Sunday, December 25, 2011

Great Expectations

It’s Boxing Day (and yes, the title is a Charles Dickens allusion). Another year is coming to a close, and how can I deny what an eventful year this has been! No, it certainly wasn’t a bed of roses, and it was far from perfect, but unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, that doesn’t stop it from being eventful! And to be honest, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have it any other way, save one way and that, unfortunately, was no more likely to be than it was for Santa Clause to climb down my apartment’s non-existent chimney, in person, and offer me a bag full of pre-written PhD theses to chose from. My grad school anecdotes aside, the year has come full circle and here I am, looking back and trying to come terms with what was, how it all came to be and where it has led life to. Do I love what I see? Perhaps, not entirely. Do I like how things played out, and the implications therein? Well, I am learning to. There were things that I would rather hadn’t transpired, there were things that made me cry, there were times I felt blessed, and there were things that I wish I could undo, things that I am not proud of, and times that restored some of my faith and self-respect. Yes, there were so many things I didn’t deal with head-on, things I am not proud of, things I will do differently if I could do them over. There were people whom I would rather have not met, there were friends who turned out to be quite different from what I’d expected them to be, and there were those two rare souls, who quietly made me feel blessed and blissful. This was also the seventh year, in a very particular sense, since I lost a part of my life, and the first, in a very long time, since I had an epiphany that seems to have drawn me out, magically almost, out of a black-hole. And it all came together to form the smorgasbord of experiences that added another year to my life, the epilogue of which I am now trying to compose. In setting out, I will like to acknowledge each and everyone one of those experiences and all the people who were involved with them- no matter how blessed or wretched you made me feel, without you I wouldn’t be who I am. So, I guess I will raise a peg to you all tonight... before I brace up for all the more to come.

I will not venture to attempt a complete evaluation of the year gone by. I would, however, like to pick out a few events that completely re-defined my perspectives, and perhaps in a way that had been in asking for quite some time now.

How often do you find that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there are certain mountains you just can’t climb? Not because you lack the technical know-how, but because the people at the top refuses to acknowledge you are there, even when you’ve reached that point. Not very often. But it does happen, to a lot of people, save the extremely lucky few. What do you do when that happens? Do you shout and try to make your presence felt? You could, having after all undertaken some amount of dedication to make the climb. But unfortunately, more often than not, such attempts are futile. You can make someone open their eyes, but you can’t make him/her see what they don’t want to see. It is one of the abilities of the human mind, bestowed upon it by evolution itself- it sees what it wants to see, and disregards the rest. As someone once said, “A belief is not an idea that the mind possesses. It’s an idea that possesses the mind.” And people are quick to form opinions and ideas and beliefs, and would hang on to them for dear life. Being judgmental comes swiftly with security, a sense of being in, and of course beyond, control. And it will make one feel so righteous, as to firmly believe that one is justified in determining the fates of those still climbing the ladder, based solely on one’s perception of the person(s) and completely disregard any empirical evidence pointing to the contrary. That, perception might not always be unbiased, and that even when it is unbiased it should not replace facts in making decisions that will affect a life, is quickly forgotten by those tarnished with ages of conventionality, dwelling under the safe-haven of pre-conceived notions, and enjoying a sense of aloof and indifferent power over the fates of those dependant on their whims, simply by being ‘subsequent’ in a temporal sense.

These people live in glass houses, and are quick to throw stones at others, believing all the while that if someone does throw one back, they can always use the shards to make the insolent ones bleed. But they are just as quick to forget that while they may revel in their personal agendas, more than one road can, and does exist leading to the same summit. But that is another story altogether, and one that you must write once you have travelled the alternate route. For the time being however, all your rational arguments, and fervent protests will fall short, and the best you can do is to take comfort in the fact that for them to deny your having reached that point, you indeed must have been there. Denial, by its very nature is self-negating. One does not feel the need to deny something that one has not witnessed. It suffices to merely affirm an absence. To deny the presence is not semantically equivalent to acknowledging the absence. Not unless one is in an argument over the validity of the ‘presence’ and/or ‘absence’, which again invariably points to the existence of some sort of a counter-opinion.

So, the healthiest route to take is to merely derive comfort from that conviction, re-assure yourself that since the world is not metaphysical, denial does not invalidate the existence of some phenomenon and your efforts, while un-acknowledged, have made you stronger and the experience will stand you in good stead should you fight another battle of the kind. The unhealthiest thing to do will be to doubt yourself, and re-think your existence in terms of public opinion. An even greater disaster would be to try and change one’s self to fit the requirements of others. What good are your achievements if ‘you’ do not exist? They are not yours, they are somebody else’s. You merely brought them to be. But in doing so, you would have lost yourself. A one-of-a-kind unique creation of nature would be lost. I doubt that is desirable. Looking back on a series of events that transpired between March and July of this year, I am thankful that I was able to avoid losing myself. And I am thankful that people live who will always judge me, and assume that they can flawlessly predict my worth based on their individual perceptions of my idiosyncrasies, for in so doing they re-affirm my convictions in myself and restore my pride in being able to outgrow pettiness and avoid bitterness, while maintaining a strong disdain for such contemptible trivialities. But more importantly, I am thankful to them, because while their acts may have caused me pain and humiliation, it is the same pain and humiliation that will keep me human and mindful of the fact that my purpose in life is not simply to get where I want to go, where they deemed me unworthy of going, but to get there without myself falling prey to similar weaknesses. It will keep me from judging others, it will remind me that while I, as a human being, will have opinions, they will always be my opinions and not the yardstick to measure someone’s worth in life. It will ensure that, having got there, I will not make the climb difficult for those who will come after me. And the day I wake up to realize that I’ve done so, I would have lived a life worth living. And for that I am thankful to everyone who doubted. You were, are and will continue to be my biggest source of motivation. I take my non-existent hat off to you, my lords and ladies.

Moving on, while it is definitely difficult when you are faced with insensitive behavior from above, it is all the more difficult when insensitivity comes from beside. Someone almost permanently attached to my being once wrote to me in a card, “When it hurts to look back, and you are scared to look ahead, just look beside…. ‘Hi!’”. Seven years down the lane, I still carry that card as a constant reminder of humanity’s still enduring capacity for enormous nobleness and magnanimity. In a world increasingly obsessed with self-importance and hierarchy, it is nothing short of a miracle to be on the receiving end of affection from someone publicly held to be way out of and above one’s league. The fact that it was seven years in the past does nothing whatsoever to diminish the magnitude of that overwhelming realization. Nor does the fact that the person concerned has been lost due to completely unrelated matters depreciate her ability to dive beneath the surface and stare past the bad into the good in somebody. And yet, this Christmas, amidst positive developments on the professional front and increasingly promising opportunities flowing in, sitting in a bar I felt an overwhelming sense of being ‘one’. It scared me to realize just how far I have walked alone, and to think just how much further I will have to walk alone till I make it, and the thought that when I’ve got it all made and perhaps bought my dream Beamer, I’ll be taking my first long drive in my own Beamer alone was absolutely heart breaking. Almost instinctively (as dramatic as it sounds, or reads) I looked beside me. All I saw was an empty chair, and a couple entwined in each other’s arms in the next table. No one said ‘Hi!”.

