Sunday, September 28, 2014

Situation 22

There is something very wrong with the world these days. Though it would be presumptuous to blame the globe itself, let’s just say there’s something weird happening to the people on this planet. It’s an inescapable truth. A truth almost all of us have seen but most of us have chosen to pass over like a wet dog staring for leftovers a little too long. It’s a fact glaring at us at every intersection, on every table, in every walk and sit of life. We are addicted. It’s not the needle or a pill that we crave for. We are obsessed with tiny little glowing crystals staring at us from dawn to dusk. 4.1” to 42” HD strips of multicoloured LSD. We are dependent on these screens of flashy information and irrelevant conversation. They rule our lives and we have willingly prostrated our minds in awe of them. Everywhere you look, someone is looking into a monitor or a mobile phone or some digital object. They have taken precedence over the people that surround us. Now most would pose the argument that there’s nothing wrong with this, that these pixels are the future that has arrived in our palms like some glowing ray of sunlight in a Church window scene. And these are the same people sitting opposite you at a restaurant table investing their attention in a 4.1inch display, instead of looking outside their lithium-ion-powered attention destroyer and noticing the person next to them. You cannot argue religion with a heretic. Even if he sees what is wrong with the path he follows, he will still adamantly take every step down that road believing that is the right way. The only way. But is it really?

There’s a difference between using technology, understanding it and depending on it. For most people the first and third are the only steps they take. It seems the acceptance of virtual data as a tangible and real thing might be the root of the problem. True, the digital space has changed the world but it is also true that you cannot live in the digital world alone. We are born as beings of flesh and blood. We die as beings of love and experience. No amount of hashtags or retweets will help you make the transition. It is the quantity of our ‘friends’ that seems to matter these days, not the deeper connection you make with a handful of people. The human want of being connected isn’t fulfilled in a click like most of us believe; it requires a lot more than that, it requires interaction. Deny it as much as you like, a face-to-face conversation will always be remembered better than any whatsapp chat thread. And the warm feeling of discovering a stranger in the first meeting will always be stronger than stalking their facebook all night. There is nothing ‘real’ about the virtual world. What we are online is who we want people to see us as, not who we really are. Because the internet allows us the incredible power of editing our identity at every turn. It lets us change the perception of us. It gives us control over the first impression. More than anything this is it's greatest temptation simply because it is something the real world will never give us complete power over.

By no means does this say that we should boycott technology and go back to the 80’s. This isn’t a cry for the analogue rebellion. All I mean to say is that you have to find a balance between these two worlds. Without this balance, we will be ill-equipped to handle the individuals around us or explore what is inside us. If we remain as addicted as we are. If we give in to the power of editing our thoughts before expressing them, we have already lost the thing that makes us interesting in the first place; our wit. The spur of the moment spawns either genius or stupidity, both of which are better than a measured and clipped opinion. Your reactions make you who you are and even after you grow old and learn to control them in public, they still define you. In a realm where every reaction can be changed to fit the current flow of action, uniqueness and trust were bound to be misplaced first.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Searching for serenity

the life you seek,
that home you want.
it's out there

wedged between
built from fears
of premature endings.

the future you asked for,
that vision you saw,
it's out there

it's as near
or as far
as you make it
so just take it.

it isn't built of glass
for you to worry
about cracking it,
by touching it.

the only concern
that you should have
is losing it
by confusing it.

with overthought
and being overwrought
with worries
that have no weight.

that safety you seek,
the dream you've seen,
it's out there,

no map will take you.
no app can guide you.
but step forth with me
and we'll find it.

because the truth my love,
is that you cannot reach it,
for it isn't a place
or mark on paper.

but one you have to build
with bricks of love
and mortar of trust
under a roof called patience.

that is the life you seek,
the home you want,
and it's right here,
my dear. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


i moved the tiny icons
on my home screen today
and i ended up launching
minion rush two
instead of calling your phone
by mistake.

reaching you has become
muscle memory to me.

it requires no vision,
no conscious senses,
sometimes, i fear -
not even a thought.

just the other day,
i was on a moss ridden local,
and i don't have a clue
how your voice was in my ear
before the wheels
had found new ground.

i know Skype shortcuts now,
they are really strange on a mac.

but i'm looking at the screen.
waiting for some movement.
while my digits contort
into command+shift+R.

i tried to train Google Now
to understand your name
but my accent isn't
nearly as precise
or as fluid as these fingers,
that need no lessons.

but i'm sure some day
i can just utter some words,
"i'm home" maybe -
and my hands will reach out,
not to find technology
but truth instead.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It's kind of strange,
how you've changed
the way I feel
about the clock.

