Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Sunday, 19 December 2010
Sunday, 28 November 2010
The mud track took one last turn around the hill, and a smile vanquished the last of those fretful lines upon his face. The boy, tired as he was, was finally nearing the end of his almighty quest. The meandering road had taken him through several villages and shanties, over treacherous rope-ways and some insanely beautiful scenery. But he was glad that it was all over now, for his legs: they were pumping acid; and his vision was blurring from fatigue. And thus, he threw himself around the bend with whatever energy was left in him, unconsumed.
Voila! The sight he beheld astonished him as much as it bewildered his senses, for beauty in its most consummate form can hold one in a trance forever; he held the vision in veneration and fear. The trees were taller than many mountains he had seen in his life and they were richer than the richest of kings. Snowflakes, like little stars, floated down through their almighty canopy into the bursting stream which ran down the hill. And in front of him was the most queer looking house, made of logs and bricks and stone - and yet it didn't look out of place.
He was rejuvenated by the glorious sight and he felt like he could run all the way to the house. For it was for the house that he had undertaken this perilous trip once again. Memories of his previous encounters with the wizened inhabitant of the house flooded his thoughts. It had been two years now...
* * *
"Welcome, welcome..." the old man had said, stroking his flowing beard. “What must I owe this delightful honour to? Not many lads come by these days," he had sighed.
"N… nothing sir..." the boy had stammered. “ I am merely an admirer of nature... and a lover of unadulterated beauty.”
"Oh, come now... Let me boil you some tea," the man had said, as he ushered the boy into his austere dwelling. "But you don't have to lie. I know why you have come. I know why all boys come!"
Then he had meticulously boiled the tealeaves in a large kettle and he had returned to the boy's beside only when he carried two mugs of tea.
"Sip on it when it's hot," he had commanded and the boy had obeyed. All of a sudden, he had found himself fully strong: renewed. The old man then posed the question: "Now that you are better, tell me... What are you willing to trade? I know that you have come for the Pot."
"Trade?!" the boy remembered himself faltering, shocked by the old-man's deduction.
"Of course... A trade! It's only fair, isn't it? And how is it you don't know about the trade?!" He had asked. The man seemed menacing now; no longer friendly and definitely not affable. "The pot isn't free of cost. What will you give me in exchange for the pot?"
"I have some gold...?"
"GOLD!" He had laughed, but without mirth. "You can keep that! It is worthless to me. I am looking for something far more precious."
The boy had stayed silent. The old man had played this game far too many times to lose at it. He always won. Every lad eventually gave in! They all knew that their lives would remain miserable without the pot. It was their only way out!
"You know what it is..." he said, slowly. “I know you lead a wretched life! You have nothing more than a pocketful of gold... You believe Life is unjust to you and you have come to me. But you have something I can trade the Pot for..."
The boy had stared mutely.
"Your dreams, your heart! Your soul..." The man went on. "I am willing to trade."
"My heart is mine to keep and mine alone to give. One cannot forcibly claim it. My dreams serve me as an infinite staircase to eternal glory... If you want me to trade that, you are fooling yourself sir. I might be poor, destitute, distraught and ill-omened, but I'm willing to walk back home empty handed. There will be no trade today. Now, will you give me the pot? Or must I walk?"
The man had then smiled, like he had smiled before. "Bravo, boy! Bravo..." He had cried, for never before had he listened to such words. People, usually, willingly submitted. “For you lad, free of cost!” And he conjured a small earthen pot out of thin air. "Just promise me that you will never trade. Otherwise you are not worthy of the Pot."
* * *
The boy was once again at the door of the strange tenement, and he stood on the threshold staring at the large oak door. He had once sworn to himself that he would never make this trip again. And now, he was here. He had promised never to trade, even for something he valued as much as the pot. His life had dramatically improved ever since he had sipped some of its magic. And Life had become fair and beautiful and lovely and grand. For two long years, he had ruled his world, but now he found his pot empty. He felt things would go awry once again. He was afraid: afraid to lose it all and return to square one. He felt now like it was worth a trade.
Suddenly, the door sprang open. But there was no old man this time: in his stead was a little boy.
"What do you want, friend," he asked to which the traveller replied that he had come to see the old man.
The boy looked sad now, and he replied: "You have come to meet grandpa! If only you had come sooner... He forgot to take his daily sip yesterday. I'm afraid he's no longer with us!"
The traveller stared aghast.
"Yes," nodded the grandson solemnly. "Grandpa used to sell Luck."
