Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Live on...

Withered tree stands with arid leaves around in a pile
It once was prime and fantastically juvenile
You knew this will happen then why,
Why my heart do you at all cry?

You toiled and tried day in day out
Brave you were, never in a doubt
But pearls are found only in oceans deep
Then why my heart do you at all weep?

It was known to me long before
The yacht is never going to reach the shore
The hands softened by your touch are now parched and pale
But no my heart, you aren't allowed to wail.

Barbed wires surround my house with walls sullen grey
I wish them washed with sunlight, to bake new toys of clay
With light and colours I now stand clad
Oh my heart, you need not be sad...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miniature library

While ‘stumbling upon’ on the net, I was guided to a site which compared ‘kindle’ and ‘nook’ e-book readers, popularly called ‘e-readers’. Can’t really vindicate my thoughts but such digitization of reading hasn’t really impressed me.

I’ve always dreamt of having a big library at my home with enviable collection of books but this device is ought to make racks and almirahs a thing of past. I don’t think it would affect reading habit in a big way but yes, it certainly will drive away the essence of reading.

A mother narrating bed-time stories to her child when the spooky silence of night is enlivened by the sound of fluttering pages is one childhood memory everybody cherishes. This device is bound to make the coming generation bereft of this memory. Friends no longer can exchange bookmarks, lovers can’t secretly hide love-notes between the pages and one cannot highlight those portions of a book which he/she particularly liked (I am deeply saddened by this one). No more sweet remembrances of an old friend whose book you once borrowed but forgot to return and accidently discovered it on a dusty shelf.
That day is still very deeply engraved in my mind when I was gifted ‘the English teacher’, a book by RK Narayana, by my English teacher herself on the day of her farewell. An e- book can never be a symbol of such a strong emotional bonding.

I certainly am not against this invention. I am just apprehensive about the disappearance of rawness and tenderness attached to books. I know that the coming generation will find this comparison as vague and baseless as I find the one between e-mails and postal mails but somehow ruffling through pages makes me more happy than scrolling down. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Incredible India !!!

 On my recent trip from home to Faridabad, I noticed something absolutely fascinating and fantastic about India. It’s very apparent and conspicuous but often goes unheeded. Or maybe all you smart people out there have taken a note of it. Let’s put it this way- I was getting utterly bored and hence, tried to interest myself with this pseudo-intellectual activity.

The smallest of the small shops in India are very aptly and fancily named. The first one to grab my eye-balls was ‘D-sant’ hair dressers. Though it’s difficult guessing what made me notice it- the relevance in the name or the spelling catastrophe, nevertheless, I was impressed by the fact that an illiterate barber knows what ‘decent’ means. I just wish his salon isn’t running in loss considering the count of people who actually look ‘d-sant’ (or want to look so) in India.
The next in line was ‘woofer-amplifier’ music store. He was also playing the chartbuster song with precisely these words in it on an ear-piercing volume. Hats off to the guy’s marketing skills !!!
Then came ‘Perfect fit’ tailors. Agreed it looks lifted from the ‘Shahrukh Mayur Khan’ ad but isn’t Anu Malik making crores doing the same thing. Shahrukh was also the brand ambassador of his dim-lit, dilapidated shop. His huge, smiling picture welcomed his customers every day.
’16 Forever’ beauty parlour was the next to pass-by and I don’t have even a shadow of doubt about the owner’s annual turn-over. Don’t be shocked if you see this dingy little parlour located in a congested street of Ballabgarh (our Las Vegas!!) emerging out as the greatest threat to VLCC.
Thereafter, many such perfectly named shops went by. ‘Figure fine’ gym, ‘Mishthi’ paan bhandaar, ‘Comfort’ shoe store- to name a few. However, the name of one particular factory made me suppress a laugh. It was ‘Sheel manure and fertilizers’. How did these people get to know Dr. Sheel was obsessed with bullshit? For all those who couldn’t follow- Dr. Sheel was one of our qualified teachers who found everything we said a pile of animal excreta.

India indeed is incredible. No wonder Indians are the people with the highest IQ. I now feel like asking Steve Jobs…err…Tim Cook what made them name their company ‘Apple’?? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Its our nation attacked...

