Monday, October 08, 2007

Raging Tide

The faithless freak and i have quite a few things in common. one of them, which is becoming increasingly apparent, is that we're both losing our minds. him faster than me, it seems. this city has gotten to us, and there's no wasy we can deny it. we continue of course to fight against the tide, the rage, the insults, the stabs. we refuse to give in, and in each others company, and i'm certain privately as well, we frequently renew our pledges to effectively shape our destinies, conquer the ocassional nudges of hopelessness. for we both know that to turn back now, to leave these heathen shores, and return to the land of the familiar, the lazy and the comfortable, would be defeat. And defeat we cannot face. We cannot stand the idea.

What's interesting is that others find themselves confused about us. in their estimation, we are 2 of the brightest stars in their horizon. they have led us to believe, and we led oursleves to believe so as well, that we are superior, elite and esoteric. yet we must of course maintain a grounded humility, it doesn't look good to have our noses in the sky. yet of course, those who have hailed us as the next conquerors have done so within their limited horizon. and we have been naive enough to believe that the journey will be smooth. it turned out to be a cattle track which we have to navigate during a perpetual earthquake. peace of mind is a distant dream, or is it an illusion? pieces of mind, body and soul seem the more likely outcome every now and then. and so we meet, and promise yet again that we will be strong.

But our despair finds other outlets. the faithless freak has chosen to document the chaos in his mind for the world to see. and he further chooses to advertise it by notifying all others of his rantings. i can't say i blame him, for we could certainly use a sympathetic ear, or a sufficiently alarmed response as our minds metamorphose into putty. and then the freak and i meet up again and laugh as we fight off the darkness.

the horizon won't come to us. we'll either learn how to swim, or drown trying. and we promise to be strong.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I don't know, it is strange. It has been some 78 days since i have left home. and for most of that time, there has been one feeling that has dominated my conciousness - numbness. i am strangely, inexplicably, somewhat frighteningly numb, emotionally that is. nowadays i get the feeling sometimes that the numbness is fading. but that is no comfort, for i am afraid of what promises to emerge from behind the shadow my mind seems to have cast over my feelings.

78 days away from home. away from mom and dad. away from my room, my messy, light-yellow walled room. away from my computer, my music, my recording equipment. my familiar bathroom. my brother's bedroom with the hi-fi music sytem, the view of the hills, the cool winds. away from the safety and comfort of home, from mom's vegetarian mondays, from dad's habit of turning the ceiling fan in my room off at 4 in the morning, from my bike (oh, my bike!), from the now hardly used basketball court that i worked so hard to maintain, from the tv, from watching dad's head bounce off the wall as he would nod off while watching tv sitting on the sofa, from frowning with disgust at the ridiculous soaps my parents suddenly seemed so addicted to. away from standing in the varanda at dusk, and listening to dad lecturing me about how i need to start taking my life seriously, or about how to deal with women (yeah, he's the DUDE!! his takes on women are hilarious, it makes me smile to think of his 'advice'; it makes me smile through the numbness). from the stars in the nightsky. from the telephone.

78 days. 78 days since the final confirmation that my college life is over. 78 days since the time i could look forward to a lazy afternoon in the ncc. since the time i could think about jamming in the college canteen.

78 days away from jeetu, sam, rono, mayukhda. 78 days away from discussions on performances past, and dreams of performances in the future. of the feeling we get when on stage, with guitar/mic/drumsticks in hand, stagelights on our faces, the sound of our combined energies finding fruition in the amplifiers, the speakers, the monitors, the waves of cheering from the crowds, now soft, now rising, now on a crescendo! 78 days away from Ehsaas (the irony of this is amusing. i, who started 'Ehsaas', am now numb!)

