Friday, January 30, 2015

Flagging a debate

The schoolteacher is trying her best to engage as many kids as possible. One of the students raises his hand before asking, “Why is history so important for us? I find it boring, don’t you?” The class gasps in unison while the lady-in-charge smiles. She asks the young rebel, “What do you find interesting then?” The boy says, “Science.” To which, the teacher says, “Well, science has history too, doesn’t it?” The boy nods along but makes another point, “I think our country needed science more than freedom.” The class breaks into muffled laughter and so does the teacher.

Exhaling humour

Bollywood apes a lot of things from across the globe but laughing at itself isn't one of them. Looks like the Hindi film industry—or should we say, some prominent members from B-Town—are on the brink of getting that right as well. Over the recent past, the Internet has been constantly interrupted by film celebs exhibiting a sharp sense of humour, unprecedented in nature or execution. For a very, very, very long time, this wasn't the case. The picturewallahs preferred to keep their opinion and money to themselves. However, thanks to the advent of social media, they aren't hiding anymore. Therefore, we get to hear them use words nowadays we thought even a film script won't allow without giving the Censor Board cranial hernia. Isn't that cool? Of course! Moreover, it's not about giving the F-word a break and using the C-word and the L-word and the B-word. It's much deeper actually, pun intended. Two reasons. One, the starry i-am-cleaner-than-thou pretence has to be shoved away. Two, the starry i-am-cleaner-than-thou pretence has to be shoved away. No matter how cringing celebs jokes (jokes made by celebs, not ON celebs) come across as, it's a lot better to have some so-called stars speak the same lingo that a majority of us do. Sweet! This is precisely those achhe din NaMo promised us.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Generally standing

The concept of space and time is best understood by those who commute on Mumbai’s local trains. Every minute matters and so does every inch. Getting a window seat—or for that matter, an emptier compartment—is nothing less than a luxury. And this is the case with all the three lines of railway networks in our city. One more thing that’s common to Harbour, Central and Western is the way the so-called luggage compartment is utilised by daily passengers. During the morning rush hour, people avoid them because of hasty vendors and the dabbawallahs who wouldn’t let their luggage-less counterparts sneak in. At other times of the day, luggage compartment is a delight to be in—illegally speaking though—given the space it has. No wonder it’s treated as a general compartment during the rest of the day! After all, there no ‘barriers’ per se in these chotu compartments.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The final leg

The greatest difference between a majority of us and street dogs is they have character. Each one of them, bare-assed beauties. On top of that, they understand their boundaries very well. Of course, there is no definite procedure to measure the strength of one’s character but its presence doesn’t take much time to detect. What most of us humans have is image and we pay a huge price to maintain it too. We can’t afford character. And even if we manage to do, there’d be more shades in it than required. That’s the problem with mortals who speak. If silence says a lot about one’s character, then it’s worth wondering what barking does. If humans have questionable characters, there has to be more than enough answers too. If a man on the road is mistaken, his pawed bestie must know better. But who’s going to ask? Or listen?

Reading between bylines

There are many things i’ve observed—if not learnt—in my short tenure as a film journalist. One of them is the fact that nobody gives a shit about byline. Until and unless you are someone like Aakar Patel or Nandini Ramnath with your smiling picture going with the slug. Legendary cartoonists like RK Laxman don’t need a byline yet they insisted on signing their work. Things are a bit discouraging for lesser mortals though. The way readers automatically skip the name of the person who has written an article is an interesting phenomenon. They read the headline, the strap and jump directly to the main body completely overlooking something in fine print practically dying for attention! Anyway, i’ve grown enough in my field to care less about my byline anymore but it’s a completely different story—no pun intended—when you come across a commuter reading your piece. What a narcissistic feeling that is! And it does make a dramatic scene too. He busy reading what you wrote yesterday neither acknowledging your byline nor you standing right in front of him. So you end up secretly taking a picture of him in action. Fair enough.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Heaves and heave-nots

While walking together on the uneven footpath, he noticed a stray eyelash on her freckled cheek. True to his superstitions, he typed it and placed it on the back of her right palm. All she had to do now was close her piercing eyes, make a wish and blow the damn thing away. She did that just because he asked her to. Nobody except her knows what she prayed for that afternoon but it was quite obvious that his eyelashes—unlike hers—didn't have to fall anymore. He already had everything he could ever wish for.

