Monday, December 30, 2013

The year of Wanderlust

As always, January brings in promises of prospects and hopes of highs. As always, December closes with lessons of losses and reminders of regrets. I used to do a yearly stock-taking till I was in Ahmedabad. After that, things changed one after another. First, the year end stock-taking stopped and then, diary writing itself. So much so that this blog may also breath its last some day soon, perhaps!

Anyhow, for a change, as 2013 counts its last moments, I am trying to look back at those 364 days so far. Was it a year passed by too quickly to fulfill all those plans or was it a year moved too slowly to squeeze life out of life? Well, as most other things I don't know, I don't know this either. But some special events can, nevertheless, be counted.

If 2013 can be said to stand out for any thing, it must be travel - the year of wanderlust. I traveled almost through out the year, for official reasons and for personal, to exotic places and to dumps, lived luxuriously and just survived, stayed long or transited, went alone and with large groups, and Ohhh... what not!! A small list would help, perhaps, for future reference. 

So Indore as workplace and Lucknow as hometown are obvious in the list. Visited Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi probably nth time and for n number of times - all for official reasons though but I stole some time to go around, relive some old moments, and meet with friends. Visited Ranganathittu in Mandya and Karnala in Raigad for bird-watching and could have covered Unnao also but for the Lakhnawi laziness in winter mornings. Interestingly, official visits took me to Kathgodam and Nainitaal after merely 4 months of a personal vacation in Mussoorie and Haridwar. Had a quick visit to Goa for, probably, fifth or sixth time. 

As I recall, the first travel of the year was to the Maha-Kumbh of Prayaag via Raibareilly and Pratap Garh and the year's last travel was to Varanasi, with a quick excursion to Chunaar in Mirzapur. So in essence, started the year of Wanderlust with Ganges in Prayaag, visited Ganges in the middle of the year at Haridwar, and ended it in the lap of Ganges at Varanasi.

What else did I do through the year? Well, visited a lot of old friends - Gun & Meha, SSS & Pavitra, Brajesh & Ranjana, Prageet & Chanchal (and a new friend - few months' old Sher Khan), Megha & Dibbi, Tripti & Vipul, Mahesh & Lakshmi, Madhura and Rohan, Parimal and Vipul, and many from good old days. Also met almost all of my favorite professors at LU and IIMA. Met with many wonderful people and hopefully, will remain in touch to learn a lot from them - Priyanshi Srivastava, Manish Shukla, Anshul Shukla, Ashutosh Pandey, Saurabh Yadav, and many more! Made a lot of enemies also but that is okay - reminds me that I still can stand against things I cannot stand. 

Ahh.... the year was not so bad after all... yes, I couldn't write much - neither poetry nor research papers; yes, I couldn't meet all the people I so dearly miss; yes, I couldn't change all the things in the world I wanted; yes, I couldn't do all the things I wished, planned, or desired... but hey, there is still few years left for me to do all that... perhaps, 2014 will fill the gaps. And if not, 2015 is not far away, you see!! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The confused quack

"I was just thinking of you!" or "You were missed!" are often delightful words to hear, right? Lately, I am hearing the same a lot... and yet, I am confused if that is really a compliment. I'll tell you why.

After joining IIM Indore in June 2010, I started a series of nature walks on this 200-acre semi-wild campus and started a bird-watching initiation workshop in 2012. Between 2012 and 2013, in some fine moment of madness, I started clicking and sharing the trees, herbs, plants, shrubs, spiders, moths, butterflies, insects, snakes, foxes, hares, and in short, every creature other than the despicable humans. And as it happens in a small community of about 2000 people, I got a reputation of all things nature now.

So few days back, as I was whiling away a perfect siesta-worthy afternoon in chasing a fantail with my camera, I heard the same words. "I was just thinking of you!" said my nature-enthusiastic nice neighbor. And I was presented with this to click:

Its a pair of (presumably) some close relative of ladybug with 12 of their eggs. It was an amazing catch and a magnificent site, specially because the naked eye could make out that there is something inside those eggs. 

Similarly, on a tired Sunday evening, I got a call from a friendly student. There was a large bird on the floor of the hostel, not able to walk or breath. By the time I could cover the distance, I got another call that the poor soul has left the world. I anyways reached the spot. It was a female of an Indian cuckoo. There was no mark of injury or age, so it must have been a stroke at the wrong time. After some thought, we ended the evening with a decent burial.

