Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Over And Over Again

How can I be alone when I am always there with myself? Is this illusion stronger, better, more true than the other one we call life?

In fiction, the tides merge with the sea, the sunshine flows warmly through the perforated leaves, the collocations rise with sense and settles smoothly, a fulfilling aftertaste savoured by one and all.

This is my hope, light and everything. This is what I am following, leisurely. Those who call it a crime are shunned automatically.

Myriad ideas know me well and I know them too, at least some of them. We haven’t set a selling price or cost price, we are friends and I am not clever. Ideas follow a different train of thought, though unaware about the details, I understand the emotional part of it.

The high plateau doesn’t rise again. There I walk alone and often stop near a tree to rest. One eye shine with stars in it and the other quietly shed tears. For a moment I knowingly choose any of the two sides, but generally I prefer walking on the border line.

I saw a shooting star and like the last time I wished for the same thing… I don’t remember it now, though I am thankful. Whenever I am thankful, I feel confident and happy. Often the glow makes me glow.

What I remember now is that I have been here before… it was as different as same it looks now.

A painting by Claude Monet 

Saturday, 12 December 2015


Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.
-Lewis Carrol

I closed my eyes and saw the stone cut stairs, broad and homely, stretching from the bottom of the hill to the top, where the age old, beautifully carved and gloriously coloured temple lives. Yes, the temple lives, breathing in prayers and breathing out peace. A magical quietness stops the spinning mind and grants the warmth of love.

Little feet try to reach the bell, failing, but trying, finally adding to the music flowing in the air a happy ‘tan-tan-tan’. Not understanding the images, the big bold eyes, the lion’s roar, it’s the splash of colours –golden, red, yellow, green- all sparkling gallantly, that enters within to stay. Round and round the temple, the giant smiling peepal tree, flowers in the wind, red threads tied in every direction, the burnt silenced diya, the rich kohl, and faith in miracles, all together makes the earth reverberate.

I am walking in the temple, eating the prasad and savouring the air, the green leaves and the time. Yes, the time, unknowingly I am moving ahead. What seemed eternal has now elapsed in what I thought were years, were just a few funny seconds. Funny because when I opened my eyes, I didn’t see the stone cut stairs or the old temple...

Following the melodies, the colours, the laughs, baffled at every point, blessed now and then, a bit complacent and a bit more naive, I have reached so far. I cannot foresee, but I know now that sometimes, forever and one second is just the same.

Monday, 30 November 2015

A Dream of Twin Rainbows

My imagination is strong and hence I can see
The waterfalls, mesmerizing clouds and the ever working bees
I am very much alive with a working clock
Hanging on the earthen, painted, plastic wall saying ‘tick-tock-tick-tock’
My ears don’t bleed anymore and though my eyes are shy to blink
I have learned to bar the command and hide behind a paused wink
Master shouts and thunderbolts hit the wall
Faking to cry and tremble, I try to make the cage fall
Yes! I live in a cage! But I have a dream, a dream of twin rainbows
I will one day fly towards it, crossing the ocean of dead vows
There I will soulfully sing and freely dance and just be me
My imagination is strong and hence I can see

Monday, 23 November 2015

In Oblivion

The first painting is in a gold frame, neat and perfect, so grand and precious that almost untouchable, but only if you gaze to pass by. If you stop to gaze, ponder over and stay quiet, you start to see the flaw. The shining plastic layer disappears and you get to see the cracks everywhere. Just like a true realization, this happens really slowly. Colours, the violet, the reddest of red, the emerald green and the deep yellow look sad and ready to shed away anytime, at any moment. But the gold frame, a trickster, keeps the colours together, dead or alive and manages to pose for eons.

Another painting, without a frame, but nevertheless with rough and sudden boundaries, looks straight at you, making you pause. Amongst the faded attempts of all the colours to present an impeccable tale, rich hazel brush strokes alone in the painting gives it the eyes to express. Eyes that make you wonder and leave you awestruck. This perforated paper then becomes a memory collector.

A painting without limits exists. The colours are pensive, silky and bright, almost invisible. Seeping everywhere, every moment, the painting is.

“And she drank herself into oblivion.”

Sunday, 22 November 2015

‘In Defence of our Present' I#SupportFTII

The Government is acting so senselessly that now it has all become like a bad, a very bad quality of film. It has become an annoying and unacceptable farce. But farce it maybe, it surely is not a film, it is real life and there are people who are suffering… suffering because of a range of bigoted ideas wrapped in empty patriotic beliefs that has been nurturing differences among people from generations. This will go on and on and will affect every individual on this planet in some way, if we refuse to understand each other, if we deny looking for the truth on our own level and if we don’t take a stand. Every bit counts!

Download the booklet, share the link, spread the word…it counts!

Thank you! 

‘In Defence of our Present – On giving up the National Awards’ is a booklet released by Solidarity with ‪#‎FTII‬, a group of filmmakers who came together to protest against the blatant disregard by this government for plurality, tolerance and secularism in the country as well as their attempts to destroy the excellence of institutions like Film and Television Institute of India. The booklet brings together statements by filmmakers on returning their National Awards as well as essays on the struggle of FTII students.
For more information - 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

It’s in the Agenda

The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya
Hello fellow countrymen
Rise I say
Welcome to my den
Smile I say

In this land where we worship freedom
We quash the negativity and the opposition
Watch my videos and agree with my ideas
Industries, growth, good days and fun
Violence, protests, dark rays I’ll shun
Rhyming is my mantra, my motto, my goal
This country’s destined to progress as a hole
I hear your cries and accept all the applaud
“We are crying in pain”, said someone out loud
No gain without pain, was the reply with a pout
Photo tagged and then uploaded on the social media
And that’s how anarchy begins, says the encyclopedia

Goodbye fellow countrymen
Rise I say
Follow the tide
Try I say

Saturday, 31 October 2015


What happens in the west doesn’t happen in the east and vice-versa. This is our country and this is our tradition. We love our motherland and we can die for it. North is different from South. And this state, this city, this town, this village and this house is where I belong. I cannot live anywhere else but here.