A piece of history

On December 24, 1762, Smith told his students, “There are four distinct stages which mankind passes through—first, the Age of Hunters, second, the Age of Shepherds; thirdly, the Age of Agriculture; and fourthly, the Age of Commerce…

The following day, they forgot all about it and celebrated Christmas.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Completing a circle

They say that Christopher Columbus discovered America when the correct usage should be "Christopher Columbus discovered mistake!" But then, you can always excuse the Italians (erstwhile Romans) for their mind-depriving errors. Nevertheless, humankind owes a lot to them in any case be it science, cuisine, religion, philosophy or matters pertaining exclusively to genitals. They've seen it and done it all. Of course, they are no longer the world's largest producer of wine anymore but still, for ol' time's sake, you have to give them their befitting due. Sticking to the topic, if it weren't for Columbus, there would be no New World per se. There wouldn't have been much delight in what we like to call the modern world, would there? There wouldn't have been no Hollywood. No Al Pacino or Robert De Niro or Leonardo DiCaprio. No nothing. Just some of the reasons why it's very interesting to note that a black-skinned President of a nation discovered by an Italian but currently inhabited by a white majority is visiting a nation Sig. Columbus originally intended to stumble upon. And let's not even get into Sonia Gandhi's origin.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A deal breaker

There was utter darkness; nothingness at its purest form. All of a sudden entered God. She couldn’t see anything—let anyone the beautiful void in front of her—when an idea struck her bright mind forcing to yelp, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”
A 50-50 deal though. Day and night. Nonetheless, she could see nothing clearly now so she got down to work and ended up creating the lovely mess we are in.
Fast forward several millennia to Edison.
He too felt the need to see nothingness clearly but he wouldn’t agree with the deal God did. 
No way.


  • Why should we limit our pursuit to happiness? 
  • Why are you hungry at me?
  • Why should you be worried what the world will say? Are you its speechwriter?
  • Why should noise have all the fun?
  • Why are women demoting themselves by trying to equal men? 
  • Why are a majority of our dreams still in coma?
  • Why are our emotions so self-centered?
  • Why should we be the victim of second-hand delusions when we can have plenty of first-hand ones?
  • Why do you need others' permission to screw up your own life?
  • Why does it feel like i've seen you somewhere although i've never seen you before?
  • Why aren't we bored of oxygen yet?
  • Why should Sachin be an Upper House member when he can be India's youngest prez ever?
  • Why isn't there a limit on coincidences yet?
  • Why is that we run after the ones who don't care two cents about us and shun the ones who do?
  • Why isn't there any tax on emotional baggage?
  • Why are footballers allergic to transfer door?
  • Why should anyone bother with others' opinion about anything?
  • Why would angels need parachute?
  • Why would anybody like to grind an axe?
  • Why are all the breaking news sad?
  • Why would anyone want to hold a candle to anything?
  • Why are you so you?
  • Why would i insult a religion when i've got its followers to do the same?
  • Why isn't breakfast a fundamental right yet? 
  • Why are they called strangers when they aren't strange at all?
  • Why would anyone like somebody to the point that it literally hurts?
  • Why are mothers the way they are and why aren't we the way we're supposed to be?  
  • Why waste time now thinking about the time you wasted in the past like you just did?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Zzzzzoned in

They say people move to Mumbai so as to fulfill their dreams. However, more often than not, these dreams are too basic in necessity to call themselves dreams but that’s how things are in our demography. Also, it’s kind of ironical that a city that allegedly never goes to sleep has so many people falling asleep everywhere; at any given point of time. Be it on the side of a street or on top of a wooden mart or inside a taxi or outside a mall. It’s as if the city is indeed sleepless but only during nighttime. When the sun is out there shining, everybody seems to be in a hurry to find themselves some moments of respite. And we are not even talking about those noddies who doze off in local trains or BEST buses—either in sitting position or standing—as easily as a baby in a mother’s arms. We’re pointing out those who are stationary and yet somehow manage to catch forty winks—if 39 ain't enough—that seem to elude them otherwise.

