Sunday, August 31, 2014

Do you?

Q: Do you ever feel like a fallen leaf that floats around trying to find its ground?
A: If yes, you should try skydiving without a parachute. It will surely put things things into perspective (and bones into cast). Also, drop it like it's gravity.

Q: Do you ever feel like you're drifting away into a void?
A: If no, congrats. You're finally accepting a benumbing reality called Sunday morning followed by a boring reality called Sunday afternoon topped by a sad reality called the onset of Monday.

Q: Do you ever feel like you're experiencing a life-altering moment?
A: Fuck off. Nobody does. 

Q: Do you ever feel like the screenplay of your existence has lost its plot?
A: First thing first. Your existence is made up of moments. Moments so short that we like to assume that life itself is short. Guess what? Life is too freaking long and it can't have the luxury of either a screenplay or a plot or a subplot or a subsubplot.... 

Q: Do you ever feel a sharp ting in your head? 
A: Oh no, it ain't enlightenment. It's the onset of migraine. Your brain is decaying and can't take your stupid thought process anymore. Because of which, it has decided to take Nickelback's song of advice and turn into a rockstar. 

Q: Do you ever feel everything's going to be all right?
A: Well...there's a possibility, yes. But you'll have to start sweating a bit for that to happen. Sitting on the windowpane with your arms clutching your knees with your face buried in between won't help. What you ought to do is log off, get out, work on and settle in.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Forty shades of winks

According to science, a human body is supposed to spend one-third of a day asleep. And going by the way urban life is nowadays, that number has to be elusive for most grownups. Add to this scare the growing distractions courtesy technology. Interestingly enough, this distressing characteristic is irrespective of class. Sleep has become that priceless commodity one can't buy in the marketplace. No wonder we either zone out or bump into fellow citizens who are caught napping during working hours.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In beholders' eyes

When i was in kindergarten, my dad used to look like Rajiv Gandhi. As of now, he's somewhere between Robert De Niro and Michael Caine, with a voice that's more endearing than his words. I love him a lot. My ma has aged a decade in the last four years. Especially after she was dispossessed off a majority of her teeth. Unneeded worry and resulting bitterness did the rest to her face. I love her a lot. My brother was a paedophile's delight as a kid. He grew up to be a tall, handsome, erudite chap but his vouch for honesty can make him resentful at times. I love him a lot. My best friend—yes, there's something called THAT and i realized it long after school ended—is a delight to be with. He never leaves a chance to pick on me or crack a lame joke in my honour. However, if i fall down, he'll be the first one to pick me up. I love him a lot. The woman i'm in love with is the kind of person who's hard to come by. She's incredibly wonderful but likes to think she has issues when she clearly doesn't. I love her a lot. I don't have a pet anymore after our dear cat got killed last millennium but i have three street dogs to fend for. No, i don't do much except feed them Parle-G and scratch their necks every now and then. As expected, they stink and sneeze on my face. I love them a lot.
The point being when you love someone, you just love them because deep down, you understand that you're lucky to have them in your world. A world that might have been more miserable than it already is had it not been for them. You see, i love myself a lot. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A way with words

"I get it. It's nice up here. You can just shut down all the systems, turn out all the lights, and just close your eyes and tune out everyone. There's nobody up here that can hurt you. It's safe. I mean, what's the point of going on? What's the point of living? Your kid died. Doesn't get any rougher than that. But still, it's a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go, then you gotta just get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride. You gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start livin' life. Hey, Ryan? It's time to go home. You've got to learn to let go." - Matt Kowalski (Gravity, 2013)

The above lines were spoken by George Clooney's charismatic character in the aforementioned Oscar-gobbling film. However, it wasn't him but Sandra Bullock's confused heroine who was imagining him telling her all the things she wanted someone to say to her. And so he did... in her dreams!

