Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two lines

Once in a while, when it becomes too swollen to put it in my back pocket, I have to unburden my wallet of all the junk that are periodically deposited in it -- odd bills, old ATM slips, visiting cards of people whom I have forgotten, papers with indecipherable numbers, photocopies of once important documents and things suchlike. Yesterday, having nothing better to do, I thought of cleaning up my wallet.

While I was digging out worn out, unnecessary bits of paper, a particular piece of paper caught my attention. It was a yellow piece of paper from a stick pad that are so common in offices. This piece of paper was all empty but a couple of lines scribbled in Hindi. As I read it I found out that it was an Urdu couplet, popularly known as shaayari .

I tried hard to remember where I had picked it up. Raking up my memory cells I finally found out that I had picked it up in my last office, where one fine morning I had found this solitary piece of paper lying on my desk. I had no idea who had put it there but something about the written words must have struck me and I had slipped it in my wallet and had carried it since then.

Well, if you are by now a little curious to know what was written on it, I reproduce it below for your benefit.

"Kaif bardosh baadlon ko na dekh
Bekhabar tu kuchal na jaaye kahin"

P.S. These lines must have struck me because I also have this premonition -- like Kaif, the author of this couplet -- that I might get trampled someday while watching the clouds above.

P.P.S. I still don't know whose couplet is this. Googling the lines didn't help. Is it Kaifi Azmi's? Have anyone of you come across this couplet before?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Coming back to life

To those who thought my blog has died a natural death, this post must be disappointing. Yes, this blog is alive - it's trying to mutter a few feeble words again.

I have no reason to defend this long hiatus. Agreed, I was a bit busy travelling - first, to McLeodganj; then, to my hometown Dhubri in Assam; and finally, to Pune (where I'm stationed now and hope to be here for quite some time). Meanwhile, I have also quit my last job and landed up in a new one. But despite all these, I had ample amount of time in my hand. The excuse for not writing is, therefore, nothing but my legendary lazyness.

Anyways, there were a lot of things which I wanted to write and failed - My last few days in Delhi when winter was setting in; The last meetings with friends whom I knew there; The loneliness I felt when I landed in Pune Airport; The few acquaintances I made in a new city. For the kind of nondescript life I am used to, these were all too alien. Moreover, things were happening so fast that by the time something registered in my head, it was already over. In short, I struggled in my new environment, as always.

Now, as I am writing this, things are a little better. I have devised means to keep myself busy. I read to kill time, spend long hours in the office to surf the net, and resort to daydreaming when I am bored. So, you can say I'm gradually getting back to normal life.

Okay, as I close this post, I'm leaving you with these few lines from a Vasko Popa poem, which for some unknown reason had been sitting in my head for the last few days.

"From every pain
We do not mention
Grows a chestnut tree
That stays mysterious behind us

From every hope
We cherish
Sprouts a star
That moves unreachable before us"

- from "Far Within Us # 1"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

An examined life

He lives a pretty ordinary life - mundane and boring. But he never accepts that. He actually thinks his life can serve as a 'case-study' for posterity. I also think so, albeit for an altogether different reason.

He works for a living and pretends to be enjoying it. But the truth is, he has no idea what he is doing. He often writes substandard pieces, which he thinks are of high literary value. But they are as trash as trash can be. He keeps daydreaming all his waking hours. And he actually bugs me with all his incredulous adventures in 'dreamland'. He also does read a book or two at times but he definitely exaggerates his knowledge as if he's a know-it-all. And did I tell you about his lazyness - it's exemplary. Although he justifies his inactivity to his detached worldview, he's often found hankering after all the material pleasures. So, in a word, his is a 'pathetic' life. Beyond repair.

So, it goes without saying how annoying it is to live with a person like that. I wonder how many of you have to live with such species of people who attaches extra importance to themselves. My sympathies to you all. I'm myself living with such an impossible person for the last 26 years. Don't I deserve a pat on my back?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Waiting for the words...