Every once in a while

  • Every once in a while, goodbye sounds like badbye.
  • Every once in a while, give up.
  • Every once in a while, the society should go take a long walk and never come back.
  • Every once in a while, asking questions ain't the answer to your problems.
  • Every once in a while, exercising one's common sense helps.
  • Every once in a while, we need a vacation from inertia.
  • Every once in a while, the universe has to be reminded what needs to be done.
  • Every once in a while, it's OK to act stupid, random and lost.
  • Every once in a while, doing nothing is the right thing to do.
  • Every once in a while, you realize that you just aren't wicked enough.
  • Every once in a while, the idea is to feel like God. 
  • Every once in a while, all you've got to do is just disappear.
  • Every once in a while, the heartbreaker should be retired hurt too.
  • Every once in a while, we act like an overcrowded fast train that's moving slowly.
  • Every once in a while, your silence speaks for you.
  • Every once in a while, we find ourselves liking somebody for no particular reason.
  • Every once in a while, a song doesn't like you. 
  • Every once in a while, you trade money for problems. 
  • Every once in a while, you need a true friend...with plenty of cash!
  • Every once in a while, you wake up knowing precisely what you've got to do. And then don't do it. 
  • Every once in a while, being a coward turns out to be the bravest thing ever.
  • Every once in a while, the slow local train ends up insulting the word slow.
  • Every once in a while, opportunity refuses to stop at the door and proceeds to knock the entire house down.
  • Every once in a while, even our reputation as the smartypants wouldn't stop us from acting foolish.
  • Every once in a while, i feel so useless that even a little bit of usefulness can prove fatal.
  • Every once in a while, emotions look for a bailout.
  • Every once in a while, you need to excuse yourself from reality.
    Every once in a while, my memories venture out in search of your memories.
  • Every once in a while, we end up as clueless as the moon in the sky.
  • Every once in a while, we end up loving those who keep disappointing us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blame game

I'm suffering from writer's block. I realized it just now. I've been staring at the blank screen wondering what to type for more than 15 minutes now. I couldn't come up with anything reasonably stupid so i tried to understand what exactly is going on before it dawned upon me that i'm not coming up any material to mull about. This could be because of two reasons: Either my life has become way too meaningful that i don't have to extract words out of it or utterly meaningless that i can't extract prose out of it. Either way, i managed to come up with whatever it is that you're putting yourself through as i type. Which is also why i think we shouldn't suffer. We should enjoy in every possible manner, be it euphoria or grief. Nothing lasts long enough, right? Wait. What if it isn't me and it's you who is suffering from reader's block?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bricks and canons

Will there be any issue if you wish to destroy yourself? Not just by your words or actions but just by being. If yes, burn all those bridges—even the ones you didn't even help build—before burning your world. And once you do that, let me know how it feels. Because i'm never going to do that. There is no reason why or no about it. Just that i've come to realize that when you intend to destroy yourself—either by action or inertia—you're basically hurting everyone who ever cared for you. Those people who silently cheered for you. I've come to realise such souls are rare and aren't to be lost at any cost. They walk by seldom and when they leave, they seldom return too. The wiser and the more practical thing to do would be to not let the thought of destruction envelope you. It's no mere coincidence why building takes time and destroying doesn't. Also, why we don't have to be a qualified architect to build relationships.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Shit happens


N.B. Sorry but this shit happens when you're so darn excited that even Monday starts having an identity crisis. 

Crash and spread

When it comes to local trains in our city, almost every single operational hour is a rush hour. You never know when the public is going to rise in numbers at a given platform. As a result, the lines are drawn for who goes where. Ladies compartments for ladies. General compartments for anyone who cares to fight their way in and then out. First-class compartments for those who think they are better off when they aren’t. Handicap compartments for those who shouldn’t fight at all. Oh, and let’s not forget the luggage compartment. This dingy compartment for the ones with heavy baggage and baskets. And during the early morning rides, the vendors/hawkers/peddlers who  cram into this exclusive bogey are very particular about not losing anything in transit. They make sure not a single fruit or a bunch of spinach is damaged or misplaced.  However, when it so happens that they fail to balance the heavy load on their head and as a consequence, lose a commodity or two, they don’t even care to pick up their waste so as to dispose of it in a nearby garbage bin. It’s edible, so they won’t throw it away. And the result is that the station ends up looking like a sticky marketplace during such moments of undesired loss.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The rise of celluloid

Anybody can make a movie. It's not a big deal. You think of something. You shoot it. You have it. But film-making as an art form is an altogether different ballgame. A vision has to be set in poetry to extract the essence of what a filmmaker wishes to share. Because in his head, he has already seen the movie. Imagine how frustrating that must be. To know exactly what you wish to share with others through reels—to me, at least—is meditation at its tenacious best. However, there are all kinds of filmmakers. Some push the boundaries of bad movies while others, touch the surface of ingenuity. And awards—or their lack—have nothing to do with how a film turned out. I take immense delight in the fact that we are living in an era where almost every country—even Kuwait for that matter, even though theater has a stronger hold there—is pushing the cinematic envelope. Good or bad, films are churning out like never before. The way technology has seeped into the nooks and corners of the planet is amazing to say the least. We can only hope that reels make a difference when our realities fail to.

