Saturday, November 3, 2012


Then there was rain. It was expected to come in when the summer gets over. Usually the first shower will drench the loneliness of the city at night. But today, it came early and chose to quell the afternoon heat. I had to shut the windows against the rain, kept open to allow the hot breeze to flow into the room, to relieve the wet, sticky heat that’s common at this hour. I walk to the balcony, to look at the vast expanse of green that you can see; the different shades of green starting from the immediate plot of land beside my house that hasn’t fallen to construction yet, and then the mangrove that lies along the bank of the smelly creek, visible in parts. You can hardly see all this now, covered in a sheet of grey as the dull colour of the sky blended with the thickness of the rain. The leaves of the nearby trees were sodden, and the wind was driving the rain into the queue of buildings on my right, against its wish. The glass panes were misted over from the heat inside. I decided to take a walk down to the nearby café, a small joint often crowded by coffee amateurs and young couples. I don’t know why but I always found the concept of coffee and cigarettes in the backdrop of cold, dull, relentless rain romantic. I also felt an urge to walk in the first rain of the season. Like freshly brewed coffee in an earthen cup, the smell of the first rain on dry earth almost always suffused my senses and left me intoxicated. 

The café, built on the corner of a crossroad, opened a large slice of the city life to view. From the window one can see a variety of actions unfolding in the shimmering mid-day heat. But today the scene was different but one in its note. As heavy shower soiled the roads and the pavements, catching the passersby unaware, I saw wet figures running for shelter, bikers cringing on the seat, frantic to find a dry spot. I saw all this as I sat in the cozy corner of the joint, my wet figure finding comfort in the warmth of the coffee as I sipped on it. I realized that I started enjoying it. 

I was listlessly looking outside, happy to escape the predicament the rain has put others into, and a girl came into the café and sat by herself at a table near me. She had a pretty face, drops of water glistening on her cheek, giving her a look of a freshly minted coin. She ran her fingers through her thick, curly hair, now wet in rain. I looked at her and she disturbed me. I looked out of the window again to see the rain, but my thoughts have scattered, and now my mind was filled with her image. I turned at her again, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entrance and I knew she was waiting for someone. I looked out again at the rain that had slowed down, and now only a gentle stream ran on. I was trying to get my thoughts back, to keep my mind off this girl. I ordered for another coffee and I watched the girl whenever I looked up. I took up a magazine that was lying on the table. I didn’t require it before, as the rain and the world kept me happy. But now this girl has found a place in my imagery of this rainy afternoon. She belonged to me, I thought, like the way the rain, the wet earth and the sodden leaves and the wet figures on the road belonged to me and I belonged to my thought. I was far inside my thoughts and was lost in it, and I didn’t realize how long it was, nor did I look around, or think where I was, till I felt tired and my senses resumed. I turned at the table again to look for her, but she was gone. I hope she went with a good man, I thought. But I was sad. The rain had stopped.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It is one of those moments in an ordinary life when you or I can feel like a wretched soul simply because we get inadvertently drawn in sordid situations, or become witness to a vile act. Now, it is certainly a personal choice: what you feel vile might be exemplary to me. But this particular action is somewhat disgusting, or so I find. So, when such moments come screaming your name almost on an everyday basis, it isn’t exactly a rosy feeling.
All this while, since I know you guys are a little lost, I have been talking about this despicable habit that I have particularly noticed in the ‘Aamchis’ of Mumbai: spitting gutkhas and tobaccos. The point is, if you carefully notice this action day in and day out, which you’ll be forced to do nevertheless to your utter sorrow, you’ll realise that it is not so much about the spit but how and where they do it.
Notice, that there are two particular parts to this action on which I have laid emphasis: where this action gets implimented, and how this action unfurls.
Now, let me be a bit more vivid. A newbie in the technicalities of this financial wastebin doesn’t even need to stooge his way through the bogged crowd to catch the artful red streaks. In and around a neighbourhood, you can’t miss the raining streaks on either sides of the entrance, a paste of paint in the corners of the walls, strokes of redness around every bend of the staircase. You cannot but wow at the amazing knack of these denizens for accurate spitting. Then, there are those who just don’t mind painting the town red. Instance! The stations. From each pillar to every post, the actual colour has worn off long back, presently sporting a bright red. Now, notice closely, and you’ll see a change in shade. At the bottom, the colour is blood red, and as your vision shifts upward, there’s an unmistakable shift toward the lighter shade. Absolutely fantastic! As if the fish-&-piss smell wasn’t enough!
Now, cut to traffic. You’re travelling in an auto and you’ll suddenly find a dazzling, white merc cruising to a halt beside you. You cannot help appreciating the beauty. The smooth metal cut, the luscious curves, the chic windows…lo and behold! What do I see? Fresh strips of red spit rolling down the white body of this princely automobile. The owner apparently found it too tedious to stretch his head out to avoid spitting on the car. You can’t help but love these people!
But the best place to observe the second part of the action is whilst riding a mumbai local. In my previous annal of this city, I have laid bare my experience of a mumbai local train, and so I don’t need to elaborate on the pig-sty that it turns into for the lack of accommodation for the swarming populace. Now, imagine yourself standing by the door, sandwiched between two bodies, with hardly any space to breathe. It is going to be a long journey and you feel a tad forlorn. Just then, the dapper chap standing before you, who was till then rubbing his ass lazily on your crotch (mind it, lack of space thereof) bolsters himself to his full stature, with his weight balanced on the support on to which he was holding on, bodily turns on the outer side, cocks out his head and then, to your utmost surprise, he doesn’t spit in the conventional fashion. He just opens his mouth and releases a gushing stream of red cocktail spit, which merely responds to the law of gravity. Awestruck, you instinctively wonder how that red spurt missed your trousers.
So, now you understand why I said to savour a moment is one’s personal choice?

