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Sunday, May 14, 2017


Shower of faith sprinkled
Through the drain of confusion-
For a moment I know it’s right,
For another, wrong;
Tug-o-war between truth
And alternative truth
In a space full of wisdom.

I wish to escape the duality
Of belief and make-belief,
Suddenly snapping the thread
Attached through trust,
But it ain’t easy
To give up what’s treasured
In pockets of memory.

Out of the cage for quest for truth
Ignoring it isn’t one,
Their versions and mine
In a perpetual conflict
Got my heart tricked-
Leave aside these thoughts
I walk away to live
Just like I did not want to.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

An old man by the river

I walked up to the old man piping by the river-
His tunes rang of age, of nature, of melancholy;
Of stories of love untold, and of deaths to unfold,
Of cheerful girls, and flowers preparing to bloom.
His jingles gave me cold shiver-
Would talking to him be folly?
Should I be cold or bold?
A pending decision staring at doom.

“Old man, what do you do all day by the river?”
Talk to her”, he shot back sharply,
“Does she respond?”
Only if you know what to say!”
“And what do you say?”
Then there was a pause, accompanied by a smile-
She listens to everything, she’s kind;
After all these years, she knows what’s on my mind.”

Can you hear the water striking the rocks?
She’s nurturing them to be strong,
Washing them of their sins,
Training them what’s right, what’s wrong;
She’s vocal, can you hear?
She’s taught me too, more than any seer,
She talks of perseverance, without dillydally-
Incessantly flows to meet the sea.”

“She lends me strength to never stop,
To sing of stories, transport them-
From mud-huts on to concrete;
She taught me to love unconditionally,
To be a true giver, and a believer,
She evokes fear with her speed
Threatening to demolish all with greed
But fighting for the lives of all in need.”

I was glad I had walked up to the old man,
I looked at the river, wanting to speak,
Of things I had never told anyone
Of secrets that had to be washed, not buried-
I did not care what I had to say,
‘Cause I knew she would listen ’em all,
She’s impartial, knows I’ll always be a beginner,
I returned happy, with tears but certainly wiser.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Show

Curtains were drawn. An enthralling show of standup comedy put up by some unknown names came to a close with a thunderous applause. They had delivered what they had promised. The audience was left itching for more. It had gotten over earlier than expected. The audience reluctantly exited the auditorium.

The only soul in the crowd who had been waiting at the entrance throughout the duration of the show was Rijuta. Two tickets in her left hand, her cellphone and purse in her right. She stood near the gate, in the left corner, fiddling with her phone helplessly and taking awkward steps left and right restlessly. She glanced at her watch again, for the umpteenth time. It was thirty-three minutes past seven. He hadn’t turned up. And he didn’t have the courtesy of informing her. It wasn’t normal. She was angry. But more than that, worried.

Gloomy thoughts clouded her mind. Had Raghav met with an accident on the way? Had he some other emergency in the family? Or had he just slept off? Why didn’t he respond to her innumerable texts and calls? Should she have waited outside for some more time? Did he not turn up because he didn’t like her? Was this the end then? She had no answer. But she only hoped that he had only slept off- the unlikeliest of reasons. As she saw the crowd leaving the auditorium, she called his number again.

Jaane kyun log pyaar karte hain?
She never liked his caller-tune. But he wouldn’t budge. This song gave her more reasons to believe it could be worse than what she was expecting. She sighed. He didn’t pick her call up, again.

Inside the auditorium, after the show was over, few enthusiasts had stayed back to meet the cast in the green room in order to get their autograph and chit-chat about their interest in comedy or about the state of live performances in the country, in general.

Raghav was basking in the glory of having successfully enchanted the audience with his maverick comedy. The first event is always special. The air of success only made it sweeter. He was among the most sought-after performers during the ‘autograph time’. He was beaming with pride. But he was worried that he couldn’t find Rijuta. He had expected her to come running to him at the end of the show. But she was nowhere to be seen inside the hall.