I got yet another call on busy office Wednesday noon last week. I was told that, near the medical center, there is a very small and beautiful bird, which is injured or something, and hence, not able to fly or even move. Looking at the pile of work, I decided to miss it this time. Not only because there were urgent things to do but also because I know that I am no better than a quack, when it comes to doctoring the wildlife. Anyhow, I decided that the work may wait for some more time and I need to see, if I can really do anything for a bird's life.

As I locked my office and rushed to the spot, I found four people surrounding and trying to nurse an injured Coppersmith Barbet. I quickly dispersed the crowd, which would have been making the poor Barbet even more nervous. Finally, with the help of a student, I managed to inspect the body and we found a bruise in the belly. We put some soframycin on that first. Then we checked wikipedia for the diet of a Barbet. Its favorite banyan berries are not sold in human markets, so we looked around for the next closest thing. We tried some banana pulp but it didn't eat any.

After making sure that all I could do is done, I left the spot with the Barbet on a high pedestal with some water and banana pulp. It survived the day with signs of improvement - better and stronger movement but still no flight. Sadly, the next day, it left for the other world, leaving only some beautiful pictures with us.

I really hate getting those nursing calls now - I know I am good for nothing in such cases. But for others, I am the only one to know that that small, beautiful, injured bird was a barbet. I guess, I will keep getting the calls. Better I start learning yet another trait. May be, I will share a rescue story next time, where I actually rescued the bird and it flew away to glory. And at the same time, I wish there is no next time to see an injured bird. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Would this suffice as a good-enough title or not?!?!

Long long ago, when I was young and alive, I used to be confused all the times. At some times I was confused for frivolous things and at some other times, I was confused for very important things... for example, at times, I was confused about life, gods, people, future, good and evil, state of nation and so on! At other times,  I was confused about the books to read, about the shirt to wear, about the channel to watch...! In essence, I was almost always confused. And in the rare moments of clouds of confusion giving way to certainty, I found myself confused again - how can there be such clarity? Is everything alright? Am I making a mistake of being too sure? And there I was - confused, again!

I somehow feel now that I enjoyed that confusion, that chaos, that struggle to get out of confusion, that process of thinking, and that overall feeling of doing something - something very substantial and very meaningful! At the same time, I always felt like pretty soon, there will be some clarity... I will become much informed, much knowledgeable, and much wiser... after all, it is just an intellectual exercise by my mind in my head's gymnasium.

Despite the struggle of so many years with my confusion, I still see no clarity! And that is very much there for all the small matters of life - like, whether should I get a job-shift or not, whether a sign is given by god or satan, what should be the direction of economy... as well as for all the really big matters of life - like whether the francolin bird's litter is still on campus for a photo-shoot or not, which book to read next, and whether to walk to home with or without camera!

The essence of it is that I have always been very very confused and although I hoped that with time, this confusion will wither away, it hasn't. and as a result, I still feel very very confused about all the matter at about almost all the times.

And now I am confused that whether this post is complete or not, has it covered everything that I wanted to say, should I publish it right away or edit it later before publishing... and how will all these answers may impact my health, growth path of economy, and end of Kaliyug, among other major and minor things! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SHaPE of India

Just finished teaching the second frequency of the course - SHaPE (Social, Historical, and Political Economy) of India. This was for undergrad students and pretty soon, I'd start a variation of the same course for doctoral students. The basic idea emanated from wide-spread ignorance and misinformation about Indian history, polity, and economy. The focus is, although, India and Indian economic development particularly post 1947 and post 1991 reforms, we have discussed things as varied as Yom Kippur, Sun Yat Sen, Lohia, Sikhs, Marathas, Hijarat, Ambedkar, Marx, Daahir, World Wars, Mongols, Incas, Brettonwoods and what not...

It was heartening to see great response from the undergrads as well as from doctoral students. Interestingly, this year, the post-graduate (MBA) students have also demanded the same. I hope for an equally wonderful experience with their class as well. meanwhile, here is some more information on the course - one may use the same for academic and any other non-commercial purposes, with due acknowledgement of course!

