Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An autobiography

I often talk about my biography - autobiography, in fact. Autobiography because I know nobody else would write one for me. It doesn't matter whether anyone will read it or not. If my blog can have readers, so would my autobiography (point to be noted - I refuse to improve). And in any case, I intend to get it published after I hit the 'bucket'. I think I will leave a note like Kafka - 'destroy all my works after my death'. I am sure that my friends will not change after my death - they will definitely do opposite of whatever I ask them for.

But what will I write in there?? I don't want a chronological detailing. That gets boring very quickly and even more quickly in my case. I'd prefer to draw a time-line for clear understanding of the flow of events and thereafter, category-wise or event-wise or some other criterion. I mean the editor should also have some headache - I intend to be dead by that time anyways. And although highly improbable, I'd love if someone reads it and thinks - he was a nice man.

So with that much decided, what would the chapters be like?? There are some obvious choices - my schools - from MGM in primary days to IIMA in PhD days and how I messed up everywhere, my family and other animals, something about my teachers and my students, my days in mental asylum, my experiments with life, my idiocies and idiosyncrasies, perhaps about my blogs too, my interests - poetry, writing, research, politics, and travel - and my utter failure in all of them, and so on... but considering the practical aspects of it, I think, I will not be able to write a chapter about my death, so someone please ask that editor guy not to forget it.

And the most important chapter - about my crushes, girlfriends, and relationships - although I want it to be the longest chapter, I know it would not be so. If, at this point of the post, you think of me like an aspiring Casanova, I am not talking about the numbers you pervert. I want it to be the longest because I have so many memories of all those moments - so much to say, to miss, to confess, and to be nostalgic about. At the same time, I know it would well be one of the shortest one among all. It takes some courage to say it all and even in death, just like in life, I know I will not be that brave to say it.

And there is one chapter I wish I don't have to write at all - about the regrets of my life. The regret of not studying enough, the regret of leaving poetry, the regret of not seeing enough places, the regret of saying I don't care, the regret of not saying that I cared, the regret of letting go, the regret of not forgiving and forgetting, the regret of moving on, the regret of sticking for too long, the regret of a life full of regrets... Alas! This is one chapter already written!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

मैंने तो इक बार बुना था एक ही रिश्ता

I gave my thesis seminar today. This is one event that I we waited for so long, so patiently, with so many dreams, with so many aspirations...

and today, when I am finally there... I am there - alone. It feels so lonely, so empty, so useless...

I wish if there was a little more patience... a little more endurance... a little more trust...

Life was not meant to be the way it is... nothing was meant to be the way it is...!!!

मुझको भी तरकीब सिखा दो यार जुलाहे....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

है जनम का जो ये रिश्ता तो...

I have already quit poetry - writing, this time - forever. I think I should stop writing as well - diary, blogs, lists - everything. I should also quit photography. And also sketching, reading, net-surfing, talking to people.

I am too coward to kill myself. May be that un-vented burden of emotions, that load of unexpressed feelings, and this regret of being would do the job... I hope sooner than later.

I was too brave to say it all in front of you... I was too coward to kill my 'self'... and now I am too coward to kill myself.

कोई ये कैसे बताये कि वो तन्हा क्यूँ है
वो जो अपना था वो ही और किसी का क्यूँ है
ये ही दुनिया तो फिर ऐसी ये दुनिया क्यूँ है
ये ही होता है तो आखिर ये ही होता क्यूँ है

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The man who is an island

When I came to IIMA about four and a half years ago, I was not willing for a relationship at all. It is about four months before I leave this campus (with a degree, hopefully). Ironically, I am not willing for any marital bond again. The words 'ironically' and 'again' because in between these times that were a changin' and changin' at an amazing pace, I found 'The One'. But Life... it has a weird sense of humor. I experienced all that that inspires poetry in these few years and then I lost all that that inspires poetry in these few years....

All that what has not happened is also a part of history. All that I failed to live is also a part of my being. All that I lost is also a part of my belongings.

Sometimes, I feel suffocated. Sometimes, I feel free. Sometimes, I feel like running away. Sometimes, I feel like giving it a fight. The duality lives itself in me. I feel confused. I feel torn apart. I feel nothing. I feel everything. I feel like an island.

P.S. - One problem of reading too much literature is that everything real reminds of something fiction. While writing this post, I recalled and found this passage from my old diary-

"टाइम इज़ द ग्रेटेस्ट हीलर'। असल में समय के साथ सब कुछ ठीक ही हो गया है। हम अपनी - अपनी दुनिया में हैं। पर हम पेड़ नहीं हैं कि इस पतझड़ के बाद फिर वसंत आयेगा। बीता समय अंग-भंग की तरह है। उसकी क्षतिपूर्ति नहीं हो सकती। स्थितियों के साथ समझौता ही किया जा सकता है। अगर रहना है तो स्थितियों के मुताबिक ढलना होता है। अपनी कमी को स्वीकार करना होता है। अहं और आक्रामकता ज़िन्दगी नहीं है।

उस गोलार्ध में - पंकज बिष्ट (1992)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

17 years and counting...

First task took 464 years. Already 17 gone, second and final act should come sooner.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

you talkin' to me?

In my orkut scrapbook, there are scraps written to me... by me. why I write scraps to myself? Well, I like having something nice to read sometimes. And more than that, I like talkin' to interesting people. Somehow, I've never found anyone more interesting than him, who writes scraps to himself.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thesis vs Blog

Writing thesis is a lot different from writing a blog.

People read the blog.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Had a presentation with my Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) yesterday. Seems that for coming one month, I'll be away from all the 'extra-curricular' activities. Probably there won't be much blogging - priority has to be the thesis for a while.
Well... as dear Calvin says - there is never enough time to do all the nothing you want ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The joys of driving slow

Yesterday, I attended a talk on urban governance. The speaker,Enrique Peñalosa (a former mayor of Bogota, Columbia) argued for bigger footpaths, more public transport, and fewer cars. It was a nice talk but as many nice talks go, it was pretty Utopian. However, what caught my attention was the pictures in his presentation. Those pictures reminded me of a draft in my dashboard that I thought of writing but didn't write beyond the title.

The title 'the joys of driving slow' came to me as a very pleasant feel, when I was at home in Lucknow this diwali. I was driving my good old LML scooter, with which I've been rated as a rash driver by most of my friends. Some who don't say so have actually not seen me driving. So when I was driving, I realized that I was going slow in the leftmost lane while everyone was flying by in a jiffy. Well... that was not the joyous part as speed really thrills but then I started exploring the things which I could never see due to the 'rash' driving.