Didn’t she like his surprise? Even if she didn’t, why would she leave without meeting him? Did she not recognize him during his performance? But the performers had introduced themselves at the end of the show, he defended in his thoughts. Did she leave the auditorium before they introduced? It was weird. He remembered to have specifically asked her to get a front seat for the two of them, without waiting for him. Did she still wait for him outside? Did she leave because she thought he hadn’t turned up?

As he hurriedly reached the drawer where the performers leave their belongings before taking the stage, he found his phone. 23 missed calls. 7 text messages. As he read through the messages, he realized his mistake. He rushed outside. Rijuta was standing there, sweating. He slowly walked up to her. His eyes met hers. But before he could explain, she had started walking away in anger.

Raghav begged, “Never a surprise again! Sorrrryyyyyyyyy!”

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Package

Sudip was vigorously typing out the plot of his first novel. While working full-time on weekdays, it was obvious that Saturdays and Sundays had to be spent researching and accentuating his storyline. Sreejita was supportive of her husband’s eccentricities. She hadn’t protested when Sudip had suddenly popped the idea that he wanted to author a book. She took care of the household chores without bothering him. She put up with him elaborately discussing his thoughts on the plot in bed at night. In fact, she was the one who had suggested the broad storyline for this novel. Sudip had liked it and had started penning it down. She enthusiastically responded every time he asked for her advice on the plot even when she was busy. This weekend, she had to visit her ailing grandmother. She would be away for three days. Sudip had decided to stay back and work on adding pieces to the increasingly complex puzzle that he has set out to create- his novel.
Triiiiiing. Triiiiiing.
Sudip was left perplexed for a couple of seconds before he could identify the familiar sound as the doorbell. Irritated for having to leave his work mid-way, he got up and started zombie-walking towards the door.
Who could it be? He glanced at his watch. It was 2:35 PM.
As he reached the door, he peeped through the keyhole. There was either no one or the keyhole was naturally so hazy with dirt that he couldn’t make out if there was someone outside at all. Unlatching the door, Sudip peeked outside. There indeed was no one. But there was a package that lay unattended. Without touching it, he stepped outside and tried looking if anyone was around. It was an apartment that he lived in, and he could see the door of the flat opposite his, the staircase and the elevator. There was no one. He walked down a floor to the ground-floor, looking for the security guard. He was nowhere to be seen. Irritated, he mumbled something to himself. Sudip was not someone who would complain about missing security guards. He usually didn’t meddle in the matters of his apartment complex. Walking back to his door, he found the package still there.
Not sure what to do, he carried it inside. It was not as heavy as he had expected from the size. The carton was a cuboid about the size of a laptop along its length and height. Sudip lifted the package to see what’s underneath. There was a white paper-label pasted on the package. He turned it and put it upside down on the drawing room table. The label read his name in bold: Sudip Chattopadhyay. The address was listed in block letters. All in print. Not hand-written. The sender’s name was missing. Curiosity only heightened.
Sudip tried to tear open with his hands the tapes that wrapped the package. He made a mess of the tapes but somehow was able get through after an irritating several minutes long effort. He removed the cardboard flap and looked inside. It seemed to be a heap of papers. Carefully picking one sheet of paper from inside, he tried to make sense of what’s inside. It was a letter. He wondered why he was delivered this package. Emptying the package, he found all kinds of papers- some handwritten, others printed; some stamped and legal, others casual and friendly; some from banks, others from lawyers. Sudip did not know what to make out of all these. But there was one thing he knew: it was a mystery he had to solve.
When Sreejita called in the evening, Sudip carefully concealed the story of the mystery package. He didn’t want her to get upset. He spent hours reading through the multiple letters exchanged among several of these unknown characters, documents of will, property and marriage, and notices from banks and judges. This was a puzzle and he badly wanted to solve it. He took out an A4 from his drawer and started scribbling notes as he read through each of these papers a second time. He had almost forgotten his dinner. Sreejita had to call and remind him. Sunday was no different. The entire day was spent trying to understand what these documents conveyed. There was a message and he had to uncover it.
Late Sunday night, Sudip had started to make some sense of what was there. Contrary to what he had expected, he had started to feel very uncomfortable. The story seemed to fit largely to the plot that he was coming up with- with added condiments of mystery, seasoned with a dose of reality; or so it seemed. After all, the stamps and the letterheads could hardly have been counterfeit.  
Sudip took his glasses off and shut his eyes. He was disturbed. How could it have been possible that he was writing a story that had already occurred but of which he had no clue? But that was not his biggest worry. How would someone know of the story he was working on and the eerie similarity with events that had already taken place? The only person who knew of his novel was his wife.
Cringgg. Cringgg.
“What happened? Is everything okay? Why are you calling so late?”, cringed Sreejita, sounding worried.
“Did you tell anyone about my novel?”
“Umm, no, I don’t think… why? What happened?”
“Nothing”, and after a moment of pause, Sudip hastily said in a disappointed tone, “Go back to sleep. We’ll talk when you’re back. Good night!”
Before she could respond, he had hung up.
When Srijeeta got back from her grandmother’s the next day, she found sheets of papers lying all over the room. Sudip was sitting in the reading room, looking tense. The suspense was driving him crazy.
She smiled at him. He did not smile back.
“Do you know what happened?”, Sudip started off, trying to set the context.
“Yes, I do.” Srijeeta was calm as usual.
“This is no time for joke. I couldn’t sleep properly for the last two days. I skipped office today.”
Srijeeta held his hands and took him to his bed. As she caressed his forehead, the soothing touch made Sudip almost fall asleep. Srijeeta offered no explanation. She only said, “Let’s just say that I got inspired by a real-life incident in my family. Remember, this story was my idea? I decided to make your life a little easier; and two of your days a little complex.”
Sudip was speechless. Solving the mystery all by himself had done him more good, he had to admit. He was better equipped to write.
Sreejita continued, “I had an experience. You have the craftsmanship of an author. I have a story and you know the skills of the language. That’s why we make such a good pair. Good night!”

