17 December 2010

Signed, The Rebel

Sitting on my bed, pounding on my keyboard and listening to the sweet melody that the keys make, I feel a nothingness like none I have experienced as yet. It is neither bitter nor sweet. It is nothing. Stone cold nothing.
My days pass by in a haze. At times I remember myself typing away my work in a frenzy. At others I feature in a yawning stillness, where minutes turn into hours and hours drag by with a teasing insolence.

I find myself stranded in the boondocks of my imagination. Hearing the wind howl over the deserted meadows. Watching the sun set in in the golden red sky. It looks serene. It looks beautiful. I feel the complacency creep in. I am complacent. I shiver. I am alarmed. I know I should struggle. I know I should put up a fight. But everything feels so very comfortable.

I had never imagined myself so snug in my life. It is comfortable but very disconcerting.

This nothing that I feel makes me want to rebel against it. As I had always done. And successfully so. The nothing is not a nothing at all. It is an enemy. It is the civiliser. It is evil. Keep away!

Life, a lady of infinite summers, once whispered in my ears that I would fare better if I kept running. And I have always been glad of the fact that I am a runner. Stillness, albeit its comfort, makes me sad. I can see the light when I run. Naked and free. Unbound, with the wind in my hair. But Life, the devil of infinite winters, has always tried to lure me to the other side, where people sit drunk and happy. A paradise where nothing is one's everything.


- The Rebel

09 November 2010


Howling winds under the silent moon, the pitter and the patter;
the solar hide and seek, the ominous door creak.
Of October and June, I certainly enjoyed the latter.

It will return not soon, my belated rapture does not matter.
Just a demotic climatic eccentricity, which robs me of my impunity.
Of October and June, I certainly prefer the latter.

08 September 2010

Introspecting Introspections

There are days when one has nothing to do. Despite the hungry search for something to occupy your attention, you see nothing that seems even remotely interested in making itself available to you. It is on such days that you mind starts flirting with certain dangerous questions that it had been carefully ignoring till then. One such question is "What has my life come to?"; the answer of which is usually the same as the question, just followed by an exclamation mark. Thus your day falls into an elaborate introspection of your recent past. The days are stranded out. Stripped bare of its abstract. Each event scrutinised. Each action charted up and presented statistically. Random graphs and pie-charts demonstrating your performance haunt your brain. The thoughts nag you into admission of the fact that you have failed to see your life to the royal ends that you had planned. You sulk into depression; looking at everything around you in disdain. You never wanted them. Holding the work given to you in contempt. You never wanted that too. Thinking of your current sweethearts. Not them either. So what exactly IS right with your life? Ponder as much as you may, you fail to realise within those few irritable hours that the fault lies way off the search space. The concept of planning is so for a reason. It is a plan. Not the real thing. You are living the real thing. THAT is right with your screwed up life.

I doubt there is anyone who is free from the plague of introspections. The seemingly happy people have their sad moments too. It is not the sadist in me that believes this. Rather, I feel that those moments of gloom render in us a new image of hope. We astonishingly get on with our lives, with a renewed hope in the same plans. That is as sad a thought as is the act inspiring. We fail to see that the plans will perhaps never be realised. We fail to see that we will compromise on certain key issues and justify it to ourselves in some way or the other. Reassuring ourselves that it is how things need to be in order to be happy. But would we rather not seek the happiness we once aimed at? And hold our heads high while we do so? Amazingly, right now, I am unable to choose which one is the way I would rather tread!

On one side is an acceptance of failure, a power to adapt and a way to be happy despite the circumstances. One the other is the will to fight through, the need for integrity and search the happiness you always wanted. For there are always two kinds of happiness: the ones that you want and the one that you get. And there is no degree of similarity between the two. Though much greater in magnitude, the one that you want is much evasive; possibly non-existent. While the happiness you get is immediate, though short lived and not as gratifying. These can be the only two possibilities here. You can either be happy in your current situation, forgetting your dreams of grandeur, suffering the humiliation in private, reminded of it only in the questions asked by long lost friends, but consciously forgetting it in the shadow of the complacency you feel. Or you can live a life of unhappiness with a bleak possibility of seeing happiness at the end of the road, suffering public humiliation at your lack of success but able to justify the failure to yourself as success.

I refuse to believe in the weaker hypothesis of living in peace with your present while striving for what you aimed. It requires two totally opposing sets of mental abilities that is impossible in an indivisual. Like all other situations, there is no middle way. The middle way is quite certainly no way at all. You have to choose or let the choice be made for you. But you will have to walk one of these paths for sure. So choose ye humans! Choose your happiness wisely.