78 days away from knowing that Goddammit! when it came to debating, i was the No. 1 in pune. Atleast! hell, i don't wanna be modest about it here, god knows i play it down everywhere else. but why should i not say it to myself? i'm not feathering my own ass. 5 years worth of competition has proved this statement to be true, dammit! but who knows it now? who will want to remember? 78 days since anyone cared.

today, i am in a new place, in a new world. one in which my talents are unknown, and have not yet found any way of being discovered. one in which i am no more than a wet behind the ears, bespectled idiot, whose sole objective is to learn while being pushed around. one in which i fend for myself, and am surrounded by strangers, each of whom have the same curt reply to seekers of sympathy, "Yeh mumbai hai." 78 days since i was more than just a dot on a crowded, confused and hardly artistic tapestry.

thank god karan is here. but his being around tends to have a somewhat scary effect. he might not be aware of my numbness, but his company serves to remove some of the fog. and behind it there seems to be emptiness, a vacuum, one that threatens to make its presence overwhelming. and if it does come forth, i am not sure if i can take the resultant gloom. i haven't been away from the comfort of the familiar for this long before. but the unknown is the only path i can take.

78 days since i knew who i was. a lifetime ahead to find that out again...

Friday, August 10, 2007


wrote this one for a bulletin of a club i was part of last year. the rotaract club, to be precise. it's a neat concept, the rotaract. but ya gotta have the right ppl in the club or running the club, otherwise, it might just be a waste of time. i'm done marketing the club. the article follows...

The problem in Kashmir rages on. Terrorist camps, bombings, shootings, atrocities by the army, civilian casualties, and recently the earthquake; everything in the papers make Kashmir out to be quite an unfriendly place to live. But I do not wish to join the mass of people who rue opon the problems in the valley. Let others talk of politics, of terrorism, of religion; these do not inspire me at this point of time. I would much prefer to write about my limited but fruitful contact with the valley, and this occurred right here in Maharashtra, when the Rotaract Club of Pune Ganeshkhind hosted 10 Kashmiri students and took them to Shrivardhan in the Ratnagiri district for the Rotaract Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) organised by the Rotarians there.

To be very honest, the prospect of hosting students who were likely to be to members of quake-affected families was not very encouraging. I was concerned that the students may have been psychologically dented after that massive calamity, and I was apprehensive of whether I could handle them in the correct manner, without being too emotional, excessively sympathetic, nor too distant. It’s hard to know what to do before a guy who’s literally seen his world come crashing down. But the students we met were mostly shy, yet capable of having a good time and quite co-operative and enthusiastic. Of course, with a club President like ours, most men would trip over each other trying to gain her favour, and so it was relatively easy to make them see the ‘brighter’ side of life.

The RYLA was organised by the Rotary Club of Shriwardhan in November 2005. It was the first ever ‘Coastal RYLA’, meaning that it took place in a coastal area and was concerned with a lot of things connected with the sea, like pearl culture, prawn farming, etc. At this point I must commend our club President for her idea to take the Kashmiris to this RYLA. One of the most gratifying things that one of them told me is that this was the first time they had seen the sea. Well, we not only showed them the sea, we also took them into it; first to bathe, then for a speed boat ride where they even managed to see dolphins! Quite an unforgettable experience for anybody, what say?

Ups and downs are the way of life and that’s what Azhar Bhai, one of the Kashmiris, discovered when he decided to join a bunch of us in a tanga ride on the beach. The horse which was pulling the tanga must have been pretty perturbed by all the “Chal Dhanno” cracks we were throwing at it. But I guess it was the last straw for it when we began singing the tune in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and rotating our hands over our heads cowboy-style. It suddenly accelerated its stride and the whole tanga broke! Azhar Bhai experienced a momentary feeling of weightlessness before he crash-landed flat on his backside, being reminded just why the firma is in term ‘terra firma’. I was sitting right next to him when it happened, and I too remembered my reasons for not taking up the job of stuntmen in films when the otherwise soft but wet sand made its mark on my rear quarters. Too bad no one caught that one on film!

Another highpoint of the trip was the campfire song-and-dance session which we had on the beach. As usual, the Rotaract Club of Pune Ganeshkhind rocked the crowd with some cool numbers played on the guitar and sung. Hey, what do you expect when the President, Director for Club service and Director for Professional Development are all members of a band? Anyhow, everybody was impressed and were grooving to the tunes, but none more so than the Kashmiris. One of them, Bilal bhai, finally broke out of his skin and began singing some really cool Hindi and Kashmiri numbers in his sweet pahadi voice. Of course, he had the ladies swooning over him, and it seemed for a while that finally atleast one of the Kashmiris had found favour with our President (poor Azhar bhai had been trying the hardest. He even began calling Amruta, our President, by the name of Ruksana, because he liked that name more).