 As I fought back the swelling despair inside, my thoughts raced back and forth over a multitude of conversations that I have had with some very special people over the last few years, and two particularly revealing ones from this year. I remembered being told, “I too had been through unspeakable pain and despair when you disappeared”, and I wanted to scream out “I didn’t. I was out there lost, I was held prisoner. Please, oh won’t you please forgive me?” But even as the thought crossed my mind, I remembered that I did disappear. While I may have been put under the invisibility cloak by force, that doesn’t reduce the implications of what it must have done to the person concerned. Milton’s lines raced across my mind, “To be weak is miserable.” I was weak. I am miserable. I remembered making a call two years ago. I remembered a dear brother telling me if he were me he wouldn’t have done so. I remembered a year and half worth of clandestine emails and conversations, and the inescapable complexity of our lives, so apart yet so connected. I was reminded of a certain call from the land of opportunity, I recalled the person on the other end not being able to hear me, I remembered the despair it caused me, and then like the final gun shot that kills the wounded lion, I was reminded of what came out of trying to reach out after that fateful call. And suddenly all the memories subsided leaving me with an absolutely harrowing one. The memory of a Denial.

While I sat there, dumbfounded in the middle of a conversation that was raging inside my head, I shuddered at the remembrance of that day; the day I saw my entire past crumbling down to dust all around me. But then just as the despair seemed to overflow my consciousness, rational thought rose back, like a Phoenix from the ashes. “ It doesn’t matter”, a voice spoke inside. “None of that misery matters. You were there. It happened to you. The memories will always be yours. And you will make many more. Your days are yet to pass by, and the sun will rise tomorrow”. I sipped on the rum, and felt the ball of fire rolling down my throat. As warmth returned I realized the immense panic attack that must have led to a denial like that. It doesn’t do to dwell on what has passed. I would have been a wretched being indeed, if my selfish desire had broken up a happy union. No! This pain I can take. That would have been too great a burden to bear. What would be left of a man if he has to live with the knowledge that he was the cause of the greatest mishap in the life of one he claimed to love? When a man builds a world around an idea, and after years of believing in that, all of it suddenly comes to a lie, what more would be left of him? Nothing. But when you find the heart to walk away from your deepest desire, knowing that in walking away you are at least giving part of it a fair chance to exist in joy, that should be prize enough to consider life fair. And so I am thankful, that in spite of all my incorrigibility over the years, in the end I came that close to disaster and yet found the heart to let go. I am thankful that in letting go I have proved to myself that I indeed loved someone way too much to come in the way of her happiness. I take pride now, in retrospect, in knowing that I found the heart to delete all her contact numbers and mail IDs, and destroy all evidence of mutual communications. It was the right thing to do, for both of us. It will let her live a happy and fulfilling life without the sweet memories of our past together turning into a bitter poison for her future happiness. It has already empowered me to move on with my life, and the hope of a future prospect return, and all that without demanding a denial, or implying a betrayal, of our memories together. True, the process was definitely trying and far from being easy. But I can honestly claim, that the effort was worth it. For that, I am immensely thankful. When you reach the stage, where sweet memories of a gone by time only brings smiles to you, without the despair, you realize you have done your time. There is nothing more that you need to regret.

Of course, I will miss her still, sorely! It will cause me unbearable pain, even years down the lane.  And it won't be the only thing. It would hurt me a lot more to remember that once, in my despair, I had turned to a certain sports-journalist whom I considered to be a brother, begging for help, asking him desperately to let her know, should he happen to talk to her, that I didn’t mean to be rude, that I had answered the call, that as much as I tried she couldn’t hear me, and that was no fault of mine! Yes! I was despairing. Because, I didn’t want her to think I was going away, refusing to talk, again. It scared me that she might think I was doing what I was forced to do seven years ago, again. Was that a crime? All I wanted was a proper closure. Was that too much to ask for? The despicable Sam with his mundane affairs, bothering the high and the important amidst their all so important vocations. After all what is the status of a broken heart, and lost love and forgotten promises, when there are county cricket matches to be reported, bowling techniques to be debated, and of course Aiswarya Rai Bachchan is pregnant? Is it any wonder then, that the man I had held to be a brother should accuse me of being an attention-seeker and state “I am not your middle-man and I have more important things to attend to.”? No, my lord! You are not my middle-man. How can you be? I am after all but a humble aspiring linguist, and one who wears his heart on his sleeve at that (oh! The shame). You have been chosen to bear the burden of supplying the middle-class dining room with the most updated subject matters for pseudo-intellectual gossips, and to pass judgments on the follies and foibles of us lesser mortals, while yielding in one hand the self-imposed duty of awakening the conscience of the society, and in the other the most potent excuse for justifying all your incoherent, dogmatic ramblings- freedom of the press. And you do it with such righteous zeal! Among a bunch of hyena-like, self-righteous holier-than-thou, you are after all the re-incarnation of Jesus Christ Superstar Immaculate. Don’t let yourself be troubled by thoughts of whether or not you hurt a friend you have known for over fifteen years, who had no one else to turn to. Please, do attend to the more pressing matters. And do not forget to proclaim to the next person you meet that your love is holier and purer than ours, and therefore still surviving. Do feel free to lecture us on how to be sure whether or not we are/were indeed in love the way you are, and why the ones we love wouldn’t have enough reasons to remember us by. They are such delight! Those were tears of joy rolling down my cheek, sire!

But perhaps you could try and understand, my lord, that I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. While it might have endowed me with significantly higher EQ compared to your highness, it has never once let me be rude to my friends. I have never told a friend in tears, that I have more important things to attend to. Not even when that friend was a hysterical girl called J, who kept waking me up after midnight to ask me about the ‘future of the relationship’ when I had a minimalism test to take the next morning. It allows me to tell a dear brother that should some intellectually impaired Neanderthal attempt to break his nose, I will place myself in between. It lets me say that, and know deep within that I mean it. Yes, it also makes me sad to hear words like yours from a friend, when others will be outright angry. It makes me despairingly blue, every once in a while when my subconscious suddenly remembers the scent of her skin, or the feel of her hair on my face, even though I have felt neither for over seven years now. It causes me pain. Yes. But I will rather have this pain than the frivolity of the world. At least mine is genuine. At least mine pushes me towards being a little more accommodating. I am sure the pain is anything but over. And I have long since accepted that being who I am, I am more likely to attract ‘melancholy minds’, as a brother I wasn’t born with puts it, than the Paris Hiltons of my generation. But at least in my lot, there will be genuine tears and sorrow, and not laughter that stretches the lips, but never reaches the eyes. I accept that loneliness, even though at times I will scream for company. I will, invariably. And it will hurt. But at least when I look into the mirror, all I will see is a proud loneliness, but no shame whatsoever.