Conclusion: We know what to do and how to do but more often than not, we need somebody to show us the way we already were aware of. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stand corrected

The correct answer to "Who are you?" is "I don't know!"
The correct answer to "I love you" is "You have no idea."
The correct answer to "How are you doing?" is "Compared to what?"
The correct answer to "Are you happy?" is "Are you?".
The correct answer to "Are you in a hurry?" is "Who isn't?".
The correct answer to "Is she your GF?" is "She's my soul mate."
The correct response to "Hi" is "Dei".
The correct answer to "What do you think of yourself?" is "Hahahahahaha."
The correct answer to "What's up?" is ".................."
The correct answer to "Is that you?" is generally "No".
The correct answer to "How are you?" is "Guess!"
Last and certainly the least,
"Fuck it" is the correct answer to most of your imaginary problems.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Morning drill

You're standing on the platform waiting for your regular local train to arrive. As it snakes in, you notice that certain things don't change—at all. Crows stay perched on the overboard electric wires making you wonder why they don't drop dead electrocuted. A dog is lazing on the platform unperturbed by the hustle-bustle of humans in its vicinity while fellow male commuters are removing their bags from their back so as to hang in on their front. This practice allows 'smoother' entry into an overcrowded compartment. About a hundred yards away, as usual, some jaywalkers are trying to cross the track before the approaching train could hit them. Daredevils of the mundane types they are! Would it be right to call them idiots or wrong to call the train a mass murderer? As a daily commuter, you don't answer such disturbing questions. After all, you've got some place to be on time.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tied and tested

Irony comes handy in our local trains. Recently, a college girl had to get into a general compartment—which she usually doesn't do for obvious reasons—as she was running late for her lectures in Matunga. The train was way too crowded and she found it difficult to find herself a comfortable place to even stand. In the mix of it, she felt something groping her back. Quick to react, she caught hold of the hand and squeezed it so hard that the guy was startled and made his way out at the very next station. She had three more stations to go. And while she was waiting, she couldn't help wonder how can a hand decorated with multiple rakhis could attempt such a disgraceful act.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Empty earfulness

I'm not talkative by nature. I'm talkative by character. Which means, if i like you, i'll talk to you. I'll chat you up in a manner that will leave your eardrums haunted for a reasonably long time. And i'm not kidding. People i like end up disliking me because i have so much to share with them. Strictly verbal though. They might think that i'm trying to educate them or something. But i learnt some years ago that it's impossible to do so with adults. However, when i'm alone, i find solace in silence. Looking out of the window—especially in a local train and GOD KNOWS THAT HAPPENS RARELY—works fine for me. But if i've got company then it's either my smeared-by-grin silence or our one-sided talkathon.
This is what i've figured out about myself. 
To be frank, it sucks to be this way. 
Nobody likes a blahmouth but they are too polite to say it on your face. 
As a consequence, i've realized that it's OK to be silent with those you adore. Meaning, it's fine to not behave like an owl that's scared that the sun may not set. It's alright to let silence have a say. In any case, it's not incumbent on me to keep the conversation going. Words are not turning extinct anyway. They'll be here while we'll be gone for good. The point being it's pointless to be insecure about silence. Like learn a thing or two from the Japanese survivors of World War II who later used to assemble in a room and just sat, not sharing a single word.
Well, again.
But we're missing the crucial part here. People who talk with nothing to lose or gain from it are actually doing a great deal of service to those who do. 
Think about it.
While you're at it, listen to me.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Touch up

With the upcoming state elections in place, there's a visible sense of change in Navi Mumbai. Not exactly a shocker given politicos' tendency to buckle up and do something visible few months before the vote is cast. After all, such desperate moves are known to help win the ruling party some brownie points with the aam janta. For instance, last month, bad roads were layered up with tar in some sectors. And this month, we notice the civic employees repainting traffic lines down the center of a road that doesn't really see much of vehicles in the first place. One heck of an attempt at leaving an impression with the voting public!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A matter of balance

Call this city loud, stinky or whatnot but there's one thing that we all take for granted: Mumbai's ability to let us just be. Although it's buzzing and almost tearing at the seam with its rising population and shrinking space, the fabled peace of mind is seldom far away from where we are. After all, Mumbaikars get used to the pace within no time leaving little scope for regrets. This quality—if you may—is something we ingrain during our stay here. And it applies to the non-human creatures as well. Be it the rat on the railway tracks nibbling away the litter or the crows who later meal on the fat rats who failed to cross the road. It'd be suffice to say that there's a balance in motion on a daily basis. Like for instance, my brother recently caught a dog (which I'm sure must have spent the night chasing cars) dozing peacefully under bright sunlight against the blaring noise of passing local trains. Well, who can you blame when this island city refuses to submerge at once?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In times of luggage