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The hiking trail

My doctoral fellowship at the University of Hamburg was nearing completion. An avid traveler, I wasn’t happy with the fact that my workload did not allow me to explore Germany the way I would have liked. But, I knew it was time. I had over a week to go before I had to defend my dissertation. And I thought I was comfortable.

“Do you know a good trail around where I could go hiking?”

Friedrich was pouring dark coffee, trying to make another attempt at understanding what problems his research actually solved. Does it make sense? Did I waste three years already? Is this it? There seem to be missing links. No? Whenever these questions popped up on his head, Fred (as we fondly called him) poured mugs of coffee. We all had our moments with coffee and abstract questions.

Fred was startled for a couple of seconds- “I wasn’t expecting you.”

“You weren’t expecting that I would go hiking?”

“Yeah, right!”- he reluctantly nodded in agreement.

“Schlagsdorf. My grandparents used to visit there. You can trek from there for several kilometers. They say it’s a nice trail with a scenic view. There’s a lake too. But beware, there are wild animals. The villagers at Schlagsdorf have spotted all kinds…”

Before he could finish, I had left. Leaving Fred startled again. And possibly annoyed.

I was at my desk, googling. It took me ten minutes. And I was already packing.

When I was at Schlagsdorf two days later, the villagers looked at me suspiciously. This was not one of the touristy hiking trails. Of all things, they weren’t expecting an Indian. The little German that I had picked up helped me converse with them about the dangers of taking the different alternative routes. I wouldn’t budge. I decided I would take the Bretzin- Vogelsen- Am Deich trail.

The forest was mildly dense. The altitude gain was not very tiring. At times, broken trees and naturally shaved greenery offered views of the lake. I removed my sunglasses every now and then to bask in the real colors of nature. Far away, across the lake, the snow adorning the unnamed mountains looked like straight out of some wallpaper. The chirping and fluttering birds scared and pleased me at the same time- over and over again.

I didn’t remember how long I had come when I spotted a house. In the middle of nowhere. Almost.
It was one of those houses which appeared to be an ideal location for shooting horror movies. Thankfully, the sun was bright. And I knew I would be sorry if I was not being curious. It wasn’t the typical German village house- it was a makeshift wooden house but decently big- one that would probably fit two rooms and a kitchen and a toilet. As I inched closer, I could hear faint sounds. It was difficult to make out what sounds they exactly were because of the noises that the birds made outside. But it was a distinct sound that came from inside the house.