For the first time I realized that even roads have a life of their own and that too, a beautiful one. There were many new shops and tea-stalls on the side with laid-back people around, some kids in the parking lot, some cute stray dog trying to steal a meal, some rag-picking kids who would have found some curio and were enjoying looking at that in a huddle, a couple from some rural area who were amused by the city, and some eagles perching on a roof. None of these sights may seem very unusual, important, or beautiful... yet, everything was so usual and simple that that made it beautiful and perhaps, photo-worthy.

However, the experience went deeper and longer than that drive. It was a lot like life - to reach one goal after another, we go fast. So rash and fast that we miss those small joys of life, which are neither unusual nor important and yet, so usual and simple that that makes the life beautiful. From then on, I often drive slow, be it a bike or the life... I am learning to cherish the joys of driving slow!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pictures and Poems

A picture is worth thousand words but when I embarked on finding those thousand ones, I found some poems. Here are two pictures that triggered me to write some lines, as given below the relevant pic.

बहुत हरी हैं मेरी
ज़िन्दगी की राहें अब
तेरे कदमों की हरारत के बिना
काई सी जम गयी है राहों में

मैं झुका रहा तू तना रहा
यूँही फ़ासला सा बना रहा
ना तू मुतमईन ना मैं मुन्तज़िर
ज़रा सोच आखिर: क्या रहा

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Flop Show - still

The famed satirical series by Jaspal Bhatti - Flop Show - was first aired on Doordarshan in 1989. Two decades later, as I finished watching the show again, the humor remains intact but the satire is much louder. It is sad, indeed, that even after twenty years, the problems we face are not much different. The government officials that don't work, the tenants that don't vacate the property, the doctors that do not care, the TV producers that fail to imagine, the doctorates that don't research, and so on.

In India, the world has changed a lot since liberalization and globalization began two decades ago; but ironically, the more it has changed, the more it remained the same. Democracy still fails millions and the four pillars - legislature, executive (administration and police), judiciary, and media are all hopelessly cumbersome, corrupt and inefficient. A dignified employment is mostly illusive for many, agriculture is still the largest employer yet least productive, basic amenities like potable water, sanitation, electricity, good roads, health, education, and security still remain a distant dream, and the Millennium Development Goals are but a mockery.

I am glad that we have made a lot of progress in the past two decades and I am happy that flop show is still humorous. However, I am more sad that we, as a nation, have achieved only a small proportion of our potential and that Flop Show is still relevant in India. Somehow, I feel that Jaspal Bhatti's jokes are no longer directed towards those corrupt officials or dishonest professors or inefficient doctors. Alas! The joke is on us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The long term optimist

Years ago, when I was filling forms and applying to colleges, there often was a column for strengths and weaknesses. As my closest guide then (and friend later), Anand Sir had suggested 'long-term-optimism' as one of my strengths. Although I didn't exactly understood the meaning or implication of this 'strength', I simply complied, for I had no 'strength' (pun intended).

Now, almost six years later, I am realizing what Anand Sir was able to see back then. I have faced many bad times before as well as after that. And though those were bad times, only good came out of each one of them - in the long term of course. Moreover, I have learnt just one thing out of each one of such experiences - at the end, everything will be fine and if everything is not fine, it's not the end.

As I undergo another one of the difficult phases of my life, I again remain optimistic for the long term and hence, forward looking coz as Anand Sir would say, I am a long term optimist!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The 100th post

For no particular reason, some numbers are special; like the 100th post on this blog. So what special writing shall there be for the so special 100th one? This is the point, where I realize that the specialty of a number doesn't extend beyond the number itself. It is much like a new year, where dates and calendars change but the days remain the same.

Anyways, since the 100th one is supposed to be special somehow, let me talk about not-so-run-of-the-mill blabber in this one at least. In the previous 99 posts posted over two years, four months, and nine days, I have talked about my life and experiences, my dreams and aspirations, and my thoughts and the lack of the same. Sometimes I wrote for friends and sometimes for foes. Often it was humor targeted at myself and often I tried being poetic. Irrespective of all such distinctions, the end results were tragic only.

Most of my posts have a tiny '0 comments' written at the bottom but not all were as unattractive to all the readers. I got a few comments on a few. Most readers were polite enough to encourage and some were even appreciative. Sometimes, I got grand compliments and I felt proud as well. However, the moments of proud have always been counted - after all, people equally appreciate any damn crap writer (check any random blog, if you don't want to trust me). And I doubt if I have enough ground to stand separated from the 'appreciated' bloggers, namely, Mr. Tom, Mr. Dick, and Mr. Harry.

Beyond the posted thoughts, I have incomplete posts talking about my attempts at learning different languages, my take on politics and policy, the good, the bad, and the ugly of my life and experiences, and many more sorts of blabbering which is as irrelevant to the world as the previous 99 posts were.

However, as always, the more I say, the more remains unsaid. I believe the journey of the 'writer' me and the 'explorer' me is in its initial stages only. But someday, I'll have real milestones and not ones like the 100th post. In any case, I will keep exploring and keep writing about the life and times of yours truly. Thanks to those who stood by.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

yesterday... once more!

For the past so many days, I've been trying to finish off some of the side-work and then start with my thesis work. And everyday, I'm neither starting to finish the other stuff nor am I embarking upon the thesis work.

The last stretch is always so difficult... and especially when those old days come in front of me and start talking, how can I not get nostalgic and crave for a piece of my good old 'Chhotu' times!!

That reminds me of several quotes and many more verses but sometimes, the words of wisdom and even poetry seems empty. These are the times when the life is devoid of life - devoid of life... or something like that!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pondering - क्या लिखूँ

Once Padumlal Punnalal Bakhshi (पदुमलाल पुन्नालाल बख्शी) wrote an essay on what to write (titled 'क्या लिखूँ') and that went on to become one of the greatest writings on the art of writing. Now is my turn to try; however, I would be contended with a run-of-the-mill blog post only, for greatness and recognition is meant for more worldly people. (Oh yes, I have to pretend I don't want it until I get it.)

On a more serious note, since the time I discontinued two of my blogs, one for my poetry and another for policy matters, I have felt a craving time and again to restart those. Although my time constraints are such that I should discontinue most of my non-academic, non-necessary-for- life activities, I still carry on with most of those in a hope that there will be a day when I will have enough time to do all the nothing I want.

Since I cannot spare time for two more blogs when there are many half-written posts and many more unwritten thoughts lying in pipedreams for this blog, I sometimes feel like putting up my poetry up here. I even pondered upon discussing my policy, political, economic, and sociological thoughts over here. I am still not sure whether I shall make this blog a complete vent for all my blabber or shall I keep it limited to my 'unpoetic' and 'uneconomic' wordplay ventures only.