So, as much as it did hurt me then, I am thankful that I faced denial. Facing denial allowed me to acknowledge a side of human emotions that I had previously not been able to see- being protective of one’s present happiness is not a crime, and does not imply deliberately hurting others. It allowed me to better understand the actions of a wonderful woman I had in my life, actions which otherwise would seem random and irresponsible. And now I love her so much more. I had experienced her dedication and care first hand, but now I have witnessed that having gone through such pain in love, she has still not lost her care and dedication to her loved ones. That makes me respect her all the more, and gives me immense pride to think that I had her in my life, once. Had I not gone through that denial, I would have never realized that facet of her character, and would have remained ignorant to such an amazingly wonderful side to her soul.

I am also thankful that I faced betrayal from an old friend. Going through that has re-inforced something my brother recently told me, “These days I expect little from others. And a lot from me.” Those are the words that I now know I should live by. Had I not faced this utter betrayal of trust, I would not have been able to appreciate those words properly. There is nothing wrong with expecting great things. You just have to ensure that great expectations are directed inwards, and not towards others.

Finally, having gone through such whirlwinds of emotional and psychological experiences, there could have been no better way to turn the tides in my favor than to be accepted into the University of Auckland, along with few others. That day in August when I filled in the application form and the statement of purpose, I didn’t expect any response from the University whose Humanities and Sciences Department makes the QS top 50 list. The recent past didn’t exactly provide encouraging academic experiences. I can’t even recall what made me go through with that extremely long application process, and write those numerous essays- expression of interest, statement of purpose, proposal for post-graduate thesis and many other fancy, cheek-full terms. But somehow I found myself at the other side of it, and three months later I was sitting in front of my computer, staring at the screen, at a loss for words! I was looking at my own acceptance letter! And now here I am, recollecting my year that was, ready to leave coast and sail away into the great beyond, and as Joyce would put it “forge in the smithy of my soul, the uncreated conscience of my race” and perhaps “ away from friends and family, discover what the heart is”. I do not think I would have been able to make the most out of this great opportunity I have been given, had I not gone through what I went through. Those experiences split my heart and my mind wide open. And now I am ready to let the myriad of experiences flow in. I shall sail away, see the world, let all that she has to offer flow in, and emerge stronger and richer than I’ve ever been. So, I am thankful for all that befell me. For without them, I would have been just another ‘Bong-in-denial-gone-west’.

So, I guess I was justified in believing that this was indeed an eventful year. I have learned lessons this year, that I will carry with me all my life. I have changed more in this one year, grown faster, than I have done in all the years before. And as I look forward to greeting the next year, I will like to end this recollection with a few words for three very special persons in my life:


Bro, you are a beacon of hope in my life! I am so glad I took that HPSG class in 2009. Had we not met on that fateful day, I don’t know how I would have gone through what I went through, without breaking down. I know you will say, “Had I not been there, somebody else would have been”. But I have seen too much to take that. You have been a constant source of comfort, a friend, a philosopher, and a guide ( to some very alluring Bars, among other things :-) ) and the most amazing senior one could ever hope to meet. You Sir, are amazing. Enough said! Love you, Bro.

 Sam

 A Girl Who Was Named After a Flower,

You are the most amazingly wonderful, beautiful person I will ever meet. I love you so much! I know you are strong and smart, and you will go places in life. As much as I wish I could be around to see you make it big, I know it cannot be. My love, I am so sorry I failed you. I love you still, and I just want you to know that… I understand. Love you always…

 Sam


What can I say, Ma? I wouldn’t be here today without you. I am so blessed to have you. Thanks for putting up with all the insanity, and I am sorry for all the time my incorrigibility hurt you. You have been there for as long as I can remember, and months before that! Now who else could have done that? Love you more than ever…

 Sam

Saturday, November 26, 2011


prologue: "Ee ahmar presstar ine.
Hahn mahthon neh nehn
Hahn mahthon neh high
Ah hahn nohstohn ned 'wee-leeth"

A jolt of orange!
Unmindful of the unacquainted-ness of the two pairs of corneas
Sheltered behind the refuge of dark fibre,
Makes its ubiquity felt.
Almost peremptory- its brilliance
Hurls a schizophrenic mind out of its confines;
One peerless effulgence.

Conversations sway out of focus as the voices etiolate;
The relentless eurobeats asphyxiate each other;
And silence laughs amidst a crowded saturninity-
" You're in again, Dear old Boy!"
A ring of truth takes ground,
And resistence enervates.
Consciousness turns into quicksand,
Swallowing the nebulous mind.
Today and tomorrow wrestle each other into a hash.
Yesterday screams "antediluvian!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Of Being Perceived as 'Complicated' and The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde once wrote, "I could deny it if I liked. I could deny anything if I liked" (Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2). And indeed, the grand old wise man that Mr.Wilde is, he could. And for that matter, you and me, or anybody else. And as I've only very recently been taught, rather painfully I must acknowledge, people do; even so when you're convinced they won't ever. But that is not the subject of my essay- not tonight at least. No. Tonight, I want to look back at my own experiences and find out, if at all, what exactly is so intense(and complicated, as someone apparently has recently termed me in a fit of denial) about being earnest.

Now, I know I'm running extremely high risks of appearing narcissistic in quoting myself, but one thing I've often said about myself in talking to another very earnest (sorry S, since the world seems to take that word as less than a compliment) soul, is that I am nothing if not earnest. And I am... to the very core. That is one piece of characteristics I pride in myself, if I may say so myself. But, how does one be earnest without being honest to one's self? And here I am afraid, is where it gets a wee bit messy. When you are really, truly honest to yourself and your emotions, there is bound to be some amount of contradictions and paradoxes. Emotions are not logical, rather spontaneous. And spontaneity isn't exactly orderly, is it? So, you are bound to make a few errors of judgement, take a few steps overwhelmingly and act desperate. And people will frown, make no mistake about that. But is it a bad thing at all? Does it deserve being marginalized and abandoned and ignored, by one's closest and dearest? Well, I suppose it depends. Sometimes complicated, complex and deep can mean someone thinks things through, but says little and only when they feel certain of its value. That's a good thing because it inherently pushes quality over quantity of speech. On the other hand, thinking too much, no matter how deep, often ends up as unproductive overanalysis or excessive commentary on every thought. This can be okay, but it can yield less results for the undue stress it can cause the thinker, and the people around them. OCD is a good example of a type of uncontrollable overthinking that often goes in circles and can be less effective than 'underthinking' in many cases.

It is also a justifiable assumption that feelings can be suppressed by extreme adherence to logical thought. This seems like it wouldn't be a bad thing (logic is after all, a basic way to derive structure from the sensory world), but the human mind often creates its own false logic with too much thought, so what should be sequential thoughts with a valid result often becomes false reasoning to an invalid conclusion. Gut feelings and emotions are an important part of decision making because they come from basic instincts that are there for a reason (survival, reproduction, quick action in emergencies, and so on). Overthinking actions can dull a person's common sense and hurt social productivity which is an important part of life.

Speaking from a personal viewpoint, I prefer to talk to people who at least try to dive past the basics of any given topic, but personality complexity and 'deepness' don't always result in an amiable personality or the ability to be outwardly deep. The smartest people may not even be able to convey their thoughts without overstating them, and eventually contradicting themselves or understating them by not saying where the results came from. I guess what I'm saying is that complexity and deepness are only a good thing when combined with a personality that can convey those aspects properly. Unfortunately, more often than not, they end up being a social blockade because good communication is not a prerequisite for intelligence, wisdom, complexity, and depth.