It was late monsoon evening. Clocks all over India were about to show seven. People, after a demanding day, were longing to return to their houses for a peaceful repose. In one home, kids eagerly awaited their father who had promised to bring them ‘batata wadas'  and in other, a doting daughter baked cake for her working mother.
But their waits proved to be ceaseless. A bomb -blast, and their lives changed forever.
Last night, after dinner, when I switched on the television set, little did I expect to see such saddening, gory pictures all over. ‘Serial blasts in Mumbai’ flashed conspicuously across the screen aggravated by ‘Exclusive pictures’ flashing constantly below it in an even bigger font. The death toll was increasing every minute. I immediately called up my friend who resides in Dadar to enquire about her well-being. To my respite, she was fine. However, this feeling of relief in me persuaded me to hate myself. I was relieved after ensuring that my friend was safe but what about those who lost their lives with no fault of theirs? What about thousands of those people who have lost their dear ones? What about those mothers who had to endure the sight of their sons’ mutilated bodies? For how long does this incident affect those of us who just watched this news on our television sets sitting in our drawing rooms? Or those of us who read about it in newspapers while sipping our bed- tea? Are we becoming emotionless? Or are we used to hearing such news so often that it hardly makes a difference to us? The emotions, emotions of sympathy, pity, care, angst and contempt, in our hearts are dead and no sound, not even of a bomb-blast, can wake up a corpse.
The politicians, the very leaders of this country are heard saying that not all terrorist attacks can be averted. Why can’t we go to them, look into their eyes, and ask them rightfully-why? Why can’t we feel safe and secure in our own motherland. They say this attack was planned in a highly clandestine manner. Obviously, no militant organisation in this world would broadcast their malicious intentions.
I don’t know if this comparison is apposite but it just occurred to me. After 9/11, US government has not let a single terrorist organisation eye its country. They successfully executed a seemingly impossible task of killing Osama-Bin-Laden and what are we doing? We are harbouring Ajmal Kasab in a VIP cell of our prison, nurturing him for the past two years and waiting for another ‘Kandhar hi-jack’ to happen.
This incident too would soon be forgotten like the rest were. Call it the spirit of Indians or their helplessness but we are so accustomed to move on. Is moving on the only choice we have? None of us wants to answer this question in affirmative.
“Where minds are without fear, the head is held high.”
I, like most of us, want every citizen of my country and everybody else’s country to walk around with their heads high. Let’s hope this utopian vision soon becomes a reality.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A handful of ash..

Sujoy was glancing through the headlines when the phone rang. He grabbed it without wasting a moment.
“Fire in Green View apartments”, he shouted, “prepare to leave”, he concluded peremptorily.
Everyone changed to their fire-suits and gathered the necessary paraphernalia hurriedly but without panic. They were used to getting such news. It was a routine job for them.
The scene at the site was heart-rending. The stark black fumes against the azure blue sky seemed like gigantic monsters looking out to engulf everything around. The fire was fierce, very fierce. Sujoy immediately ordered his troupe to get to work.
 Sujoy, a young lad of 24 was son of a fire-fighter himself. Every time he saw his father, he was awestruck by his philanthropy and dare-devil attitude. After all, imperilling one’s own life to save many other lives is in no way for chicken-hearted. His father died during one of his rescue operations. Despite his mother imploring him repeatedly not to join fire-fighting department, he chose it as his career, as his reason to live. Whenever, he went for such operations, she waited for him with her heart in mouth. He was an adroit fireman adorned with awards umpteen times.
He and most of his men were striving hard to control fire on tower-4, the epicentre of this catastrophic flame. Rest of his associates were making more or less futile attempts to fight fire and rescue people on other towers. Sujoy was discernibly upset about the paucity of men under him and a severe dearth of fire-fighting equipment.
Fire on tower-4 was finally under control. The structure had blackened incorrigibly but most of the people inside were evacuated and given first-aid.
Meanwhile, the situation on other towers aggravated further. The satanic fire enwrapped them brutally. The skies echoed the strandeds’ bloodcurdling yells. Sujoy, for the first time in many years, felt helpless. He did lose hope somewhere deep down but vowed to keep trying till the blaze extinguished or till his body got charred beyond recognition.
Tower-5 was burning furiously. There was little chance of anyone still being alive inside. Carrying out rescue operation on the next tower seemed to be a more feasible and pragmatic option to him. His men immediately complied accordingly.
The shouts of people subdued and the ambience grew more forlorn. The conflagration had ebbed away a bit. The palpable lines of anxiety on Sujoy’s forehead eased off a little but didn’t vanish. He now rotated his head for a quick inspection of the site when his eyes met a pair of hardened, emotionless yet beautiful, incredibly beautiful eyes. Those shiny orbs!!!  For a while, they took him to a different world altogether. A glistening drop of tear rolled down those eyes suddenly making Sujoy aware of himself. Through a sordidly burnt window of tower-5, looked out a young girl. Despite the soot all around, she had a glowing snow-white complexion which stood out in contrast against the dark, gloomy surroundings. Her raven- black hairs were tied up loosely in a pony.
She stood there transfixed, with sea-like serenity on her face. Sujoy winced at the sight of her charred left arm but she showed absolutely no signs of pain except for the marks of dried tears on her cheeks. Even after noticing Sujoy, she didn’t cry out for help to him.
Sujoy was making incessant attempts to douse the fire but his eyes occasionally strayed towards that lady. That woman who made him feel something he never had felt before. He knew if he didn’t take an immediate action, the blood-thirsty fire would soon make her its victim. However, he had to finish the task in hand despite his heart longing to rush to her and save her against all odds.
An enraged puff of fire blew across the window where stood she, the girl with whom Sujoy seemed to share an inexplicable and enigmatic bond. It was a persistent puff and very soon took a calamitous form. Every inch of Sujoy’s body ached. His vision was blurred by tears that welled up in his eyes.