Any advice, help, or opinion in this regard is most welcome and would be dealt with equal contempt (sic). In any case, I think I will start putting everything here sooner or later. After all, if I have to bore the world with this, why discriminate between personal blabber and poetic or global blabber.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The sad assault on linguistic senses

"The British left India for they could no longer bear the assault on their language."

Although it's an age old joke; somehow, I find its relevance increasing progressively. The torture of the linguistic sensibility is more rampant. Ravindranath Tyagi, the great satirist and poet, has written at length about the torture brought up on Hindi. In his own style, he elaborated that how a slight misspelling can wreak havoc - सूत्रधार से मूत्रधार, स्तर से स्तन, और रेडियो से रंडियो.

In Gujarat, the story is not much different. In India, the snack parlors are aplenty but in Gujarat, all one can find is 'snake' parlor. In addition, there are no halls here, since all of these are spelled as 'hole'. I even found a coaching institute, apparently named after a planet, for teaching 'good' English. Just that they misspell their institute's name as 'Yuranus' (whatever it says about their learning orientations and methods, spare me the thought). The list is much longer than the bounds of space and time can hold.

However, the germs of linguistic lunacy travel faster than my wildest imagination. Hence, much to my chagrin, I have discovered two 'gems' in Lucknow as well. The city of nawabs, the last shelter of linguistic purity, the home of etiquette and mannerism, the land of gardens and science gave me a big shock with two signboards that read - "The Oaf Public School" and "Hilarious Beauty Parlour".

Et tu, Lucknow? Now where would Caesar fall :??

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

भूल गया सब कुछ...

I am becoming more and more forgetful by the day and then, by the night I forget a little more. Perhaps, I am moving way too fast on the path of becoming a professor, at least in terms of forgetfulness, if not in intelligence.

I remember it was years ago when I learned that I can't remember streets or roads or ways to anywhere. I have got lost in every possible corner of Lucknow, have lost my way in some 30 different cities and three different countries so far. Once, I even got lost on a straight road. In fact, I am often amused by the fact that I still somehow reach my home without forget.

When I was preparing for competitive exams and teaching alongside, I used to forget whatever I was saying in the middle of a sentence. And then I had to ask the class what was I saying. Mostly they thought, it was a trick question and kept quiet. More often than that, they were simply not listening and hated me for waking them up.

Few days ago, I was on a night stroll with a friend. He kept talking and asking things to me, however, I kept quiet for most of the time - I had forgotten his name. In fact, forgetting names is nothing new for me but since it offends people when I ask their name after seventeenth meeting, I have found a way around that. At IIMA, I ask their name and when they tell me their real name (with a visible irritation / disgust / surprise), I simply say, "duh! I was asking your dorm-name. I know your real name dude." Alternatively, I ask their e-mail id, which almost always gives a clue to the real name. However, the real problem arises, when I have forgotten someone's name a few times over and done asking their real name, surname, dorm-name, father's name, e-mail, etc etc. Please note that I use masculine terms for this paragraph for the simple reason that I don't forget any name from the fairer sex, primarily because they are they - the fairer sex.

And the trigger of this fond remembrance of my forgetfulness is this morning's event - I was leaving for gym, when I realized that my shoes have become loose. I happily thought that I have lost some weight. All those gym mornings helped finally. Then, to my utter disappointment, I saw my socks still lying on the floor. The shoes were obviously loose without socks. Actually I could have written this post last week as well. That was when I wondered one day that why the wind is super cool today till before seeing my jeans was still on the hanger. But then, I was too embarrassed to let everyone know that I really forgot that.

Despite all my forgetfulness, I still haven't forgotten somethings - some people, some days, some places, some memories, some dreams... I never forget a birthday, never missed an anniversary, and still remember all those days moment by moment, when I was with my dearest ones.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

God of stupid things

"Genius may have its limitations but stupidity is not thus handicapped."

Elbert Hubbard said this about me before he passed away in 1915. And So far, I've humbly devoted my life in proving that he was not wrong at all. And I'd quote just a few examples of limitation of my genius (and the infinitive capability of its counterpart within yours truly) to drive home the point.

For once, whenever I cooked in my room, I preferred doing it with lots of vegetables and flavoring with ginger, chillies, and spices. So I used to buy, among other things, some green chillies, clean and cut them meticulously. And then cut other vegetables and finally onions, which caused a lot of tears. And then, I wiped those tears off, only to realize that the green chillies were still not washed away. So saving my eyes from onions invariably resulted in putting chilly in my eyes every single time.

Getting out of my small kitchen, I drive straight away to my driving genius in order to drive home the point. Well, to be honest, in my ten years of driving, I was always rated as a rash driver but I've never had an accident. That is, I've never had an accident when I was driving rash. My first accident was at 5 in the morning, second one at about 06:30, another one at around 0730, and the last one was around 7 in the morning. One common thing in all the accidents, apart from being an accident and my involvement in those, is that every time I was driving in third gear, enjoying the morning breeze, and thinking smugly about my driving skills. No need to mention that my smug thoughts were interrupted with a KAABBOOOMMMMM!!! Again - every time.

And I am reminded of my infinite 'genius' again today, when I took a glass of water in gym. I switched on the red tap, filled my glass, and looked at it, wondered for a while about the specks of vapor inside the glass, and then... then I took one large sip. I remember throwing it all out and then drinking lots of cold water before I finally stopped feeling my tongue. After about eight hours, I still can't differentiate my Ss from my Fs. Ironically, when I speak like this, people stare at me, thinking I am copying Shahid Kapoor of 'Kaminey'.

Well, the tales of my 'genius' are longer than my humble genius self can put into constraints of a mere 26 letters, added to already tight constraints of such limited space and illusory time. However, I'll keep us all posted. Thank you for understanding.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life is Arbitrary!

Seriously, life is arbitrary.

Just got off the phone after talking to a friend, who was not keen to live any longer. I tried highlighting all the life's worth and life in life that lies ahead. I think my pep talk was helpful and the conversation ended up with a delightful good night.

And as I sat in front of my comp, chatting to another friend, I came to know that her very close friend passed away. I never even imagined world's most chirpy person sounding so grave. Life is really, really arbitrary.

During the preparatory programme at IIMA, I gave an impromptu talk on life. Among many positive points on life, I remember quoting that "life is not worth living" and that "life is a sexually transmitted disease". Today, I realize it all over again that how worthy and precious life is, not only for oneself but also for all those whose life is connected with the one.