I took my Swiss knife out and slid it under my left shirt sleeve.

“Tuck, tuck, tuck.”- I knocked.

No response.

“Tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck.”

None yet.

I pushed the door a little. It made a sound typical of old wooden doors- it wasn’t loud but flat. The door was ajar. It gave me a glimpse of what’s inside. There was no one to be seen. Gathering a little more courage and even more impoliteness, I pushed it wide open and entered the room. The room looked naked, with very few furniture lying around.

“Anyone in there? Hello?”

I heard a rush of footsteps from the other room. The sound of birds and other animals grew aloud. I consciously held the knife strongly, expecting an encounter.

To my surprise, it was a middle-aged man in round glasses. He was shorter than an average German. His tattered shirt and shorts gave an impression that laundry was infrequent. Thankfully, he did not appear dangerous. Psychopath, I mean. But more importantly, he started speaking in English. Probably because I looked like I belonged to the Indian sub-continent.

“What are you doing here?”- he sounded half-angry and half-irritated.

“I was just hiking and I saw this house. Thought I would drop by.”

“Okay, what do you want?”

Not sure what to say, I asked for a glass of water. Befitting of a tired traveler.

He went in to get water as I prepared my next set of questions.

“So…umm, you stay here alone?”


“Why don’t you move to the village down there?”- I pointed in some direction which was hardly right. But he got the idea, I think.

“I cannot. I have work here.”

“May I know, what kind of work?”

“No!” –he blurted out.

I wouldn’t push any more, but he had gained my attention. But I was unhappy I couldn’t know more.

Watching my face turn from inquisitive to disappointing, he added- “Some experiment. Only time will tell if I will succeed. And if I do, you’ll know.”

He must be a scientist, I thought. So, I offered to introduce myself. He wasn’t interested. He just nodded.

I bid goodbye and left, without shaking hands.

The next part of the trail was difficult. Made partly by the abrupt gain of altitude and the uneasy noises of animals, and partly by the various interpretations of his experiment in my mind. I was restless. And tired at the end of the trip.

Back in Hamburg, my dissertation went well. I flew back to India. Proud and with new experiences.

Forty years later…

I was visiting my son Piyush at his residence in Mumbai. My grandchildren were not as elated to see me as I used to be when my grandparents visited me. But I had come to accept it. Generation gap, as they say.
After dinner, they were busy with their devices, the names of which I can’t remember these days. When it was bedtime, Piyush went to switch on music.

I protested- “Why do you want to play music now? Let the kids sleep peacefully.”

Piyush chuckled. I knew he was mocking my ignorance.

“Baba, this will help them sleep peacefully.”

I was not sure how. He did not have to explain.

The music flowed. It was not music as we understood in our days. It was the sound of nature. Birds, animals, leaves, water- all mingled into a rhythm so beautiful that with lights turned off, it was difficult to tell that you were still in Mumbai.

Piyush elaborated -

“Baba, some French musician by the name of Aubert, spent more than half his life in a German forest to create this music. He studied birds and animal sounds in closed rooms to recreate their sounds as closely as possible with musical instruments. Imagine the arrangement of instruments he would have required. And the synchronization. He did it all alone, they say. I don’t believe, though! He gave his music a French name I cannot recall. But this is turning out to be an entirely new genre. For those of us living in cities, the only sounds we hear belong to the incessant traffic. I don’t know when I last heard birds chirping or water hitting rocks. Doctors are saying it’s therapeutic. Every city-dweller should listen to it before going to bed.”

I stood still in silence. Trying to recall what I had heard and seen. His experiment was successful. I longed to go back to Schlagsdorf.

I asked Piyush, “Is he still alive?”

“No, Baba. It was unfortunate. He was killed by an animal while he was wandering in the forest. He was found dead by some hiker. The recordings were discovered from his forest-house. The music was well documented- so it could be released. It was an instant hit! And students are trying to learn from his notes.”