Lines are drawn and everything is divided beautifully. If not entirely, the plans do work out fruitfully with minor problems here and there. When these minor problems become big, it is dissected thoroughly and the offender is caught, punished and forgotten. Things turn back to normal; once again it’s a sunny day.

But, there is one story that no one can forget. An ordinary looking fellow, who lived in the mountains and always painted the oceans in his notebook, once painted the planet earth on a grand rock, it was magnificent, but he was anyways convicted for it. Maybe he was crazy, that is what most of us believe, otherwise, why will a sane person draw the beautiful earth and then divide it? Yes! That is what he did.

The blue, green planet looked so perfect on that rock as if it was alive, but then, that bloke painted a hand hammering the earth into two, a chasm that spread like the roots of a tree and divided the whole planet. It was a violent crime, of course. How could he even think so? But then, they say he was crazy.

There’s another story about that painter. You know that the earth is changing colour, you must have seen the photographs, it’s becoming reddish with each passing day. Some say that this change occurred only after that painter was hanged, which is true, but I don’t know if these events can be related. But it’s all crazy, no?

Sunday, 25 October 2015


Who lives in that small house up on the mountain? It is made of earth, wood and stones. I feel its presence here. The pine trees gathered around it look less like guardians and more like friends.

The fog, very slowly, is encircling the house. Grand mountains stand quietly in the backdrop, reverberating with magical rhythm. It is then that I realise I am holding a stick in my hand and humming leisurely, attuned to the magical rhythm.

I keep walking, espying now and then at the small house up on the mountain. The fog flows away, ending the game of hide and seek. I take out my notebook and start to draw the scene. The mountains take most part of the page. The small house is a beautiful speck of white on dense green background. The trees are spots of different green here and there.

The fog returns and, this time, hides the small house completely. I quickly run and climb a rock as if to brush away the fog. I try it literally, when gaily the fog engulfs everything around me. White magic!

Sunday, 18 October 2015


She is just ten years old. Talkative and curious by nature, she wishes to know, but only about the magical, the dreamlike and the pleasing. Her world is of all the shades of pink. With the warmth of an honest, caring canopy overhead, she looks at the stars and floats in the Milky Way. There is ample clarity in everything she sees and time’s her friend – blistering fast or dragging slow. There is only one melody she is tuned to and it is called life.

She is young and brave. Quietly, she observes the world and the world within her, laughs at her. Battling the questions and transforming the answers, she moves ahead with every failure and tries to fathom the success. A mirror walks with her; she has broken it umpteen times but they are still in a relationship. Her cries, her sighs, her laughs, her smiles, her ways and one life… all packed in a rucksack is her pride and joy. The doubtful star burns with her glare and the rhythm of change trespasses the old.

She is living for others now and has placed herself on the top shelf, in a green trunk, under an old book. Close to many and far from herself, she is standing on the border – this way or that way… her life is slipping away… She just woke up and whatever was under the old book, in a green trunk, on the top shelf burned the rusted world to dust. Walking on ashes, she turns black and grey until the mirror returns. It is not going to be joyous all through, but she doesn’t mind the sound of a burned guitar.

They say she is weak and crouched, that she hears less and that her wrinkles make her a puzzle. A puzzle indeed and a child from within, no one know what a good time she is having. Her old eyes shine like a starry night and things magically appear and disappear with her touch. The words cannot express bliss; she is singing, hear this – ‘La-la, li-li, o, la-la, li-li’.

She is extraordinary. She is over there, can you see her? I know you can.

Purush Prakriti by S.H Raza 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Black Sparrow

Her eyes… there is fear in her eyes.

It was blurry… but I remember it clearly. Old hands like my mother’s but she wasn’t my mother, then why do I see her? The place is cold and that is how I feel until I look at her, I feel cold and wet as if I didn’t run away from that day’s hard rain. Everything around was cold and wet that day and so was it in my dream. That day when I was strolling in the park I saw a black sparrow… Francis said he would rather be a black sparrow than fight in the war. I saw the black sparrow, and I left the park.

She is sitting on a wheel chair, she is wearing black. Today, when I picked up the burnt paper, I crushed it without knowing why; my hands can still feel the smooth blackness. But she was surrounded by a harsh blackness, she was in the sun, but everything was crude and dull. I hate myself for crushing the burnt paper, I can feel the crude blackness now.

Francis collected stones all the time, he had strange hobbies. Stones he said are beautiful unless we give them a shape. The old lady, someone’s mother, had an image in her eyes; a dull face as if sculpted, and I agreed with Francis that it looked utterly dead. It scares me every time I see the dream.

I am there to help you old lady. Who is it that you are holding in your eyes? What are you whispering? I can’t hear you? She isn’t looking at me Francis, she is looking somewhere else. Francis I can’t see you. I can’t see the black sparrow. I am tied to the dream. I see her eyes Francis… her eyes… there is fear in her eyes.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Random Way

'Man with a Hod' by Jean Dubuffet 
I was walking and talking
To myself without any help
A window creaked and my shadow squeaked
My legs wobbled
And my hat toppled
And fell in front of a sly cat
Who chuckled and bluntly ignored a fat rat
Baffled I stepped in a puddle
Crackled I bumped into a fiery hurdle
A cartwheel blazing madly
Was coming my way sadly
Like a grasshopper I jumped and hugged a lamppost
‘Well done’, shouted a chap, the other raised a toast
Another clapped my back and left, laughing, ‘ha-ha’
Smiling I walked ahead, singing, ‘la-la’
What a day, collected so many laughs on the way
I was foolishly wrong, I got to know finally
A grand sticker on my jacketed back shouted loudly
“I am a buffoon, I declare it proudly”
Oh! Those damn mad, mad damn chaps
Is it their fault or mine? Or the choice I made that day
And unknowingly turned to the random way

Friday, 2 October 2015

What To Do?