Contrary to what I used to believe, a lot of things were happening to me of late. In fact, I was so overwhelmed by these happenings that I fumbled for words to express them.

How possibly could I have expressed in words the emptyness I felt while walking back home on a full-moon evening? Or how could I describe what I felt when a familiar smell from yesteryears wafted from somewhere, evoking nostalgia? Or the effortless drift I experienced while I lay awake late into the silent night? Or the subtle pleasure I felt while reading a certain passage in a book? Or the longing for a familiar touch? Or the craving for some long-forgotten taste? Or the irrepressable desire to talk to someone whose face is all hazy now?

It was difficult to translate them in words. And I did not want them to be written just for the sake of writing. So, I waited for the apt words to appear. Words which would flow effortlessly to create something out of my jumbled up thoughts. But, I later realized that I was waiting in vain. Words don't come to those who don't pursue them.

And this post is proof enough that I have failed to pursue them.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Obscured by time

"And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death"
-'Time', Pink Floyd

The eternal race is still on. And the truth is we will never catch up with the sun.

These days I have an edgy feeling. I get paranoid whenever I look back. I keep asking myself, "Is this the place where I wanted to reach?"

Then one morning I see the sun rise. I see the world come alive. And I realize the insignificance of our personal existence. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't always look at life so philosophically. But at times the usual and mundane things of life throw up the little nuggets of truth. Looking at the rising sun helped me come to terms with myself that day.

And now I have decided not to care about what all I haved achieved or squandered.

Friday, June 30, 2006

He who writes...

"Anonymous is a person who lives within me."
- Anonymous

After a particularly barren spell, I almost force myself to bring out this post today.

I had been in dilemma for the last few days. I was trying to figure out why I was writing what I was writing. And how much importance do I need to attach to it? Is this a totally futile exercise? Two conflicting persons were arguing inside me. And I couldn't really figure out who was the real me.

One of them argued that this was just a waste of time and I should rather put my energy into something more practical. He even said that publishing these personal posts online just shows how desperate I am to get noticed. Simply put, this was a kind of 'show-off' according to him.

I was about to agree on this when the other person, who had so far been listening intently, spoke up. He argued that although getting noticed could be one of the reasons it was not the sole reason. And he was completely unwiling to accept these writings as a waste of time. "Not everything you do should be weighed in terms of profit and gain," he said.

So, here I am stuck up between the arguements. And I don't even know, between these two, who actually made me write this post.

Friday, June 16, 2006


"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad."
- Victor Hugo

Friday evening is certainly not the time to feel sad; I have a fresh weekend at my disposal, the rains have brought down the temperature in Delhi and everything around me just looks fine. Moreover, I have no particular reason to feel sad. Still, melancholy is the only word which can describe my present state of mind. There are times when I feel that way, for no reason at all. This is when I shut myself, this is when I long for something I myself don't know, this is when I take refuge in darkness.

Reading thus far, you might be mistaken that this is my frustration speaking here. No. On the contrary, I am trying to tell you how I feel a subtle pleasure while I am actually feeling sad.

Let me not complicate it further. Take an example. Whenever you feel extremely happy, don't you remember about something/someone which/who would have made you happier? To me, this is this little pain of not having something/someone by your side which actually makes your happiness complete.

I pity those who never felt a tinge of sadness in their moments of happiness. They have never really known happiness.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On forgetting

Of late, I had been forgetting things with alarming frequency. I drop my wristwatch somewhere and then I can’t remember where. I put my wallet in a corner and then I go totally blank. I keep looking for a T-shirt for two days only to find it on the terrace (apparently, I myself had left it there to dry). Each day I have to struggle really hard not to keep forgetting something or the other. And pretty often I fail miserably. And, of course, add to it my dilemma over not being able to remember names when it matters the most. I’m awful at remembering things, I accept.

