issues so grave in West Bengal alone that you’ll realize how unsafe it is even to step out of your house, you never know, one minute you’re out on the streets and the next, you’re a sticky lump of goo underneath some bus. In Kolkata, to this day, your chances of getting run over by a bus are higher than being struck by lightening or let’s say, being stung to death by killer ants swimming underwater !(Obviously, analogies arent my strength). Power and water shortage are a way of life here. National issues come much later.
What ticks me off is a few people’s obsession with the IPL cheerleaders and the related issues regarding morality and the alleged ‘erosion of Indian culture’ by the same when there clearly are bigger issues in this nation to address. This, yet another display of suffocating hypocrisy by the so-called religious purists in this country, doesn’t make sense anymore, don’t the guys ever get tired!?
I am, for obvious reasons, going to abstain from being specific, but I cant help saying that if people can watch the likes of Rakhi Sawant cavorting around on screen wearing barely anything, exposing so much cleavage that the whole purpose of wearing clothes at all gets obliterated, and not have the slightest bit of issues with it whatsoever, what’s so mortally wrong with a few girls dancing around with pom-poms in the stadium, wearing short skirts and baring their navels? After all its only their navels they’re baring!!

They distract cricketers? Well, then why have Chennai Super Kings been winning match after match and the Kolkata Knight Riders getting flogged all over the place? Are the Super Kings immune to the irresistible charms of the pom-pom nymphets or is it that the men at Kolkata Knight Riders are so hopelessly desperate that they’d deliberately attempt to hit sixes all the time, so it’s a win-win situation, if it’s a six, the girls dance, if they're caught out, the girls still dance!

They corrupt children in the crowd? If my knowledge on such things is anything to go by, trust me, children today are equipped to the teeth with ‘such’ know-how, many thanks to the internet and of course, the idiot box.

They corrupt and offend the religious minded? Well, religion or culture has never exactly trashed or adjudicated man’s attraction towards the opposite sex as being necessarily bad, it’s perfectly natural!

There is enough on our own plates to be shameful about and there’s a lot to set right in our own neighborhood; can’t these individuals who, for years, have displayed with pride their blatant double standards and pseudo self righteousness by banning TV channels and tearing down billboards in the name of ‘culture’ and ‘morals’ for a change, forget about these outdated and inanimate theories and work towards making the power situation better or eradication of poverty or create jobs etc? Or can’t they just be quiet and enjoy the IPL tournament like most peaceful people want to do?
Most economically important coastal areas in this nation is still severely susceptible to floods, the nations in the brink of a food crisis, the law against Sati isn’t getting amended due to ‘technicalities’, people still get kicked around, being called "Outsiders" and "invaders" in their own country and hundreds like Kadamprasad die on the streets everyday due to the inhumane ness of people. We’ll earn the right to criticize the ills and immoralities of globalization only when we match global standards, after all, morals never fed the hungry.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The crow…

It had been a couple of weeks since my grand mom left us all for the abode above, she was known as the authoritative woman of the family, strict and tremendously particular about administering household matters, the servants and especially the kitchen front. Although she lived in a separate apartment independently, she made sure things in her house and ours were done exactly as she wanted and her large hearted gestures were welcome and well known among the servants and other household aids. 'Thamma' as we called her, loved food and topping her list of likes were fish and sweets, particularly 'rossogolla's.

Quite expectedly, my parents kept worrying about her declining health yet ever so healthy appetite for sweets and despite all the warnings from doctors and after numerous visits to the hospital(which of course were not ONLY because of her sweet intake), thamma refused to surrender her desires. It was a distressing sight watching her reluctantly dig into bowls of mashed, boiled veggies in the hospital and I did see her cry at times.
Two weeks after she left us, the 'Shraddha' ceremony which was nearing its closing stages brought with it a wave of relatives from dad’s side and with them came sweets, more sweets! For two whole days people kept coming, paying their last regards and dropping off a box of sweets before leaving. After having fed every relative, every neighbor, every shop owner in the locality, every servant, every driver, every beggar, every urchin, every domestic animal in sight and after donating a car full of food to the school for underprivileged kids nearby, we still were left with a 160 litre refrigerator crammed with sweets!
The morning after the Shraddha ceremony’s conclusion mom was cleaning the kitchen when she discovered that a few rossogollas kept away in a vessel had collected a green coating of fungus. She picked one up and placed it on the kitchen window-sill for the crows and disposed the rest. The minute the sweet dropped from mom’s fingers a crow swooped in from somewhere, picked it up and flew away.
Having finished her work she headed downstairs to Thamma’s apartment, accompanied by a servant to clean it up.
This is according to mom’s account of what happened there, seconded vehemently by the servant; while mom wiped the kitchen wash basin near the window, a big crow landed outside the window. It had what looked like a rossogolla between its beaks. Gently, it bent down and placed the sweet on the ground and then flapping its wings, it took off.
Clearly, the bird wouldn’t eat it.
Mom looked closely; it was the very same moldy rossogolla that she had placed outside our kitchen window for the crows! Quite possibly it could also have been the very same crow that picked it up from there!
For weeks thereafter this queer incident became food for a great deal of deliberation in the family and every discussion meandered towards one common conclusion, an uneasy one, one that hinted at the theory of life after death and that of incarnations. But pray, a crow!!?