The movie "It's a Wonderful Life" gave a really great perspective about this thought. However, seeing that in a film with the guardian angel in the background and experiencing the ironies and mockeries of life personally are two entirely different things. In the former, life is wonderful. In the latter, life is arbitrary! Damn arbitrary!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Diaries

I started writing diary as a result of my obsessive compulsive disorder of collecting and listing every random piece of information. I made my first diary in class IV to note jokes, riddles, and fascinating facts. After a while, I realized that it is a messy business and I do not like same jokes or riddles over time. After tearing off that diary, I made another for noting quotations and the lines I liked in the books I read. Soon the diary got heavier with noting of small couplets and poems. Later on, I started writing diary on my own, mostly about how I spent my day.

However, the real diary-panache began a little after I started writing poems myself. Initially, it was all in one diary - a big bundle of everything. Then, I made separate diaries for everything - my own poetry, the collections of others' works, personal diary, and also a slam-diary - on the lines of a slam-book, in which my friends can scribble anything they wish. Below are a few shots of all my present diaries - a large number I'd say. However, among all my old and new ones, I really miss the one which didi had read - after shredding that in small pieces, I and Parimal blew that at night in Gomti river. That was perhaps my most precious diary for it was full of memories of Emma.

All My Diaries
The ones for collection

And the two for my poetry

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Frankly my dear... I don't give a damn!

I don't know why some people think they are so important that someone would be wasting their time and efforts for them. I guess some people are like that - so damn a liar that they lie even to oneself (and yet profess the virtues of truth). Another characteristic of such losers is that they live in delusions of self-grandeur and belief that everybody is trying to measure up to them and is expecting them to budge. Perhaps, they should realize that even if they were important once upon a time, they might have lost all their significance now.

To all such liars and losers, my one line response is - Frankly my dear... I don't give a DAMN!!

P.S. - As I said a few days ago, "a worthy message shall find a worthy recipient"©, I know this message will reach the 'worthy' (or shall I say the worthless) one, whether they are 100 meters away or 1661 kilometers away.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


जन्मदिन की असीम शुभकामनायें गुलज़ार साहब

I do not like it when one tampers or misquotes a शेर, even when the misquotation is as small as replacing a 'में' with 'से'. And if it is a favorite one, forget any forgiveness. Now sample this:

ये इश्क नहीं आसाँ
अजी एड्स का खतरा है
पतवार पहन जाना
ये आग का दरिया है

And this comes from the mighty pen of Gulzar... and my love for Gulzar has grown only with these lines. The depth of the thought and the subtlety of the emotion, both are unparalleled, except for, may be, Ghalib. I don't know how does he put a poetic sweetness in words like fatak, hu-tu-tu, and dhadak-dhadak. His poetry is like a breeze of freshness and sweetest experimentation amidst the cacophony and thoughtless repetition of old emotions.

And this is when Gulzar's writings in films is just the tip of the iceberg of his poetic and literary genius. His short stories in रावी पार are binding and his poetry is... well, beyond words. The following verse inspired name of the two of his collections - पुखराज and रात पश्मीने की.

इक सबब मरने का
इक तलब जीने की
चाँद पुखराज का
रात पश्मीने की

I distinctly remember the night, when I was tired of studies and sitting in the IIMA library, I read रात पश्मीने की. Around midnight, I was so overwhelmed that I wrote a poem for Gulzar. Even more distinctly, I remember the day when I got to recite the same poem in front of the Maestro himself and at the end of it, he hugged and blessed me. With such genius and status, such simplicity and sweetness is what makes Gulzar even more special and lovable.

As Gulzar celebrates his 73rd birthday today, I hope to see a worldwide celebration for him two years later - on his अमृत महोत्सव (perhaps a picture of him between an already won Oscar and a probable Nobel). He is one of the most special persons in my life. I wish गुलज़ार many more moments and many more aeons of creation, poetry, love, admiration, and sweetness.

Monday, August 10, 2009

सबसे पीछे हम खड़े...

Some words left unsaid, some deeds left undone, some things not made...
and also,
some things done, some words said...

I regret a lot of things in life... I never wanted hurting you to be one of those things! and I would love if I can just repent enough for all that that hurt you...

If I, if I have been unkind,

I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.

Friday, August 7, 2009


They say focus. I say I am focused! Just that our understanding of the term is different.

I want to do so many things - research, travel, trekking, writing, poetry, photography, social work, politics, teaching, singing, sketching, and many more. I want to read so many things - history, philosophy, psychology, economics, literature, sociology, politics, war, religion, mythology, physics, mathematics. Even within research of economics, I want to work on development issues, education, behavioral aspects, financial economics, and policy matters.

And they again say - Focus. My point is that I have got just one life to live and just one life to die... so why not do everything I like in the only life I've.... here is a message for 'them'!

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Monday, August 3, 2009

Inspired... again

Today, I stumbled across this video after so long and the small kid in the video made my eyes wet once more. More than that, I am inspired again and feeling all reinvigorated for my fight against systemic rot at IIMA (and beyond).

A little detail - About four months ago, as a result of complaining against dirty drinking water at IIMA, I was asked to head the committee for drinking water reforms. Working with IIMA administration up close, I realized why in our first year, a professor had said in class that this is "Indian Institute of Mismanagement". The institute may definitely be world class but the administration is typically 'sarkari' (read corrupt, political, and inefficient).

After doing some surprise checks on water plant, talking to some more informed people, doing a lot of unpaid consultancy, and preparing long minutes and reports, the whole thing was sidelined. The new system should have been in place on May 29, 2009 (i.e. - 2 days before the preparatory programme begins) but thanks to bureaucracy, not only the old system continued but also the 'bad' vendor was extended host of other benefits too. And in the process, all I got was hostility and bad behavior from the administration.

I was disgusted and dismayed. In fact, I had given up on the system - I have enough of academic load to keep me on toes. And for the past few days, I was in a dilemma of holding the baton or letting it go. However, now I've decided again to lead the fight against this system. After all, the society suffers less from wickedness of wicked and more from idleness of good. I hope to make some change, even if a small one and I believe it is high time to do so - to retain my faith in all that we hold good.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


This is the name I gave her - Emma.

I was in class 10th, when I first saw her and that was a crush at first sight. I guess high-school crushes happen that way only - at first sight. Since I didn't know her name for very very long, I gave her a name after her school only - Emma Thompson Convent.

What we do at fifteen, I wonder, how it becomes a laughing stock only few years later. And so is it for me today. I used to plan my schedules according to hers. Every market visit for comics was tuned to her school return or her coaching classes. As a result, I used to visit bookstall at noon during summers and late evenings during winters - weather was no issue if it was for Emma.