30 July 2010

Vadodara Blues

Gujarat. Even the name instilled fear in my poor heart. A dry state. How the hell would I survive? But fortunately survival has not been all that difficult out here. Trips to Rajasthan and Delhi have certainly helped the process of adaptation. As has the bleak hope that I would not be stuck here for much time. My latest workplace seems to be pretty flexible and accomodating.

The lifestyle of the Gujaratis is surely entertaining. They streets are flooded with the most uncanny fast food and junk food stalls, all of which are crowded without an exception. The Gujaratis seem to have an insatiable fetish for food that is quite outrageously respectable. No matter the class, no matter the weather, no matter the place; the foodies of the city seem to be out on the streets during the evenings. Eating their hearts out.

Apart from these respectable foodie habits, the only thing that has seemed pleasant in the city is the well proportioned girls and women that almost the entire Gujarat boasts of. But hen the darker side of the city rises up to meet the challenges posed by the lucrative Vadodara. The garbage strewn streets. The absence of non-vegetarian food. The lack of a social life. All these smack you in your face as you try to find some stable routine in the city. The only options left are an occasional movie, a regular cup of tea, an evening of exploration. Not much for a lonely soul to seek.

All n all, Gujarat has not offered much since I have come here, The very surprisingly vast menu an an omellete corner is not what an entire city can be judged by. Eventually the lack of good non-vegetarian food and alcohol gets to you. I had hoped to see more of Gujarat before leaving but there seems to be no point to it. It is all the same. The food, the lifestyle and the ladies. What is the point?

14 June 2010

Social Issues

Man being a social animal is probably overrated as an attribute. In my opinion, man is a social animal not out of necessity but out of choice. It is a way to kill time, make merry while we idle around and pretend that we are actually "busy" with an activity called "socialising". Indeed it has its charms and benefits, for humanity satisfies its hedonist cravings by socialising. But really it is not a must, it is a could. Perhaps a should, but definitely not a must.

I have been told often that I need to be politer to people I meet, sit down and stare in space with a goofy smile stuck to my face when visiting guests talk of things that I am, at best, phlegmatic about. I am not expressing that I am anti-people. I am just anti-humouring-random-people. In case I am to spend substantial time with someone, I will like or dislike him. If I do not have to, there is no point in forming an opinion about him. Or even pretending to give a damn about him. A polite hello suffices.

And I am even pleased with the results. I have a certain group of friends who like me and who I like. Another set of people who do not like me and who I do not like. Yet another set that dislikes me while I do not even think them worthy of consideration for a like or dislike. Yet another that does not care about me and who I do not care about. I see no reason to complain. Moreover, I find my efficiency and productivity much amplified when I work alone. Just the presence of a person is enough to make me want to quit my work and sleep. When I get bored I always have my trusty computer to go to, or someone from my group of friends to hang out with or go get sloshed with. No reason to complain at all!

I have often wondered why it is never enough for many to be happy with a few. There are people with a compulsive desire to make everyone like them or respect them. They are happier using their time for pleasing others rather than pleasing themselves. Or is it that they please themselves by pleasing others? Either way, I fail to see their point in being good to EVERYONE. For them, there is always trouble in wonderland when they have to make a choice. In my opinion it is better to be a little miserable throughout than to endure sudden pangs of unbearable misery. But then that is me. To each his own.

28 April 2010


Remember the joy that unfurls
as the pages unfold.
The poetry recited
and the stories told
of desolate heroes, lasses pretty,
infernos burning and castles old.
Remember the perpetuals dreams inspired
despite the realities they hold;
how they left you with a bitter-sweet sough
ere your soul found a mould.
Remember how you once loved the book, if only for a day,
that kept you warm even while the world around grew cold.

15 April 2010

The Maha Kumbh Ordeal

It is not everyday that one gets to see something preposterously insane. It is not everyday that one gets to see a frenzy that respects no bounds of sanity. It is not everyday that one walks in narrow streets jam packed with people just to get to a bathe in a river at four in the morning. It is not everyday that one walks fifteen kilometers back and forth for no apparent reason. It is not everyday that one goes to attend the Maha Kumbh.

In fact, it is something that one can do no more frequent than one every 144 years. Considering you have the knack and will to survive that long! But the experience is worth a lifetime. In saying so, I do not admit to a change of beliefs neither do I say that the scene moved me so much that I am embarking on the path of faith. But the ordeal shall remain etched.

The initial problems were regarding reaching Haridwar since the roads were closed and hardly any public transport was available. The devout were certainly expected to own personal modes of commutation. Else at least to come from farther off places. Anyway, after being stuffed in a private bus and finally getting to the last bus stop near Haridwar, we walked close to ten kilometers to reach the Har Ki Paudi. Not that it was required by Kumbh to bathe at a particular ghat in Haridwar, but somehow that was where people wanted to go, despite all the pleading of the officials on the PA that people bathe at the nearest ghat. But the crowd went on. And we followed. There were heads every where one looked. At 3 in the night. Thousands of heads ahead of you. Thousands behind. Thousands coming back. Thousands going along. You skipped tens of thousands by jumping over a single barricade. It was hilarious and at the same time exciting.