Since that day mom has always served fresh eatables to the birds cause, you never know!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Another day goes by, what a waste…!

I lay on my bed one unbelievably hot summer night….tonight! and stared at the ceiling fan up above. It spun and wobbled so joyfully it almost seemed as though the thing had a life of it’s own, I wondered at times, if it would dislodge from the hook and fall straight on my face. Considering the way my life has been proceeding I would be happy if it actually did. The weird part was, I couldn’t even feel so much as a faint draft of the ‘Cold thunderstorm’ that the fan assured. I perspired like a derby prize winner, my bed felt like a flat bed of rock somewhere out in the middle of the Thar and my temper soared dangerously... !

The idiot box blared in my parent’s room….women wailed, men hollered, babies cried, guns roared, cars revved and some more women wailed and some more men hollered and some more babies cried and some more guns roared and some more cars revved and lots of people laughed raucously at another one of those so-lame-I-could-go-buy- a-gun-and-make-a-thanksgiving-dinner-outta-my-brains jokes on yet another one of those stand-up comedy shows on yet another one of those television channels…sheesh!
The earsplitting decibel level made me want to tear my armpit hair out one by one and all my pleas for a slight diminution in the volume stood hilariously ineffectual against the Goliath of a din that blasted out of that room. My parent’s are ruthlessly protective about their ‘TV time’…No hanky panky there!!

My eyes sailed to the little space, a passage of sorts, between the balcony and my bed. Those precious few square feet that housed my drum kit till about a year back are now just an empty patch. All those arguments about that little bit of space and how my ‘dabba’s and ‘plate’s blocked a free and comfortable way to the balcony and the final, melodramatic expulsion of my ‘dabba’s and ‘plate’s which now repose proudly in the musical room of some local school for the needy, reaped a rich reward of an empty patch on which now, stands a chair!
For long have I dreamt of that red TAMA Starclassic…MY red TAMA Starclassic with shiny rims and water-clear skins, with a Gibraltar drum-rack going around it, propping up Crashes, Splashes, Trashes and Chinas, a PEARL Piccolo and Iron Cobra chain-powered double pedals. I don’t even know when I’ll have the money to buy a ‘desi’ kit to at least keep the practice going. Right now I am worse than a beginner.

I tried picking up the book I spent 2/3rd my monthly-allowance buying, to study for that job-interview I am not even sure I’ve gotten a chance to sit for and maybe also for the 4th interview I am going to be sitting with the same law-firm, don’t even know when that’s coming up and my boss ignores my calls. One look at that enormous mass of infinitesimally tiny letters filling up entire pages from corner to corner, no paragraphs, no gaps, no headers and hardly any full-stops murdered even my slightest desire to learn and that trickle of sweat rolling down my chin helped matters hugely!
Anyhow, I spent the entire day wiping myself dry, cursing the municipality and worrying about my job-interview.
And of course…my usage of the internet on the home PC has been banned after dad discovered a little bit of porn in my laptop last week! Therefore last night I walked for a good half an hour to get to the ‘closest’ cyber cafĂ© to check my mail while dad sat at home checking his.

The most exciting addition to the party throughout today was the load shedding that went on to stay for a marathon 18 hours from early morning! And thereafter when the lights did come back the A/C conked.
Its exactly 11.49 pm right now, it’s around 38 degrees outside and the humidity is close to 80%, the television is still blaring in the next room, the voltage is dwindling again, ‘didi’ is planning another Bangla-Bandh soon and I am typing this desperately to avoid jabbing a knife into someone’s eye!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The father and daughter ...