When you are here
the seconds split
so that each becomes
many lifetimes combined.

It's a little unnerving,
the way you're curving
my lens of time
into a concave form.

So it seems to me
that reality bends
like a hall of mirrors
effortlessly destroyed.

With you I feel
that minutes dissolve,
like dandelion blooms
tossed to the wind.

But it's really absurd
how you've served
in changing what
they used to mean.

And I cannot shake
how easily you make
me lose both sense
and track of my mind.

Without you it's true
I have nothing better to do
than count the seasons
until our lives collide.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Maybe it doesn't mean so much to put these markings down anymore. Maybe the twist in the tale isn't enough every time. The enforced practice and unpredictable will are just easy-to-believe lies. There is no value to intangible ideas being jotted down in unvisited corners of the internet.

These thoughts have no reason to form anymore and the sentences I construct seem weaker than ever before. Have I smoked away my art? Lost it somewhere in the misfiring networks of a clouded cranium? How long ago was it then? Mustn't have been that far back if it's still able to affect me.

I don't doubt my ability to rise to a challenge and present a piece of work. Commercial writing will still bring me my piece of pie. But these rambles are harder to come by now. I'm distracted by the visual medium and it's begun to annoy me. The world of words has grown so much larger and the map isn't zooming in as it used to. I guess this is what being rusty feels like, fingers dancing an unsure tune as the letters attempt to fall into sensible place.

Somewhere a whisper floats; unblock your mind and the words will comply. So let's get started then, shall we?

Love is never enough. We may wish it, want it, beg it to fill our cups, but it wont. More than anything, love is what requires most effort to keep alive. In this world separated by time difference, breathing life into it every time it convulses in absence-induced seizure is going be harder than we are prepared for. There will be times when we will falter. This isn't an attempt at being mysterious or abstract, it's just a fact that love sometimes limps. It hobbles behind us as you or I get distracted by the life we are trying to build. Some work emergency takes precedence over meeting each other and it becomes habit until it turns into a fight. Love is not the most important thing in a relationship, time is. The more we spend together, the more we know each other and learn to accept the parts that are irreparable.

That being said, I am still discovering all my broken parts. I realize some things are wrong with me but I am also learning to understand those things. I get distracted easily. I abandon projects mid-way. This page itself will be ignored multiple times over before it even sees the light of day. The need in my life was never really love. It was exactly what you want. A partnership. A companion who can find a way when you are lost. Someone to share stories with, more than anything. A match. Wit for wit and madness for madness. Someone who can pull me farther than my own stupid limitations and help me grow with every aching kiss. All I have ever wanted is a woman who I will want to be a man for.

The truth is, I haven't matured at all. I am still the young idiot, prone to addictions and numerous excuses. One third of my life has passed by and I don't find myself closer to an answer than when I began. Some questions have been concluded and new ones have been raised in their stead. Like, what kind of life do I want? Is the enticing utopia of lifelong singledom still part of my vision or has this calmer dream of a beautiful home actually replaced it? At some level, I would like to think that it has. A purpose has been added to life and though it points towards clouded shores, at least it is in some direction.

There is this fear of building a hollow castle. All my time away from people has taught me the importance of having connections. Yet another day has gone by without meeting someone who I have already endlessly delayed catching up with. The reason for this may be because of the 'grand design' to shift bases altogether. Creating a network here seems pointless somehow. In an industry with such a bad memory, it should theoretically be possible to make a return at any time. This illusory guarantee keeps me away from those who can help my case in some way or another.

I will make peace with my past and sail away someday. On the road to growing up I have mistreated, misled and misbehaved with many people. Far lesser than others I know, but too many for me to just turn around and saunter away. Before I take a step towards the future, I have to close these chapters or fix the story in some way or another. The persisting feeling that these ghosts will not let me be until I speak to them is the only reason I wish to pursue an idea as foolish as 'closure'.