It’s been a constant complaint of mine that nobody looks at the guitarist (of course, when ‘Ruksana’ is singing, who cares about the guitarist?!). But there was at least one of the guys, Manzoor bhai, who found my guitaring more interesting than the members of the opposite sex (now that’s a compliment, considering that we had some rather breathtaking specimens of the opposite sex in our contingent!). For a while he made it his mission to click a photograph of me playing the guitar, but somehow the time just didn’t permit us to do so towards the end.

After an exhausting 2-day RYLA, it was finally time to head home to Pune, and I am proud to say that our effort in taking the Kashmiris to Shriwardhan certainly wasn’t wasted. Along the pathway of life, one often meets friends who walk along with you some distance before parting ways. But even then, it is not necessary that such companionship will be meaningful. But given the right circumstances, even the shortest journey with a companion can produce the most remarkable of and enriching experiences. The Kashmiris were really sad that they had to leave, and Azhar bhai was confident that they would not have the same amount of fun and enjoyment at any other place in the India tour which the organisation ‘Sarhad” was taking them on (after all, ‘Ruksana’ won’t be around for the rest of the time!). We all embraced, and Bilal bhai sang us a last farewell number before we saw them chugging away in autorickshaws into the night.

A short story is never that. It is a prelude to a bigger one, a saga or an odyssey perhaps. In May, our Club has plans to join ‘Sarhad’ for a trip to Kashmir where we will help in the counselling and rehabilitation of quake victims. All the guys who came to Pune are as eagerly waiting for us to go to Kashmir as we are. It will certainly be some reunion.

Manzoor bhai, I’m coming to Kashmir in May.

And I’ll bring my guitar.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gandhi Who?

i wrote this article for a magazine that a club i was once a part of used to publish. it didn't make it to the magazine, cuz our club president thought that there was sufficiently enough inflammatory language to mislead our readers. just to clarify in advance, this is not an anti-gandhi article. read it till the end before pasing judgement. this article was written way before munnabhai 2, and at the risk of sounding boastful, i claim that i used the reference of gandhi on money for the first time, way before it became fashionable to do so. also, i'm no gandhian, so this article is no indication of my ideological inclinations. it's just something i wrote, and wanted to be able to read once in a while...

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Father of our Nation. The Naked Fakir. Freedom fighter. Champion of Non-Violence. Deliverer of Freedom. A Mahatma.

Which Indian hasn’t heard of the Mahatma? His ideology and the stories of his epic struggle for Indian Independence have spread all over the world. So far is his reach that his name even appears to be familiar to the most uninitiated of NRIs and POIs (People of Indian Origin), who may not know too much more about him, apart from the facts that he led India to her freedom, and that he did not believe in dressing up. Indeed, in a country where titles have been abolished by our Constitution, one would normally not mention the name of Gandhi, without prefixing it with ‘Mahatma’.

But today, the Mahatma’s popularity seems to have diminished among the youth. The thin, bald man, with the round glasses and langoti no longer holds the iconic stature he once enjoyed, almost to the extent of monopoly, with the youth. It is not uncommon to come across a group of 20-somethings criticising the Mahatma in most uncharitable words. And of course, there are those who are ready to swear that had Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose been given a free rein, we may have achieved independence far earlier than we actually did. “Gandhi,” remarked an ‘intellectual’ friend once, “was a selfish fool, and a tyrant. When Netaji was fighting the British troops for our country, Gandhi goes on a hunger strike in protest! A messiah of peace, huh? He wanted all the credit for himself!”

Whether or not Gandhi’s methodology was the wisest is not an issue that I would care to debate over. That is the province of the major political parties, who depend on it and so many other irrelevant controversies for their bread and butter. If it weren’t for such matters to keep our politicians preoccupied, they might have to turn their attentions to the more insignificant and ancillary aspects of their job, like fostering communal harmony, or reforming the judicial system, or else, God forbid, good governance!

But as far as the yuppie Indian youth of today are concerned, Gandhi’s relevance is confined to his portrait on currency notes. The reality is that for the youth, Gandhi is an outdated hero, who just doesn’t fit the Superman profile. Many youngsters would rather read ‘Mein Kampf’ than ‘My Experiments with Truth’. We speak of him unkindly, when in truth most of us just don’t know. But what is sad, perhaps even disgraceful, is that most of us don’t want to know, because most of us don’t really care.