We seldom realise it but life, as we know it, makes it a point to teach us it's most valuable lessons at the strangest of times and situations. And often, when we least expect it.

And it makes sure that we remember our lesson, so profound and intensely powerful are life's examples.

This happened a few years back when I was travelling to my uncle's house in Burdwan, a rural district in West Bengal. I sat alone in my car sulking at an argument I had had with my parents the previous day. It was a rather unimportant matter; the choice of cell phones. I wanted to purchase a rather expensive handset, something to the tune of about twenty five thousand rupees and my father insisted that I save the money and buy something relatively cheaper. He insisted that I save while I insisted rudely on spending while I had the money. I had completely failed to see his side of the argument and walked out on him in a huff.
Midway through the trip something pierced one of the tyres and our car slowed down, jerking and wobbling along the way. My driver managed take the car off the road and parked it near a small settlement of huts and food stalls. There was also a tyre-repair workshop nearby. Impatient and annoyed, I scanned the rural scene outside. I spotted a cycle rickshaw at a certain distance from us, parked underneath a large Banyan tree. And in it, I saw them;

He sat precariously, balancing himself on the tattered passenger’s seat of the rickety cycle-rickshaw. It had gaping tears in it through which purged swathes of yellow sponge. His legs stretched out and rested on the little driver's seat in front; a small, triangular piece of hard leather with smooth, round edges, pinned in place by a series of nails with shiny, metallic heads running all along it's sides. His hair was a disheveled and dirty mess. A stubble enveloped his thin jowl and chin and rose to surround his pair of gaping lips, his arms crossed each other on his emaciated chest looking like a pair of fragile twigs placed playfully across each other by a little child. They were bone shaped and veiny. With a bewildered look on his face he stared up at the sky from underneath the Banyan tree.

She sat next to him, small and insignificant, filthy and un-bathed, possibly hungry and unloved, a picture of neglect and destitution. Dressed in a dusty and torn yellow frock presumably handed to her by some sympathetic samaritan she dangled her little plump legs happily. Smiling to herself,she sang moving her tiny, crow's nest of a head from side to side, singing to an audience of passerbys and tea-stall customers who couldn't care less about the performance and went about their lives with indifferent passivity.

In her tiny hand she nestled a little bowl made of stitched ‘Sal’ leaves. It contained a hard and stale ‘puri’ and a few pieces of fried potatoes acquired from the cheap tea shack cum food stand nearby. Humming to herself she reached inside the fragile utensil with a tiny, careful hand and tore out a piece of that bread. Smiling sweetly, she reached out to her father to feed him. He hesitated initially but relented when she made a pleading face. Parting his lips he accepted the food and looking down at his daughter smiled at her a sad smile.
As his jaws laboured feebly, masticating the contents of his mouth the little human being next to him giggled in glee and asked her father in Bengali, “Bapi, aar khabe..?” ("daddy, do you want some more??")With his eyes fixed at the sky, the man lied; “na ma, amar pet bhora, tui kha!” ("no honey, am full, you eat...")!

So sat father and daughter sharing their miserable meal, food, stale and hard yet condimented with generosity and sacrifice. Love radiated through their wretchedness and outshone everything else. Suddenly the dirty and dishevelled weren't dirty and dishevelled any more, the miserable wasn't miserable any more and their stark poverty was reduced to merely an insignificant blot in their refulgence. It engulfed my insides with an almost overpowering assault of shame and guilt and I cried. I was ashamed of my profligacy, ashamed that I was so small and the rickshaw-walla and his daughter, so immense.
The car tyre being repaired my driver rushed back inside, pulled out the keys and proceeded to start the engine. As the car jerked back to life, I turned and looked at the two of them and kept my eyes on them. Soon they turned into tiny specks and gradually disappeared into the far horizon.