Once I went to play cricket in her neighborhood, just because that ground was in front of her house. However, I ended up being attacked and chased by a dog and getting a severe sprain and swelling in my foot. I was forbidden to move for about a month but even that came out for good. As I was confined to my room, I used to sit in my balcony early morning and as a surprise, I came to know that Emma is friends with another girl opposite my home. So I could see her every morning when she came there before school. That was the best summer injury I ever had and most inspiring poetic mornings too.

Once she tried talking to me, when we were in the street, waiting for a procession to pass. And I was so dumbstruck, I didn't utter a word. I know I lost that moment but who knows if it would have made any difference. And once I had read the whole telephone directory to search all the addresses on her street. Eventually, I discovered a lot about her. Like - family details, address, phone number, college, courses, and seven years later, her real name too. But her real name didn't matter anymore - she was, for me, Emma, forever.

Ironically, with so many memories, I have no picture of her. I don't even have my old diary, which had an almost day by day recording - had to tear that off due to some reason. It lasted for seven long years before I finally thought of moving on. Actually I realized by then that I don't have either the guts or means to make anything possible. Perhaps that was very typical of me - by that time, I loved her feel and image more than I loved her.

I wish if she'd ever know that someone loved her so much and for so long...even, gave her a name - Emma...!!! or perhaps, she does...!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

History, Saputara, and We

That what has never happened is also a part of history.

"We were in Saputara 15 days ago and in 15 more days, I'll be leaving for Bangalore."

This is what I should have written in my diary exactly one year ago.

I never did.

We never went to Saputara.

I went to Bangalore.

Soon, there was no 'We'.

Saputara became the Neverland of my life.

That what has never happened is also a part of history.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Parallel Universes

Scientists say that there are infinite parallel universes and in each of those, moments unfold in different ways. In those parallel universes, all the possibilities are lived. I wonder if things are different for me in one of those parallel universes.

Is there a universe where I get to do all that I want? May be, I am more sincere for studies in one of those. May be, I have continued with business and have not studied much in another. Somewhere I must have become a writer and may be, in one, I am a professor. Perhaps, I have even become a politician in one or a poet perhaps. In one of those, I might be an adventurer, a traveler, or a photographer. May be I do not exist in one of those.

Is there a universe where we are still friends? Is there a universe where we are still friends only? May be, in one of those, we have never met. May be, in one of those, we have never separated.

Perhaps, in one of the universes, I have got the superpower of constructing parallel universes. May be in that universe, I know what has happened in all the other parallel universes.

In at least one, I must have gone mad.

Is there a universe in which I am happy?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why I love the IIM of A

After spending four years at IIMA, as the time to leave is approaching, I progressively feel like not leaving the place. The reason?? Well, it is not the magnificent buildings listed on world's greatest buildings or the huge campus that is full of birds, greenery and scenery. A lot of other places have great buildings and greater landscapes.

The faculty is great indeed - one professor was on sixth pay commission, another on the Sachar committee, one was the member of industrial commission, two of them have a testimony from the Nobel prize winner team for their work on climate change, and the list of great ones is too long. But the reason for my love is not even such distinguished faculty. Even the opportunity to meet and listen to many luminaries, including Soli Sorabjee, Harsha Bhogle, Arun Myra, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Sunil Bharti Mittal, and Arun Shourie doesn't bind me so close to the place. Its definitely not the IIMA administration, which is typical babudom - inefficient, corrupt, and rude. Even the city and its weather are rather unlikable. However, I still don't want to leave the IIMA.

In fact, few days ago, I re-realized why I love the place and why I am going to miss the days spent here. Perhaps that is the same reason that makes IIMA one of the best institutions in India. I love the place for the peer environment I got here - And which is not the case with most of the campuses in India. IITs may be a close exception but their size is so big that close interactions are often not that easy.

For the past few days, I've been getting stimulating, intriguing, and pretty idiosyncratic ideas from some of my batch-mates on the subjects ranging from ethnic conflicts, politics, civilization, human evolution, religion, and sociology. Likewise, I had a four-day long and academic discussion with some on the quran and islam related matters. Debates on politics, capitalism, socialism, budget, and government policies have always been intense, long, and diverse - be it the classrooms or the virtual notice-boards of D-Babble. More than that, there were always people around to talk and teach about technology, science, economics, politics, history, and culture.

Interestingly, I got not only wonderful academic discussions with seniors, juniors, and batch-mates alike, there have been gems on a range of arts as well. For one, those long discussions on Ghalib and Gulzar with some in my section and once, I even had a wonderful listener to all my poetry. I had some lessons on Sikhism from one of my dormmates and on islam from a junior. There were plenty of them who tested their musical sense on me and tried putting some tune into my larynx (however, all failed drastically and I am as out of sync as always).

When I bought an electronic cooker, I had a wonderful friend to experiment with me and teach me the fundamentals of cooking afresh. Some friends taught me to play with my new camera and one even happily posed for it many a times. And this is not it - I got access to an enormous repository of movies of all genres and languages and ages, all sorts of technology and finance whiz kids around (who still sound like gibberish), sports freaks, toughest quiz masters, journalists, military men, and even a few lawyers... all in one package of IIMA.

Now tell me, who would want to leave such a campus with all the blessings of genius colleagues, so many memories all around, and so much more still left to explore in life...!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

And another batch...

It's again that time of the year... a fresh batch is arriving at IIMA to begin their two year journey. Soon the campus will be all full with people and along with them, chanting of cases facts, cribs, and dreams. Although this batch is coming at the time of recession and yet, paying the highest fee charged till date; the batch is held special due to one single reason - about 1/5th members are from the fairer sex, a new record for IIMA.

But some things never change... Today I saw a fresher girl and her mother roaming around the campus and peeping inside mess, trying not to step into anywhere wrong. Yesterday, there was a group of parents, reading every display in the 132 feet gallery in the underpass.

I found it really interesting and moving to see parents coming with their 'small' children, taking a tour around the campus and gaping at the architectural wonders, 'fachchas' discovering the campus, finding places, forgetting ways, entering library in awe, asking for tips from seniors, and quizzing about the places to see in and around the campus. Well... here are my best wishes to the last batch I'd be seeing as a student

Friday, June 5, 2009

How well do you know Siddhartha Rastogi?

In the pile of those thousands of quizzes on Facebook, I am also a culprit of contributing one - "How well do you know Siddhartha Rastogi?". The seven question quiz was taken by ten friends so far. Although their scores varied between 1/7 to 5/7, I think most of them chose the second best, if not the correct answer.

About friends who took the quiz, Puja and (surprisingly) Rasika scored the highest, i.e. - 71% but the real surprise was score of Meha at 14% and even Priyanka at 42% - I was hoping much higher scores for both. Now I want to see Gunjan's result, as I hope he would get most of them right.