Ever since our city became the target of various kinds of attacks, the general reaction of most commuters is to refrain from meddling with any unattended piece of luggage. So bags perched on overhead racks in trains are safe from prying hands. But when trains are so packed that people themselves have no space to stand, squeezing a bag onto a crowded rack becomes a Herculean feat. Never deterred, enterprising Mumbaikars  have found a way around this dilemma, too. The solution is simple: carry a hook as religiously as one carries one’s season railway pass.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Give and take

I like to say that dog is our best friend without a friendship band. And we keep hearing how the four-legged ones love us irrespective of how or who we are. But we somehow conveniently forget that it's not THAT simple. We tend to shower affection on them and they return the same, many folds over without fail. The trick lies in selflessness and that's what we miss while assessing this strong but strange bond between humans and the so-called canines. We love them with everything we have and then they make us love them with everything we have till the day they pass away. Despite knowing very well that their life expectancy is always going to be a hurdle in continuing the relationship, we still go ahead with it so as to make the most of the limited time at hand. Just a little trace of selfishness that was mentioned earlier. So, the conclusion being we might be able to replicate this success rate in relationship with humans too provided we give our selfishness and insecurity a break and embrace others wholeheartedly.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Of H2O and urine

I often bump into a guy from our office in the loo. We usually end up peeing together (chronologically, not geographically speaking). Now, one might wonder why am i talking about a random person about such a moribund activity of life. Well, i'm known for pissing and tell. When i didn't spare Ang Lee then who's this colleague? Anyway, going back to the story, we two are making a habit of 'seeing' each other in the washroom for almost a week now. Which makes me wonder whether our body cycle—at least the liquid side of it, which is like 3/4th, right?—seems to be in sync. Which also makes me wonder why don't i ever bump into him at the water counter where we refill our bottles.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


It’s early morning and you’re blankly staring out of the window. Your eyes hurt due to all the weird dreams they were witnessed to before. This is when your view is interrupted by a sparrow who perches itself on the hanging wire outside. It has something for you. Messengers, like messages, come in all size, small included. But there's a problem. The thing about these vegetarian birds is they don’t look into your eyes while talking to you. To top it all, they are always in a hurry. They keep nodding their head from side to side while you stay steady at the windowsill with your fists under your chin. They don’t care whether you speak their language or whether you’ve really interpreted what was meant. No. They do what they have to, before flying away. All of a sudden, your eyes don’t hurt anymore. You won’t have this one-sided conversation again until the next time you have a message from above.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Small dosage of magic

You're sitting in the middle of two hefty men in the second class compartment of a local train. There's no space left for the imaginary fourth seat. To kill time, you take out your tablet and start playing Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises from where you last left it. Within seconds, three pair of eyeballs are fixed on your small screen. Blame this behaviour on the irresistible magic of animation. As the film moves on from one fascinating frame to another, none of the three audiences bother to check which station is it outside. And then, the inevitable happens. The buzzer reminding that the battery is too low starts resurfacing again and again. You keep clicking the 'OK' button as stylishly as the villains die in a Hollywood franchise. After all, you don't want to disappoint your newfound fellow-cinephiles. Regardless, the tablet shuts down. You act cool while hearing "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk." on your right and neck crackling on your left. As if you rudely woke up babies from a long peaceful slumber.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So long

It's depressing the way comics die. At least the ones who commit suicide. Doesn't make sense at all. Or maybe it does. They make us laugh while they suffer in silence, huh? Unfair enough. Cracking jokes for a living might sound churlish but they throw light on stuff that's often neglected. Messiahs in their own right. With microphones in their hands, they show us the mirror while making sure we are laughing at ourselves. It's sheer genius of comedy. Robin Williams was undoubtedly a leading star in this regard. He just knew how to tickle without being offensive. No mean writer but a splendid thinker and words were happy to be his slaves. So he ended up saying what he had to say on the stage. No wonder improvisation came naturally to him when he acted in films. Some of the memorable dialogues he quoted for the big screen were ad-libbed. And one can't help but feel the urge to hug him the way most of his co-stars did. The warmth emanating from his characters was undeniable. Especially his pedagogy acts in Dead Poets' Society (1989) and Good Will Hunting (1997) leave us tormented. We can't stop feeling sorry for ourselves because we never had a teacher like him. Nobody saw through us or took time off to show us the way he did with those sweater-clad students or young Matt Damon. Maybe because we weren't gifted enough. Regardless, his films continue to stand for unbridled joy and hope. So, in a way, it makes sense to wake up to a day that compels us to be sad for our loss.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Love her? Let her be

