November 18, 2008

Small talk...

I said, "Hello, how do you do?"
He said, "Oh, pretty good, and you?"

He said, "Well, how about this rain?"
I said, "The weather's been a pain."

I said, "And when it rains, it pours."
He said, "We'll have to get the oars."

There wasn't any more to say—
We said the same thing yesterday.

By J. Patrick Lewis

November 16, 2008

Moving on...

It was time for him to go. Ah! At last! He'd waited for this journey so long, dreamed of it often. Yet, it was so hard to embark upon it now. He'd gathered so much this half of life, and it was difficult to part with it all suddenly, so soon. "What's with life and her ways! She brings you things you want the most when you can afford them the least!"

Sleepless night after another manifested his dilemma--he wanted his dream without forsaking his reality. He'd labored hard to obtain it all. He couldn't leave it all behind! He wasn't returning soon he knew, maybe never. So, he couldn't leave it all behind! He couldn't let go of what life had brought him! Not now, when he was so close to having it! He'd waited for it so long...longed for it!

He was ready to leave now, having employed all possible effort in preparation. Just before his first step towards his life's dream, his destination, a final peek into his baggage this once more, helped ensure he'd taken everything (tangible and otherwise...relations et al!) So, he began his journey, with a big smile that dwarfed his satisfaction.

Days passed by as he walked and rested, and rested and walked. Time flew ahead a little, and lo! He was at the base of the hill to climb. With renewed exhilaration in body, mind and spirit, he started uphill. The things he'd brought along suddenly ceased to be 'the burdens' that they'd begun to feel like, and the smile that had dwarfed his satisfaction, returned. 'These weren't burdens of his life. These were rewards he'd received (relations et al) for life's labour unlimited. He couldn't possibly go without them. No, he wouldn't!'

Time flew by a little, once more. The exhilaration all waned by now, he rested and walked and rested and walked as his baggage began to slow him down. 'He wouldn't leave it behind...the labour of his life!' "A few extra days wouldn't hurt for sure!" The climb became steeper and he was bogged down more and more. He'd rest and rest and walk, rest and rest and walk untill he couldn't go on...not with his baggage. 'If only he could leave some of it behind, kept safe somewhere, he could pick it up on his way back. It took days to pick what not to carry. Ensuring that he'd left it safe, he began onward. "Ah! maybe I should have kept some more of it safe there, with the other things! Maybe I'll leave them safe here, and pick them on my way back, lest they ruin, onward uphill with me."

He was faster now, lighter, with more of his collected baggage (relations et al), 'kept back safe until his return.' He walked and walked and rested and waned less as he moved on with more and more of the baggage 'kept safe.' "Ah! there's the summit! It shouldn't take long now...if it weren't for this bit of baggage! Well, let me come back for it, like I will, for the rest of the things."

He moved on and was soon at the summit. "Ah! Such beauty as can nowhere be! A reward more than all I left behind!" And, he moved on.

November 3, 2008

There's really no why...

I know I haven't written anything for quite a while now. Why? I don't think there's a 'why' to it. All I can say is, whatever made it happen hasn't been making it happen...yes! It is beyond my control to write, unless it's stuff like this...I mean putting random thoughts down.

Not that nothing much has been happening in and around has. Just that it doesn't stir my thoughts these days. Each day slips by quietly, out of time's fist, leaving it a little more empty, a little more spent!

There is no 'why' to it! This is how it' is...

June 14, 2008

Can I believe this!

It seems just yesterday that this 8 year old would make miniatures of chapatis and line them all around the griddle, sometimes a double line, not leaving me enough space to cook the substantial one someone could feed on! Those evening walks with him, talking about fighter planes and Air Force! Ah all that excitement...and the irritation when he quietly slipped off the hair-tie from my plait, yet another time!

...hiking up the slopes from Katra to Vaishno Devi, humming aloud (at full volume, actually!) the Top Gun Anthem as the twosome (us--this 10 year old, a 19 year old by now, and I) hiked up, not bothered that there were people all around, or we were on a religious 'yatra,!' Oh Geez! he slips off my hair tie again...and again, ending up loosening its elastic!

Yes, I'm smiling, as I always do, when I think of all this! NDA, for his Passing Out Parade (POP), showing us pictures of him at the ball, (pride writ large on his face--he being the cadet with the prettiest partner), eager to know how I liked the girl...Geez! he's growing up fast! Though he still can't stop stealing my hair tie from my plait! He loves doing this!

...flying at 90kmph on a Pulsar, the next day, on Pune streets, in the middle of the afternoon...he's too excited to have fared among the best at the POP! Too excited to heed any chiding or warning to go slow!

...this AFA trainee visiting relieved to be away from the rigorous training, for a day! Handing me the tip I'd left in the tray for the waiter, after we come out of the restaurant, with a "we underwent the labour of eating if he laboured serving, scores equalled!" Geez! he's he?!