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Have you ever tossed a cigarette butt from a dizzying height? Have you ever seen it floating towards the earth-aimless, with no sense of direction or purpose, no effort to guide itself on to the chosen path? Have you ever thought, for a moment, that may be...may be it is trying, but circumstances organised by fate has consumed all possibilities? May be it is destined to see itself wasted.

How similar is our lives. Our lives. Us scavengers, whose daily run of life is so akin to that cigarette butt. Yet we often forget the ignominy of such life. A cigarette-butt-life.

I don't understand whether it is unfortunate that we, when young, don't realise what's best for us, don't recognise our gifts, or whether it is providence that ensures that you don't. Either way, life, as it is, turns out to be a lost gamble. The outcome has been inked even before the dice was rolled, and the funny part is the dice will be rolled nevertheless...We set out to change the rules of the game, never knowing that life has 'set' us as the butt of its malicious joke. And the best part is, at the end of the road, one stands stupefied, don't know whether to smile or cry, seeking consolation from within that says, " well, at least you survived!" But did I?

Saturday, August 15, 2009


It is said that Bodhidharma focused on direct insight into one's own experience, discouraging misguided veneration of Buddhas for the sake of superstition. Mankind look for solace and shelter in spirit called God. As long as one look for it somewhere else, one will never see that your own mind is the Buddha. To find a Buddha, one has to see one’s inside. Strive for the quiescence of body, mind and intention. According to the Yì Jīn Jīng:
After Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at Shaolin temple and made a hole with his stare, he left behind an iron chest. When the monks opened this chest they found two books: the “Marrow Cleansing Classic,” and the “Muscle Tendon Change Classic”, or "Yi Jin Jing" within. The first book was taken by Bodhidharma's disciple Huike, and disappeared; as for the second, the monks selfishly coveted it, practicing the skills therein, falling into heterodox ways, and losing the correct purpose of cultivating the Real. The Shaolin monks have made some fame for themselves through their fighting skill; this is all due to their possession of this manuscript.