It's not that love has to be unconditional but then, what's the point of having conditional love? Does the moon share its beauty only with the select few? Or does the sun shine bright on the chosen ones? What about rain? Does it not fall down indiscriminately? Have you seen the wind change it course? Love, if you ask me—which you won't—is either there or not. There's no set formula to gain it although there are million techniques to lose it. Love flows like a river, not knowing that its water is going to turn salty in the end. Pure and selfless; perhaps like a mother's care. But can we emulate that as non-maternal individuals? Can we love a person without expecting anything in return? Are human hearts designed that way? Or is it a folly to believe what that the likes of Rumi said? I surmise love is permanent as long as one's mind ain't corrupted by expectations. Once you begin to expect, insecurity seeps in. And once that happens, you want to modulate the other person's personality. You wish her face looked this way or that. You're not really happy with her haircut. You want her to sleep early just because you do. You assume she can be great at something which she isn't even interested in. You coax her to walk in the park only for an epiphany you once had while doing the same. Gradually, you become annoying because your head is already annoyed with the standards it has set for itself and for your partner. You forget who you are or what you are, let alone how you are. The other person becomes a trophy to exhibit. And your so-called love has turned into societal etiquette. Do you really want to be that person? Before you notice, you've become a four-walled fascist. You yourself aren't happy and you don't really understand why you're sad with the person you loved the most not very long ago. Here's what i'd do if i were that person: i'll bring down the curtain of conditions and let the sunlight fall on us—indiscriminately, as expected. And then i'll let her be the way she wants to be. Because it's not about me, her or us. It's about the promise you make to yourself when you're about to fall asleep. That you'll wake up...from your ignorance.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mob justice

What is it about our cops that makes people prefer to stay away from them? Instead of approaching the police to resolve problems, often the public decides to take things into their own hands for a speedy solution. Something of this nature happened on Wednesday night at Govandi railway station. With the rain beating down in the background, three men were taking turns—as if they were Bollywood heroes—beating the daylights out of a suspected pickpocket. According to them, he had tried to nick a wallet from one of them. When i intervened and suggested that they should hand him over to the railway police, they brushed me off, saying, “Public dhulai se hi aise log seekhte hain,” and continued bashing the man. This went on for a while before the trio called it a night and let their 'perpetrator' go free.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Food night!

I don't hate lizards. They've got every right to be creepily smooth, sleek and to revel in their evolutionary trademarks. I just happen to be scared of them. But it doesn't matter as both hatred and fear leave little scope for rationality. OK. Scared is a mild word, to be precise. For a 28-year-old, that is. Last night, i reached home late although i left office at a rather decent time. This so happened because of a detour that took place at Govandi railway station. A mob was beating the bachao out of a suspected pickpocket. With the incessant rain in the background, one could make sense why the public was enjoying the spectacle. I got down from the crowded train and intervened. It took me a while to make things right (read: less violent). Lesson learnt: It's heartbreaking to be a pacifist in a world full of bloodshot eyes. Anyway, when i FINALLY got home and into my kitchen—hungry like anyone who had nothing but  lunch about nine hours ago—to my horror, i saw a lizard on the wall praying or preying or something. It was fairly healthy, comparatively longer than the ones i've seen before in our house. Needless to add, i trembled. There's this thing you do when you confront your worst fear: you question your existence before running away in the opposite direction. And that's exactly what i did. When i found myself in the living room, my hunger was irrevocably dead. I was shaken and stirred the way Bond always ordered. If i'm not mistaken, this is what enlightenment is all about. You don't feel anything except consciousness about what really happened and how you reacted. There's nothing in between. Just you and your circumstances. I didn't dare go back into that wicked room. As expected, i couldn't fall asleep either. It usually takes me few minutes to zone out but last night, i couldn't help but think of what my friend's dad once told me during dinner. In their house, right above the dining table, two fat lizards lived. During the day, the couple (presumably, of course) hid behind the tube-light. At night, they came out and traversed across the wall looking for their hunt. Nobody in my friend's family seemed to be bothered by these two unregistered members. I certainly was. So to ease my concerns, uncle reminded me, "We are all here to fill our stomach, aren't we?"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