We finally reached the Paudi, chose a spot for us to stand. The Paudi was the most crowded place, mind you. So it was not really easy getting a place to stand and undress but we did manage. All around there were people of all ages and gender in various stages of undress. Some comfortable with their nudity, others hurrying to complete the chores and return to modesty. Going in two shifts, we waded and plunged into the cold waters of holy Ganga at 4 in the morning. It was cold and swift and the lack of security officers on that one occasion allowed the few of us that were interested to remain in water for a really long time, feeling cold and getting crushed between enthusiastic people chanting mantras and taking plunges. The excitement had to end, of course, and so it did. We dried, changed, all on the same spot. Went to see if Mohanji would honour us with some puri-sabji. But alas he was facing troubles of his own. So we sat in a shop on the opposite side of the street and ate out hearts out.

The road back was much straight forward, though we were, by now, tired and sleepy. The crowd however, had not relaxed even a bit. There were still people pouring on the streets from overflowing railway carriages and coming from some other unknown and unceasing sources. We walked another five to seven kilometers to a bus stand, making a pit stop for some tea. The road was lined with people crapping in the open under trees and more people bathing in the waters of the Ganga right next to the crap-yard. Trying to ignore all the un-pleasantries, we managed to reach the bus stand, struggled to get someone to take us to Roorkee, for the bus conductors had whims of their own, and came standing in a bus all the way back. Back to our dear hostels and beds to a sound sleep.

Despite my feet being trampled more times than ever previously in my life, and despite the uneasiness involved in travel, I am glad I managed to make it to the last bath. For it was certainly an experience worth having. Neither awesome, nor awful. Just one that I went through. A special mention that I would like to make is to the management of the Kumbh. It was spotlessly organised. To maintain order amid such reckless chaos! Credit to officials who certainly outdid themselves. Though I am certain that never again will I attend even the twelve-yearly Kumbh again!

26 March 2010

Suspended Animation

A slow life has its charms, as I have come to realise somewhere in the last few years. It is free of hassles, free of trauma, free of excitement. It is exclusive of everything but what you wish to include.

It was not always so for me though. Irony exhibits its wicked grin as I wonder how it was only a few years ago that I debated in favour of money being everything. How I was ready to sacrifice my weekends and spend twelve hours a day in an office if only the industry was kind enough to reward me in the equal. How I had ambitions. But I suppose Mr. Ambition has been inconspicuous of late. There have not been any rebellions for glory. No one urges me to walk faster. No one minds if I spend my afternoons in siesta. As for me, I find the tiresome Mr. Ambition more agreeable when he is stoned and on a trip of his own, leaving me and my beautiful Lady Laziness to cuddle.

It is in this very spout of inactivity that I have been able to put my thoughts in order. Indulgence in activities that appease me and shunning of those that I see of no consequence. An impecunious lifestyle rather than a affected pomp pretense. A more practical line of thought compared to my earlier quixotic fantasies. It has also been in this very cradle of time-less-ness that I have revived by earlier hobbies and continued with a certain few I recently picked up. Reading books had always been a pleasure for me, one that I left for no reason justifiable to my self. Watching movies is a contemporary one, as is my addiction to blues and rock.

Still, all said and done, each one finds his own drug, either in activity or the lack of it. To each his own, as they say. I, however, have fallen in the fifth level of Dante's inferno. Living and enjoying the sin: a life in suspended animation, one of immaculate lucidity of thoughts and pristine motivations for action.

19 March 2010

Mr. Smarty Pants

Smart-asses are easy to identify. As easy perhaps as a man in a red shirt standing in a crowd of yellow shirted fellows (I really could not think of anything better!). And they are offensive. They offend in a way that even the rudest of us cannot rebuff them. And such is the fortune of the buggers that they are blissfully ignorant of their plight. It is us, the victims of smart-ass-edness that are tortured, us that feel pity for the sorry lad/lass. It is us that get caught in the turbulent discussions that scramble our brains, us that risk our blood pressures by wishing to strangle them.

A smart-ass (as i imagine) is led to believe that he genuinely is a connoisseur of every subject he has possibly heard of in his piteous life. He flatteringly enters conversations about unheard of topics. Some clever rejoinder or anecdote that he heard in a certain discussion or party is readily adopted as his own and he carefully nurses it until the opportune time that he hears the subject repeated again at some other party or discussion. And then, voila! He spills the anecdote claiming it as his own, oblivious to the company, which at times is the same as the one where the information originated. But it really is no fault of his own, for he really believes with all his heart and brain that it was he who thought of the rejoinder, and any claim to the contrary simply baffles him. And indeed his surprise is so infectious that one wonders if he really was the true originator of the story.