I must rediscover writing in the first person. Creating characters and understanding their motivations is a skill best practiced in more profitable and public annals. The ancient habit of marking my memories and thoughts must not be allowed to die. There are times when I forget that the reason to write was never a wish to be read. It was always a want to shape in words the ideas that would otherwise be nothing more than a mere spark in the brain. I guess this is what it means to make them tangible.

So maybe, in the end, I've been running in circles when the answer was right there in front of me. The reason to put these thoughts down is to make my mark, as minuscule as it may be. And as long as my fingers have strength and my brain can birth the wisp of an idea, I must keep writing. Not for anyone I know or a random reader in the world, but more for the sheer self-fulfilment of the practice.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hive lives

i’ve heard rumours of
these humans who exist,
that are easily

true or not,
i have been told,
they ask no more
than a good night’s sleep.

they work like ants
and conserve
each crumb,
that’s collected
day by day.

they leave at five
to commute for miles
and reach four bare walls
they call home.

there is evidence,
of this breed of man
that is content
with mediocre dreams.
of building a family
and raising a spawn,
to further
their own inadequacies.

they are many,
and they do exist,
everywhere that i peek.

but they are not
my patrons or peers
nor company i will seek.

but if you spot,
these folk, of whom
rumours are abound,
be sure to catch
their downcast eyes -
so you remember
what not to become.

Monday, June 23, 2014


There's a man out there
who wishes to overcome
every wall in the world.

Not the metaphorical ones,
those are too tedious
for even the seasoned explorer,

This mortal yearns
to grab, inch and crawl
up till the top of every rock.

He says he knows
it's his life and purpose
to scale surfaces
till gravity embraces him.

But does he not understand
that even if he lives climbing
he will probably die falling,
not doing what he loves?

I wonder if there is greater truth
behind this vertically inclined man.
If his madness for mountains
can help me understand.

About the common question
we sooner or later raise,
whether in halls of stone
or by our fathers graves.

What is the purpose of this
fleeting existence?
When all that is made will end
and all this has come only to go?

Is it to blindly keep climbing
till the unseen zenith?
Hoping to find a meaning
by giving society the slip?

But seeing the man rise
with edge of nail and tip of toe
I get a sense of his reason.

Of why he could never
stay down below.

I see his gamble with the forces
his fight with humanity's pull.
I think I feel his paces
and he isn't as much a fool.

I guess we all live climbing,
whether a ladder or a wall.
The trick that I can see,
is to beat your fear of falling
or you won't be able
to climb at all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trust yourself

It remember myself at the age of 15. Even back then I had been made to feel like I was marked for failure. Most of the educators who were supposed to build character, instead found it easier to dismiss me over other more promising students. But the definitive moment came when I was 15. I remember it surprisingly clearly, considering most of my other memories are blurred by the passing of time or stepping in of mental defences. But I cannot forget that day. The classes have been mixed and two teams have been formed with two houses represented in each. I belong to Green. Not the most illustrious of houses. We are ranked 3rd out of 4 in almost all events and this evening will prove to be a game changer for whoever wins, earning bragging rights and glory for us little children who don't know better.

The stakes are, obviously, pretty high strung and the decided battlefield is the debate competition. Our opposing camps of four are separated into two classes and we immediately huddle into strategy. Out of the two Head Prefects (the most academically sound and obedient students from the senior class), the slightly plump girl, and my classmate, is with us. Kaani, we used to call her. This sweet girl with an academic mindset and roundish figure would go on to have a rather unfortunate ending to her school year, but that's not important. What is important for now is the thin, spindly form that makes up 15-year-old me. At this point in life, I have been the all-absorbing butt of each joke in all the gangs that form during lunch times in a school such as mine. Then, as it is now, words are a means of comfort but I am yet to discover their healing power. I did, however, understand their calming effects and malleable meaning. By some miracle, I had pipped the 'scholar' in our class to make it into the State Spelling Bee two years back and now found that my hopeful request to join the debate team was accepted.