Course Modules
Module 1: History - A historical look at the economics, politics, and society of India
Module 2: Economics – A select sectoral and industry level analysis of Indian economy
Module 3: Socio-Political – Analysis of social and political issues from an economic perspective

We started with the very basic argument - as a business management student, why should one study history? That too social or political history! We also spent some time of how to read history and why Indian history is not linear but more complicated than most other civilizations. Then, we took a cursory look at the ancient and medieval era, British era, and the struggle for independence. Thereafter, we talked for most portion of the course about the interaction of economics and politics during 1947 to 1990, including our foreign relations, development experience, and the underlying ideological / philosophical underpinnings of the economic policy framework. Finally, we analyzed reforms in some detail and also took a leap of faith in predicting / posing future scenarios for India - social, political and economic as well.

The analysis perspective has been driven more by approach, philosophy, and impact-assessment; whereas, facts and figures remain a fringe motivator and guide to the discussion. It was expected that by the end of the course, the participants are aware of evolution eras of India’s social, political, and economic structures and are able to provide an informed commentary on relevant topics. The students made life miserable for me by asking reading too much and asking too much... as a result, I had to study even harder. But at the end, I am glad that all of us were left more informed and more curious to understand the SHaPE of India. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poetic Geniuses - 6

Find earlier posts on Poetic Geniuses Here and Here.

Circa 1997, I was in class 10th, when I started pursuing Hindi-Urdu poetry actively as an enthusiast. I was lucky to chance upon two books at that time, which made me understand the depths of poetry in great detail.

Second book was "दीवान-ए-ग़ालिब" by Ali Sardar Jaafri, which had meanings of difficult Urdu words as well as contextual explanations, wherever required. That helped me in understanding Urdu and setting the technical details for future years of writing.

The first book, although did not bestow any great technical skill like the second one, was more influential, for it made me fall in love with the sheer joy of Urdu poetry. The book was "ujaale apni yaadon ke" (उजाले अपनी यादों के) by Bashir Badr. Here is quoting some select verses from him... as always, this is just indicative and many great gems may remain hidden. If you want more pearls, take a dive yourself  :)

चाँद ने रात मुझको जगा कर कहा
एक लड़की तुम्हारा पता ले गई


मुख़ालिफ़त से मेरी शख़्सियत सँवरती है
मैं दुश्मनों का बड़ा एहतराम करता हूँ


वही ताज है वही तख़्त है वही ज़हर है वही जाम है
ये वही ख़ुदा की ज़मीन है ये वही बुतों का निज़ाम है

बड़े शौक़ से मेरा घर जला कोई आँच न तुझपे आयेगी
ये ज़ुबाँ किसी ने ख़रीद ली ये क़लम किसी का ग़ुलाम है

मैं ये मानता हूँ मेरे दिये तेरी आँधियोँ ने बुझा दिये
मगर इक जुगनू हवाओं में अभी रौशनी का इमाम है


अजीब शख़्स है नाराज़ होके हंसता है
मैं चाहता हूँ ख़फ़ा हो तो वो ख़फ़ा ही लगे


मोहब्बतों में दिखावे की दोस्ती ना मिला
अगर गले नहीं मिलता तो हाथ भी ना मिला

घरों पे नाम थे, नामों के साथ ओहदे थे
बहुत तलाश किया कोई आदमी ना मिला

तमाम रिश्तों को मैं घर पे छोड आया था
फिर इसके बाद मुझे कोई अजनबी ना मिला

बहुत अजीब है ये कुरबतों की दूरी भी
वो मेरे साथ रहा और मुझे कभी ना मिला

खुदा की इतनी बड़ी कायनात में मैंने
बस एक शख्स को मांगा मुझे वही ना मिला


मेरी शोहरत सियासत से महफ़ूज़ है
ये तवायफ़ भी इस्मत बचा ले गई


वो बड़ा रहीम-ओ-करीम है मुझे ये सिफ़त भी अता करे
तुझे भूलने की दुआ करूँ तो दुआ में मेरी असर न हो

मेरे बाज़ुओं में थकी-थकी, अभी महव-ए-ख़्वाब है चांदनी
न उठे सितारों की पालकी, अभी आहटों का गुज़र न हो


आस होगी न आसरा होगा
आने वाले दिनों में क्या होगा

मैं तुझे भूल जाऊँगा इक दिन
वक़्त सब कुछ बदल चुका होगा


मुझसे बिछड़ के ख़ुश रहते हो
मेरी तरह तुम भी झूठे हो

तुम तन्हा दुनिया से लड़ोगे
बच्चों सी बातें करते हो


दुश्मनों की तरह उस से लड़ते रहे
अपनी चाहत भी कितनी निराली रही


मेरे साथ तुम भी दुआ करो यूँ किसी के हक़ में बुरा न हो
कहीं और हो न ये हादसा कोई रास्ते में जुदा न हो