Now, please don't get me wrong. I am not tirading against anyone. Nor am I acting in self defense. I am simply trying to think of a reason, as to why after nearly a decade of being the closest of persons would one of them suddenly doubt the other's very integrity and motifs? So far as to wonder out aloud whether or not the other one is at all harmless? I mean, having been through as much as two persons have been through, I somehow find it very unsettling that one of the persons concerned could so easily doubt the other's very soul. Is it really possible, that someone, having once made you the very matter of her affection, could all of sudden begin to wonder whether you are capable of sabotaging her life? Yes, when you lose someone close to your heart it shakes you, to the very core of your existence. Some people kill themselves, some cry and get over, some shrug and move on, and still others like me continue to love the one who is long gone. And an experience as intense as that leaves its mark. You can't help but show signs of weakness, at least at some bleak moments of your life. The fact that for some of us those moments come more often than with others notwithstanding, it is by no means a sign that our weakness is a judgement directed at the other one. If I drink and can't stop crying, it means I love someone helplessly. To even be capable of thinking that I drink and cry to blame the object of my affection of pushing me towards annihilation is something that is at once abhorrent and abominable to me. A blasphemy, if you will. But when that thought occurs to the very person you pine over, is nothing less than a bullet through the heart. A murderous event so far as the human heart and humane faith is concerned. God! I am weak, yes! As are all who drink to get through bad days. But to be capable of so much pessimism... is 'weak' a strong enough epithet to describe that?

But what do I know? Right? Someone very close to my being, recently wrote in a mail to me, describing himself and me as being the kind of people who would rather die than deny, if the denial would so much as cause someone close to us a blush. Apparently, not a quality that is being held in high regards these days. But it is not universal approval I am after. To slightly re-create Shakespeare's famous lines, "I am here to bury my weakness. Not praise it." Times change, people change... and things may look different tomorrow. But I just felt it was worth re-thinking our convictions once in a while. It is surprising just how far people will go, how much they'll turn their backs on just to win public approval. Just to fit in, and be tagged 'good boys and good girls'. What I do wonder is, just how far is being 'normal' and 'acceptable' worthwhile, if you have to lie to yourself? Is it still worth the hype, if you have to deny what you at your most private moments consider to be not 'unfair'? I will never know. So let me close this with another quote by Mr.Wilde:

"Gwendolen - Cecily - it is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind."

~~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2~~

Friday, November 4, 2011

From Music to Muzak

There are songs that transport me back to when I was a long haired teenager who was so in love with a gorgeous girl. I would listen to this kind of music wondering how such an 'out my league' girl could ever be mine.... as you get older you learn to appreciate any girl despite her looks, and music like this helps you to regard women who love you with the same excitement of your youth. Lines like these:

"I know I could've saved a love that night
If I'd known what to say
Instead of makin' love
We both made our separate ways"...

they are enough to get me through my worst days.

I love reliving the best period of my life like this! And remember those days, when music used to be good, rockstars ruled the world, musicians didn’t care whether they looked contemplative, ‘auto-tune’ was a taboo and love was forever. And Europe, Whitesnake, Van Halen, Poison, Pink Floyd, Scorpion and Guns and Roses were the staple diet of the soul. But then the 80s and 90s ended, and to the horror of music lovers Rap and Hip-Hop and Justin Bieber and Britney Spears happened- they all looked the same, dressed the same, and sang the same rhythm-less, soulless, substance-less, machine-generated nonsense- and right in front of our eyes ( or perhaps ears) music became an endangered species.Muzak was born (sigh). The only reason that people still believe in music is because a rare few of the 80s Greats are still around... Scorpions, Aerosmith, Europe... they are the ones who have made the last two decades at least bearable. To think that I was born in 86, the year that saw such classics as Living on a Prayer, Final Countdown, Only Lonely, I’ll Cry for You and Every Rose has It’s Thorns! Astrology and horoscopes can wait in que... you don’t need them to tell I was destined to be who I am :-) . Boy, don’t I live in the wrong frigging times...

So, I had a rough day, and the sun went down like a bad dream. And now, here I am...listening to Poison... and my spirit lifts. You’ve got to listen to this to know what I’m talking about. No auto-tuning, no voice-syncing or studio enhancements... just pure vocals and sheer guitar magic... so slow, yet so hard... Old school Rock ! This one’s called Every Rose Has It’s Thorns... ( here's the link : )

We both lie silently still
in the dead of the night
Although we both lie close together
We feel miles apart inside

Was it something I said or something I did
Did my words not come out right
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that's why they say

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn

Yeah it does

I listen to her favourite song
playing on the radio
Hear the DJ say love's a game of easy come and easy go
But I wonder does he know
Has he ever felt like this
And I know that you'd be here right now
If I could let you know somehow
I guess

Though it's been a while now
I can still feel so much pain
Like a knife that cuts you the wound heals
but the scar, that scar will remain

I know I could've saved a love that night
If I'd known what to say
Instead of makin' love
We both made our separate ways

and now I hear you found somebody new
and that I never meant that much to you
To hear that tears me up inside
And to see you cuts me like a knife
I guess

Or, if that does not do it for you (all the time), and like me you've got this insatiable urge to kiss the air, hug the winds, and just talk to the skies about your heart's deepest desires, you can always tune into Europe's classic soul rock I'll Cry For You ( link: )

I'll Cry for You

I never dreamed that
I could fall
But something's come
Over me
Now I'm sittin' starin'
At the wall
Afraid for my sanity

The sound of your voice
The touch of your skin
It's hauntin' me
I'm still tryin' to come
To my senses
But I can't look back
So I'm takin' my chances

I wanna give you my heart
Give you my soul
I wanna lay in your arms
Never let go
Don't wanna live my
Life without you
But I know when you're gone
Like a fire needs a spark
Like a fool in the dark
I'll cry for you

Wonderin' why I'm
Runnin' scared
From what I belive in
I know that love
Is just another word
To say what I'm feelin'

For once in my life
The future is mine
It's callin' me
I've been searchin' so long
For an answer
But it's too late now
So I'm takin' my chances

As long as I can fall back on such melodies... I'll always find a way out, no matter how dark it gets. Thank God, for Rock.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Even the Goddesses live in Denial

All I can... all I could... all I was... all I tried to be, and all that I couldn't be... all that has led life to this point where I am forced to ask myself, was any of it EVER real? Did yesterday even exist, or did I just make it all up? I have been recollecting... since the last four days, my mind has only gone over certain lines... over and over, as if trying to find some clue to derive order out of this chaos that my Goddess has so abjectly thrown me into, amidst thoughts of greater minds....

"All is a riddle, and the key to a another riddle."
~~Ralph Waldo Emerson~~

"Don't forget that I cannot see myself -- that my role is limited to being the one who looks in the mirror."

~~Jacques Rigaut~~

"When love is in excess, it brings a man no honor, nor worthiness."