I did not know whether I should be happy that I had met the legend or sad that he died lonely. I went back to my room, soaking in the music that was being created forty years back in my presence! It was supposed to let you sleep peacefully. But I could not sleep.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I close my eyes
To open my minds,
And see stars
That I hadn’t noticed
In the dark sky-
Those which don’t exist
In the galaxy;
More than one moon
‘Cause light brightens me up
And opens up possibilities-
Like an inventor,
Or an explorer-
I wander to places
Which don’t exist -
But are welcoming,
Open to ideas,
I hadn’t thought of
In consciousness,
‘Cause it’s restrictive.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The train window

I look out o’ the window
And see birds flying,
Or may be racing,
For no reason-
None that I know of.
I can’t see their color-
Color makes for good stories;
We don’t romanticize the ugly.
I like their speed,
I like how they dive,
I like watching them take a U-turn-
Wait, were they competing then?

I look out o’ the window,
See the trees whiz past-
Pleasurably enjoying our triumph
They static, we moving,
The leaves nod at me.
I can’t see their faces-
Faces make for good stories;
We don’t attach with lifelessness.
I like their freshness,
I like how they shake,
I like the leaves not leaving the tree-
Wait, did they lose then?

I look out o’ the window,
Watch a group of urchins
Run out of mud huts-
They naked, our dresses branded;
They wave at me.
I can’t see their wealth-
Wealth makes for good stories;
We find poverty unattractive.
I like their energy,
I like how they swerve,
I like them sticking to a group-
Wait, are they poor then?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Slow Down

I want to slow down
To the pace of earth,
Spinning incessantly-
Yet still to us.

I want to slow down
From the city hubbub,
Roaring blatantly-
Like there’s no peace.

I want to slow down
To the jingle of a trinket
On a carefree maiden,
Lost in worldly chaos.

I want to slow down
From the career choices,
Which blind my focus-
Deaf to inner voices.

I want to slow down
To the pace of the river,
Gently carrying history
Despite her might.

I want to slow down
To my heartbeats,
Which keep me going
Without me knowing.

I want to slow down,
Cherish the memories,
Reflect on the need
For slowing down.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Shivagange Trek

Imagine waking up for a trip where you know nothing about your co-travelers and only a little bit about your destination. What drives you to wake up at 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning? It is hard to imagine. However, after observing for a few weeks the activities of Bangalore Trekking Club (aka BTC), I had mustered some courage and confidence. By 7 AM on 11th October, we had assembled at Majestic Bus station, all set for a trek to Shivagange. We were 18 people, an unfair mix of a minority of veterans and a majority of first-timers. The excitement of the first-timers concealed their lack of experience, though. We took a bus to Dobbaspet, around 50 km from the city. The breeze on the way hinted at the good time that was to follow.

We reached Dobbaspet at around 8.30 and had fresh idli for breakfast. We got our lunch packed at the same place. Stomachs full, we were energized to take on the mighty mountains. An auto-ride took us to the foot of the hill that we were to conquer. After a round of introduction, at around 9.30, we were all set for the trek. A flight of stairs in the beginning drained us of some energy but also warmed us up for the longer journey. A temple here, a temple there- we were assured of breaks on our way as the more believers amongst us were curious to see what’s inside while the lesser believers caught their breath and took a moment of silence to appreciate the caves, the primitiveness of rock architecture and the magnificence of nature.

Parts of the trek were easy, and some others were exhausting. Monkeys made sure our trek was slowed down at regular intervals. Imagine trying to climb a steep rise while monkeys stare at you, almost ready to pounce upon you. Brave souls saw the less brave ones past the attack of Bajrang dal. Throughout the trek, we remained a group, looking out for one another, ensuring no one is left behind. A couple of refreshing nimboo-paani breaks and a bunch of group pictures reinvigorated us every time we felt low. A monkey stealing lunch from one of us happened to offer a comic laughter in a tiring climb- so we made no effort to shoo him off. We reached the top before the estimated time. We had earned for us extra time to rest, click pictures, chat up or just stare at the vast expanse of blue and green far away from us. We spent time posing for pictures- solo as well as with the group. The view from the top was exhilarating. The rock statue of Nandi is an amazing sculpture that keeps reminding of the talent and expertise of our forefathers. Having spent enough time looking at the distant villages and towns from the top, we decided that it was time we started our onward journey.