The team, comprising two members each from the Green and Yellow Houses, is discussing the subject of the debate; The English Language Is Killing Other Regional Languages, Agree or Disagree. The irony of the incorrect capitalization isn't wasted on teenage me but, overcoming this grammatical cringe, I offer to lead the charge. Kaani looks at me in a way that lucidly communicates her skepticism. I look to the others for confidence and I find it in my friend, and Yellow House prefect, Akshay. At his insistence, the others give in and I happily get down to writing my opening lines.

Fast-forward a few hours and I have dissected every way our argument can be attacked. After finding an unsolvable loophole in the fact that English isn't the bane of all regional languages, the case was easy enough to build and I find myself feeling unnaturally capable. But our teachers, I soon discover, don't share my optimism. There's a dull knock on the glass pane of our aged classroom door and I see a few tufts of white hair framed in it. The stray strands belong to our science teacher, Mrs. Das, and the knocking fist slowly pushes the hinges open. The creak made our hair stand on end and Das' stern face firmly pushed them out of the follicles. With an icy finger she calls Kini over for a status update and she informs that I, unaccomplished and unproven I, shall open the debate for our team.

Even now I can feel the gaze as Das tilts my way, wrinkled nose crinkled in suspicion as her glasses battle to maintain balance on the small hillock of a nose. With a grunt she calls my name and asks me to present the opening speech. It's the kind of order that she was famous for issuing on students that weren't really in her class. I mean, she taught us rudimentary science for one year and her love for the textbook as a weapon of punishment over education was the only thing I remember from those hours.

So, admittedly, I am adamant in not reading it out to anyone before I go up. This insistence is also born from the fact that I'm not entirely ready at the moment, but I knew that I would be. Still, I narrate my script without theatrics and final touches, to a prematurely critical audience. Jog shrugs in reply to my attempted eloquence and I sheepishly sit myself down in a corner, hell bent on making the speech perfect. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Kaani in conversation with Jog and it's escalating into an argument. A variety of glances are thrown my way and it's clear who the subject of this mini-debate is. I drown myself in the notebook and pretend not to notice until I see Kaani's rather spherical shadow fall on my desk.

Before I tell you what Kaani said, I want it to be clear that this was the moment I understood what it meant to 'have something to prove'. Until then, I'd just been thinking how to crack this perfect opening for the weaker side of a debate. What Jog passed on through the Head Prefect had given me a reason why. Our educator, I will not call her a teacher because teachers build character and this portly woman had none of her own to begin with, had asked Kaani to make me step down from the opening speech. 15-year-old me was destroyed.

You see, I have always believed teachers should find the one trait that makes a child strong and nourish that flame. Even at that age, I was aware of this fact. So when Jog expressed her lack of faith in me, I flashed back to my earlier years when my father had expressed the same suspension of belief. Now you must understand the kind of rage filling up that skinny body. It was a fire just aching to be let out and, for a moment, I wanted to walk up to the old hag and explain why I could do this seemingly impossible task. While others would find objects to throw and people to abuse to express that anger, I managed to find my pen and channel it to paper. The silver lining also showed that not all was lost. Kaani, the ever studious, had argued on my behalf and I would still get to open. Partly because it was too late for anyone else to step up to the plate. Gathering my shattered confidence like so many brittle pieces of tubelight, I finished my speech.

That evening, I was unstoppable. What was meant to be a 4 vs 4 battle of wits had come down to a one-man-debating-machine against four hapless children. Fuelled by my anger and strengthened by the support of my fellow students, I tore through the competition's points as a piano string would slice through tender flesh. By the end of the allotted two hours, for the first time in my life, I became a hero. When the judges came in with the result everyone already wanted me to be proclaimed the best speaker and I was greeted with cheers when I went to accept the ornate certificate. They'd managed to spell my surname wrong, but there it was. The proof that crinkled old Jog's nose with air peppered by her own incredulousness. The evidence that I could manage a minuscule achievement on the strength of my own words. The ultimate prize to silence the critics who wanted me to prove that proverbial 'something'.

I had realized one important thing that day, a lesson that I would learn once again years later. I had understood that the best way to quieten the naysayers isn't to promise and plead that you can do it. The final solution is to go right ahead and do it. Because when the results come in and you come out on top, you will have proven all there is to prove. And you will have erased that stain of failure which society spat on you. Not because you had the guile to dodge it, but because you had the strength to wash it off every damn time.