Tower-6 was soon freed from the claws of sinister fire. Sujoy raced as fast as he could towards tower-5. He was about to enter the ablaze building when one of his comrades tried to stop him. He threw him to the ground and yelled impertinently-“Stay away.” Shocked by his irrational behaviour, some of his men clutched him tightly making him unable to break-free and go inside. He was about to order another rescue operation anticipating a miracle when the tower collapsed.

Hours later, Sujoy stood there, shaken and devastated. His eyes forgot to blink. His heart was suddenly bereft of something. In front of him was a huge stretch of ash. He picked up a handful of ash and gazed at it as if some magic spell would bring it back to life. He pocketed it and headed for his home where an anxious mother awaited her valiant son.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rainy By-lanes...

Today I woke up to the sound of tip-tapping of rain on the corrugated tin-shed in my backyard. Yes, the first shower of monsoon has finally arrived. I was barely able to jerk off my drowsiness when my sister pulled me outside into the rain. Perturbed at such an abrupt end to my sleep, I stood there, startled and motionless. But very soon, I was compelled by the rain to rejoice in its rhapsody. We were soon joined by our mother who went splashing around like a kid. What a lovely and rare, very rare sight for both of us. She went on telling us stories about how she spent monsoons at her granny’s place with her numerous cousins with child-like twinkle in her eyes. Rains just meant lots and lots of fun and food for them.
All of us definitely have at least one beautiful memory associated with rains. For nature- enthusiasts, it may be related to a particular variety of wild flora that popped out of nowhere or just the sweet scent of wet earth. For lovers, it may be walking hand-in-hand down the wet road under one small umbrella with their soul-mate. For foodies, it certainly would be the most delectable pakoras they’ve ever had while sipping tea out of a kulhar.
I still remember how as a kid, while walking back from school, I always shunned my rain-coat and came home dripping from head-to-toe to be greeted by an angry countenance of my mother which soon vanished to make way for a loving and concerned smile. From the little competition I had with my friends as to whose shoes would squelch the loudest to losing slippers in the water-logged streets, rains constitute a major proportion of my  fondest childhood memories. A smile curls up on my lips whenever I recall that particular rainy day when I, with my friends, returned from my coaching center loaded on a ‘truck’.
Watching my mother reliving her childhood in the pretext of rain and all these memories clouding up in my mind stamped on my belief that a child dwells inside all of us, no matter how old we grow.
Just go on splashing around whenever you find yourself in murky waters caring a damn about what passers-by will say. This is the only way to live.
Happy monsoons!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Engineers v/s IITians