The train of thought never stops, does it? Standing on a vague platform, everything except me undergoes a peculiar kind of metamorphosis now and then. Bewildered, I stand in utter confusion, with a dazed expression and remain amusingly voiceless. Waving madly for the train to halt or at least lazy down a bit, I am increasingly getting ascertained about the fact that either I am powerless or I am being considered as a crazy cheerleader.

Often, no, more than often, I have successfully boarded the train. What happens then - settled quietly near the window, with a half read great novel that I have tried to finish since one year, five months and two weeks, looking old and rich in my hands, I get lost in the dream world looking through the barred window; settled quietly near the window, with a notebook in front and a pen in my hand, I write down miraculous lines, tying down the strength to move the humanity and a saleable story together, staying humble myself throughout the reverie; settled quietly near the window, but loathing everyone around me and worshiping softly to reach my destination soon…

“My destination…” I say and I am kicked out of the train, back on that floating platform which dances every second on some idiotic tune and disturbs my balance. I fall down, cry, raise questions, get answers, plan things and proudly compliment myself, with a touch of modesty of course. And then what do I do? I go off to sleep. How much can the mind take? “So long, my friend”, says my mind and dozes off. Shut down! Power off!

Click! Switch on and I am back on that platform. Trains have started passing me. I yawn, a full day of travelling to a gazillion places ahead. Busy life, what to do?

The Busy Life by Jean Dubuffet 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Papa and the Crimson Clouds

Papa said, ‘I am not a negative thinker’. I almost clapped in approval, but then I saw him drinking at 9:45 in the morning. I dared to speak and I did, reminding him of the 80% blockage in one of his arteries. Gulp! ‘No negative thinking’, he advised me.

His red eyes and newly ignited soul went into the garden to work. After a few hours, I checked the fresh hair style of the garden, it was almost bald. Papa said, ‘Plants should grow this way’. Which way you must be thinking? Whichever way Papa wants to grow it, you fool. He replied so, I am just quoting it.

My sense of understanding is weak; I am a wrong person to walk left when the right is right. I am also stupid if I don’t remind Papa, thrice, that he wanted to drink tea, which invariably loses all its piping hotness and turns dead cold by the time he returns from the garden.

Kindly ask everyone in the street not to stare at me. So what if I look like an outgrown, zigzag tree, my Papa will prune me. I have the whole life’s agenda, second wise, installed in my brain. I am to wake up early every day and run to the office, work and be good in it and come back home to get recharged for the next day.

Every hour I am to be alert; I am allowed even to worry about security. I again dared and asked Papa, ‘Security from what?’ ‘That thing… that… something…’ he said. I understood zilch about it. Patience please, I am a slow learner.

Every minute of the hour, I am to relish the complexities of the present. It is to be like the dogs, they are so cute and hold only one feeling at a moment – hunger, aggression, love or anxiety. I reluctantly told Papa about my opinion. He laughed and then shooed me away, like a dog is shooed away.

For your benefit, I am sharing that it’s not the wise thing to do. Homo sapiens sapiens can do better. I have read so in a book. Of course, I didn’t say a word about it to Papa. You think I am that stupid? Ha!

Every second of every minute, I am to remain lost in whatever shit crazy thing I am doing. This will result in an unhealthy body, but a good position and a reasonable flat after a few years travail. I am a middle class being, this means to me what nirvana means to that mad ascetic I once met.

Do you know what the ascetic told me? He asked me to sit under a huge tree, pointing in the jungle’s (point decimal of what is left) direction. That’s it! Gauge that! What am I supposed to do there alone, I shouted behind him and he shouted back, ‘Think’.

Confused, I asked Papa about it one day - a day that showcased crimson clouds from the window. He didn’t say a word. I looked at the crimson clouds once again. Then I stared at Papa. I didn’t know there were four clocks in his room, one on each wall, until that day. I was sweating when Papa suddenly opened his eyes and asked me to get some water for him. He coughed badly.

He is coughing badly right now. From that day the crimson clouds haven’t left the window. I mostly stay near Papa and only occasionally go to sit under that huge tree.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

No More Waiting For Godot

A perspective.

(Please check the following link.) 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Pencil Dear

Only when I couldn’t find the pen today, I picked you to write my random thoughts down. Not so sharp, but nice and silvery, I wrote some charcoal rich lines.

That you are not related to permanence, that all the lines written can be erased and that I was thinking about permanence before I reached half of the page, made me ponder. Life was different as a child, when I scribbled, played the dot game on the last page of my notebook or the famous noughts and crosses. I was chaotic and fearless, almost heroic when you and I first met.

The journey that started with you and the sharpener versus me and the eraser faded humbly away. Then it was me dreaming and toying with you, all the while pretending to study. You were also delicious, the woody taste mixed with many dreams, you became my best pal. Together we circled round and round with the help of the compasses and halted the sun and the earth and the moon in my notebook.

How and where did this happen, I am not sure, but I dropped you somewhere when I forgot to see the sky, the mountains, the river and the birds.

A memory knocked quietly, and I had a word with it. Remember the drawing of  a mountain range, a river flowing by, a small house, a few trees around it and birds in the sky, and a tiny boat sailing in that river? Yes! I said.

Then came back the doodle stars - small and big, shapeless and funny - and I was in a wink’s time deluged by colourful butterflies dancing around the crayon flowers, the happy trees swaying with the wind, the cartoons copied from magazines and comics exploding with ‘boom-bang’, the abnormally proportionate national flag and curiously round mother earth.