The descent was much less tiring but the incessant brake we had to apply on our knees to keep us from falling was taxing. The weather had been pleasant all throughout the trek- the compassionate Sun keeping his beams low for the sake of the many first-timers. We reached a temple midway where we decided to break for lunch. At that very moment, it started to rain. But we had bought ourselves some time. We ate packed lemon-rice. With a packet of Lays, a sweet or a cake being passed around by fellow group members, it felt like a nice picnic lunch. Even after we had our lunch, it was raining, albeit with lesser vigor. Some raincoats came out, some umbrellas bloomed. Others thought the rain wasn’t that bad. We set out. Rain faded away very soon. We kept descending, with a nimboo pani break and a group photo break in between. Rain had rendered the path extremely slippery and the descent turned out to be more dangerous than we had expected. Nevertheless, everyone managed to complete the trek unhurt, and more importantly happy. The camaraderie of the group was visible at every step- whether it was meeting resistance from the monkey gang, extending a helping hand during a slippery descent or sharing biscuits to cakes to what not!

The group was elated to have reached the foot of the hill well ahead of time. The victorious group got a much-deserved completion photo clicked. We took bumpy auto-rides to the small railway station of Dobbaspet. We had a feedback session- clearly everyone was happy and the trek had turned out to be as expected, if not better. But we still had about half-an-hour to go before the train would arrive. We spent the time playing dumb-charades. The honking train signaled the end of our fun. We rushed in to grab seats. Looking out of the train through the window, I thought- it was worth waking up early on a Sunday morning!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Whose Journey is it?

Swinging the oar to the rush of wave,
A frantic left with all my might
To compensate a stroke to the right-
Mind fixated on staying afloat, and safe-

To keep the head of the kayak straight
Sweaty hands firmly on the paddle,
While my nerves play gamble,
Demanding the inordinate;

They agreed- I was determined-
My persistence would drive me ashore,
That I’d be part of the folklore;
They were all appreciative, very kind.

Did they recognize my sacrifice?
How I turned a blind eye to bordering cliffs,
Barely a careless glance at a colorful fish-
Rowing to their cheer, like a rolling dice.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fate and faith

The wind of fate looks back at me
From future, daring a wicked smile-
As it leads me, hands not holding,
Vision inconveniently obscured,
Through an uncanny maze of time
That has posters from the past
Pasted on its walls like bits of memory,
Reminiscing the wilderness I once braved,
Juxtaposed to images from jubilant nights;
A mashup of clips- good and ugly,
Reminding through my journey
That it’s not going to be a sojourn in the end.

Then, the wind of faith looks back at me
From future, asking silent questions-
As it leads me, my imaginations, my emotions,
Thoroughly disturbing the calm,
Stirring me up to tell the truth-
Of past, present and images of hereafter,
Subtly nudging me to keep my eyes open
Through the strong breath of the other wind;
To admire a mirage, tame it to quench my thirst,
To crawl up uncertain hills for a delightful view,
To return hatred with a kiss of faith
So strong that it knocks down the wind of fate.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The wise potato