Here’s a piece of conversation I had with a student of 2nd standard.
(Sound of aeroplane flying above)
Kid: Look (pointing upwards)
Me: Yeah, an airplane. You want to fly one?
Kid: No. I want to be an IITian.
Me (astounded by the promptness with which he replied): Okay. So you want to be an engineer?
Kid: No (this time more vehemently), an IITian.
Me: Yes, but that is what IITians are.
Kid: IITians make a lot of money. We have to study a lot to get there.
Me: Who told you so?
Kid: My mother. She said I should grow up and become an IITian. They are famous people.
To be honest, I wasn’t at all marvelled or impressed by the kind of stuff this child said. This brief conversation with an eight year old stirred a very valid question in my mind- What do people in our country expect from their kids these days? Do they want a fitting profession for their sons and daughters or merely a fancy degree that sums up their abilities?
This particular child didn’t even know that the ones who graduate from IITs become engineers. All he knew was that IITs are great places to be in and one needs to work hard to get there. This type of ignorance pervades throughout our country.
A thought-worthy question again-- Is this right?
At such a tender age, when children are ought to discover themselves and live a carefree childhood, they are fed with facts.  Their minds are allured towards big brand names like IITs, NITs etc. giving them absolutely no time to realise what interests them. This results in a tension-logged and anxious childhood and definitely hampers their mental growth. Mental growth here doesn’t refer to their problem-solving ability in physics, chemistry and mathematics but their social sense, general awareness and emotional quotient. It leaves a dent in their personalities forever.
My plea, let the kids live their childhood. Ease off the pressure which rests on their delicate shoulders. Let their inquisitive and creative minds wander, perceive and analyse.
Before the kids around as well as their parents give me a sobriquet of ‘preachy grandma’ and point out that I myself dropped for an year to prepare for JEE, I would like to clarify that it isn’t the competition that is bad. In fact, it is desired. Aspiring for such big names isn’t bad. One needs to dream big to make it big. But with the result season going on, I am witnessing the blind rat race all around and this is what is bothering me. Everyone desires to be in an institute which gives them a so called ‘superior social stature’ and ‘respect’ amongst their peer group irrespective of their interests, calibre and capabilities.
Something (and I really don’t know what) needs to be done to vent out some pressure from the pressure –cooker condition our country is in today. If this doesn’t happen soon, India will just be churning out a bunch of programmed androids every year who have no thinking cap overhead.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The co-travellers so far...

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time. Somehow, I always got lost in the middle whenever I started with it. The most astonishingly beautiful phase of my life is over now paving way for a new phase. A milestone is reached with many more milestones to come. While trudging on this path, I’ve met many people and witnessed many incidents. Today, as I close my eyes and retrospect, many pictures flash in my mind, some vividly while some dimly, some colourful while some black and white. These are the pictures of some profound moments which I’ve spent with the ones who have influenced my life in one way or the other. Writing a blog-post is the least I could do to express my gratitude for them. So here it goes.

1)                  The mighty seniors:  I am amazed at the transition in me in these 4 years. This transition was catapulted by some seniors for whom I harbour a lot of respect in my heart.
@Sushmita ma’am: Ever since you’ve passed out from this college, I have always missed your motherly hand. The way you guided me, helped me and protected me speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. Thank you so much for being there.
@Ashwin sir: This man is a coder, a dancer, a writer, a photographer and an amazing friend. I learnt to speak my mind, no matter what, from you. The passion with which you pursue your aspirations has influenced me greatly and I have always tried to imbibe it in myself.
@ Kushal sir: I’ve not really talked to you a lot but as they say, you don’t need to have a conversation to derive inspiration. A person who is stupendously talented but still has no airs about it- this is what you are. Thank you so much sir for being so supportive and encouraging while we were working for OPD-2010.
2)                  Team Gnosiomania 2010: Many people together make a team but I’ll say, without a shadow of doubt, that this team made me, helped me evolve as an individual. Every single member of this team is blessed with so much talent in his or her own way that it actually humbles me down. The level of excellence got elevated by my standards while I was working with this team. Ashwarya, Marda, Rohin, Hemant, Varsha, Anshul, Anshul, Nimit, Mitesh, Ratnesh, Sethi, Amrith and all others, RESPECT ! I’ll miss this time spent with you all.