Following is the quiz and a little blabbering about the questions and responses by yours truly :)

How well do you know Siddhartha Rastogi?

1) At a party, what would I definitely be doing?
a) gulping kegs of beer
b) dancing on the dance floor
c) chatting with friends
d) hitting on hot chicks
e) Sitting silently and observing people

Most of my friends thought that I'd be chatting with friends. Well that was my second best answer. Normally, I sit silently in some cozy corner, observing and reading people.

2) What would be the perfect present for me?
a) electronics and gadgets
b) books
c) clothes
d) cards and crafts

Most of the friends got it right - books. And few chose the second best as well - cards and crafts.

3) What is my dream profession?
a) Teacher
b) Politician
c) Assassin
d) Social Worker

True that I'll be in teaching profession but that is the real world. In my dream world, I am a politician, ruler, policy maker, and dictator. Most of my friends knew only the reality, not my dream profession.

4) If I had one day left to live, how would I live it?
a) Call and meet up all the friends
b) kill all the people on my hitlist
c) confess my love to all my crushes
d) eat, drink, and be merry

I bet that very few can guess it - my lists still remain somewhat secret. Some chose the second best of calling up friends and some even chose the third best of confessing my crushes. However, few know me so closely that they knew I'd prefer clearing the backlog on my 'hitlist' to cleanse this world.

5) I am most happiest when ________?
a) I talk to friends
b) I read
c) I kick some a**
d) I daydream

Yes, I am a dreamer - a man of thought. But most of my friends know me as an avid reader only and they chose option b only. I wonder why nobody thinks some ass-kicking makes me happy, when in fact it does ;)

6) What did I want to be when I was little?
a) Teacher
b) Armyman
c) Writer
d) Businessman

I always wanted to be a teacher when I was young. Army was my second choice. When I grew up, my second choice was struck out and my first choice became the reality, only to be replaced by the dream of another 'first choice' of politics. However, writing and business always attracted me as a romantic possibility only and never as a full time career option.

7) I am least likely to believe in
a) God
b) Ghosts
c) Communism
d) Dreams

This was a cracker - I truly believe in Dreams, God, and Ghosts; but Communism?? Come on... Surely! you must be joking Mr. Marx.

There were many more questions and many kept on popping inside my top-floor vacuum till even days later but you know, I've already told you a lot. As a final pointer, beyond this garb of some small information, there is a lot more to know :P

P.S. - Gunjan took the quiz and answered 6 correctly out of 7 - highest thus far. I knew he won't let me down :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blow to Blogging - Blame it on God

As I feared, with the frontiers of occupation becoming more numerous, time is becoming progressively scarce for me. And in such times of scarcity of a resource, the most obvious thing is to demand an increase in the supply of the resource. However, I don't know who gave the right to that God person to declare so arbitrarily that there cannot be more than 24 hours in a day. So I am compelled to do what the wise guys like me do - fall for the second best (aaahhhh, been doing a lot of that lately).

Therefore, as a result of some random whim by an inefficient administrator of this universe, I'm compelled to cut sometime off blogging. And in these times of recessions, I've also decided to free up a few megabytes of server space for blogger. Hence, I am not only stopping writing in two of my blogs, but also going to delete them. I know nobody gives a damn and nobody gonna miss all that blabbering. But if I cared about that, did I start any blog at all?

As a final word, in a few days' time, I'll delete two of my blogs - the poetry blog and the another one for policy related matters. These two were started the latest and do take a lot of time too. Not that I'd stop writing or enjoying poetry or policy debates but blogging would no longer be there. Thanks to those who stood by.

P.S. - who appointed that God person as the administrator of the universe? I demand more transparency and some more competition. Vote for me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And Some efficient ones

Although I've already written about some (in)efficient companies and also about my mixed experience with large corporations in "The company you keep", now is the time of praise for some deserving ones.

Beginning with the biggest one of them - Hindustan Unilever Ltd. Few months ago, a pack of 100 teabags of HUL's Taj Mahal wasn't being particularly satisfactory due to the continued in-cup tearing of teabags. Amazingly, a single e-mail resulted in a phone call within two days and the delivery of a brand new pack within a week. That was nice to realize - despite the size, volume, and brand, HUL cares about satisfaction of individual consumers.

As another unexpected instance, Cleartrip contacted me in response to a blopost. There was some confusion regarding the refund channel and some detailed communications ensued. Finally I got a refund of more than 2K. But more than that, I've been a loyal customer to Cleartrip since that day for booking all my tickets. At least they are responsive and I know that the company cares in case something goes wrong.

However, the best, and rather surprising, experience was with Kingfisher Airlines. I booked two tickets and when I wanted to cancel one and alter another, they told me, "Since the flight time has been shifted by more than 15 minutes (20 minutes to be precise), we will give you full refund on the cancelled ticket and free rescheduling for another." The real shocker was that they didn't even charge the price difference of over 2000 bucks upon rescheduling. Although one would rate it devoid of business sense, since after this experience, I'm willing to stick to Kingfisher than with any other airlines (specially Spicejet, which really behaves like shrewd and mean businessmen).

P.S. - If you've read the old post (The company you keep), IRCTC is not so bad after all. After the derailment and the whole incident, I got the refund about eight months later. I guess they are not bad or greedy, just lousy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I know...

I know a poet who had written loads and tons for you. He could never write again once you left him.
I know a man who loved you like no one ever could have had. He never asked for your love in return.
I know a friend who spent sleepless nights to fulfill your every whim. He still doesn't sleep well.
I know a student who learnt a lot from you. He still misses all those lessons.
I know a man who used to make tea and snacks for you. He still buys your favorite snacks but never had a meal as fulfilling.
I know a man you always said was a pessimist. He is a pessimist now, for he has left any hopes of your return.
I know a man who was a true friend. He doesn't care now.
I know the man for whom you don't exist anymore. The man has moved on.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some (in)efficient companies

I made my first email account on rediff about 10 years ago. Since then, rediff has grown in size and deteriorated in email service quality. I get some 30-40 junk mails everyday and spam filter is of ultimate useless kind. In fact, it is not only useless, it works in reverse. So much so that I get spams in my inbox and my IIMA call letter landed up in the junk folder. The rediffmail address is used in many of my accounts as login and afaik, the rediff account has no feature of delete, like gmail.