...those endless conversations about 'the passion' flying a plane is all about, and of clicking pictures from up there in the sky, during another hike uphill, to Vaishno Devi...he's tried several times to slip off my hair tie ('tried' coz he's not as good anymore--out of practice!) returns it with a "I'm bad at it come to know whenever I try to take it! I've got to practice"...oh! this kiddo!

Geez! he's getting married shortly! this kiddo! I'm so very happy about this...but oh! can I believe this!

How time flies!

June 1, 2008

Of being indispensable

If I can make even a small difference to someone's life with a thought, a word, a gesture, or a deed, I should be more than willing--I should happily do it! It is very important though, that I realize I don't, rather can't, make 'all the difference' even if they say so!

There is no one, nothing that is indispensable in this world...
When someone says they miss us, or want us to be with them, or something to this effect, we shouldn't think they can't 'be' without us. We should know, that what they mean is, we make some (and not 'the') difference to their lives, which they can, of course, live without well too! It's about adding to the value of something...not about being 'the value' of it, or being indispensable, in other words.

We live when the sun shines, and also when the fog blots it out completely...we must remember this!

If they miss us, they value us, our presence...let's not get carried away thinking we're the 'be all and end all.' We're certainly not! We can be important, but indispensable, certainly not!

May 25, 2008

“the inconvenience is regretted.”

In view of the President’s participation in a cultural program at SKICC here Sunday May 25, the area from Chesmashahi crossing upto Dachigam including Shalimar and Nishat road will be out of bounds for civilian vehicles, a government spokesman said. Traffic on Foreshore Road will also remain restricted from Nishat to Habak crossing...

While the restrictions put an area inhabited by thousands and visited by equal number of tourists under a virtual curfew, a government spokesman said “the inconvenience is regretted.”

I alight the train at 8:30 pm in Hyderabad, after a 28+ hr journey, jostling with the crowd, and arrogant autovals naming exhorbitant prices in their attempt to cash in your tiredness, and the lateness of the hour. You come out of the station premises hoping to get an auto with a driver/owner who wears more reasonable a on his shoulders, or at least one without 'attitude! I wait endlessly, bargaining and finally when I'm done and its time to board the auto, suddenly this khakhi clad policeman comes, shooing away my heard earned auto bargain! Exaspirated, I turn to him to give him a piece of my mind, and before I've said something, I hear "the CM is passing by shortly, you can look for an auto after his brigade has passed!" Oh! this implies I get delayed in going home and unwinding by a good part of another hour, thanks to the CM!

A piercing look in the policeman's direction, threatening to burn him down, reciprocated by a "the inconvenience is regretted! Besides I'm just doing my duty, which is as much of an inconvenience to me, as to you!" look...and I'm rendered mute! (I could have said 'speechless,' but I did have a speech, going on full blast in my head, ready to spill out! I'll stick with 'mute' because in the wake of his words, I didn't have the heart to target him with an extempore outburst of emotion, given that he was doing his duty! A government employee, that too a policevala 'doing his duty' is too rare an incident, and you'd rather not make it an even rarer happening just because he delayed your going home by an hour! I digressed I guess...goes without saying, the inconvenience...!)

How crazy can this get! it was a matter of just a min or two, and I'd be on my way home, and now I had to wait another 20 min for the brigade to pass, followed by another fifteen, that took the traffic policemen to shed their stiff stances and get themselves and the traffic moving, before I could start looking for another auto!

I found myself wishing once more, that these political leaders, M.P.s, VIPs and their likes were more to us than just 'inconvenience' that they always personify, in all possible shapes and sizes!

Little did whoever called them 'public servants' realise that this term would come to be translated as 'people whom the public servants!' I know another noun was just rendered a verb, that's ok, it's acceptable in English!

February 16, 2008

Remembering the Mahatma?

I found a piece of newspaper today. So? Behind the door, on the rest room floor it lay. So? It read 'Remembering the Mahatma.' Someone had 'happened' to drop it, probably unaware that they had, and left it lying there, or may be it was a gust of wind--who knows!

Whatever, the Mahatma, with his life sketch and his ideologies lay there unnoticed--behind the door. I retrieved the paper, redeemed it (if I may say so!) But could I retrieve the Mahatma? Leave alone redeeming him!

He has been dropped by the world today! Or should I say the winds of the times have (sheer symbolism eh!)...but is this where he and his ideologies belong now? On the floor, to be trodden over by people! The man who fought all his life, and even gave it up, to uplift the downtrodden! He's better off forgotten for sure, I'd say, than meet this fate! He, a 'father' to the nation then, a 'Father of the Nation' now--merely to be mentioned in books and newspapers that are trodden over...

February 10, 2008

भटकती नज़र आती हैं कभी
गली-कूचों में, बेकार, यूं हीं
न मंजिल का होश, न रास्ते का ही,
हो चली हैं ज़माने से बेज़ार कहीं.

वीरान हैं अब,
गुज़ारे वक़्त सी ख़ामोश.
एक ज़माना था खिलखिलाती थीं
रोशन थी शमा इनकी भी कभी.