Take a walk

Enjoy your Sunday by attempting something you've never done before. Yes, scare yourself. No, waking up early doesn't count. Something else.

Ignore my preachy tone and get out of your house. ASAP.
Lastly, avoid getting killed in a freak bus accident.
Good luck.

Friday, January 16, 2015

When bubbles burst

He wanted to grow up as soon as possible so he could be Sinbad, exploring places like nobody else has. Although he didn’t have friends like his idol did, he was preparing to sail on his own. All he needed was a boat and the strength of a man. Besides, the sea was already willing to be a part of his plans. This was last century. As of now, he knows how he was then and what he has become. Every morning, he reaches office before his colleagues do and pulls up the venetian blind pretending to be Sinbad.

Striking a balance

I keep telling my close ones—which unfortunately includes whoever is reading this—that happiness is the key. Whatever one does, what matters the most is the pursuit of happiness. That element shouldn't be compromised. It goes without saying that others' reasons to be happy must not be tampered either. There's no limit to happiness. Sadness is limited. As ironical as it may sound. If you still don't believe me, ask yourself what has been the saddest part of your life. Now ask yourself what has been the happiest part of your life. Chances are the former question will have few contenders fighting for the top spot whereas the latter will entertain much more options. We tend to overemphasize all the ugly things that ever happened to us. And for some hideous reason, we underestimate our moments of bliss under the sun. That's the thing about sadness. It's overrated. 

PS: I'm happy and content. Don't know about tomorrow. But for today, i certainly am.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hang on, get off

Did you know Mowgli converted to Islam so as to marry his beloved? That’s what Kipling wrote in his extensive summary of what life would have been like for the jungle boy when he met our so-called civilization. I find this aspect of his writing curious because we are talking about 1894 here. It could have been any other religion but the writer—often accused for being an unabashed racist—took a Bollywoodish turn and mixed religion with drama. Of course, there’s no merit in parallelizing Mowgli with what Dharmendra did to marry Hema Malini but still, there’s a whiff of communal sentimentality involved. Or am i thinking too much about gharwapsi? In any case, the bone of contention can always be thrown back to the creator who feels about his creations in a certain manner. So, it’s Kipling’s call whether he decides to circumcise the boy-who-should-have-never-grown-up-in-the-first-place or not. Who am i to judge his original intensions? Having blabbered that, i can’t believe he not only left his animal friends but also forsake the language in which he spoke to them. Moreover, it’s more difficult to come to terms with the reality that Mowgli hasn’t been conferred with Bharat Ratna yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A violent necessity

The only person worth fighting is you. But when you're in love, you begin to fight against two. That's especially the case when you're in a long-distance relationship. You see, the reason is pretty self-evident. Love and relationship are two distinct domains but are somehow dependent on each other. Relationship is a heavy word coined by psychoanalysts who thought they knew better just because they had a beard to flaunt. Love is a lighter word coined by poets who thought they don't need to know better because they were lying anyway for rhymes' sake. Both the terms are alive today for a reason. When that person you can quite literally die for—or survive with—is close by, the equation is different. There's no bout. Neither is fighting nobody. Too busy consuming each other. However, as soon as the distance is in order, the desire to be close takes over. And your helplessness makes you fight. First against yourself. Followed by your lover. Thus resulting in an exclusive exercise on sanity. The question to be posed at such moments of desperation would be: "Why fight at all? Why not just let it be? Why the fuss?" Point. But it doesn't work that way, sweetheart. We are a species popular for a disease called boredom. In fact, a majority of our malice can be traced back to that luxury of not having anything significant to do with our time. Also, why one shouldn't give in to a farce called peace. For instance, try holding your breath under water. What do you when you're out of air? You fight. First against your lungs. Followed by water. That's how you reach the surface of life. Or love.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


When these little birds come visiting in groups, they always seem to be in a hurry. There's no time for etiquette. Nosh. That's what it is all about. No "Hello" or "Hi". Just "Where's my grain?" if you care. You see, they have places to be. They are free to go wherever their wings behoove. They can fly away whether you feed them or not. It's you who is inside a cage.