I never began without you and my friend eraser whenever I drew. Time snatched you away from me and warned me to study, learn, grow and get a job. It was the time bombs’ fault, not me.

Deliverance came to me one fine day and I was free. It was all too funny and therefore, I laughed madly. It happened after some years of that time bomb explosion. I noticed I wasn’t dead and nothing was as bleak as it looked. I wanted to draw!

I took a deep breath and reached a fork in the road and saw you there. Delighted, I picked you up and the rest you know.

The last sketch I drew was sublime for me. I have started enjoying the illusion once again and living the ephemeral me happily, thanks to you Pencil dear. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Anthem for The Awaken

The colour has turned dead
Circulation ceased
Still bleeding but not red

I hang my head in shame
Eyes staring at me are tamed
Gnawing leisurely and trying
To strangle my soul and claim
That I was a sad student of Faith
Freedom and Equality. My death
Tailored according to my murderer’s needs
Condolences offered, blessings bestowed
I am packed and stored as a computer feed

The colour has turned dead
Circulation ceased
Still bleeding but not red

Remember me? I died for some
Who administered my funeral and hummed
The anthem for alleged prima donna students
They lamented next to my casket, lamented
As I was resurrected, without much ado rusticated
Before I could apply for and again try
To show the apocalyptic vision of tyranny
But they listened to none, mimed for some
And unlocked the door to tragedy

Many resurrected like me are standing high
Humming the anthem for bumbling fanatics
The colour has turned dead
Circulation ceased
Still bleeding but not red

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

So Far

I feel I am all alone in the two worlds.  Taking a step forward I see lightening as 'the fast' meets 'the slow'. I am not injured; I can endure the lightening but not the confusion.

A beautiful path lights up as far as the mind can reach. Back and forth between a one-way; crashing becomes a certainty. Quietly, I sit alive in the present.

I am understandably forgetful. Myriad revelations slip away like a childhood memory, leaving behind a warm aftertaste. The warmth turns into a glow and the rest I forget.

Infinity captured in a cage seeps away slowly. It is destined to do so. The two worlds are pulsating with this thought and I, in both.

But there is only one reality in me. The cube burns into a cylinder and the cylinder burns into a sphere. The shapes finally unite and the two worlds are annihilated.

Two Worlds

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A Stream

First there came a yellow flower, flowing like silk on a surface. The stream turned into silk. It told me a short story about the silk thread that draped the yellow flower. They swayed together with the wind. Then someone came and took the silk thread and threw the yellow flower in the stream. ‘A happy ending’, were the last words of the yellow flower.

Then a green leaf floated by and said, ‘I always thought where the stream goes… I’ll get to know it now.’ It danced away with the flowing water.

The stones quietly listened to the stream and stayed there for a long time. Now each stone, of every shape and size, carries a story with it. If heard sincerely, the stones narrate the stories beautifully.

A paper boat rushed quickly and embraced the whirlpool. It then lowered the anchor forever.

The stream is musical; I have been sitting here for a long time now and enjoying the melodies. I dipped my feet in the cool, clear water. Then, suddenly, the stream started talking about the flow of time. I got up immediately.

I am walking along the stream. Twists and turns welcome me here and there, but we are walking.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Etching It

Landscape under Trees, etching by Paula Modersohn-Becker, c. 1902
Faded and alive
Like an honest illusion

Memories carrying weight
Equal to a feather’s
Delight. Happiness aloud
Heard in the background
Match the dreams
Flying hard, a scheme
Or a plan
To reach the end
Drifting and walking
Singing, not just talking

Open your eyes
See, smile and rise.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Question No. 1

Sir, my question is that so much has happened but still nothing has happened….

Huh!? What do you mean by so much has happened but still nothing has happened? Why are you beating around the bush?

Sir what I wanted to say is that….

Then why didn’t you begin with what you wanted to say?

Sir I… all the students… we, we have a question….

Instead of answering the questions, you want to ask one? Good-good!

The freedom of speech and expression….

Okay! Okay! What is the question? Get to the point.

Question no.1 is that can a question be raised without - placing it in a “waste of time” box or labeling it as an “inappropriate demand” or cementing it to a “preconceived notion” or jumping to an “ordered and stamped conclusion” or worrying about the “grand and cushy chair” or tracing it as an “outdated endeavor” or blaming the question for its relation to any “upset, unresolved history” or entering it in a “silly strike and stupid rebels” file or showing a fake concern by saying “I understand but” or highlighting the “strict consequences” or giving a “practiced performance” cunningly or postponing the talk to a more “suitable and auspicious day” or making fun of it and then calling the police to “handle the hooligans”?

Sir, this is 21st century and our generation….

Well, thank you for telling me that it is the 21st century and now let me inform you that rules apply for everyone, including your generation.

Agreed! But Sir, there is a difference between rules and conservative, bigoted ideas.

Listen! Your time is up. We’ll continue tomorrow, please leave.

But Sir, we want an answer… an answer to the question that you haven’t even listened yet.

Please! Don’t force me to….

Sir, just one question….

Oh-ho! It’s 5:10. I am a family man, why don’t you understand? Move!

Question no.1 has changed now but has become only complex, still without an answer. It is-  why are they afraid of the questions to such an extent that – they have started living a dishonest life; they blame and blame and blame and hide and hide and hide; they have prepared a “counter questions” list to attack the questions aimed at them; they blindly believe that others are 10 to the power 9 times wrong and only their version is the right one; they have sold their listening ears and sensitive heart to buy praises and positions; they would rather keep quiet and tolerate till the question knocks on their door; they have accepted the half read stories before reading the end; they have twisted the already twisted report just to save the trophy in their hall; they have murdered the truth and planted plastic flowers on its grave; they live in constant terror and false belief that they are safe.