~~ Euripides ~~

"A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses. It is an idea that possesses the mind."

~~Robert Oxton Bolton~~

"The question that sometimes drives me hazy: Am I, or the others crazy?"

~~ Albert Einstein~~

"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone."

~~Harriet Beecher Stowe~~

"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know."

~~Diane Arbus~~

"This isn't what I want, but I'll take the high road. Maybe it's because I look at everything as a lesson, or I don't want to walk around angry. Or maybe it's because I finally understand. There are things we don't want to happen, but have to accept; things we don't want to know, but have to learn, and people we can't live without, but have to let go."

~~Jennifer Jareau~~

"Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were."

~~Marcel Proust~~

"We all wear masks and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin."

~~André Berthiaume~~

“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of its trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse for impossibility, for it thinks all things are lawful for itself and all things are possible.”

~~Thomas A. Kempis~~

"I believe humanity was born from conflict. Maybe that's why in all of us lives a dark side. Some of us embrace it. Some have no choice. The rest of us fight it. And in the end, it's as natural as the air we breathe. Some point, we're forced to face the truth...ourselves.

~~ Penelope Garcia~~

"No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks."

~~Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley~~

"What really raises one's indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering."

~~Frederich Nietzsche~~

“Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.”

~~Paul Rodriguez~~

"Tomorrow, you promise yourself, will be different, yet, tomorrow is too often a repetition of today."

~~James T. McKay~~

"The secret to getting away with lying is believing with all your heart, that goes for lying to yourself even moreso than lying to another."

~~Elizabeth Bear~~

"Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false naming of real events."

~~Adrienne Rich~~

"Bring the past only if you're going to build from it."

~~Doménico Cieri Estrada~~

That's a lot of quotes. But then again, there's a lot of chaos...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

of Auckland and Lily

11 Weeks to go! 11 weeks till I leave India, and move further away from the remnants of the shards of a broken dream than I've ever been. But, the more important consideration, I believe, is when I leave, do I just leave or do I leave it all behind? Or may be even parts of it? It’s all confusing, I know. It’s about me after all. And heck, I’m perhaps the most confused of the lot. But that does not matter, does it now? Sooner or later the music stops, and you have got to sit down. So, will there be a chair left for me to sit down, or is this just another city for me to stand my time out in? I honestly don’t know. But I do fear the worst. And the tragic part is, the worst is really the best, or so I feel.

As I go about wrapping up my work in India, making sure all lose ends get tied up neatly before I leave- packing my clothes, sorting through stuff, getting all the paper work done, formatting my computer (which won’t be going along with me), ensuring all my tracks are erased, throwing out the old beer and rum bottles that have accumulated under my bed, sending thank you notes to the people I will, hopefully, never see again, thanking them for being such incorrigible pain-in-the-ass and providing me with endless inspirations to get out of here, and letting my fish go free in the lake- there is an overwhelming sense of foreboding and loss. And I am not the patriotic kind. Hell, all I’ve ever wanted was to get out of here. But it is not about the place, I suspect. It’s moving away from the memories of the only thing I hold dear in this life, that’s so scary. The old streets where ‘we’ had once walked, the old temple where we used to meet... going away from these scanty remnants of my broken dream terrifies me beyond imagination. It is quite fascinating really, this absolutely unprecedented phenomenon! By themselves, these structures, these dirty streets do not represent anything substantial to me. Yet, over the last six years, whenever I have been in town, I have re-visited these places thousands of times. Looking at old things, thinking of old days, asking myself the same old question over and over and over... Those drudgeries of heartache that have kept me alive and on my feet, while slowly numbing my senses, they look at me with reproaching eyes, stunned at my betrayal, shocked that I could even dare to think of leaving them who have been witness to my euphoria. Isn’t it strange? How what’s keeping a man alive, is also what’s slowly, inevitably killing him? But what can you do? What can you do, when you are irrevocably in love with someone who, as far as you are concerned, has transformed into memories and fantasies? When you are so incurably and passionately in love with one who was, as she was... who isn’t anymore meant to be loved by you, and yet you are in love with her, having never fallen out of love with her, or as you knew she was? Tell me, is there anything you can do? Are you to be blamed for incorrigibility, are you to be held guilty of masochism, when what hurts you most is the mere idea of giving up the memories that make you scream and howl inside? When you love someone without demanding to be loved in return, when you have absolutely no claims for reciprocation, when you resolutely refuse to come in the way of her happiness by stepping over your own desires to reach out to her, when all you hope for is to feel the love inside you, feel it all way, feel the deep seated pain in your heart, and know that you are alive and that though you had thrown away a diamond for a stone when you were young and scared, you have at least come to realize some of what the heart is, and how it hurts when you are careless with it, are you to be condemned for clinging on to wreckage of a dream? When you are terminally in love with someone, and the only thing you can give her is your silence and distance, and that kills you slowly, how can you bring yourself to regret dying, knowing full well that it is about all you can do for your love? If that is what makes one guilty of masochism, I guess all I can do is accept the verdict.

In 11 weeks I will be gone, and all my incorrigibility with me. An era will end, not with a bang, but in a whimper I’m afraid. I wish I could see her one more time, before I left. Hear her voice, feel the pressure of her hands, feel her hair on my face... just one more time. But I am getting carried away. Hardly expected of a man who intends to be of some worth with a pen. It’s just so damn difficult. For once let me be very simplistic in my expression. It is extremely painful, when you are inconsolably in love with someone, but every passing day makes you realize you don’t get to grow old with her. It is excruciatingly painful. That’s just what it is.

Friday, October 21, 2011

postcards from Padfoot-1

As I try to make sense out of this absolutely insensible existence, staring down the barrels of my great-grandpa's old Winchester, trying to count the coiling twists inside the cold-gunmetal barrel and loosing track every time... as the world around me fades in and out of existence as I grapple with some eluding thought... as the mind tries to handle the myriads of realizations that keep popping up and bursting into nothingness like insects around the diwali lights... as the consciousness struggles to prevent an absolute overwhelming of the senses and sensibilities... amidst all these chaos in my room, an enormous black grizzly dog sits quietly and stares out into the night, over the moors, and beyond the horizon dotted with the city lights. Every muscle in its body static, the eyes unblinking, its hind limbs coiled and front stretched vertical, it sits still, its breathing controlled,it is quietly watching the moors beyond the housing colony boundaries. As if expecting a silvery doe to float from behind it, almost rhythmic in its movements, a smile on it's face... again... Padfoot is blue tonight. It doesn't show in his eyes, and his tail is still as the night. He sheldom bares his fangs, and never barks. But you could tell it, just by looking at his large black figure outlined in the dark like a giant silhouetted against the night sky... he is agitated. The world is about to change, for him. He can feel it in the air. He sniffs the night air, and casts another glance back at the flight of stairs leading down from the room, just for a second. Then he goes back to gazing at the moors, oblivious to the sounds of dinner table chatters and evening news broadcasts floating from the neighboring houses. He sniffs the air again, as if trying to find some cue of the coming of the doe. Nothing. All he hears is the sound of dinner chatter. Too faint for the human ears, but well within a hound's range. He barely spares any thought to the mindless frolicking of the bipeds, so engrossed in their mass-produced life of 'joy' and 'sorrow'. Some infant is screaming itself hoarse next door. Parents engrossed in soap operas or News Hour debates, no doubt. Or perhaps trying to catch a quickie before dinner. Thoughts flash through his head in an instant. For a moment there, he turns his enormous snout right and glares into the window next door. He could see the baby thrashing around in its cot. For a second he imagines his strong jaws closing around the father's carotid artery. A muscle twitches around his snout, for just a fraction of a second. He snorts, almost contemptably, and turns back towards the moors. Barely noticing the human now typing on a computer in the room. He almost likes this one. He feels a strange affinity towards this particular biped. He has often spied this one staring out towards the same moors. He vaguely tries to think, "What could that one be looking for there? But then... that's where real life is... beyond those moors, where real loneliness is." As the human types on, the enormous black dog sits as still as ever, staring out into the night...