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Monday, 18 October 2010
Friday, 8 October 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Sunday, 12 September 2010
Clear the desks; pull some chairs
Stash the bucket in the shelf…
Shroud the books; slay the sheets
Get up! You’ve got work to do.
Hoard some cash, be very tight
Do not buy and do not give.
And then all! Splurge it all…
Fling it all: Y’ know when to.
Let the windows give away
And let the sky come bursting in
Making way for endless fumes
Of smoke of evil and endless joy.
Grab the caps, light the flares
Get the speakers out once more
Let the cake come, when it must
Fix the old bulb up tonight.
Draw out crapes ‘n streamers encore
And write the names upon the walls–
Splashes of paint and sparkling text
The magic canvas is a glittering hall.
Revive the jukebox from days forgot’
Relive those old joys born anew
Reset the table; Repeat the song
Renumber the spirits alphabet-wise!
Get the knives and spoons and forks;
The dinner is ready – delectable, grand…
Steady the staircase – that infinite one
Which will take you to heaven tonight.
Keep the phone nigh – at hand
To answer all those midnight songs.
Now set the beat and up the heat –
And wait for Earth’s complete round.
Don’t forgive but do forget
All that past that wasn’t right
Indulge! Rejoice! Promise! Ascend!
There will be a party tonight!
Friday, 3 September 2010
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Deeper, deeper – I was dragged
Until only blue remained;
Murky, turbid, whirling wrath…
I fought. I fought. Then I waned.
Tossed about with murderous flair
I clawed my way; I was hauled and keeled
I seized each wave with immense faith
And then again, as they did yield.
Like whips and daggers, the spray outlash’d
Puncturing my chest now fresh with breath
And then the logs came floating by
Meandering gently with the flow…
Yonder lay shore’s seductive sand
And yet it lay so far away
My every stroke towards the shore
Rendered harmless by tumultuous spray
I stared at the logs floating by
Riding the crests; gentle, unmarred –
And then the logs went floating by
With the flow, a few wrong yards…
Burning eyes and flailing limbs
Bursting lungs; I felt heavier now
The current was strong; I could still
Shore myself, with one more blow.
I fought to keep my dying breath
As I stared at the logs floating by
Once mighty oaks; so meek in death
They would live and I would die?
I stared at the logs floating by
And managed a smile at the irony,
Drifting away with effortless ease
So what if they swam a few wrong yards?
The easier way of the logs beguiled
The flow was too strong to oppose
So I wilted in the pellucid flow
And maybe now I’ll enjoy the course.
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Monday, 26 July 2010
Monday, 19 July 2010
Monday, 12 July 2010
Friday, 9 July 2010
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Sunday, 20 June 2010
But a few days and an Amoebic dysentery (courtesy: Juhu Vada Pav) later, to say that I absolutely reviled the place and was dying of claustrophobia would be an understatement. I wanted to get out and was glad when I finally did.
I returned to the port city today after risking my life in one of the fastest landings I have ever experienced. The pilot, being absolutely reckless, hit the ground hard enough to sink Mumbai a few feet into the sea. The air hostess smiled at our alarm and said, “Welcome to Chattrapati Shivaji Airport – Domestic Terminal”. I would be lying if I said that my initial feelings of apprehension were subsiding.
I was welcomed, however, by one of the most beautiful overcast skies I have ever seen. The airport having undergone a major face-lift had me standing in awe in the middle of the pick-up bay. The cabbie from Schlumberger told me that I would be going to a Thane guest house. And so we left…
I have seen a lot in the past hours: the winding road around the Powai Lake, the scenic Hiranandani gardens springing out of nowhere, shanties and malls juxtaposed, rather friendly people and a young lad by the slums with no shoes leaping through the puddles in dazzling blue Samsung – Ballack number 13… Even if all these didn’t influence me, the fluent Hing-lish conversation I had with my Tamilian driver did!
I sit here on the 24th floor now, wondering if I’ll have to revise my ‘Favourite Cities’ list real soon…
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
A cold stare, unerringly ahead,
As if to shatter the air betwixt
Himself and wherever he looked.
His chest heaved heavy under the breath
A cold dry draught hurriedly inspired
And as if to bring life to apparent Death,
The air was warm through a choleric fire.
In a brilliant blaze of magnificent wrath
Became apparent the scars of conflicts prior
- Evidence of battle and the tumultuous path
Taken by his Life, Fate and Desire.