It is funny that the question is yet not addressed, though an unceasing hullabaloo exists as if in fashion, that too from ages. Maybe the answer is not inconceivable, only if the question is at least heard.


What now? Oh! I give you five minutes to speak but you cannot raise any questions or demand any answers. Okay?

Then Sir it’ll be better if we continue tomorrow. You may leave.

(Also read - )

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Sweet Like Sitting In The Sun In Winters

Dear Diary

Today in the attic, while I was rummaging for something I don’t remember what anymore, I ended up meeting my old memories. My lovely old memories… without my knowing, the past has become sweet like sitting in the sun in winters.

Turning pages after pages of my notebook that I have still not parted with, I felt how crazy I was. I doodled a lot. Mad designs picked from books, paintings, comics, magazines… registered half in my mind. Up and down, criss cross, darkening the line, circling round and round, a flower, going zigzag boldly… all of this, especially in Mr. Gosh’s class.

I found some cards and letters and read all of them, once again. It was so overwhelming that I thought of calling Naro. It has been so long. Years fly by silently with celebration of two or three festivals, an unplanned trip to some place and a quiet acceptance of a lesson learned.

I always think that we change with time and we do change, but we actually remain the same, changing slightly…. Oh! A paradox!

Anyways, I just emailed Naro. I think she is using the same email id. No, I am not going to wait for an instant reply. But why didn’t I call her? Tricky time, have mercy on me.

Almost forgot! Before I left the attic, I found Rabindranath Tagore in one of my notebooks. I copied him from a book in the library. A kind of sketch… some lines, running here and there, curving and darkening a bit… and there he was, Rabindranath Tagore, in my notebook. What a magical human being!

Whatever he wrote feels so alive as if he inked his soul in every word, every line, every character. He is like music to me, grand, subtle, heartwarming, serene and timeless. That’s the word for him… timeless.

I guess we all become timeless in some way for someone, but only a few remain timeless forever for everyone.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

I Dare To Stop And Watch

In the rush and hustle bustle
I dare to stop and watch

“Just like a painting”, I declare
“Just the normal, routine, everyday affair”,
They say, and break my heart
I click a picture and start
Walking towards where others are going
Feeling strangely happy, but not showing
I’ll read the painting when alone
Savouring its rhythm and its tone
A soulful visit, now and then
Who cares for where and when?

In the rush and hustle bustle
I dare to stop and watch

Saturday, 8 August 2015

In Bloom

Gone are the days when a foggy day reminded of a short story that my Grandma read to me. It becomes just too awkward to step out for a walk and too dull to stay in. The wooden floor creaks when I don’t want it to.  The stairs quietly sit there, only talking to me if I stop in between and wonder about something.

Gone are the days when I wasn’t acquainted with the ceaseless and fleeting nature of time; when I didn’t understand what the wall clock was saying to me; when I thought of going through the mirror and meet Alice and her friends.

Gone are the days when the bed side table light’s friendly glow helped me to make last minute changes in the Mothers’ Day card. I always picked colours in pairs and tried my best to keep the card neat. This tradition is now forgotten though whenever I buy a card, I look for myself in the printed words.

Gone are the days when that old song transported me to my dream world. Now, my mind always takes me to a vacuum and when I suddenly come out of it I realise that that old song is over.

Gone are the days when I wrote with an ink pen, confident about what I am expressing. My letters looked as if I had scribbled throughout, but the response showed that the love always got conveyed successfully.

Gone are the days when the grass, the weeds, the flowers and I counted the clouds together. Some clouds changed the shape quickly and some remained the same – thick, heavy, floating nonetheless. The floor and the walls in the house are cold though accurately warm for me but not for the grass, the weeds and the flowers.

I try to take care of the plant. It lives in a small teacup, sitting shyly near the window. The curtains know the plant better than me.

Gone are the days when I wished and believed that it will come true. To see the plant in bloom just the next day after planting it is a silly wish wasted as a child but I am not silly anymore and so I don’t wish.

I am going to see how the plant is enjoying the weather. It’s foggy - I’ll say to start the conversation. Come along, if you want to.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

To Dig Out Some God

Part I

I heard Gudiya and Ginni making a plan to dig out some God today. These little girls are always up with something funny, I have noticed. Like it was only last week when both the girls organized a wedding of their toys- Gudiya’s Doll and Ginni’s Joker. It was a big occasion, I tell you. Four to five children who live near that hill top… that one… can you see it? I can from up here, anyways, Gudiya and Ginni invited them. The wedding took place under this very tree and in a grand style – buntings, balloons, biscuits and a fruit cake, indeed a big occasion as I said before. While I eyed for the food items, I slowly started enjoying the proceedings. It was a ruckus I tell you, but when children are involved it is always fun to watch. Then suddenly Gudiya and Ginni starting fighting like they many a times do. It was because Gudiya and some other girl said something about Ginni’s Joker and she started crying. And like drama unfolding on a stage, the marriage never took place. I didn’t mind you know, the Joker actually looked silly next to that pretty Doll and when they all left, I enjoyed the fruit cake crumbs.

And today these two are up to dig out some God, at least that is what I have heard from up here. They looked quite secretive about it. Oh! They have made me curious now, you know, like they did once on that raining day. Ginni had come to Gudiya’s house and they were playing inside, I guess. I don’t always look out for them… I know how to mind my own business. So, I was sitting on my favourite pine tree, on my favourite branch, fully protected by the rain. In fact, I was enjoying the cool fog that was dancing all around the hill, when suddenly I heard the giggles of these little naughty minds. And as I turned, I found them looking directly at me. It was alarming, you know, I almost flew. Through the window, Gudiya and Ginni were pointing in my direction. I blushed, yes I did. Then they started making some marks on the window which was lightly covered by fog. I thought it was some kind of message for me. I flew down to a branch near the window when Gudiya’s mother called them and they left but only after rubbing the message away. I blushed again and then I got drenched. Not because I wished to but because someone else took my place on my favourite branch and the rain got heavy.