God's ways are strange but through his oft imperceptible methods He manages to show us the light. He showed me that day that one's family was one's greatest asset, one's most treasurable wealth and absolutely nothing came close to matching it's relevance in one's life. I was stupid to have fought with my father over something to trivial when there were people out there with graver problems who knew how to smile and survive in the face of unsurmountable odds.
Just another 24 hours…

I sat up wide awake on my bed and looked directly into the pitch-black darkness of the summer night brimming outside my window. It was a late 2.30 am of the 28th day of March, of the year 2008 and for some reason my eyes weren’t influenced by as much as a speck of sleep. It could possibly have been the unbearably high temperature, it could also have been the excessive vodka that I had indulged myself to the previous night with the guys, but there was no sleep…none at all. A sickeningly rotten pain lurched in my stomach walls and I felt a lump in my throat.

It was deafeningly quiet and not even the crickets sang outside. Sitting up, I glanced around my room, from corner to corner, it looked so much cleaner now. There were 2 cupboards, one with expletives and the choicest abuses etched on it and the other, that always made a deep guttural sound, similar to a gastronomic discharge, when opened; a study table and a chair; not to mention, a bulging heap of clothes in the middle of the room, books and magazines scattered around, bottles, drum sticks, sundry articles, CDs and underwear, on top of my chair, on top of the cupboards, underneath my table…underwear everywhere!

I saw Shreya di, Rachita, Babu da n I going out for those late night walks and cold coffee from Zaika…how we laughed and scampered away when our landlord peeked outside his window to see what that din was all about..

I saw Avishek n Deba sit in each other’s company, getting lost amidst the depths of thick smoke and philosophy…philosophy inspired by the former, Satadeep rushed authoritatively towards the mirror to make sure that hairstyle was perfect, whether those glasses sat perfectly on his nose and took Anirban aside for last minute advices on dating, I saw Anirban n Arunima cuddle and exchange sweet nothings….

Bajju barged in, in his underwear, clutching his cell phone, talking to someone important, followed by Prad who sailed in, his belly leading the way, one hand put out, asking for a cigarette or a light…I saw Aravind struggle to light his first cigarette and Prasad taking a run-up before piling-on Avishek…
I saw the landlord, Mr. Patil scream at us for making too much noise and letting girls into the apartment.

I saw Yudi appealing to his mom on the phone, wanting to go for that one last party before the exams, the exams that began from the very next day…and Addy Mehta lifting that heavy barbell with one arm and discussing the Indian Penal Code with me at the same time.

I saw Da, Mayukh da, Sam, Jeetu, Karan and myself singing loudly with the nonchalance and abandon attributable only to madmen, I saw Babu da waddle in and out of my bathroom complaining how clean it was…

I saw the little boy, ‘Sajal’ who’d come by every afternoon carrying lunch for Deba and Avishek bragging loudly about the fights that he had gotten used to getting into…
I saw those little, un-healthily frequent ‘booze parties’ that the 5 residents of 24/B, Kapila Housing Society, Gokhalenagar, Pune used to find excuses to organize…

I saw the girls from the next-door PG screaming out my name and challenging me to play Holi with them….

I saw, seated amidst a haze of cigarette-smoke in the NCC, the Magnificent 7 making plans for Ehsaas, singing, taking ‘case’, planning gigs, composing songs, making lots and lots of noise....

Then I saw myself and almost immediately with a ‘pop’....the ghosts were gone…!!

It was 4.00 am outside, a couple of crows whizzed past kawing loudly….on my bed again in the middle of what can be described best as a bare, desolate wasteland, I looked around, empty walls, empty spaces, empty patches, the last piece of furniture sold, the last bag packed, ready to leave Pune, ready to leave all of it behind, shut it tight and forget all about it. The injustice was excruciating.
At that specific point in time I realized that the greatest mistake I’d made living in Pune was taking the ample time I had in hand for granted. I oh so took it all for granted and now, it was time alone that I could kill for, just one more day.

Just 24 more hours and I’d have time enough to go meet the old man from the temple who always blessed me before my exams and in spite of my prolonged absences from the temple, would say; “Sai Baba is always with you!”. I could never meet him before I left.

24 more hours and I’d finally, after all these long years, somehow conjure the courage to go and tell her how much I’d loved her. Tell her about the battles I’d fought for her in my imagination, how I’d kissed her lips and gazed into her eyes without a care in the universe. I’d tell her that I held her hand all these years without her knowing it, I’d tell her that I’d prayed for her and how I’d stood soaking in the rain one day, underneath a tree, far far away, just to catch a glimpse of her getting inside that rickshaw and make off after classes. I’d tell her that, the real reason behind having organized that outing for a lunch and movie, in our first year of college was actually so I could spend sometime with her. I’d narrate to her about all the pain I’d been through all these years just because I couldn’t tell her how I felt, I’d tell her how I cried when I came to know of her predicament of late, I’d tell her I had no problems when she was so rude to me. I’d tell her that I’d rock n roll in Kashmir just for her. I’d tell her that I still loved her.