Behind closed eyes

What did you see in your dreams last night? Remember any of it? If yes, did you realize that you didn't watch anything new? Anything at all. Whatever you saw no matter how crazy it seemed in its screenplay was already conceived by your mind while you were awake therefore. No surprise. Yet you somehow fooled yourself thanks to your subconscious that you saw that ghost for the first time in your life. Tada. You didn't! You rode that fighter plane you've been riding since childhood now. You could feel your feet pressing the accelerator as if it was a car. You almost felt the skin of your lover, didn't you? You almost got yourself killed with that fall off the cliff. Well, almost. Did you care to notice the time of your death? You couldn't. There's no concept of a clock in dreams, you know? There's no death for that matter. You never die. You're always alive and breathing and sweating and worrying and pulsating and dilating but you're never gone. Your dreams don't let you die. So what do they do? They wake you up so that you can chase whatever you wish to. What are you chasing today? Please don't say "local gaadi".

Monday, January 12, 2015

Him, her and weather

The rain stopped as abruptly as it started.
Happy news for the girl-with-umbrella. Not so for the guy-with-umbrella.
Her chances of catching an auto—even if its meter was rigged—rose exponentially. His chances of spending few more moments with her—some uncomfortable feet apart, of course—dipped drastically.
It was that time of his life he could only wish a terrible wind passed by blowing away her umbrella for good.
Desperation drove him to pray for it to start again, so she could at least be interested in his umbrella, if not him.

When twain meets

Sometimes all you need to do is stop yourself from turning into someone you are not. Although it sounds doable, it isn’t. Many a times, the difference between who we are and who we’re trying to be is so minuscule that we keep slipping between the two entities. We say certain things because we happen to believe in them. We do certain things because they happen to make us feel better. What’s lost in the deal isn’t discussed—at all. And before we know it, everything becomes a matter of success and failure. As if we’re wise enough to understand the distinction between the two. Who can accurately predict our past? As far as the present is concerned, we are what we are. But at the same time, we will be what we will be. And in some parallel universe, both are the same person. The whole point being what George Clooney told Amal Alamuddin this morning from top of that stage was incredibly beautiful.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An invite

Go to sleep. 
It's been long since you've done that. 
The way you once used to inside her womb. 
Try to forget whatever is keeping you awake because they aren't going anywhere. 
They'll be right here when you wake up. 
In the meantime, hide yourself in my chest.
It's warm enough for you.
My chin will guard your pate. 
And my arms will hold you in.
I don't snore. 
Don't think too much.
Get lost in me.
I'll take care of us.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

You don't have to

You don't have to write if your mind reads empty.
You don't have to eat even if the plate is full.
You don't have to sing when you don't have a song.
You don't have to miss someone for way too long.
You don't have to run when you can stroll.
You don't have to achieve what others consider a goal.
You don't have to be something you don't see.
You don't have to set the world on fire or yourself free.
You don't have to save tigers while staying in a city.
You don't have to drown in sorrows before you swim
You don't have to create an image or a ghost.
You don't have to spend your life on "almost"..
You don't have to tip-toe on your dancing secrets.
You don't have to make the grumpy ones laugh either.
You don't have to bond yourself to the idea of love.
You don't have to ask others when, why, where or how.
You don't have to dig a grave to fill your mistakes in.
You don't have to listen to floating words of wisdom.
You don't have to chase the rainbows during winter.
You don't have to add your silence to the banter. 
You don't have to act like those you admire.
You don't have to shun that part of you called liar.
You don't have to do anything at all.
Just be.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fuss about fuzz

Since 2010, not a month has passed by i haven’t spotted some facial fuzz. It was always there either in the form of an ugly beard or a walrus-y moustache or an unislamic goatee. This has nothing to do with my razor-phobia. I guess the idea was to look mature(r) than i actually was. Well, didn’t work out. Once a stupid child. Always a stupid child. However, with the dawn of 2015, i impulsively got rid of my mask. And as expected, received quite a lot of amusing comments. 