ख़ाली हैं क्यूँकर पैमाने ये आज,
खो आयीं हैं शायद ये कहीं
जो रहा करती थी इनमें अक्सर,
वो समंदर सी गहरी नमी.

जाने ढूँढती थीं क्या
कल जब मिलीं अचानक मुझको,
एक अरसे से गुमशुदा,
आईने में, निगाहें मेरी. 

February 9, 2008

An epiphany...this? Nah!

I read this beautiful book 'Shalimar the clown,' in which the protagonist walks a thin, line of a rope, in mid air! It's all about keeping the balance! He believes...

Well, don't we all do this most of our lives...Yes! We do. We tread the thin line between love and hatred, sanity and insanity, at some point in time or other, and, this thin line between hope and expectation, at all times, almost! One moment we are hopeful of something, and the next, we're in the grips of expectation! We can't even make out when we moved over to the other side! So subtle is the transition!

There comes a point in his life, when 'Shalimar the clown,' crosses over, on to the other side of the thin line between love and hatred. A hatred beyond reason! beyond the limits of sanity! So subtle a transition, he fails to realize it has happened! That, he no more walks this thin line between sanity and insanity...that, he has crossed over! He's off balance, the expert!

Balance! yes, that's the art...we must try hard, come what may, and strive at all times, to keep the 'balance,' lest we or not!

February 4, 2008

face it!

During my journey from Delhi to Hyderabad, in the second half of November last, life showed one of it's ugliest faces. The enormity of the sight has haunted me ever since, and I bristle every time the scene replays in my head. (Harder hit perhaps, as most part of my holiday was spent indulging a cherished two year old, the contrast was too acute I guess!)

What can be worse than seeing an innocent, 2 year old, somersault to the beats of his mother's drum, and beg around saying 'be human, gimme some money!' (I wonder if she was his mother! Didn't look like!) It rent my heart to see his tender childhood crushed under such burdens, as beggary, exploitation and abuse! He'd perform, sobbing all the while, then sobbing still, he'd go around, begging--plate in hand. It was hard to make out if his sobs were genuine, or he'd been seasoned to perform them so well! Whatever the truth, it points to just one thing--if children are the future of a nation, and, if this is the state a lot of our country's children are in, our future, for sure, is in danger of being crushed at it's very advent!

I wish I'd taken a picture of the sorry sight! Just that I couldn't pull out my camera and take one...for reasons more than one! A picture got taken all the same! And, I am still unable to rid myself of it! You just saw it!

This conjures up another such sight--a girl, a pre-schooler's age, carrying, in her arms, a baby barely an year old, it's hand out-stretched, to beg--and another, yet another...!

January 28, 2008

Silence and Solitude,
so belong together,
all interlaced!
It's hard to tell which is what!

Silence and Solitude,
so belong together,
which begets the other,
it's hard to tell!

Silence and Solitude,
so belong together!
Yet, can of their own be...
Yet, can without the other be!

Ah! Silence and Solitude!

January 5, 2008

Strange it is!

Strange! yes strange it is, how our psyche work. We value little, what we have, and let go of it, very easily. Then, one fine day, when it's not all that available, we find ourselves pulled to it! Be it tree lined roads or our life styles!

Any real estate brochure / ad you see today, boasts of the housing society providing a fresh-n-green environment, roads lined with trees! Didn't we have all this before and lost it because we didn't care a bit! If you get it for free, you can't help not care about it! Spending money on it adds materialistic value to it and people pay that little extra (not so 'little' at times) to get it.

We all aspire to, and even get ourselves big, spacious houses, and then, we look for places to holiday in, where we can stay in huts or tents! The grass on the other side...!

Wherever you go in Hyderabad, these days, you see them blasting/drilling through/cutting rocks--yes the boulders that lent beauty to the terrain! And then, they pay for 'landscaping' for the colonies they build. Huge boulders forming an integral part of the landscaping! (This reminds me of something I wanna relate here. Recently, a patch of land was cleared of the boulders, and 'Hill View Villas' constructed there, looking over the rest of the boulder-strewn patch. Now, some months later, the 'Hill View' of the villas is being blasted off, to build 'Silicon Villas.' Will the former, now, be renamed 'Silicon Villas View Villas!' Funny eh!)

Know what! intake of Aloe Vera juice is quite popular with all the naturopathy enthusiasts these days! Well, this is hardly news! is it? Certainly not. Would we have given it an ear if it had been our granny asking us to have some ghritkumari juice? We'd have given her a "oh! not again" look--raised eye brows et al! Now, when you get the same 'ghritkumari' fashionably called 'Aloe Vera,' packaged as gel and juice and what not, with big price tags, who doesn't buy it--there'll be lots who'll drive down to the other end of the city to get it from! Well...what say you? 'Absence makes the heart grow fond,' or 'pine for what is naught,' I'm sorry! 'what is not'? Our reverting to organic foods is another sure mention here! (a full circle!)...need I say more?