But there are those who have taken the trouble to look into the Mahatma’s life a lot more closely than the rest of us. Many youngsters have devoted a lot of time to discover that Truth that Gandhi spent part of his life searching, and the remaining part, preaching. The greatness of the Mahatma is not only locked in history texts, but is still echoed in the spirit of a portion of the youth, sadly constituting only a minority.

Perhaps, when the rest of us learn to expand our horizons beyond the boundaries of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘myself’, and learn to tune in to the national conscience, the spirit of the Mahatma will inspire us again. The mark left on our nation by the teachings of Gandhi is indelible, and sooner or later they will regain their prominence. Then, perhaps, the memory of Mahatma Gandhi will occupy it rightful place in the heart of every Indian, instead of being relegated to two or three National Holidays.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Just Flinging It

for those who may have been following my blog for a while, you might remember a post which read "I'm in unlove". in that post i was rather uncharitable to the person on whom it was written. i realised a while back that my unnecessary outburst in my blog reflected a certain amount of immaturity. so i removed that post. yet, as these writings are the only , though unsystematic, record of some happenings in my life, i felt it necessary to lay down my thoughts on the subject again.

a few months ago, i started seeing someone. it just happened all of a sudden. in fact, it was kinda strange. i met this gal on the christmas eve of 2006, and we sat over coffee and a sandwich, generally chatting up on a bunch of things. it is my experience, and i'm sure many will agree, that when a guy and a gal talk to each other for an extended period of time, the conversation invariably veers towards relationships. past flames, likes, dislikes, what you look for in a guy/gal, stuff like that. and this time was no exception. it was a few months before my finals. i was about to leave college life behind, and i didn't know where i'd be after that, but i knew i wouldn't be in pune. an era in my life was ending, and important era, one which is meant to be THE time in my young life. so far, i had had a great college life, although the really good stuff only started from 3rd year. there was one thing that i'd always wanted to try, but never did go for. and that was, the iconic, the legendary, the elusive, amorous, no-strings-attached fling. it was about time 'ol Da got his 'hands dirty' and played the game for the heck of it. i was at a point when love was an overrated concept and a thorough waste of time. and besides, i don't believe in long distance relationships, so it was illogical to fall for someone and then quite possibly leave her behind while i go in search of the rest of my life.

i realise i've digressed a little. back to the coffee, the sandwich and the gal. so we got talking on relationships, and interestingly, i quite categorically told her that i'm looking for a gal who'll be able to let go when i'm leaving town. nothing thereafter. i was to have my space even when we're seeing each other, and there was to be no clinging, and definitely no nakra (can't stand that crap!!!). what's really interesting, and even amusing, is that she said that i would have a hard time finding a gal who'd be ok with such an arrangement. and i told her that i'm not desperate for a relationship, but if it were to happen, it'd be on these terms.

we somehow ended up spending the night talking to each other. during the course of the night, i more than once felt that there were some vibes flowing between us, that maybe she was attracted to me. but i didn't think about it. i know it seems unbelievable, but i actually spent an 'innocent' night with her, which means that i had no ulterior motives, so to speak. i hadn't even thought of dating her.

We actually got around to seeing each other after new years eve. in the interim, i had ample reason to believe that i was getting the green signal from her. from my conversation with her on that Christmas Eve, i had learned that apparently she too was looking for a no-strings-attached, just for fun relationship. the night i proposed that we start seeing each other, i actually reminded her of my terms, and she agreed. it looked like i was en route to an uncomplicated good time. but fate, it seems, had other ideas.

within a very short time i began to realise that our lil' fling had the makings of an emerging 'serious' relationship. i had hardly started seeing her when one day she called me, asking if i had had a thing for so-n-so girl. it seems some chick in her evening class 'revealed' that i had had a major thing for her as early as a month previously. that came as quite a surprise to me, not simply cuz i didn't even know who the chick was, but cuz i'd never been involved in such a controversy before, where my girlfriend is getting reports from random females that i was 'involved' with them. it had a certain novelty to it, and the first time i had to comfort my gal that there was nothing between me and that other chick, it felt kinda good. but that feeling dissipated when my gal called me up later, all happy like, saying that she 'now' believed me cuz she had read this blog, and since i have previously posted stuff about all the females i've ever felt for, she knew that i had not fooled around with that chick. from this i simply realised 2 things - a. that my gal didn't trust me, b. that if my blog has saved me once, it might save me again, so i gotta keep it updated (hence this post). as for her not trusting me, i could hardly blame her, cuz she barely knew me. still, it didn't feel good to be doubted after giving reassurances.