Listing out a few of them:
  • Achha toh aap aise dikhte ho?” – barber
  • Namma mange porl aate.” – pappa
  • “*surprised looks in Tulu*” – amma
  • “*notgivingafuckface*” – brother
  • Police ne damki diya kya?” – colleague #1
  • School bus se office aaya?” – colleague #2
  • Kavla maal lag raha hai.” – colleague #3
  • New joinee?” – colleague #4
  • I liked you better with beard.” – boss
  • I still dislike you.” – colleague #5
  • Lost weight or what?” – colleague #6

Hide and seek

Raids on illegal hawkers and vendors by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is nothing new. Every time it happens, there’s an expected amount of chaos. The idea is to stop the roadside ‘perpetrators’ from operating unlawfully. What is interesting is the persistence on both ends. The vendors will not give up as they continue to go back to the streets to sell their commodities while the civic authority will keep surprising them every now and then. Something amusing took place over the weekend at Colaba. BMC officials got a complaint that some vendors were storing their goods on top of a roadside tree at night. Despite warnings that the practice could cause an accident, injuring pedestrians walking underneath the tree, the concerned vendors did not pay heed. As a consequence, the feared van parked itself on the street and the elevated gunny bags were lowered—with much protests from their owners—so as to be confiscated. Despite the shouting by the women and resistance by men, it was just another day in the city. The odds move in a mysterious way in Mumbai.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hum paanch

So far, i've created only one WhatsApp group and i'm glad being that admin who doesn't converse much with his chosen' members. We share lame Internet pictures, lamer Internet videos and lamest Internet jokes. But we seem so happy about the whole affair that it doesn't really strike us that we are basically wasting each others' time. I believe that's the closest any of us would ever get to divinity. No wonder why WhatsApp groups are fun un-lame-ted! Last weekend, i was part of an event that led to the creation of another such group and i must admit i'm very happy to be a member. Everybody else in it except me belongs to engineering background. They are the highly motivated types who work hard during weekdays and are climbing up the ladder gracefully. And during weekends, they live it up without losing control; something i enormously admire. So, the past Saturday, we gathered for breakfast followed by lunch involving fish. The guy on the extreme left helped with the buying part while that pretty girl next to him helmed the cooking bit—OK, cooking byte—while i observed from a safe distance. The two on the right maintained the safest distance until the food was served. It was home. I think we are always seeking home. There's no one definite place to go or be. We find it wherever we feel like seeking. Friends you're very comfortable with create that spot for you. Once they do that, they make sure you have a day well spent. Offline.

A midnight tryst

Last month, i spent a Friday night walking the streets of Madanpura with Farooque Ansari. Well past midnight, we eventually had a company of a crowd. Five people-about-to-turn-into-acquaintances, excluding us two. I don't remember the last time—other than this instance—when i didn't catch a wink at night. Although i reached home in the morning much after sunrise, i'm mighty glad i went out and experienced a bit of life on the other side. A side that is seldom visited. A side that is often scorned without giving it a benefit of doubt. A side that is so politically aware of what's going on that it will make you regroup your biases. A side that is accused of making all the wrong noises in the name of religion. A side that is beautiful in its language and adherence to its roots. A side that looks into your eyes while speaking to you. A side that calls a spade a spade without worrying about the consequences. A side that seems banished to the ghettos but is teeming with a spirit unbeknownst to the high-rises. There are so many sides to this side that a night is clearly not enough. I went to meet the aforementioned folk because i've been hearing about them from Farooqbhai for quite some time. They turned out exactly like i thought. And to make the event unforgettable, my friend and mentor wrote a lovely column mentioning me in one of India's oldest surviving Urdu newspapers and the most read in India! 

[Yes, this is one of the greatest highlights of 2014. Speaking of which, i'm reminded of that The Big Bang Theory episode when Raj Koothrapali tells Sheldon Cooper how small are his joys.]