His locks were heavy, dark and curled
Flaunting an air of immaculate power,
An intrepid heart and a spirit unfurled...
So mighty did his countenance tower.
His lips curled to suppress a smirk
As if to forget the gashes of ere
Seasoned in war, Past ne'er him irk'd
As if he kept only the Present near.
It was a deadly, menacing face
Like one never to be seen before
Or after. For not even the minutest trace
Of emotion seemed to linger on it.
And then came by a squeaky man,
Absolutely mortified by the sight
From which even the best men ran.
This visage was mankind's blight!
The coward crept up behind the face
And he made brave, though filled with cold,
So as to pull the mask to his own face.
Now he could terrorize the world.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Pleas for redemption, to allay pain
A prayer to smother the deathly flames
Of evil - in a soothing rain.
A promise to scale mountains tall
To negotiate with the Almighty one.
Or perambulate the temple wall
To repent for offences done.
A ritual invoking the soul within;
A quest to, body's depth, unearth.
- Tranquility crushes melancholic din
And serenity returns, if not mirth.
A passing peace, a diabolical trick
- Taking heart again before the fall
What hurt was once searing prick
Is now a saber - slicing all.
For prayers give you heart again.
The Believer begins to brim with trust,
Yearning for that eternal rain
Only to crumble like an Iron in rust.
He burns within in agonizing ache;
For worse still than drowning, is when -
At Death, he thinks there is a chain to take...
Hope is given and withdrawn again.
Wallowing in self pity and envious spite
He hates. He tires. He has lost. He's worn.
Oh Omnipresent Benevolent Light!
I hope you're glad. An atheist is born.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
It was dusk and the sun turned bronze from radiant gold, peeking out from behind the gentle Cirrus which was splattered across the eternal canvas. A cool wet breeze carrying the occasional grain of sand blew landwards purging heat and assuaging pain. It would be evening soon.
I saw two children being led carefully through the sands, as though being introduced to the Bay, by their grandmother – although it would be very lenient of me to say that they were indeed ‘being led’, and soon enough poor old Grandma had no control of the children as they boisterously somersaulted over each other and threw fist-fulls of sand at each others’ face. After feeble initial protest, the old lady gradually grew despondent and helpless, after which she swore (imitating the great Bheeshma) to the God of the Sea – “I shall, never again, accompany these two children to the beach, alone.” This seemed to work miracles on the impetuous duo and almost magically tranquillity returned to the shores of the Bay of Bengal. I smiled as I saw two guilty looking children and one exasperated Grandma departing, to catch an Auto, together.
As I continued walking along, I saw a group of kids in their later teens playing beach-football. This was not uncommon as beach football was one of the most popular sports played in these parts. Most passes were played in the air and the curl of the shot was often aided by the wind, playing diabolical tricks on the hapless shot-stopper. I looked down and I noticed no more fine patterns and designs drawn by the fine hand of the wind; as all intricacy lay mutilated - bearing testimony to the savage struggles for the football. I jogged past the kids who were bellowing as loudly as their larynxes permitted. Soon, I reached the jogging track.
I witnessed a melange of people here – the twenty year old whose life seemed all but directionless, seated with other twenty year olds who were equally lost, discussing the futilities and pleasures of life, pausing only to take in the occasional stunner; the young gentleman who ran incessantly down the track, wincing as his muscles pumped battery acid, all the while listening to music streaming into his ears through his new iPod; the middle-aged man who walked down the side-lane hand-in-hand with his new wife as they planned their new universe; and the young man or old boy who was madly in love with his hot girlfriend.
I was getting tired and thought of retiring to the nearby Barista, which offered ambrosial delights for a fortune, leaving the customer a few notes lighter… Or maybe the nearly awesome Food-Court called ‘Planet Yumm’ which was the favourite haunt of children of all ages… I paused ephemerally by the group of gossiping old men so as to tell them the time, only to almost be bundled over by an irresponsible pram.
By now, the Sun was no longer visible and the sea seemed to be the beacon of light. The surroundings began to drown me as various elements began to coalesce. The sky was blue, green and violet all at the same time. A distant ship twinkled bravely as the world around me began to succumb in a conflation of immaculate grandeur. I was so lost in the spectacle that I almost forgot who I was!
The infant in the pram, the child with its grandmother, the teenage footballer, the old boy with his new girlfriend, the young jogger, the middle-aged man with his wife, the old gentleman in a veshti asking for the time – were all one person. And I am Time.