i can make no bones about it; i wanted to get physical with this gal, of course, only on the condition that she wanted to do the same with me. it started off 'encouragingly', and i felt that in time things would take their due course. but it rapidly became clear that she would make this sort of committment only on one condition; that we should get 'serious'. i admit that this is an inference on my part, but our talks pointed only in this direction. she was falling for me in a big way, and i was still not ready for it. with due respect to her charms and personality, she just wasn't my type, which is why it hadn't been difficult for me to have a 'fling' with her in the first place. i was sure that as she wasn't my type, there was no danger of me falling for her, and so when the time came, it wouldn't be too difficult to let go. but i guess she began to view things differently. she had already begun contemplating the continuation of our relationship after i had begun my work, and was overjoyed to discover that i'd been placed in bombay. she was looking forward to visit me after i shifted to bombay, or that i would come home to pune to see her n stuff. the situation began to take a stifling turn for me.

there were 2 alternative courses of action that needed to be taken; 1. either i could be a horny bastard (read ' the common perception of your average guy'), lie to her that i liked her, and have my way with her, or; 2. break up with her before the situation got out of hand. i chose the latter course (and received a lot of criticism from a lotta guys :). i simply could not bring myself to lie for sex. i guess that's just not my thing. there are better ways to get some :) . so, after having been her boyfriend for around 10 days, i broke up with her.

she called me up the day after that, saying that everything that had happened between us now "feels like a lie". i confess that pissed me off, cuz in my book, i'd been about as open as i could from the beginning regarding our 'relationship'. but hey break-ups are hard, and since she had started liking me, it had to be tough on her. before i realised this, i posted 'i'm in unlove' on this blog. it was immature on my part, and the mere fact that i don't like being called a liar is no ground for me venting my ire like i did.

my 'fling' was a good learning experience, as i believe all relationships before the final one are. it showed me the kinda guy i am, and what i seem to be (in)capable of. in several ways, it made me feel pretty darn good about myself. i hope that the gal learned a thing or 2 as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ramblings of Frustration

I don't even remember when i wrote this one. i just found the page of the notebook on which I'd put this stuff down. from the tone, i'd say i wrote it sometime in my fourth year, quite possibly a lil' before some exams. it's quite snively and pathetic, and by no means indicative of my current state of mind, but i put it up so as to remind me that there are times when the shit seems perilously close to hitting the fan, but those times are quite trivial when looked at in hindsight...

It’s there somewhere. I can’t figure it out. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Somewhere among the confused thoughts in my head, it’s there. Playing with me, mocking my inability to discover it. Confusions, distractions, voices, clouds. I cannot reach it. It wants to get out, but it can’t. What is it that I want to write? What do I want to let out?

Wasted. Every opportunity wasted. There is no forward, no backward. Everything is suspended, pushing my paranoia to the inevitable conclusion. A dream of greatness. Unformulated, unarticulated, unplanned. Wishful thinking. I cannot live on thoughts forever. But there is no action. Every moment is one that is wasted. I am going nowhere. I don’t even know where I want to go. I almost look for the pit in which I fall. I do not avoid it, I practically seek it. Self-destructive, pointless. My ‘potential’ remains undiscovered, unused. How can I expect others to understand, when I don’t myself? The noises grow louder. Music, voices, the rain, all of it serves to cloud out reason, purpose. All around me are testaments to time wasted. Time better employed elsewhere. A life better lived otherwise. The words, the laughter of my neighbour serves only to frighten me more. The smoke blown into my face only reminds me of the time flying by, of the countdown inevitably leading to the end. Misery and pointlessness are my constant companions. A hope that God will bail me out springs up now and then. Sometimes strong, Sometimes laughable. If God helps those who help themselves, then it seems my doom is inevitable.

When will I wake up?