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Spick and span

Why do you think India is—for the most part—so deep in filth? And we are talking about the real one here, not the philosophical kind. If you travel, you'll note that there might be places in our country which are really clean and orderly but you are seldom away from people who won't think twice before littering. And this condition has very little to do with one's status in the society. People rolling down their glass windows to dump plastic out of car is as common as the local train commuters slipping the same out of their grilled window. Everybody is more or less guilty. Even if you are one of those who never throw away garbage in public or test your spitting skills on a nearby wall, your efforts continue to remain an individual task as long as you don't rebuke/chastise those defiling their surrounding. Yes, that sounds unfair. But the trouble with such civic responsibilities is you've got to involve as many citizens as possible. You can see the change by being the change itself but what's the point if others are constantly changing your change? 
Let me give you an example.
You want the trains to be as tidy as possible, right? Good. But if there is an idiot who takes pride in dropping his orange peels on the floor, what do you do about it? Ignore? Pick up the peels for him because you are a huge Lage Raho Munna Bhai fan? Or would you just stand up and blast the offender in public ensuring others take note of what is going on? Go with the last option. Besides, what's the most that can happen? He'll counter-argue with his arrogance? He won't. Believe me, i've been there and done that several times by now. What he'll do is this: he'll stare in wonder at you because he didn't really wake up that day hoping some stranger would open his eyes THAT wide. Followed by which, he'll lower his gaze and pretend he's invisible. Too late. The message is already sent and delivered. You've done your job and more importantly, you've set a chain reaction. Compared to a station platform, your audience multiply inside a local train. Ironically. Stories spread better when the wheels are running. Hence it's very, very, very, very important to spread awareness before they spread filth.

PS: Damn. I digressed once again. The reason why our country is under filth for the most part is because we are a nation of people who prefer to be clean to please their god. To put it in simpler words, we are clean for god's sake! We aren't clean by nature. We are clean by our religion/faith/whateverPKwantstocallit. Left to godlessness, we'd kick cleanliness' ass out of this planet. Which might explain why we tend to keep our house clean but turn barbaric the moment we step out of our door. Of course, it's just my theory and i could be wrong but definitely not unclean.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rebels with the paws

How can you not envy those street dogs who lie on the rooftops under which lesser mortals like you and me fight for nonexistent space in trains? How can you not feel a bit better about yourself seeing them so damn lost in their lalaland while the sun warm their fur? How can you not realize that the only difference between them and us is they are cultured and yet wholeheartedly nudist? How can you not stop and stare at your good luck of finding the finest species—at their heartbreakingly cute vulnerable state—that ever happened to humans? How?

I don't know about my fellow commuters but i do. 

PS: At the same time, i'm glad to notice that like us, they too have realized that the only way to go in this dogforsaken city is vertical, not horizontal.

Feline loneliness

Once upon a hole, there lived two mice who led a hippie lifestyle, stealing whenever they can and running whenever they should. They had an enemy—a cat with eyes as devious as they come—in sight. As a result, the couple would remain indoor and make love all day. One night, the two got out for food. But before they could realise, two paws thumped each down; both struggled to escape. All they could manage was turning turtle under the furry grip. Face to face with death, they didn't know how to respond to “Mujhse dosti karoge?”.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Listening to yourself

They always say that we should listen to our heart and leave the rest on the universe. 
Well, they are mistaken. And how.
We should listen to our heart, not because they say so but because if we don't listen to the poor thing—that works from the moment we sprouted to the moment we succumb—who else will? I don't know about myself (because i'm not in Delhi) but an acquaintance of mine from my transcription days listened to his (and is).
He was weird in many ways. For instance, he went to Ladakh—this was in 2008 and it was my dream to be there someday—but didn't click a single picture. On resuming office, he explained to Tush and i how he doesn't need photographs to remind him of what he experienced. We could only try not to roll our eyes. But we respected him because he came across as somebody who was visibly content with the person he was. There was no symptom of a man who wanted to prove anything to anyone. This was despite the fact that every second person in the office seemed to be mocking him either discreetly or not so. Either ways, he didn't care as he had miles to go—quite literally. 
What he cared about though was Chinese. My infatuation with Urdu automatically dwarfs when i think of those days we used to catch him scribbling fancy characters in his notebook. Maybe he sensed back then that Chinese would be the language of the future just like English is the language of the present. 
Let's dig a bit into his past as i just made him sound like Nostradamus without a hunchback. 
He was kidnapped from his village and forced to marry a girl from a neighbouring village. While facing a gun barrel, you do whatever you're told to. As a consequence, he circumambulated the holy fire with a stranger—yes, Indians marry strangers but this was taking strangeness to another level only—and stayed under house arrest. However, he managed to escape to Bombay in the second week itself. And the rest is...well, a brilliant story. Whatever happened next, as of today, he's enrolled in a prestigious college in Delhi pursuing Masters in the Chinese language; something hitherto unheard of in Mumbai University. 
All things done and praised, he must be regretting the drastic drop in temperature. Ni hao.