Just 24 more hours and I would almost make Da go buy that Bass guitar and start practicing for our future gigs, a grand Ehsaas reunion, subsequent recording and stardom!!. One more day, I’d tell Mayukh da how valued he is to us and how I miss him and his little scooter, I’d tell Jeetu that I’d trust my life, my family with him and Sam (after slapping him for not writing me those DVDs) that I’d have liked to see him before getting inside that train, I’d like to have thanked Karan Singh for those long conversations we had had during those rainy nights of 2006 and for showing interest and faith in my abilities. One more day and I ‘d tell Babu da once again that he was such a dude in my eyes. 24 more hours and I’d be able to spend some more time with Smita aunty…talk to Prachi and Asmita and tell them I thought they’re the sweetest girls I’d ever met in my life.

24 more hours and I’d whizz past Lonavla, Khandala, Khadakwasla, Mahabaleshwar, Mulshi in a rocket, a bottle of vodka in tow, 24 hours and I’d race into T.Oaks, down a few pitchers of Barman’s red and make off for a late-night flick at E Square.
24 hours and I’d have gotten drunk with Shashwat and Swati and gone ahead and gotten into some major trouble with the cops...again!!
24 hours and I would’ve made sure we’d jammed one last time at Barista and prayed that we get kicked out from there...just one more time.
24 more hours and I’d have had that one last booze party with the guys at 24/B…
24 hours and I’d scream out to the entire city how damnably desperate I was to relive my last 5 years, in another 24 hours I'd desperately look for ways to stay back!

5.30 am…faint beams of sunlight shot out from behind the thick clouds that had gathered in the northern sky, outside, Pune was still asleep. Deba who was dead asleep nearby, turned to his right after what seemed like ages and breathed heavily. Avishek was already gone a couple of days back. Anirban and Satadeep slept in the next room.
I walked out into the balconyand a cool breeze washed up against my face and all of a sudden I felt alive. I was looking at a beautiful dawn for the first time after so many years, something I’d completely forgotten about all this time; a dawn in Pune…the city that I loved so much, the city that taught me so much, the city that I was to leave forever in a few hours time. I dressed up and put on my sneakers for one last climb on the Taekdi and breakfast thereafter at Goodluck.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Presenting a set of interesting photos I'd clicked sometime back in Pune...just random stuff!

I'd like to know the subjects they teach in that University...I'd really like to know.

"Ki deen eshe galo
Shobar hatey hello...
Behala-r Jam-e poro
Taratalla cholo!"
...I think I get what he means???
(Clicked this from the front seat of my car, the rickshaw was at a considerable distance, bless the camera in my Motorola V3i ).

Well folks...the unthinkable has finally pet roach, Papa has found a mate!!
NatGeo would've paid me top cash for this but alas, for Papa's sake...

we'll keep this one private..

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here's a miniscule compilation from the many websites almost 10 pages of Google search has to offer about 'drummer humour';
Here we go;

1) How do you know a drummer’s at the door? The knocking speeds up and he never knows when to come in.

2) What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians? A drummer.

3) How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. They have a machine that does that now.

4) What do you call a drummer who just broke up with his girlfriend? Homeless.

5) How can you tell a drum riser is level? Drool comes out of both sides of the drummer’s mouth.

6) What’s the difference between a drummer and a drum machine? You only have to punch information into the machine once.

7) How does a guitarist park in the handicapped space? He leaves drumsticks on the dashboard.

8) What’s the difference between a drummer and a vacuum cleaner? You need to plug the vacuum in before it starts to suck.

9) How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Ten. One to hold the bulb in place and nine to drink until the room spins around.

10) What do drummers say once they get their new gig? “Would you like fries with that?”

11) Why do drummers have 1/2 ounce more brains than horses? So they don’t embarrass themselves during the parade.

12) How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Five. One to screw, and four to discuss how Neil Peart would have done it better.

13) How do you get a drummer to play an accelerando? Ask him to play in 4/4 at a steady 120 bpm.