God bless him

Every time he squeezes his eyes shut to sneeze, he thinks of her. After involuntarily releasing his nose like a falcon's flight downwards, with the nasal thrust faster than Dale Steyn's delivery, he slowly opens his eyes and fails to see her beside him. It's all in his head. Everything. From little pictures to prolonged sequences written and directed by him. It's bright daylight outside as the clouds give way to the sun. But he's cold inside. Fortunately, he's getting used to it. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Long live longevity!

I often joke that i don’t wish to die until i’m 250. Sounds far-fetched, i know. But i’m dead sure about this curious ambition of mine. (OK, not dead enough.) I’m serious though. Furthermore, i’ve already taken some baby steps towards my attempt at elongated immortality. For instance, i’m embracing optimism like Pope John Paul embraced AIDS patients (and contributed more to the cause than any of our Facebook likes). The key to healthy living is not succumbing to pessimism. I’m cynical by nature and i’m trying to change that. I don’t drink nor smoke. Never did, anyway. Gotta do justice to liver’s name while breathing life into lungs. (I reckon that sounds as stupid on this page as it did in my head!) I sleep before the clock strikes 12 and wake up before 7.30 in the morning. I’ve started eating as little as possible—at one go—like those KateMosslike sadhus in the Himalayas. I breathe deeply and drink lot of water. I’ve abandoned coffee (once again) and working on giving up morning tea as well. I don’t hold back pee as I used to, earlier. My job ain’t going to last forever. Neither will my bladder. But 250 is a huge number and i’ll appreciate proper bodily functions in the long run. Speaking of running, i walk like Gandhi. I don’t advise anyone anymore. There’s no point in guiding others while you yourself are lost and raring to be found. I’m content. I’ve stopped worrying about questions related to my future. (What’s-going-to-happen, Why-was-Fassbender-alloted-bigger-penis, Is-it-because-of-the-closeness-between-ass-and-bend-in-his-surname, etc). I don’t argue. In any case, that was done with my family members. Been there, not doing it again. I let them win by repeating what i’m so damn good at: letting others win. The lesson i’ve learnt is there’s no such thing as a future. We’ve got only one thing going for us: the present. The moment we drop dead, all the set equations change. Back to cipher it goes. The world is kindest to those who’ve run their course. So the plan is to prolong this very course by staying back and not budging until India lifts the football World Cup. And thus outlive your enemies, wondering how to celebrate your victory over them without them to witness it.

Monday, August 4, 2014


God exists, therefore you're able to read the above note in my handwriting. And you can't erase it. Booyah!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cash, not kind

On paper, India can claim to be a nation that has banned begging but the mundane reality begs to differ. In Mumbai, beggars are everywhere but quite prominent inside local trains and on the over-bridge at railway stations. However, a recent incident made us notice the difference between performing and begging. A little girl in ragged clothes entered a second class compartment only to belt some old Bollywood numbers. Although her immature voice and lack of training was apparent, she came into her own while doing the rounds for collecting money from the passengers. On being harangued by an elderly gentleman—"Chutta nahi hai"—our pocketsized heroine had a ready reply. “Toh note dono na saab! Bheek todhe hi maang rahi hoon?”, which not only earned her laughs but also some forthcoming contributions.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Posthumous musicals

My neighbouring colleague is a reticent dignified lady. She doesn't believe in wasting breath on words. If i'm silent, she's stone. However, over the past (almost) three years i've spent in her company, she has been kind enough to drop some gems of wisdom—from time to time—with no warning whatsoever. Like me, she approves of frugal existentialism. And that allows me to take my ceaseless inquisition into the gorgeous topic of death with her. It so happened that i recently asked her what song would she like me to play at her funeral. After a bout of mouth-covered-by-palm laughs, she asks me, "Who's inviting you?" I had no choice but to lie that since i'm the DJ of Death, i don't require invitation. After much reflection, "Play 'Baby Doll' for me," was her stunning reply. Turns out, like me, she'll say anything to end a lame conversation.