The aging, somewhat disfigured potato felt bad I didn’t pick it. I could sense it.
“I haven’t bought a refrigerator yet, so I can’t take too many of you”, I muttered in my defense.
The potato stared meekly at me, “Really? That’s why?”
“Well, of course”, I half-lied.
He kept interrogating, “Why don’t you replace the one in your hand with me?”
“Because you were down there, hidden behind him. And many more. I have already picked your friend, someone else will pick you. What’s the big deal?” I shrugged.
The potato responded calmly, a tinge of sadness spilling through his words, “He’s not a friend. I am old. He pushed me off the queue to grab the prime spot.”
“Oh, come on. That lady there- you see? She’ll pick you.”
“No, tell me- Do you humans also treat your old fellows in this manner?”
Not recognizing where this was going, I said, “What are you talking?”
“I have been waiting here for the last two days, rotting. My lord has been trying to sell me off but…”- he showed me the scars.
“But won’t you anyway get killed if I take you home?”
With a sense of wisdom characteristic only of aging potatoes, he responded, “In our world, that’s how we prefer dying. I’ve heard stories of how you prefer getting killed in a war rather than in a road accident.”
“Umm, I wouldn’t prefer either, but yeah, it’s kind of true.”
“For us, jumping into the frying pan means getting cleansed of all our sins before we die. It’s an honorable death. And in our next life, we might as well be reborn as human beings.”
I was awe-struck- “Do you really want to be reborn as a human being?”
“Unless you too leave your old men to rot”, asked the potato, a shred of doubt clouding his face.
While I was wondering how to respond, I was distracted by a poor man in a tattered shirt haggling with the thelawaala over the price of potato. They settled for a discount for the bad potatoes.
Before I could turn to the old potato, he was gone. Sitting pretty in the poor man’s basket, with his contemporaries.
I was relieved.  Or so I thought.
From the basket, he looked skywards, apparently thanking for the act of Providence. Then he turned toward me- “Do you believe in God?”
“No!” I almost chided him.
 “Then, have you ever wondered why most of your old folks happen to believe in God?”
I could take it no more. I hurriedly paid for my potatoes and left.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Sunday morning

The main road is looking for peace,
Burdened with insomniac engines
That wouldn’t stop buzzing-
Some serviced, others not-
Waking even little birds up,
As I lose clarity,
Still tipsy, and half asleep,
Is it a cuckoo or a crow?

A dog is barking aloud,
Exasperated with joggers
Almost stepping on its tail,
Curled half-inside
To avoid the raw cold,
As a jogger wonders for a moment-
Scared for a thoughtful second-
Is it he or an everyday-irritation?

Cars are parked on the sideway,
Basking in the sun,
Hoping for a Sunday wash
To get rid of the stink-
From brushing the garbage van,
Or is it from spilled fuel or alcohol?
We’ve learnt to live, thinking,
What difference does it make?

Monday, April 27, 2015


[Dedicated to my classmates at S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai]
In 21 months did the sandglass evolve
From being top-heavy to stable,
A dreamy fairytale to no less than a fable;
As knowledge graduated to wisdom,
Grains descended at unprecedented pace
Agitated by the Arabian breeze,
Moist, as if mired in a Mumbai-local,
Wearing the aroma of Juhu sweet corn,
But impatient and rebelling
Like the stomach of a new-born.

In 21 months did the sandglass evolve
From its teens to adulthood,
Carefree, ambitious leaps to measured strides;
As belief graduated to faith,
Grains descended with immaculate flow
Caressed by the sturdy walls of conviction
Gathered from successful peers,
Who led their way to the stable half,
To become winners- champions-
Outside, and better still, at heart.

In 21 months did the sandglass evolve
From incomplete to complete,
Appetizers to a satisfying full platter;
As streaks of lightning graduated to sunlight,
Grains descended with utmost care,
Squeezing in, like a vada peeking between pav,
Tendering apologies and accepting love,
But all the while committing to a promise
To not allow the world separate them-
’Cause they’re the finest of grains. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Cuckoos- as in voices trained,
Crows- passionate in strength-
Vie to greet me rather early in the day;
Eyes and mind- ajar alike-
I hear utensils brush against each other,
Tinkle, as if it was morn at a temple;
Arrhythmic bicycles noisily rushing
Through the tattered alleyway,
Over bricks exposed from aging
Remind of the tuition classes
That I need no more take,
And they would be late for;
Water gurgling through a jammed tap
Conch yelling from a distance
Like today is festival, every day;
A popular Tagore song rings faintly,
Afloat from an unknown direction,
While the pressure-cooker whistle
Incoherently interferes with luxuries like art-
Contrasting sounds that make my town,
Lend it identity- even in blindfold.