Another such efficient company is Tata. Yes! Don't be surprised. Like every other Indian, I also have immense respect for the house of Tata and their untiring efforts in India's progress. However, their customer care / grievance redressal system is, perhaps, the worst of my experiences. I never got a single acknowledgment, leave apart a reply or followup, from any of the Tata companies for any complaints. For example - my latest pack of 100 tea bags from Tata tea is so pathetic, I really miss the good ol' Taj Mahal tea bags; but none of the email addresses on Tata tea website were responsive for the complaint against bad tea bags. Similarly, the mails against Tata Star bazaar, the retail mart of Tata, went unacknowledged and unanswered. However, I got a very quick and nice reply for a compliment to the head of Croma, the electronics mega-store of Tata.

Another bad experience was with HDFC bank. My first prerequisite for opening a premium account was a fully online account and no visit to branches. However, despite two visits to the branch, my online funds transfer facility was not activated. Finally, I had to abandon that account within a month of opening. But I must appreciate their guts to call me sometime later and to ask for opening an account with HDFC bank.

With such unresponsive and irresponsible behavior, these big brands not only loose some small business but many a customers; and overtime, they may end up loosing everything they claim to stand for. However, there are some very responsive and responsible companies as well, about which I shall write soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And one more...

I've had a deep interest in politics, sociology, and political economy for as long as I remember. However, I usually never wrote on these issues on my blog, for I always wanted to keep this blog for more personal matters. And also, I always thought that it is rather lame to raise opinions and observations if they have no impact.

However, I've learnt lately that they do have an impact and that even if they don't, I still want to raise a voice. Even if that goes unheard, it doesn't go unrecorded. To an extent, this internal kick is most beautifully and succinctly put to words by Mannu Bhandari, the noted Hindi authoress:

अपने व्यक्तिगत दु:ख-दर्द, अन्तर्द्वन्द या आन्तरिक 'नाटक' को देखना बहुत महत्तवपूर्ण, सुखद और आश्वस्तिदायक तो मुझे भी लगता है, मगर जब घर में आग लगी हो तो सिर्फ़ अपने अन्तर्जगत में बने रहना या उसी का प्रकाशन करना क्या खुद ही अप्रासंगिक, हास्यास्पद और किसी हद तक अश्लील नहीं लगने लगता?
आत्मकथ्य - महाभोज
मन्नू भंडारी

So finally giving up before the rebellious me, I decided to write about social-political-economic affairs as well. Initially I decided to make a new blog; however, with my busy schedules, it was already getting tough to run three different blogs for poetry, photography, and writing. Thence, I decided to change the flavor of my writing blog a little but finally, I decided that instead of changing this one, I'd better make a new blog. Although given my academic, social, and personal commitments, it'd be difficult for me to be regular on all four and the frequency overall may decline but at least, I'll be writing soon on my new blog for politics, social issues, and economics.

P.S. - This post as well as the launch of a new blog is delayed for so long for one more reason - for want of an appropriate blog title. For the time being, starting it anyways. If you have an appropriate blog title, please suggest.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mumma's third daughter

This is an old family joke - after two sisters, I was designated as the third daughter of my family. Reason - I didn't hesitate in doing household tasks, kept all my stuff and room very clean, cooked whenever I could, liked writing and other fine arts, and many more similar 'girly' things.

The same joke continues in the family. However, the things are not very different among friends as well - one friend says I am not masculine enough because I use moisturizer and do not hesitate in revealing this. Another friend has a problem with my remembering all the dates and special days. I was most laughed upon and had even heated arguments, when I said I have no problems being a house-husband. And many of them had a problem when I said I like a pink shirt. In the dorm, people feel my room competes with girls' rooms because it is very clean, has some cooking stuff, a broom, three doormats, and no lizards.

Frankly, I hate this stereotyping. Reading different blogs and observing or talking to many of my friends, both male and female, I realize their point. There is a parametric definition of masculinity ingrained in our common psyche. There is a sense of pride inculcated for being a man. I appreciate that and to an extent, share that too. But our parameters of manhood and masculinity are very different. For them, manhood is proved and strengthened by not bathing ten days in a row and killing lizards with their body odor, not brushing their teeth for weeks (yes, I was taunted upon for brushing twice a day), keeping all their stuff on the floor like a pile of garbage, and wearing socks and 'other' stuff after smelling if the stink is bearable for another day. The list is pretty long but I don't want people throwing up all around with the details of proofs of 'manhood'.

And I am declared the third 'daughter' of my family with even more vehemence because I am not ashamed of keeping clean, not shy about applying moisturizer, and rather brave about wearing a pink shirt. As a challenge to all the 'men', there are even more 'girly' things I do - like writing diary, preferring a visit to dolls museum than another fort (yes, it happened in Jaipur), and knowing some sewing also. And I am proud for every bit of all this. After all, if this is the cost of proving my manhood, I refuse it. I'd be happier being called the third daughter than being a stereotype 'man'.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dharti Ka Bojh

For sometime now, I've been too undisciplined - waking up till late night, getting up even later, too much surfing on net, and too less of work. I was always known as very sincere at work and the earliest rising guy in the dorm / class etc. In fact, when I was at ICC, I used to wake up at 5:30 and get ready by 7:00.

However, I am not very worried about my sleeping or waking schedules. At the moment, what concerns me the most is breaking the 'Barrier'. I casually went to the gym at IIMA with a friend and even more casually, stood on the weighing scale and whoooosshhhhh thud clunk dhadaaaaaaammmmm!!! Within a nanosecond, my entire life flashed before my eyes. Well, not really. Just that I descended the scale quickly, smiled sheepishly, and ran away from the scene as soon as I could with all that bulge.

Yes! For the first time in my life, I burdened mother Earth with more than 70 kg (71.6, to be precise) and I was feeling every bit of that. My BMI (Body Mass Index) was knocking on the doors of fat from fit. I mean such uncountable bulges - I feared the fat guy described by Woody Allen was not far from me and soon, just like his, my eyes will also be fat.

So scared was I that I've already started living off more fruits and less of mess and canteen oil-dipped supplies. Then three days ago, I made a brief morning time-table on the white board in my room and that reads something like this:

0700 wake-up
0700-0730 room clean and brush
0730-0800 exercise and yog
0800-0830 mail check
0830-0900 breakfast
0900-0930 bath and get ready for studies

And I gladly announce that for the first time in my life, a time table has not been broken for two consecutive days. Yes! To my own utter amazement, I've followed it for two days now. Let's see how long I carry on with my whims and those bulges of fat but for the time being, I am trying to reduce the 'Dharti ka bojh'.