I’ll admit I enjoy being around Gudiya and Ginni, they are just like me you know, adventurous. And here they go, they must be running towards their secret place, near that old bungalow just a turn away from their houses. It’s not far, I can tell you that. An old lady lives there, she is deaf and doesn’t speak much either. She doesn’t allow everyone around her place but Gudiya and Ginni are exceptions, they are adorable and I think the old lady will agree with me. I will not join them right now because I know they will return back to their houses twice at least. Once, to get something that they must have forgotten and then, Gudiya’s or Ginni’s mother will call them to take apples and other food stuff along. Till then I’ll soar high.

The view is beautiful; all the hills look a giant mass from up here. I am feeling good. Hmm! Where is this group flying to? They must be heading towards that new food sight. Food and just food, it is the only thing on their mind. I feel a misfit in their society…oh, here they come. ‘Hello folks!’ I am courteous, now you know. I think I’ll get back…where have Gudiya and Ginni reached? They have already reached the old lady’s bungalow…now that was quick.

But I can’t see them, they usually play near the front porch. Wait, I can hear them. Oh, here they are, outside the backyard.... I think I should get a closer look.

Gudiya: This place looks right. Let us start.

So they are going to start digging here and find God. Little kids, they are so innocent and ignorant, I tell you. Let me at least give them the credit for being fully determined to do something. Just see they are sweating already but they aren’t stopping. Their poor little hands!

Ginni: Gudiya…will we find God? Are you sure?
Gudiya: Ginni keep digging, we have just started. And I heard it from my own ears. Dadi told me… that kid kept digging and digging and digging and finally God came out.
Ginni: How will God come out?
Gudiya: First we’ll have to dig and only then….
Ginni: What if his clothes get dirty and….
Gudiya: Ginni! God knows magic and wears magical clothes….
Ginni: Which God will come out Guidya?
Gudiya: Some God…who so ever will be free…now come on!

This is really funny but don’t get me wrong, I mean it in the right sense. I am actually very interested because both Gudiya and Ginni have a habit of finishing a game properly that they once start. Once, Gudiya must have seen a spy movie and was really impressed by it. She narrated the whole story to Ginni, I was sitting on a nearby tree the whole time and then the two of them decided to become secret agents and a spy movie started right in front of me. This movie went on for almost a week. Sometimes the whole day went in a hide and seek scene and sometimes in a car chase scene. The movie would have ended on the fifth day as Gudiya and Ginni had cornered their imaginary villain when it started drizzling and both of them had to leave. Nevertheless, the film ended with a clean face out and Gudiya and Ginni reported back to their boss where they got another assignment, which will become the film’s sequel, I guess.

For how long will they dig and how will this game end? They look tired but they are still digging. I wonder why they want to find a God. Definitely, they want the God to grant them few wishes so that they can ask for lots of toffees and chocolates and games and all that little kids enjoy these days. I wish they could answer my question but alas, they can’t even hear me and even if they do, they can’t understand me.

Boy: What will you ask God once you dig one out?

Now wait a minute who is this little boy? I have never seen him here and he is not Gudiya or Ginni’s friend either. But hey, he has asked my question, I better pay attention now.

Ginni: (As if questioning herself and Gudiya.)What will we ask God?
Gudiya: We are just trying to dig out a God….
Boy: But don’t you want anything in return?

Gudiya and Ginni look so confused. It seems that they haven’t given this point a thought.

Boy: How long will it take for you to…?
Ginni: Gudiya’s Dadi told her that once a kid kept digging and digging and digging and he finally found a God standing in front of him.
Boy: (Smiling.) Hmm! It looks quite deep already, what do you say?
Gudiya: But we’ll have to dig some more.

This boy looks strange to me. He has a very unique smile. Oh! He looked at me, directly. Yes! Yes! He did.

Boy: I’ll show you some magic.

What? The Boy knows magic? The way he is swaying his hands shows that he knows what he is doing. The pit actually looks much deeper now.

Ginni: He is filling this pit with jelly, Gudiya just see.
Gudiya: You know magic? Wow!
Boy: Come with me, I will take you to a magical world. (Looking at a tree nearby) You can also join us.
Ginni: (Looking at the tree) There is a same kind of bird, it lives near our house, right Gudiya?
Gudiya: (Looking at the tree) Yes! Very same indeed or is it the same one. (Looking at the pit) Can I touch the jelly?
Boy: We all will jump in it together, okay?
Gudiya and Ginni: Okay!

I am feeling excited and suddenly very happy. I cannot resist the Boy’s invitation to jump in the pit…so here I go.

One, two, three, jump!

A world full of colours, I can see colours everywhere…red, blue, and yellow and my favourite colour green. Stars are shinning and it looks like day time. I guess it was day time when we first jumped, I don’t remember it anymore. Let me touch this star…oh…it sprinkled away. What a wonderful shimmering world this is! Gudiya and Ginni are also jumping in joy. Thanks to this Boy. Who is he?

Boy: Let us explore this magical world.

Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird: Yes!

What, I can speak their language? This place is amazing. Hey! I didn’t see this roller coaster ride here before. Nevertheless, I’ll sit next to the boy…wait, if I can really talk now then why am I not…?

Bird: What is your name?