This morning I reach office and at the gate I find that I am not carrying my access card. I go to the security for a dummy card but, for some strange reason, they can’t locate my information in the database and hence can’t allow me in. I call one of my colleagues to escort me in, go to the badging room, get my information updated, come out to get a dummy access card and then enter the office. ‘A perfect way to start a Monday morning,’ I say to myself as I enter the office premises.

Now, given a chance I would have liked to forget so many things. But, these, I never seem to forget. They keep resurfacing from my memory at unexpected turns and make me cringe at my foolishness.

Well, one more irony of life: things we want to remember will be forgotten, the things we want to forget will be remembered.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Walk in the mountains

"Once you have lived with the mountains, there is no escape."
- Ruskin Bond

I don't know if I have got that quote right. (I'm just relying on my memory here. And my memory, well, is not very reliable. So, an apology in advance, in case my memory has failed me.) But this quote was the first thing in my mind when I started writing this post. And I just couldn't find anythig more apt to begin with.

Away from the scorching heat of Delhi I spent the last weekend in Dhanaulti, a quaint little hill town in the Himalayas, about 25 kilometers uphill from Mussourie. The hills are quiet there, the slopes are lush green with pine trees, and the clouds keep wandering about this place on their whim. Needless to say, it was just the ideal setting for a walk. And walk I did, for all three days of my stay there. I walked leisurely through the drizzle, climbed up the narrow mountain trails and sat up there with the clouds. The wild flowers were in full bloom and the air carried with it the fragrance of the mountains. What more could I possibly want?

I'm back from the mountains now, but as I am writing this I can still see the wayward clouds, the smoke rising from distant hills, lone little huts in the slopes, and the bleating goats grazing around. I guess, one needs some time to get out of the mountains. But what if one doesn't really want to get out of it?

I just wish I could retire to the mountains some day.

PS: The Dhanaulti Rock Show, for which we decided to go to Dhanaulti in the first place, was a big let down though.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A trail of memories

I open my mailbox tonight and find an invitation from a friend to join an online community named Orkut. I promptly join in. And for the next few hours I just keep digging out faces from it - people whom I had once known, talked to, shared a laugh with, made a bond, and then forgot. Each face I knew carried with it a trail of memories...

It amuses me much to see that they they are now scattered all over the country (some abroad as well), doing pretty well for themselves, and moving ahead with life. But I somehow cannot associate with their new looks. I can only think of them as I had seen them in the hostel corridors, classrooms, canteens, college fests, cricket matches, or even in the Lovers' Lane. But then we have already spent so many years without seeing each other that even if we meet now we will probably end up behaving like strangers. Well, it might sound a little harsh but this is the way it is. I don't know what all has happened to them in all these years, neither do they know what all has happened to me. We are no longer the same persons we used to be. And there's nothing good or bad about it, actually. Just need to accept the change.

Well, this post is not about the end of good 'ol friendships. Rather, it's about rejuvenating ourselves with a healthy dose of nostalgia. I myself have, after a trip of Orkut, come out refreshed. And as I'm writing this post I'm smiling alone, thinking of all those memories of ecstasy and agony.

PS: Thanks Somnath for inducting me to Orkut.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

When it rains

The moment I came out to the streets this morning I could smell rain in the air. The overcast sky and the humid air announced imminent rain. And I didn't have to wait for too long. Halfway through my regular cab ride to work raindrops started pattering against the glass panes.

I don't know why, but whenever it rains everything become so silent (or perhaps I overtly romanticize it). So all of a sudden I could hear nothing but the mild drone of the moving vehicle and the gentle tupur-tapur of raindrops. Then, as we were driving past a row of golden amalataas trees silently standing in the rain, I just lost all my hearing senses. Rains sure do strange things to me!

Now, I hail from a place where a week-long incessant rain is viewed as a pretty normal occurance in summer. By that standard Delhi rain is minuscule. But it still never fails to make me run out of my senses. After all, rains have always amazed me, rejuvenated me, gave me hope and made me happy again. Unfailingly.