Thursday, October 6, 2011


R.I.P. Steven Paul Jobs (1955-2011)

I usually stick to the standard MLA format and use the Times New Roman font, sized 12, to type stuff out. I am more of a formal conformist when it comes to such matters anyway. But I decided to go with the Californian FB this time, breaking tradition. After all I have set out to try and pay my eulogy to a man who broke free from all conventionalities, and in doing so created an urban legend the kind which the world has never known. The life of Steven Paul Jobs, aka Steve Jobs is fascinating enough to put the best of fairy tales out of business. From being a college drop-out, to going from a garage store owner to the CEO of the world’s biggest innovation franchisee, Steve Jobs lived a life no less controversial and certainly in no way less enticing or less revolutionary than the gadgets he designed so passionately, which in their own right, one can justifiably claim, have blurred the line between technology and aesthetics. Here was a man who believed in transforming, transcending and rising out and above the commonplaceness of everyday life, and last night when he finally called it a day in his years-long duel against cancer and passed away, Steve transcended life and transformed into the stuff of myth and legend! And perhaps it was somewhat justified too, that it all ended where it had all began, almost four decades back, Silicon Valley, California, the technological Neverland from where the tech-Houdini worked his miracles. As thousands of mac fanboys, Macintosh users, techies, students and others who have avidly followed Jobs’ every move, hung on to his every syllable crowd the streets in front of his residence, and the world marvels at the life extra-ordinaire of this indisputable genius who excelled in fusing art and technology, the man shall quietly lie in his last abode, and his spirit shall no doubt look down from the heavens above, amused at all the uproar he has caused even in dying, and perhaps be even pleasantly irritated at the sheer lack aesthetics of it all- the crowd, the mess and the funeral. I think he will find it quite amusing that a certain mac fanboy undertaker has designed a special aluminum coffin in steel gray, with the Apple logo on it, and christened it ‘iDied’! While the more conservative will perhaps frown at such attempts, Jobs would no doubt have been appreciative of the innovativeness of the idea. He was, after all, all about innovation.

Steve Jobs began his career from a garage, walked over the heads of monopolistic corporate giants like IBM and Xerox, whom he had dubbed ‘dead gods representing a dead culture’, and came out on top. Had an affair with a hippie girl he never married, had a daughter he didn’t accept for a long time, married another woman, had three children, took in his first daughter into his new family, named his first computer LISA after her, took Apple Inc. from being a newbie to the world’s largest and most innovative computation enterprise, got fired from the company he founded, quarreled with his contemporaries including Bill Gates, was brought back to Apple Inc. through the backdoor, designed gadgets that seems to be pleasant hybrids of Picasso and Babbage, had his liver transplanted, appeared in iconic product launches that have become entertainment events in themselves, and created a cult that has grown beyond all extents of imagination, save perhaps his own. From ‘iMac’ which killed the CPU cabinet and packed everything from the motherboard to the optical drive inside the monitor, to the ‘iPhone’, the ‘iPod’ and the ‘iPad’, he came close to almost trademarking that letter of the English alphabet. From the ‘macbook pro’ which pioneered unibody designs, chiseling laptop computers from solid blocks of aluminum, to the ‘macbook air’ which showed a world in awe that a full-fledged laptop can slide inside a standard envelope, the world never could stop marveling at what Steve Jobs kept rolling out of his backyard. INNOVATION: Something Wonderful In Your Hands, held in Apple headquarters annually, transcended the status of a mere tech-expo, and became an altar for worshipping art in technology, where the veritable God and his army of angels, would unveil miracles and proclaim prophecies that would entice and charm disciples spanning three generations. Over a period of almost over three decades Steve Jobs lived a life one can only dream of, and in doing so created a company only he could have built and transformed personal computing beyond science fiction. When news of his moving on broke out, President Obama hailed him as ‘one of the greatest American innovators’, as friends, relatives and rivals mourned the loss of a visionary. And quite honestly, and without epitomizing the man, and he would have been least happy if he were epitomized, Steve Jobs indeed was one in a million. A ruthless corporate shark, a charming hypnotizer, a billionaire playboy… the world had seen it all before, in forms of businessmen, entertainers and politicians. But never before was that man also an artist! And that is what, perhaps, made him such an icon. A college drop-out, a rude arrogant youth dismissing existing Giants, a young entrepreneur making things that were outrageously innovative, bending rules, breaking norms, setting a new trend and bringing in a fresh breath of air into an industry that had long acquired the tag of being the conventional and the geeky. In his first press meet, Steve Jobs said that he wanted the people in Apple Inc. to be more than scientists, he wanted them to be artists. Here was a man minting money, selling computers and calling himself an artist, and the world seemed to love it! Who ever thought computers could be sexy? Well, Steve Jobs did, apparently. And he was determined to show us that he was right. A colossal Picasso hangs over the entrance to the headquarters of Apple Inc. in California, a constant reminder of the artistic that makes Macs so very much different from other computers. It shall now serve as a sign of the legacy left behind by its founder- beautiful computers that deserve their owners and blend in with the subtle and sublime without standing out as some sort of crude machines. It was a commitment to making things more than just efficient, making them beautiful and pleasant, that perhaps drove Jobs towards risking a dual venture, developing hardware as well as the software that would run the hardware. Never before had a company single handedly done both, and done it so well. Over the years editions of the Macintosh Operating Software version 10, or the Mac OS X, has evolved as the most powerful, crisp and aesthetically appealing operating software in the world, besides having had the privilege of being the first operating software that used a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and allowed people to navigate around their computer using gestures, instead of complicated sets of command strings. Steve Jobs also gave us the modern mouse as we know it. Jobs’ old partner Wozniack recounts, “Every time it was the same story. They would laugh at Steve and ask him whether next time he will try to market something called ‘a dead rat’! It was like, they were Eskimos and Steve was trying to sell them an air conditioner.” But Steve Jobs chopped away at the trunk of the decaying tree that was IBM, removed the handicap that was preventing the growth of the field, and burned down the palace of ‘dead culture’, as he called it. And out of the ashes rose Apple Inc., transforming personal computing like never before, bringing computers within the grasp of people who didn’t have a Harvard degree in computing, and for once computers were as fascinating as TV. Jobs transformed the image of the computer, in the lay man’s mind, from an expensive box that lights up to a machine that does your work and talks right back with you! It was your TV, only smarter and you could suddenly interact with it! As time passed Apple computers got sleeker and prettier, and became more and more efficient. By the late 90’s the Mac had become a symbol of sophistication and taste, and could be spotted in the artist’s theatre and the scientist’s lab! These were the days of the chic engineer! The world marveled, and Steve Jobs reveled, while those that had termed him insane slowly faded into oblivion as evolution sided with the fittest.