The dire need for claim to fame, the oblivious deliberate ignorance of the truth, the flattering attitude and the contagious belief in his self, all make the smart-asses one of the most complete irritants found in nature. The only possible solutions to get rid of them are unfortunately forbidden as the law for their violent nature. There seems to be no respite and the species seems to be growing at an alarming rate!

13 March 2010

Moments of Inertia

Jobless-ness eats into you. Decays you slowly as if you were a piece of meat in a beast's belly. Makes you wonder about things inconsequential. Reminds you of fonder times and activities. Starves you for company of those that matter, and eventually of those that do not. Whispers sweet nothings in your ears that surprisingly do not make you happy. On the contrary you are left more frustrated than ever. Wishing you had something to do. Throwing across that something as nothing even if it crossed your path. The feeling of being without a motive is not a state of activity. It is a state of mind. You might have a hundred things to do and yet feel jobless. Seeking employment and rejecting the idea of doing something. A contradiction that traumatises. A catch-22.

Lying down, looking into space thinking whether it would be better if you sat down instead while looking into space. By and by, you manage to sleep. Four hours. Six. You are in a state of sleepless trance. Wondering whether to leave the bed which is no longer comfortable. But then there should be something to do if you leave your bed, and you can think of nothing. You sleep for another couple of hours. Expecting someone to call. Message. At times you wonder how your life would be if you threw your phone out of the window. But the window is closed and opening it would require a lot of effort. The phone survives. You sit up. Look around you.

Social networking sites and all your electronic correspondences assume a very important role in your life at such times of sloth. Sitting alone with nothing to do is a suffering. As much a physical suffering as it is a mental. Imagine an absolute void and imagine yourself in it. Nothing around. No one to salvage your hide from the rising waters.

You finally decide that it would not do to just sit around. You need partners in boredom. You call a friend. He is busy. Another. He too has issues to deal with. You sigh. Get out of bed. Get dressed. Sit down. Check your mail and e-social correspondences. No one has replied. Darn them all! You look around. Grab a book. Read a few lines. Put it down. It seems too boring. Go out. Roam aimlessly in the hostel. To the market place. For the lack of anything better to do, you eat something. Even though your stomach does not demand it. Even if your stomach curses you for the overload. You manage to kill time with an acquaintance you meet on the street. But he strands you. He has a life. You return to your room. Morbidly turn on the computer. Check your mails. No reply. Look at your bed. Sigh. Get undressed. Get under the covers. Try to sleep. But even sleep has better things to do it seems. After hours of tossing and turning you finally catch some sleep. The day, fortunately, ends.

Sleep offers the only possible solution if no one else volunteers to let you tag along and observe what they are doing. Finding another aimless person is no consolation. Two are not better than one.

12 March 2010

Apostle of Lunacy

There has, in my opinion, been a very unjustified emphasis on sanity in our daily lives (at least in mine). There is the constant expectation from people around you that you do things in a certain way, the sane way; think thoughts that they can readily understand, cultured thoughts. But all these contradict with the baser nature of man.

Yes, we are in fact brought up to do all those intelligent things and act as if we were coherent with the norms of the society, but if actually left to ourselves, with no one around to judge us, would we do things the way we do them with a score of absolutely unnecessarily interested eyes making note of our every movement? Left to myself, I would probably move about naked, take a dip in some river or pool when the sun was at its highest, not care whether I was putting on weight, eat each and everything that I considered edible in a fashion that is disapproved of, lie around all day doing nothing or walk around aimlessly. Now imagine such a person lazing in the garden next to your room. Scandalising! And I am pretty (though not completely) sure that such a lunatic lives inside each of us.

Perhaps it is better that the lunatic remain inside. Not because otherwise the world would become a anarchic and uncivilised place, for it really is not as civilised as it pretends to be, but because if we become the lunatic, we would not have an asylum to run to. Albeit all the pompous fairies around us hold us in contempt, we do from time to time resort to such limited lunatic behaviour. Gluttony at times of depression, skinny dips for the thrill of it, lazing in the middle of the day to take a break from the hectic routines, dancing without steps with a goofy smile stuck on your face. It is all exhilarating. But like all good things, too much of it would rob you of the occasional pleasure that you derive of it.

There is a necessity of insanity. Almost as necessary as is the existence of a sober pretense to cover it up. But to hold a fellow man in contempt when he is blissfully enjoying his lack of restraint or to share his intoxication, if only a little; that is the question (for it is an absolute requirement that there be a question. As is the case with every other things, there has to be a point to everything. Otherwise it will be as pointless as life itself).