The Boy smiled and waved his hand beautifully in the colourful sky, got a peacock feather from thin air and placed it in his head. Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird were awestruck and couldn’t utter a word. The ride started and the three of them felt entranced by the marvels of the magical world and by the Boy wizard. When dancing colours took them into a land of the Red, Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird all became red in colour. The Boy laughed at them and they laughed along. They got down from the ride and went near a beautiful red coloured tree. The Boy took out his flute and started playing it. Meanwhile, Gudiya and Ginni tried reaching for the cheerful fruits of the tree. They jumped happily under a branch, trying to reach a bunch of fruits, until the Bird helped them. Gudiya and Ginni offered the Boy a piece and gave a little to the Bird as well. The Boy saw them eating the fruit and enjoying it. He with another trick turned his piece of fruit into a butterfly and Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird looked at the butterfly completely bewildered and dazed.

The butterfly was leaving a trail of silver sparkle where ever she was going. Once again the Boy clapped his hands and Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird were back in the ride and were following the red butterfly. Soon the Red world changed into a world of the Indigo. The sparkling butterfly changed into a shooting star and it rained shooting stars all around them. Gudiya stretched her hand and grabbed one; it made her whole body sparkle. Ginni followed the league and soon her body was also glittering. The Bird copied them and was astonished to see his wings sparkle.

Out from the sparkling Indigo world they all entered another world, a world of the Barren. The colours were dull all around and there was a queer sound of silence present. Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird turned with a questioning look in their eyes towards the Boy who brought them in this magical universe. The Boy smiled his serene smile.

Gudiya: Why is this place so quiet?
Ginni: Where are the colours all gone?

All of them got down from the ride and walked towards a slanted tree that looked almost dead. Once again the three looked at the Boy expecting him to do some kind of magic and turn the land of the Barren into a colourful painting. But the Boy stood quietly and simply smiled. It seemed as if he was waiting for them to ask the right question which Gudiya and Ginny finally did ask.

Gudiya: Can’t we do something to make it colourful?
Ginni: Can’t we make it like other colourful worlds?
Boy: Yes, you can.

The Boy indicated them to check the ride they have been travelling in and when they did so, they found bags full of all the colours they had just visited. Each of them carried a bag, even the Bird did and they began with the colouring of the slanted tree. Gudiya poured the red colour around the roots of the tree and Ginni coloured the trunk of the tree Indigo. The Bird with its wings threw a mixture of green, blue, orange, yellow on the branches of the tree. Together the three of them spilled the bag of silver and golden sparkle on the tree. And just in a wink’s time the slanted tree came back to life and changed its shape. Gudiya and Ginni jumped cheerfully and the Bird also relished the scene. The Boy appreciated them and then walked towards the tree. He stood against the tree and took out his flute to play another melodious tune. Engrossed in listening to the Boy, Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird stood there for a long time until the Boy asked them, ‘Why did you stop?’ Then realizing the work that they undertook, the three of them ran towards the ride and got other bags full of colours.

Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird as if dancing on the tune that the Boy played, threw colours in all the direction. The world of Barren was full of colourful riots.

Gudiya: It’s like the Holi festival.
Ginni: Holi!
Boy: From now onwards, this will be a world of the Holi.

Dancing on the tune of the flute and playing with the colours, time went by happily. Then the Boy clapped his hands and all of them were back in the ride again. They moved faster than light but simultaneously felt that everything around them was passing in slow motion. The ride, once again, made the three of them overwhelmed to utter a word.

Boy: Would you like to see another magic trick?

All of them nodded eagerly. The Boy smiled again.

Boy: But make a promise to me that you will always keep these colourful worlds alive within yourself.
Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird: Promise!

The Boy smiled and this time there was a hint of omniscience in his eyes. Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird found themselves lost in it. Galaxies were moving in his eyes and his presence was making them feel on the verge of being exploded in happiness. And so they did, the three of them as and when the Boy clapped exploded with joy and vanished.

What just happened? Where am I? My head! Oh! I am back in this….

Gudiya: Ginni…we couldn’t find God!
Ginni: What should we do now?
Gudiya: Should we go back and play at my place?
Ginni: Okay! Let’s go!

What! Don’t they remember a thing? Gudiya…Ginni…they can’t hear me anymore. How is this possible? Oh! Was it a dream? No it wasn’t! Oh! That boy was some God…. Gudiya, Ginni you were successful, you did find a God.

Part II

“How can one forget such a ride to different worlds, different galaxies Jo, maybe humans can but not us…in fact you know what my uncle Xu told me, he was a little one back then, he knows everything about HIM, about HIS extraordinary deeds and….”

“Fo, I have also heard that HE didn’t look like us all, that HE changed colours.”

“Why sure Jo, after all HE visited the land of the colours. Now will you let me speak? My uncle Xu told me that after that magnificent experience HE could fly for days without getting exhausted and that once when it wasn’t raining, our elders and everyone asked HIM to do something and so HE took a flight and crossed the clouds and returned on the seventh day with rain.”

“How did HE die Fo?”

“Die…? Eh!”

“Your uncle Xu must have told you.”

“Of course…actually HE didn’t die…one fine morning HE just flew away and never came back. But HE could be around, after all this is the same tree.”

“Are you trying to scare me?”

“But this is the same tree Jo!”

“Fo, now you will say that your uncle Xu told you about it.”

“Yes he did. So what? I can tell you everything that he told me.”

“I have heard that your uncle Xu tells a new tale every time someone asks him about HIM.”

“Don’t you try to make fun of my uncle, okay?”

“No…I mean there are a lot of versions….”

“Listen what uncle Xu told me, it is considered auspicious to talk about HIM and the magical experience HE had, remembering HIS words.”

“Yeah, I know that.”

“After Returning from the Magical World….”

--- I lost the count of days and didn’t understand what was happening around me. I didn’t eat or drink for many days and simply didn’t feel any desire to do so. Then one day it rained heavily and I felt like flying. Everyone who knew me tried to stop me but I refused to listen. Just after crossing the first hill top I lost my strength to fly anymore and I fell down on the ground. I had only one thought in my mind; I thought it was my end.