Saturday, July 11, 2009


I remember coming across the concept of Chaos Theory in ‘Jurassic Park: The Lost World’. I was just finishing my Eleventh standard, a juncture I remember quite vividly as it was then that I developed a platonic interest in Mathematics (Platonic for surely so…I don’t want to elucidate on that). I might be roiling miserably under the incomprehensible burden of Permutation and Combination and integral calculus, but my mind, it seemed, was oriented for something higher. I was fascinated with advanced mathematical concepts such as this. And who better to clear my fog-shrouded mind with knowledge on this matter than Pinakida. I still remember, when I went to him, he placidly showed me a traffic that was furling into a jam and then unfurling in some unbelievable way, without colliding with each other. He told me that’s chaos theory-‘a sensitive dynamical system which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, making the behaviour to appear random’. In other words, there’s a natual semblance in a chaotic process. I stay in Mumbai. For every ordinary Mumbaikar, the local train is the lifeline. People travel long distances, and somehow manage to reach destinations in time simply because of मुंबई उपनगरीय रेल्. Now, if you look at a regular station on one fine morning, you’ll see platforms cramped with people as all of them prepare to take the train. From a distance you’ll find three rows along the length of the platform, a gap in between, and then another two rows. The lacuna’s because they are thoughtful enough to keep a space for new entrees to walk through without bumping into someone. When you’ll place yourself in close proximity with the crowd, trying to go through the process yourself, you’ll suddenly witness a peculiar phenomenon. From the time of the building-up of the crowd till the moment the train reaches the platform, you’ll find a congenial crowd happily interacting with each other, like companions. But the moment the train enters, there is a noticeable change in their behavioural pattern. The genial crowd suddenly turns hostile, with each person vying with the other to enter the bogey first so that they can seize a seat before anyone else. And all hell break loose (an apparent realization in the first instance) when the train slows down. Those a little more able than others, jump into the bogies. The rest of the crowd narrows down like the tapering edge of a funnel to enter through the door, and running along with the moving bogey at the same time. When the train comes to a halt, the rout gives way to four-five frenzied people at a time who get stuck on the threshold, tug their bodies to release from the clutch of the pack, and then run for seats. When the initial frenzy is over, you’ll find the last two rows jumping on to the train to find a suitable place to stand. When this process is done with, a few lurking foxes would leap onto the foothold of the doorway at the last instance and hang somewhat precariously while the train resumes its journey towards Churchgate. Now, the purpose of this description is to bring forth the strain of verisimilitude in it. For you’ll see that throughout this entire chaotic process, not one soul being taken to the grave for slipping underneath the tracks, or some hanging bloke getting smacked to a post. And, most importantly, when the train deserts the platform, if you look back, you’ll see nothing more than two or three urchins sitting in a far corner, and a few stray dogs sniffing around.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


She mourns like an elegy of a drizzle
Her cry echoing a requiem of a broken dream
She doesn’t remember when she last laughed
She forgot how to scream

Her silhouette fades in sunlight
Life’s a hazy shade of winter
When she looks down for a patch of snow
She sees herself,
Broken in ripples
Sinking in cold, grey water


A moment of absolute vagueness. There’s simply no feeling whatsoever. Boredom, irritation, fatigue, distress, strain, disturbance, pain, misery, anxiety, helplessness, snit, bliss, ecstasy…nothing.
It’s pouring since midnight, and almost halfway through the day, there’s no sign of stopping. It’s monotonous and quite a nag. I decidedly didn’t carry the lower apparel of my rain suit. Presumably because I didn’t see it coming. Though now, to think of it, there was no way I could’ve not seen it coming. It’s a fifteen-minute walk from Lower Parel station to my office, which is at the end of the mill compound. So it goes without saying that when I reached my jeans was soaking. My strapless sandal got wet and the soles started slipping beneath my feet. I somehow managed to save my phone by putting it inside my underwear. Since then till now it has been almost 2 hours and I’m still sitting in my wet jeans. Not a very comforting situation, but I’ve no other option.
We were suppose to have a meeting today to chart out plans for the Budget day. When I came in there were only three people who were working on the weekend shows. After two hours now, I get to hear the meeting has been postponed to three. Somehow I was not aware of it. I’m not pissed.
I’ve a fire in my belly right now. Don’t let your imagination take a high-beta route. It only means I’m hungry. But being a Saturday, there’s no food in the canteen. I’m not miserable.
Currently, there’s no thought in my mind as well. When I’m breaking away from the flow of writing this blog, I’m blankly staring at the glass wall that curves the outside of the studio. Neel, our switcher in the PCR just passed by and said, “kyu bhai, itna sannate mein kyu hai?”. It took me sometime to realize it was for me, a little more to understand what it meant. It’s not fully because my mind is blank, but also because I’m terribly handicapped when it comes to our national language.
I don’t even know why I’m writing this. Probably because I want to kill time. The thoughts I’m scribbling are also coming to me intermittently, in the form of floating threads with no knots tying them together in one simplex harmony.
I remember, a few days back, a good friend told me that he was almost approaching sainthood and in fact, to establish the feeling, he had an ‘out-of-body’ experience. I’m trying to figure out how can I not be feeling anything. Isn’t the mind being possessed by ‘no thought’ or ‘no feeling’ the state one can call an out-of-body state? On second thought, not really. I guess your soul suspend above all feelings when you simply ‘GIVE UP.’