14) Why do bands have roadies? To translate for the drummer.

15) What did the drummer get on his IQ test? Drool.

16) What’s the difference between a drummer and a savings bond? A savings bond will mature and earn money.

17) How do you get a drummer off your porch? Pay for the pizza.

18) JOHNNY: “Mom, I want to be a drummer when I grow up.”
MOM: “Well, you can’t do both.”

19) What has an asshole and three legs? A drum stool.

20) What do you call a drummer with half a brain? Gifted.

21) How is a drum solo like a sneeze? You can tell it’s coming, but there isn’t anything you can do about it.

22) How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Just one, so long as his roadie gets the ladder, sets it up, finds the bulb, and puts it in the socket for him.

23) Did you hear about the bassist who locked his keys in his car? He had to break a window to get the drummer out.

24) Why are orchestral intermissions limited to 20 minutes? So they don’t have to retrain the drummers.

25) A guy walks in and asks the clerk at the desk for some picks and strings. “You must be a drummer, right?” the clerk says. “Yeah, how’d you know?” the drummer asks. “Because this is a travel agency.”

26) What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a drummer? A tattoo.

27) The latest drum machines are so realistic, they show up for practice 20 minutes late.

28) What’s the difference between a drumline and shoes in the dryer? Nothing.

29) Did you hear about the drummer who graduated high school? Me neither.

30) What do you call a drummer with half a brain? Overqualified.

31) What do you call a kid with a set of drums? The poster child for birth control.

32) How do you make a drummer’s car more aerodynamic? Take the pizza sign off it.

33) What did the drummer say to the guitarist? “Do you want me to play too fast or too slow?”

34) What does a drummer NEVER say to a guitarist? “Hey, do you want to play one of my songs?”

35) What does a drummer use for contraception? His personality.

36) A beautiful maiden found a frog who told her that if she kissed him, he would turn into a famous drummer and make them both rich forever. The maiden stuffed the frog in her pocket instead. “Hey”, the frog said. “What are you doing?”
“I know a talking frog is worth more than a drummer any day”, she answered.

37) Two salesmen are sitting in a bar. The first salesman says to the other “I bet I can relate to people so well that I can start a conversation with anyone in this bar.”
“OK” the second salesman replies. “You’re on.”
The first salesman goes up to a guy in a business suit and asks him what his IQ is. The guy in the business suit reveals that his IQ is 170. The salesman proceeds to engage in a discussion about world politics, literature, and science.
The salesman then goes up to a guy wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and baseball cap and asks him what his IQ is. This guy reveals that his IQ is 100. The salesman then spends 15 minutes talking about sports, cars, and women.
The salesman finally walks up to a guy pounding shots and asks him what his IQ is. This guy admits that his IQ is only 50. The salesman asks him if he prefers Zildjian or Sabian.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

(Heres a little somewhat of a poem I typed one night, two weeks back, sufficiently high on Vodka shots. It took me the next morning to correct the many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors I'd made the previous night in my state of inebriation....whatever sense you make of it is your own interpretation, as for me this somewhat of a poem was done and through with when the lines rhymed!)


The words won’t flow out tonight, dear Lord…my mind feels numb….
My eyes feel weighty, and my heart…deaf and dumb
The quill between my fingers lies dead, motionless as wood
The papers lie scattered around like dead fighters in a skirmish would

Known yet unknown is the feeling inside
that to no one, to no one can I confide…
none will ever understand, they hardly ever do
To whom do I profess, whom do I confess to…?
that confused I am, afraid to unfold
a wound throbbing deep inside my chest
so excruciating and oh so cold.

Why do I seek the words tonight oh Lord, why do I crave to write..?
Why can I not speak out my mind and put up a brave fight..?
Is prose my only strength, is the pen my only might..?
Why am I afraid to break the restrains, why is it that within myself I hide..?

You’re not afraid son, neither are you weak
It is merely affection and affection alone that you seek.
If it is through prose alone that you speak your heart out best…
then let your pen speak your heart’s behest..
Be not afraid of lettering your feelings, be not afraid to spell what is true..
Be not tormented if the artist appears to have burnt out in you…
In art lies the greatest tranquility, in art I reside
In prose lies your greatest muscle, through prose you shall confide…
So go forth unafraid and do profess your eternal love for her…
but do so as a poet, poets seldom cower.