The rain had stopped but it was still cold and foggy. I took few steps on the ground and tried to recognise the surroundings. And then what I saw I couldn’t believe it, the same Boy with a peacock leaf tuck in his head and a flute in his hand, the supreme magician was standing at a distance from me. He smiled his serene smile and I walked towards him. Seeing him again left me dumbfounded as by then I had accepted the fact that I have lost all my senses and death is the next thing that will happen to me.

The Boy sat down next to me and took me in his hands and then took some rain water collected in a pit nearby and helped me to drink it. I have never tasted anything sweeter than that, it quenched my thirst forever. He then said to me, ‘Try flying now’, and I obeyed him. My wings felt light and a new wave of strength made me strong enough to touch the sky. I soared very high and very fast. I was thrilled by this rush of energy but then I thought of the beautiful Boy and returned. He was nowhere to be seen. The fog disappeared and I found myself in the same place where Gudiya and Ginni had dug that pit. It was from that same pit that the Boy had offered me water to drink. From that point I visited that place every day; I often saw Gudiya and Ginni playing but I never followed them again. I was upset and angry…how could they forget the magical worlds? Slowly I thought maybe the humans have a curse to never remember a God’s visit in their life and maintained my distance from Gudiya and Ginni. I didn’t want the curse to affect me. ---

“Wait a minute, I have heard something else. That after HIS second meeting with the Boy, HE did meet Gudiya and Ginni and scolded them for being so forgetful.”

“What? Who told you that?”

“Your uncle Xu once told my late uncle Ka about it.”

“He did?”

“Yes, but my late uncle Ka told us that your uncle Xu liked to exaggerate things….”

“Jo we were talking about HIM and not about my uncle Xu. Hmm! Now will you let me finish the story? I hope you know it is ominous to not to do so.”

“I know, please continue.”

“Okay. Then….”

--- One day I saw Gudiya and Ginni walking towards the old lady’s bungalow. Gudiya was carrying something in a bag and Ginni was carrying a water bottle. I thought they were going to play their favourite game ‘Ghar Ghar’ outside the porch. They usually played it near the little ground next to their place but the old lady’s porch actually provided them a better option to set up a kitchen and the utensils, to imagine a kitchen garden, and a lawn etc. I thought these girls were going to follow their usual routine. But instead, they came behind the bungalow and slowly crossed the backyard after explaining something to the old lady. I flew to hear what they were saying. I was confused about their intentions and also worried because for me that place had become sacred.

I flew and sat nearby, I tried talking to them but all Gudiya and Ginni said was ‘what do birds chirp about all the time?’ and then they started digging the pit. I felt helpless; I couldn’t do anything to stop these little girls who were big enough to tackle me with a single blow. Then I thought that these girls can’t be cursed nor do anything negative because even if they don’t remember they did visit the magical land with me. A beautiful thought came in my mind - what if the girls were again trying to find God and that maybe the three of us get lucky and get to meet the Boy, the beautiful God with a peacock leaf tucked in his head and a flute in his hand, once again. I kept waiting anxiously but nothing happened. After digging the pit a bit deeper, Gudiya and Ginni carefully took out a delicate young plant from the bag and placed it in the pit. Then covered it with the soil and used their water bottle to pour some on it. Their face blushed with happiness and both looked immensely proud of themselves. So was I.

Both Gudiya and Ginni came to meet the plant and watered it regularly for some time. Slowly they became irregular and after their school started they stopped coming at all. But I came every day and I can tell you that it was not just any simple plant; soon it started growing into a tree and was easily distinguishable from the rest of the flora. It had a magical glow, the trunk, the branches and the leaves, every part of it kept shinning whether it was day or night. The water that dripped from it after the rainfall tasted sweet. This tree truly reflected all the magical worlds that I, Gudiya and Ginni travelled along with that lovely Boy God.

Were we lucky or it was all just a dream? I don’t have a concrete answer to this question but I have a feeling as strong as the feeling of being alive that we did visit the different worlds of different colours and experienced the magic it was full of; with the blessings of the Boy God we even got the opportunity to colour one of the worlds…if I could term the joyous ride we undertook in one word, it would be called spiritual. Utter bliss!

I don’t know if I or Gudiya and Ginni or anyone else is devoid of such an experience in this world. I was skeptical and proud before Gudiya and Ginni planted this tree here. For me this grand tree is the connection between our world and all my magical worlds…all thanks to Gudiya and Ginni…the colourful worlds are alive in their hearts. My life is ecstasy! ---

Part III

Today Gudiya and Ginni are not in touch anymore. They live in the same town (i.e. when they return from the respective cities they work in), but Gudiya shifted to another locality. What drifted them apart –time, place, the world and its ways, they themselves? It is not clear, maybe there is no reason behind it and maybe all the above mentioned reasons are true. Gudiya is a writer and Ginni is an architect. Let us hear them once, just to get an idea about who they have grown to become.

Gudiya (talking to her friend on the phone): My story is about a little boy who becomes friends with a giant oak tree in a forest. And just listen the title of the story, it is really catchy, the title will be – Krishan and Shakespeare. How is it? No-no, Krishan is the boy and he names the oak tree Shakespeare. I know, I know you have doubts but wait till you read my first draft, I just finished it today….

Ginni (talking to her friend on the phone): I have news too ya, that idiot again rejected my plan. Hmm…says it is not an economical approach, waste of space and the things he always say. And so easily he just destroyed the entire model…said that the park section and the trees on the road are taking a lot of space. What will happen to this country ya?

Both Gudiya and Ginni seem to be completely lost in their own world now and whether the colourful worlds are alive in them or not, only they or the Bird or the Boy with a peacock leaf tucked in his head and a flute in his hand, knows.

The End

Night Jasmine

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