I don't know how many of you have ever been woken up by a midnight rain or have silently stood by the window watching the raindrops falling into darkness. Trust me, it's sure to do strange things to you too.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Spooky Sunday

After a few abortive attempts I finally commit myself to make a post today. There isn't really much to write about though. I'd been more than busy with myself of late. Didn't feel like looking around. Stuck up quotidian pettyness, as they say. But however mundane it might seem on the surface, isn't there a story being interwoven around us everyday? And when I try to pursue the story around me, life doesn't seem so boring after all. Well, now you see why I don't get bored so easily. (I can sit alone for hours without doing anything, and yet not get bored. You can call it lazyness, but I don't care. I'm rather inspired by Garfield, you see.) So next time you see me sitting like a lazy bum with that blank expression, don't get misled; I might as well be contemplating something profound.

Well, last Sunday I was working in the office (yes, on a Sunday!) and suddenly it struck me how spooky the whole floor looked like. The whole place was dark and dead silent. And being fertile on imagination I started thinking what would it be like if I find something lurking behind me, breathing upon my neck, whispering in a nasal voice. I even imagined myself being trapped inside a dilapidated haveli. But however hard I stretched my imagination I failed to see the lady-in-white-saree-candle-in-hand-singing-a-haunting-song sequence. But I haven't given up as yet. Maybe next Sunday I'll have a better luck.

Now, can't you see a story here?

Who says working on Sundays is no fun?

Friday, May 05, 2006

The day after

Here I am writing my second post. And I have already ran out of words. But more than the unruly words it is perhaps my extreme self-consciousness which is holding me back. Why is it so difficult for me to be just me?

Came home early today. Spent the whole evening indoors (as usual). Read some of my favourite blogs (utterly enjoyable they are). Heard Farida Khanum croon "Aaj Jane Ki Zid Na Karo" (unbearably romantic). Also Dire Straits' "Sultan of Swing" (simply cool). Saw Pramod Mahajan's funeral photos in the newspapers (a buried pain resurfaces). Think of something else to do (a necessry change of mood). Go out and have a chicken roll, one lassi, a butterscotch icecream cone (mood uplifted). On my way back a long-forgotten old poem suddenly comes to my mind (I remember only the title). Thanks to Google, I locate the poem (satisfaction). A beautiful love poem (from the famous beat generation poet/songwriter Rod McKuen). Here it is:


I wanted to write you some words you'd remember
words so alert they'd leap from the paper
and crawl up your shoulder and lie by your ears
and be there to comfort you down through the years.
But it was cloudy that day and I was lazy
and so I stayed in bed all day just thinking about it...

I wanted to write you and tell you that maybe
love songs for lovers are unnecessary.
We are what we feel and writing it down
seems foolish sometimes without vocal sound.
But I spent the day drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes
And looking in the mirror practicing my smile.

I wanted to write you one last long love song
That said what I feel one final time.
Not comparing your eyes and mouth to the stars
but telling you only how like yourself you are.
But by the time I thought of it, found a pen,
put the pen to ink, the ink to paper,
you were gone.

And so this song has no words.

- from Listen to the Warm, 1967

PS: I think I will 'internalize' this and reproduce as and when required, just in case I desperately need to impress 'someone'.

On a day like today

This was long overdue - a blog of my own. So what took me so long? I can think of at least two reasons while I am writing this - I am too lazy and I am too afraid to commit myself. (That, sort of, sums up my my personality.)

It even beats me why I took the plunge today. Till yesterday I myself had no clue about this. But knowing myself I find this so typical of me; this blog could not have begun in any other way. I love unceremonious and unexpected beginnings, you see. Where's the fun in being so calculative and measured all the time?

Well, now that this blog comes to life I just hope it survives to see through the initial hiccups (I am a little skeptic, though).

I formally welcome 'wordswalk' to my life.