Now, years later, when the days of toil and glory are a thing of the past, and Jobs himself has ascended the throne he once rebelled against, and perhaps been guilty of propagating the same monopolistic attitude he had once accused IBM of, one thing still hasn’t changed. Unlike IBM, and other corporations in the IT domain, Apple Inc. never stopped innovating, and never failed to surprise people with each product they launched. One only needs to think about the week long queue in front of Apple stores when the iPhone was launched, or the iPad announced! Now, some would ascribe that to crazy mac fanboys, and to certain extents they would be justified too. But no corporation can report 1.2 billion dollars of profit above the expected margin at a time when others were more than content with minimizing their losses, simply based on fan boys. The fact of the matter is, Steve jobs revolutionized computing, and designed gadgets that were cutting edge and aesthetic. And people loved him for that. He claimed to be an artist, and never failed to back up his claims with actions. The sheer beauty of his designs fascinated a generation that was bored beyond redemption living in a world of mechanical existence, where all that mattered was getting the job done. Steve Jobs got it done, and he got it done in style. Love him, hate him, you just can’t ignore him! And now that he is no longer with us, we will miss his charming smile on stage at all future Apple expos. The man seemed as fascinated with the gadget that he would play with on the stage, as the thousands of people who would gather to watch him. And looking back he was as much the reason as the gadgets themselves for people to flock to these expos. Steve got people excited beyond sanity about all things Apple, because he himself felt that way. You could see that in his eyes, as he fondled and pampered the product while he held it in his hands so the world could meet another one of his creations. Mark Zuckerberg aptly quoted, “We will ever be grateful to Steve Jobs for showing us that what we build can change the world.” Steve Jobs was all about change. And his changes were always for the better, the smarter and the simpler. Rightfully has President Obama hailed him as “One of the greatest American innovators.” But it was his onetime compatriot, and his arch-rival Bill Gates who had the most earnest words for the man, when he said, “We all have rivals. But every once in a while you meet someone who you compete against because you want their respect, much more than you want to beat them. Steve was one of those people.” As Apple mourns the loss of its father, Steve Jobs has left behind hundreds of milestones in technological designing and a company only he could have built. He is gone, but his legacy will live on, and his life will continue to have an impact on generations to come. No, not in the same way Mother Teressa, Florence Nightingale or some other philanthropist would do. But by the sheer amount of inspiration his story would hold up to anyone who comes across it, or watches the movie that documented his and Gates’ rise to fame; ‘The Pirates of Silicon Valley’. Steve’s life is vindication of what Einstein quoted a long time back; “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

So, farewell then, Steve! You have been an inspiration to us all. You will be missed for your innovative ideas. You will be remembered for your revolutionary gadgets. You will be looked up to for upholding aesthetics in technology. The products you have given us will fascinate the world for years to come. And generations yet to come shall marvel at the cult that could have formed only around you. In a world where contemplating is viewed as a waste of time, and aesthetics has been reduced to phrases like ‘in-your-face’ and ‘cool’, you will be sorely missed. But beyond all that, Steve, I will miss the person who so vehemently dreamt, and showed the world just how much innovation and success can stem from and just how many paradigms can be shifted by sheer passionate imagination! For reasons entirely personal, and having nothing to do with computing, that is most important to me in remembering you. That is why you will always be a hero to me.

Goodbye, and hope you have fun converting Heaven to Mac! I can only feel for those you have left behind, who knew you personally and called you ‘family’. I am sure God was desperately in need of groundbreaking ideas. Or you wouldn’t have left us so early.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

six years, two cousins, three emails, and a failed reunion: closing another unfinished conversation


I guess you're keeping busy. Too busy perhaps, even for the old "Bryan Adams Cousins in Music"! Funny... how life can change since high school, isn't it? A bit heart-breaking too. But I guess there's nothing anyone can do. Times change... people change... life goes on.

In your first surprise email, in six years, you had expressed a desire to catch up, and an interest as to when I leave. I was surprised, pleasantly of course, to hear from my old 'cousin'. I was even excited at the prospect of a probable reunion. The only one I would have agreed to since 2006. I have been waiting for your response to set up the appointment... for the last two months. I still am... against all hopes. Hoping against hope seems to be an incorrigible habit of mine. Nevertheless, I felt I should at least keep up my end of the bargain, and let you know of what's going on at my end. Why, if you ask... well, one thing I've learned during the last six years is that goodbyes always hurt. But a goodbye hurts the most when you don't get to say it. That teaching has only recently been reinforced, rather painfully. And I for one, will NOT do that to anyone again. Not even to those whom I utterly despise, and I despise very few people. Hence the next few paragraphs.

I will be leaving on the 22nd of December, 2011. I don't know if we will get a chance to meet again. But, I wanted to tell you that, in spite of our falling apart, you were one of the most amazing persons I've ever met. The two years we were friends... well... lets just say, they have given me a lifetime of memories. I always hoped we will continue like we used to be... 'cousins', if only 'in music'. It was actually heart- breaking when you left. Then I lost the love of my life, too. Well, that one was my mistake. I left her... she didn't leave me. But the directionality of a mistake, as I keep realizing, has very little to do with the damage they cause in terms of heart-breaks, and the price you pay, in terms of tears. I have kept awake many a nights, wondering what happened to our good old days, thinking about the night the three of us walked back from Mrs.Srivastav's house, down the road by that old lake... heaven's lake, as I have pitifully come to call it. I have searched and searched for a way to bring those days back... to relive those feelings all over, till I finally realized that some times you can't pick up the threads of a life gone by. It hasn't been easy, but I think I am coming to terms with it slowly. My years in Hyderabad taught me that sometimes, even as Life takes away a 'cousin', it also gives you a brother. But I will not pretend it has lessened the trauma at all. Losing her, and you going away were two of the most painful experiences of my life. But what could I have done differently? Where did we go wrong? I don't have any answers to that one, mate! It was great while it lasted... divine and blissful... That is my only consolation, if there can be any consolation at all. I guess time ran out.

As I look forward to my days in Auckland, I feel a strange sensation of pain, resignation, mixed with apprehension and excitement. What lies ahead? What kind of life will it be? There will be new people to meet, new experiences to go through... and a remembrance of what was, what is, and what could have been...

I have never been much for goodbyes. No. Not me. Perhaps it's a weakness. A folly, may be? What else can you call this incorrigible tendency to fight the inevitable? And is it not justified too... is it anything but utterly proper? All good things must end, they say. Then, by extension, perhaps, so much the more for all things 'great'. As Oscar Wilde would have put it, had he been alive and chanced upon my letters ;

"Oh! The tragedy of the youth... They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever."