3)                  Aa  ra ra ra ra: The team which has silenced its critics every year and will continue to do so- the Rajasthani dance team. It was an inexplicable feeling when after days of practices and rehearsals, we put up a spectacular show on stage and ended up as champions. I’ll miss those days of practices. I’ll miss the colourful costumes and the myriad emotions attached with this dance. I’ll miss all my teammates- seniors, batch-mates and juniors. Megha, Shruti, Ajit, Ali, Nirmal, Bharat, Sushil, Kanu, Aayushi, Pooja, Ali, Mohit, Abhay and all, may you all be successful in all your endeavours.
@ juniors: Get the first prize for us next year too. All the best !!!

4)                  The partners in crime, fun, frolic, studies, happiness, sadness and everything:  I am extremely lucky to have got some really adorable friends who have stood by me throughout my thick and thin. ( just realized, this phrase holds for me literally too!! :P)
@ Sonam: This female was my first companion in college. We clicked almost instantly and the rest as they say is history. Be it our crazy dance in first year or that meticulously planned trip to Teliyarganj :P, every moment spent with you is priceless. Love you loads!!
@Riza: He is a person who is extremely intelligent yet extremely simple-hearted, a person who goes out of his way to help others yet expects nothing in lieu. You taught me how simple life is. It becomes complicated only when one complicates it. Thanks for being there always.
@Urvashi: She is a girl who can laugh about anything and everything. She is capable of finding a reason to be happy in every situation- favourable or adverse. Wish you that contagious smile of yours forever!
@Hemant:  A person who has as big a heart as body. I’ve never seen you furiously yelling or shouting at anyone and I admire this quality of yours. Be as you are always!!
@Pallo: She is the one who knows me better than I know myself. My oldest pal, bestest friend and a lovely human being. I am proud of the way you have conducted yourself over the years. Our preparation for NTSE together, our cycling trips and our heated arguments on my terrace, I remember every bit of them. After meeting you, I knew I’ve earned a friend for life. Girl, you just rock!!
@Prachi: She is just so cute and adorable. She is the wisest advisor among my friends and still, has managed to keep her child-like innocence untouched. I respect your clarity of thoughts. You know exactly what you want from life and manoeuvre yourself accordingly. Don’t ever change as you are wonderful the way you are.
@Nadeem and Arun: I never knew what it was to have a protective brotherly umbrella overhead until I met these two. They both are just a call away, be it any hour of the day. I can't even tell how much you two mean to me. Thanks for everything !!!

5)                   The flames of knowledge:  I have shared a very special bond with some of teachers. They have made me whatever I am today. I bow down to them in respect.
·                     Naheed ma’am: She was my class teacher in fourth standard at St. Joseph’s School. She was the first one, after my mother, to instill a sense of discipline in me. I loved the way she made everything look so easy and attainable. I am indebted to her for teaching me the art of dreaming and imagining.
·                     Pratibha Tiwari ma’am: She taught me English from 8th grade to 10th grade at DPS. She was the one who tilted me towards reading and writing. She taught me how to give apt words to my imaginations and thoughts. She read all my write-ups and poems with rapt attention and gave honest reviews about them. I thank her for making me an expressive person who can voice her opinion with aplomb and confidence.

6)           The pillars of strength:  This one is for my parents and my li’l sister. I am actually running short of words to describe what they have done for me. I’d just say to them that I treasure you all more than I treasure anything or anyone in this entire world. My parents are by far the coolest parents in this world. They are more of my friends. I thank them for the values they have inculcated in me that have helped me carry myself gracefully so far. My kid sister has been a constant source of encouragement for me. The way she looks at me with those eyes speaking-“ Didi, you are my rockstar” is enough to make me believe in myself. Love you all!!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Chasing the sunset..

What beauty can surpass that of a setting sun
True nature in her finest gown parades off when the day is done
The hurly-burly of the self-preserving strife
the rushing hither-thither in every walk of life
as if by magic ceases then, though just for a while
Crimsoning of sky glorifies the sunshine's final smile

Above a carpet, green and gold, a fiery mantle spread
the sun shone brightly in the sky, until the day has fled

Accompanied by such joyous airs as only larks can sing
The earth seems a fitting kingdom for our own celestial king

P.S.- I wrote this poem long back when I was in my home-town. It is a small place which actually sleeps after nine. People return home after work by 7 like birds return to their nests before dark after a day-long flight .