I’m experimenting here. Every alternate line links with the other, i.e. the bold with the bold & the italics with the italics, to form two separate poems in essence. If you’ll read it as such.
Why is it that the moon is the backdrop for romantic interludes
When the sun is the setting for a blazing death
Why is it that a spark aspires to be kindled
When the fire it grows into desires to be doused
As the globe revolves and the orb stands still Continue reading →
Father. Brother. Husband. Son.
Boss. Colleague. Businessman. Friend.
This I am.
A guy who can play the fool.
At times, a complete fool.
Middle aged, greying. Yet childish.
This, too, I am.
Capable of reading anything. Anything.
1) Peace is when things are whole.
Otherwise, it always in pieces.
2) If connecting with the consciousness is absolute heaven,
connecting with the conscience can sometimes be arrant hell.
This phantasmagorical world we live in
Full of wonderment
Sparking the imagination
Captivating the senses
A mirage of moha* and maya^
An experiential delight
The things we do
In pursuit of challenge and achievement
Elusive dreams and obsessive desires Continue reading →
We’re all measured in digits. Adjectival words no longer have any worth, we’ve been reduced to numbers, where a denomination determines your value.
People look at your pay cheque. Your bank balance. Your net worth. The dimensions of your flat. Your pin code. The size of your car. Its engine displacement, top speed, acceleration. The price tag. The size of your waist. Your butt. Biceps. TV. And phone. The number of servants. The number of girlfriends and your “score”. Your children’s marks. Their rank at school. Their IQ (but never your’s). How many MB that flashy gizmo of yours packs. The number of hits your site generates, the number of friends and followers. The karats in that ring. The air miles you clocked last year. The books that are part of your at-home library (“my God, you still read books?”), the number of pages in their on-display coffee table books (which they’ve never read).
And in their mind it all comes down to just two numbers. 1 and 0. So either you’re a numero uno, a 10/10. Or a big, fat zero.
I say: status can perhaps be counted, but can true class be quantified?
The title of the essay can be read as “THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL”, although it literally means ‘The Lad Is Back.’
September 25, 1989. As you descend through the shimmering heat haze, you close your eyes and think “…aah, I’m home!”
You alight onto the tarmac and are assailed by the familiar smells of Mumbai. You enter the terminal and your jet lag vanishes amidst the cacophony of touts badgering you to jump queues and offering you a ticket through Customs. For what, you ask, the couple of pairs of jeans you’ve brought back after penny-pinching on your student allowance? But kismet, karma and all that Eastern jazz plays its hand, and as you pass your bags through the X-ray machine, the bottle of Continue reading →
Late-November. Evening lapses into grays with vivid orange flashes of dusk. Driving towards a long-standing desire. Where different millennia are juxtaposed in one single geography.
Destination reached, I park and alight. And take the bridge across time. Continue reading →
The cock crows. Jassi awakens. The alarm rings, Simi arises. Without either spouse, they sleep alone at night. His is no more, her’s abroad. Away is away, whether permanently or temporarily, right?
He gets the sigri going to make himself some chai. She beckons the maid for her morning cuppa. He hitches his lungi and trudges to the milk booth for a plastic mug-full of the wholesome white stuff, while on the other side of the tracks, she changes into her Reeboks for her morning walk. Breakfast for him is poha, for her, pancakes.
At eight o’clock, with the city ready to rock, he nestles one child under his arm, takes the other by the hand and places them on the charpoy outside his hovel. He lights a bidi and watches the trains carrying commuters to work. The start of an arduous day. She summons her chauffeur, “upar aao, gaadi bahar nikalo” and sends her maid off to the supermarket. It’s a long shopping list, what with the party tonight. Perhaps the houseboy and the driver alone won’t suffice to carry all those bags, they might need to ask for a delivery boy as well.
By nine, he gets restless. Packs off his younger child to the neighbours’ for them to mind. So what if they’ve got six of their own, they all work, don’t they? The older one, all of five years old, takes along an old cycle tyre rim and a rod to play with among assorted garbage, a few fowl and a couple of loitering strays, as Jassi picks up a grimy old sack and is off to work, collecting scraps from rubbish dumps to resell. Simi gets ready for her day ahead, as well. But women like her must look nice before they step outside. So she heads for the salon, where while getting coiffed and manicured, she explains how she and her husband lead too hectic a life to find the time for children.
Before you know it, it’s lunch. Maybe a couple of sukha rotis with pickle for him (lime, for a change) – that much is still affordable. If he’s lucky and makes it to the where the subzi-wallah is clearing week-old vegetables, add some bhaaji. Oh, her lunch is simple, too. Some steamed broccoli and cottage cheese. After all, nightly binges do take their toll.
As the sun bears down, Jassi settles down under the superstructure of an upcoming flyover. Flies mill all over and crows hanker and scrape, but at least there’s shade. And he improves his vocabulary with every swearword directed at the heat, dust and traffic as cars swerve past.
Simi, in the meanwhile, has had to use those very same words (albeit in English, of course, and delivered in a sophisticated accent), while explaining to her cook what needs to be done for the night. She’s ensconsed in her air-conditioned room, talking to her friend on the phone – it is so hard finding good domestic help nowadays.
They both labour through the rest of the day. He’s found a few metal cans, some cardboard containers. She’s helped unpack a couple of cartons and open a few tins of foodstuff. Night falls. He impatiently smacks one child to sleep because he refuses to stop crying. The damn kid thinks he’s hungry? Look at his father, he’s been hungry 30 years! She scolds her poodle who’s been naughty by clambering onto the sofas before the last of the guests have left.
He’s tired, she’s tired. He opens his bottle of hooch, lights another bidi and gazes up at the moon and stars above. She pours herself a cognac, lights her Cartier and looks down at the world from her duplex. They both ponder awhile. Jassi, that it’s a dog’s life, Simi as to why wretched s.o.b.’s like him have to spoil the fair face of this city in the first place.
One’s a faceless entity, a no-namer in a crowd of millions who don’t matter. The other, a DINK, a yuppie, call her what you will, but call her you must ‘coz she thinks she’s a personality, one of the elite. They fall asleep and they dream their own dreams. He, Jassi – Just A StatiStIc and she, Simi – Socially Influential, Moneyed Individual.
C’est la vie. Another day in paradise. Yeh hai Bambai meri jaan. Que sera sera. Who gives a damn anyways?