P.S. - And yes, it is important coz I want that achchha sa, disciplined bachcha back and more importantly, I'm yet to get married and fat before marriage is Bad. What? After that? Who cares ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Devdas (and also Amarkant Verma and Meursault)

I first read the magnum opus by Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay on Friday, January 1, 1999. Since then, I've had an admiration for that impatient arrogant escapist self-pitying loser, the protagonist of the novel 'Devdas'. In fact, at one level, I identify with him. Yes, I do... just like I identify with the reluctant detached truthful Meursault of Camus' L'Etranger or with the passionate Amarkant Verma of Maniratnam's Dil Se.

I just realized that all the three characters die at the end of the story - Devdas in a drunk state, outside his beloved's house; Meursault was hanged to death, and; Amarkant Verma was blown away with his beloved suicide bomber.

Yes, there are a lot of more famous, more admired, and more admirable heroes in reality and in fiction and I love them too but I love these more. Perhaps because there is something in all of these three that I wanted to but couldn't be. I never could be so unfeigned like Meursault or so persistent like Amarkant Verma. And most of all, like Devdas - I was never so brave (or coward) to refuse to move on and to sink the life in a glass of memories. Yet, I left a part of myself back there, forever.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feels good

Courtesy: Google Analytics Blog Visitor Tracking Device :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Library

This February, a stock taking of my library revealed that there are some 1,050 listed books now. What started as a small column in my study shelf, when I was in class 3 or so, has grown into this. After meticulously indexing them all over so many years, now I've plans for computerized indexing and some better system of classification. After all, I'm aspiring to read and collect many more such thousands.
So here is a peep at my collection back home only - there is a tip of this iceberg in my dorm-room also :D

This is the First Shelf, with literature for children - my childhood book collection, poetry books (in the front row), literary magazines, and some general knowledge books. Since my high-school, this shelf has seen very low movement except for the front row.

Next is the shelf of Hindi literature - full of classics, contemporary literature, pocket books, and Hindi translations of other language books as well. This shelf has been on a slow growth path since my graduation.

And the third shelf has noted highest inflow in the past few years. This one houses English literature - Classics, contemporary, Indian authors, translated ones, and some periodicals.

And here is a full view of the three shelves in my room at home - space crunched with multiple rows and arrangements, waiting for another shelf, or may be, a full library and reading room in my soon-to-be new home.

And every single piece of this collection carries a stamp that reads this -->

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Last Trip

One year since the last trip together... perhaps ever! Now only some images remain - images drawn with sun rays, images drawn on water, images drawn in memories.

Sometimes it is better to let go. Sometime it is better to move on. That is what I have done. That is what I had to do. There were no choices. There were no parallel universes. I often ask myself what if life gives me a chance again? I often tell myself that life is not lived with 'what ifs'.

I wish to see all those places again someday. I wish to make all those trips again someday. I know those trips will never be the same again. I don't want to know those trips will never be the same again. I live with images. I live with 'what ifs'. I still live with you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cricket in my life

Recently I played my second ever cricket match at IIMA. First one was FPM senior vs. junior and the recent one was dorm 6 vs. dorm 9.
In both the matches, I had to field at third man. I remember that in school days, I always got to field at silly point or long-off.
I wonder if that is a reflection of my life on my game. I wonder why I never get long-on, point, fine leg, or even, short leg.

Friday, February 6, 2009


A lot has changed since you are gone...

I still go places and I still shoot a lot but you are not in those frames anymore. "Nomadic Dreams" is a sacred folder now with the memories of all the tours that we did together and all the journeys since your departure are in "wanderlust". And it is not about naming the folders alone - in going places, there are no dreams anymore but only a lust for wandering, a quest to escape.

I still have those tea and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. sessions but there is one cup less now. I still cook sometimes and sometimes I eat outside but it is never as fulfilling as skipping a meal with you.

I still write poems for you but none looks up and smiles. I still read those pages of my slam-diary and those poems too, which you wrote for me. Words are all the same but as dead as 'us'.

I know there is no sense in writing all this now. Nothing can bring you back and nothing can make for whatever has happened. But yesterday, someone asked about you and I couldn't resist myself from falling all over again. Remember how you always said that I am a pessimist and I always emphasized that I am an optimist. It's my destiny to hope...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Poetry vs. Poetry

I've been writing poetry for almost 12 years now and reading for much longer than that. Over the time, I've read Hindi and Urdu poetry a lot and a bit of English poetry lately. I attended a lot of poetic events, recited form stage quite a few times, and recently, got published as well. However, I have never been so disappointed with the state of poetry and the audience response like this time.

Within the past two weeks, I got to attend two poetic events - one, the poetry workshop and recitation in Jaipur; and two, the Kavi Sammelan during Chaos, the cultural fest of IIMA. The first one was undoubtedly high in standards with Gulzar, Sheen Kaf Nizam, and Nand Kishore Acharya like luminaries on the dais. That was the event where I and RC got a fatherly scolding from Gulzar for speaking in Hinglish and we got lessons from Nizam on linguistic purity. The event was a literary treat, with sophistication of highest degree.

However, the source of my chagrin lies with the one in Chaos. The event was christened as Kavi Sammelan, yet the only thing I couldn't find was 'Kavita'. Yes, I was a part of it and the very first one to recite but I was not a part of the five on stage - a fact that I, in retrospect, appreciate. There were five, supposedly, poets of Hindi; yet only two of them reached anywhere near what can be called as the domain of poetry. Otherwise, it was all full of jokes, mostly cheap, despicable, and so old that they would be treated with MBMST on Jokes NB (the virtual notice board in IIMA for posting jokes, with MBMST meaning Maine Bachpan Mein Suna Tha).

Even more embarrassing was the immediate response of audience and ensuing discussions on different forums. People seemed to like three hours of cheap humor and literary torture. I understand that I can not demand poetic sophistication from people in general but at IIMA? And more importantly, why name it 'Kavi Sammelan' then and why not something more apt for its status, like stand-up comedy or laughter show?

Sadly, it is not one event only that compelled me to blurt it out. Reading literary Hindi magazines (like - Hans, Vagarth, Kadambini etc.) gives another sort of torture. The prose is stuck with concerns and vows of 1980s and all the poetry seems to follow Agyeya's Prayogvaad and Dharmveer Bharti's Pragativaad, without understanding an iota of either, leave apart reaching their literary standards. In this sense, Urdu poetry seems to be in a much better state of affairs; although the problem there is not of jokes but of same age old ways of romancing the Hijr, Mai, and Zeest (separation, wine, and life).

Despite all this, I hope to read on and write on like I have done in past. Some crusaders never die - be it relationships, politics, or poetry!

P.S. - I must thank the Chaos team for putting up their best efforts in inviting the 'famous' names and more emphatically, for giving me a chance to recite in my own campus, in front of my own people.


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