So, goodbye then, my long lost friend, my estranged 'cousin'. I will hope, since I've long ago found myself incapable of praying, that you find life as you wanted it to be, that you make it big, and that wherever you go you might bring a fraction of the joy you brought to my life during those years of trials and tribulations, to whoever might have a need for them as I once did. I will always remember you fondly, and hope that the feeling is reciprocated. For in those memories, we, as 'we' used to be, will live on.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

of writers, writings and romantics

Dear S,

Taking off from your last lines, the fact that you are simply 'glad' that you bring a positive effect to some lives, however big or small, is what enables you to be that person. I have always had trouble relating to full-time 'gurus'. And now I understand, that is because if being 'helpful' is your profession or even vocation, then you are not being helpful or comforting for the sake of bringing relief... you are doing it for the same reason a Harvard Law School topper would defend a raped woman against a billionaire convict- not because he feels any kind of empathy (although he most certainly can), but because that is what he paid $60,000 a year to earn the license to do. It's his job, and he is neck deep in student loan. But when you pick up a kid from the playground, wipe her tears, wash the skinned knee, and then suddenly blurt out, "shit! I'm late...", and run off to wherever you were headed, you are acting out of genuine concern, and good will. That's what makes you that person. As Ali once said, " A champion never forgets where he is going. But a legend never forgets where he is from".

Yes, you are right. I am an incurable romantic. Much like you. And perhaps I am much more too. But, as romanticism goes, lets just say while I chose to roar and thunder, you have chosen to look up at the moon and quietly sigh, not in desperation, but in silent appreciation of its beauty without craving it. No, I am not epitomizing you. Both kinds have their uses. While romanticism, I believe, benefited from Shelley, Keats and Wordsworth alike, the romantics concerned experienced life in very different ways. One should not be foolhardy enough to try a qualitative analysis here. But it is undeniable that the way they composed and the way they experienced life, at some level, fed each other. I guess, this is why you and I react so very differently in certain situations, while sharing very similar experiences and philosophies, and a much alike emotional constituency.

You say people tell you that you write very well. I think they are right. That is being very condescending, coming from me to you, I realize it even as my fingers work the keyboard. But you are not the kind who would like to read an encyclopaedia entitled " Life and Times of S++++v+s S++++th+++ar: A Look Back in Gratitude", are you? So I guess I would do better to leave out the details. But you ARE extremely fluid while painting with words. I'm sure you've had your suspicions. If I were you, and I do not feel I am half as good ( not with words, certainly not with Linguistics, and work ethics is a far cry), I wouldn't. But that's why we are different. That's why while I choose to stand against the waves, and challenge there might, and then look around and realize I'm neither victorious nor vanquished, but simply by myself, alone and solitary, all the while still fuming with pent up aggression, you can afford to turn yourself into the liquid, and change shape and find your way in and out of all the snares, and be at peace. When you write, or at least when people read what you write, it feels like listening to a lore-master recount stories and experiences of a lifetime. You write to speak. You are, like James Joyce, the artist who has chosen exile and solitude to express himself in utter freedom, unrestrained and unaffected by what he writes. "Ars gratia artis".

I, on the other hand, get involved with what I write. Writing, for me, is a safety-valve that lets out the excess pressure and prevents the dam from rupturing. I get so utterly involved with what I write, so emotionally attached, that the text and the author becomes alter-egos. My texts are like my own doppelgangers. I have to rely utterly on my limited ability to get along with words to maintain my identity. I am afraid, that if my writings do not tell about the place inside me, where I am all by myself surrounded by my angels and demons, as they wage a war to claim me for their own, I will forever lose my way and be lost in my own personal Neverland. Perhaps you are too generous. Perhaps you have at some time, long ago when you were young and unwise like me, have felt the same emotions, and can still recall what it's like to live a double-life- one in the world around that has no sense, one in the Neverland inside the 'self' that you can't make sense out of, yet. But be that as it may, the artist in you has long reached maturity and found that truth and beauty seldom co-exist. The aspiring one in me, is still getting used to the joy of being able to handle the pencil without breaking the lead.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

never been a right time to say goodbye (2)

I have always known this day will come, sooner or later. Known it for the last six years. Every waking moment of my consciousness have reminded me of this one absolutely unavoidable certainty. Yet, as life teaches me yet again, and perhaps for the millionth time too, knowledge and acceptance are two very different things.And today, when I stand before my own reflection, staring into the eyes of the all so familiar stranger, full of regrets, questions and a hint of despair and rejection, somewhere there is also a sense of vindication... of one long dreaded event. The eyes stare out, as if trying to make sense of the endless void around... and somewhere, as a certain flight takes off, carrying a certain person across the ocean, it all feels so damn empty- an endless void... a vacuum filled with silence... not even the strength left for a sigh. As the heart grapples and wrestles with memories lurking in the shadowy corners of the subconscious, the mind vaguely repeats to itself...

"He tries to peel the image from the sticky yellow backing, to show her the next time he sees her, but it clings stubbornly, refusing to detach cleanly from the past."


"I will not say do not weep... for not all tears are evil"

~~ J.R.R.Tolkien~~

“It's the too huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

~~~Jack Kerouac~~

and finally, in somewhat of a pathetic self-mocking tone,

" ... it's only words
and words are all I have.."

~~ Boyzone; Words~~

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


[note: I thought, given the days of utter lack of creative inspirations and literary barrenness on my part, it might be a good idea to share one of my favorite pieces of poetic work with everyone. So, here it is... an unbelievably touching poem by one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiringly talented female poets of all times... Sylvia Plath]

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;

I lift my lids and all is born again.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,

And arbitrary blackness gallops in:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed

And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:

Exit seraphim and Satan's men:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,

But I grow old and I forget your name.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;

At least when spring comes they roar back again.

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)"

Friday, April 8, 2011


Is it now, really?
Better drunk, than angry?
Bitterness is too much of a nuisance;
I would rather this bitter aroma
take over. Like a sweet love-child!
Doe-eyed, full of promises...
Unfulfilled words, and forgotten kisses;
Like the evening light, and
A naked moonshine.
Did we really run out of time?
Too busy
Working on those dreams I never planned.
Failed to notice you weren't around.
Girl! It's a harrow feeling'
Now that it's come to dealing
With facts, and I know you're missing.
I keep waking up... hoping
I was dreaming.
Six years of dreaming, Girl!
But do I have to?
Please tell me,
Do I have to keep realizing?

Friday, March 4, 2011


Hint of cedar and oak
As I sip on...
Grain blended, single malt and what not!
Matured mead and whiskey
The gulp of fire running down my chest;
I can't help thinking... I know this wooden aroma,
Why does the whiskey smack of that old tree "We" stood under?
Am I drinking out of my old friend’s corpse?
Ah! Hell.. what does it matter?
“Eat of His flesh, Drink of His blood”...Communion... Salvation
It's all so confusing.
Does the truth even matter?
Can there be a right at all?
Or is it just the whiskey getting to me?
I don't know?
But should I care?