वो फ़रिश्ते आप ही ढूँढिये कहानियों की किताब में
जो बुरा कहें न बुरा सुने कोई शख़्स उन से ख़फ़ा न हो


मैं ख़ुद भी एहतियातन, उस गली से कम गुजरता हूँ
कोई मासूम क्यों मेरे लिए, बदनाम हो जाए

उजाले अपनी यादों के हमारे साथ रहने दो
न जाने किस गली में, ज़िंदगी की शाम हो जाए


इतनी मिलती है मेरी गज़लों से सूरत तेरी 
लोग तुझ को मेरा महबूब समझते होंगे । 

वो ज़ाफ़रानी पुलोवर उसी का हिस्सा है 
कोई जो दूसरा पहने तो दूसरा ही लगे । 

लोग टूट जाते हैं एक घर बनाने में 
तुम तरस नहीं खाते बस्तियां जलानें में। 

पलकें भी चमक जाती हैं सोते में हमारी, 
आँखों को अभी ख्वाब छुपाने नहीं आते ।


सर झुकाओगे तो पत्थर देवता हो जाएगा । 
इतना मत चाहो उसे, वो बेवफ़ा हो जाएगा ।

हम भी दरिया हैं, हमें अपना हुनर मालूम है, 
जिस तरफ़ भी चल पड़ेंगे, रास्ता हो जाएगा । 

कितना सच्चाई से, मुझसे ज़िंदगी ने कह दिया, 
तू नहीं मेरा तो कोई, दूसरा हो जाएगा । 

मैं ख़ुदा का नाम लेकर, पी रहा हूँ दोस्तो, 
ज़हर भी इसमें अगर होगा, दवा हो जाएगा । 

सब उसी के हैं, हवा, ख़ुश्बू, ज़मीनो-आस्माँ, 
मैं जहाँ भी जाऊँगा, उसको पता हो जाएगा ।

रूठ जाना तो मोहब्बत की अलामत है मगर.
क्या खबर थी मुझसे वो इतना खफा हो जायेगा.

Monday, June 24, 2013

बैग वो जिसमे मेरे-तुम्हारे कपड़े कुछ रातों सोये थे...

What? I am writing poems for an old, torn, worn-out bag now? Well, you know why this bag was so special? Because it was my mate in all my travels from IIMA to home and from IIMA to IIM Indore and from IIMA to anywhere!! This was a magical bag, where you could fill all you want and then, a little more could be filled. Once I won a bet on that too - this bag, seemingly, had an infinite and ever expanding space inside. 

Anyhow, these are the last picture of my beloved buddy bag of best days... for today, I filled it (partially, as there is infinite space inside, you see) with some stuff and dispatched for Uttarakhand. 
As a final favor, this bag has inspired a nazm too: 

एक एक कर धागे टूट रहे हैं सारे ,
एक एक कर रिश्ते सारे
तोड़ रहा हूं।

एक महीना बीता जब
वो कलम तुम्हारी
दी थी कहीं किसी को
और फिर बिना लिये ही
सरक लिया था
कई महीने पहले उससे
गिफ़्ट जो तुमने किये थे
कुर्ते मैंने
दान दिये थे।
पिछले हफ़्ते तोड़ दिया
जो फ़ोन तुम्हारे संग लिया था,
बैग वो जिसमे मेरे-तुम्हारे
कपड़े कुछ रातों सोये थे,
सोफ़ा जिसपर
हम-तुम दोनों संग बैठे थे
वो दीवान
तुम्हारी ज़ुल्फ़ की
खुशबू वाला

और तुम्हारे हाथों
सँवरी तस्वीरें सब,
कई किताबें
जिन पर दो-दो नाम लिखे थे,
जिसमें इक तस्वीर थी

और वो घड़ी
कि जिसका
वक्त तुम्हारा था,
छोड़ दिये हैं,
गुमा रहा हूँ,
तोड़ दिये हैं,
भुला रहा हूँ
मेहनत करनी पड़ती है
जितनी इक रिश्ता
बुनने में,
उतनी ही मैं लगन से उस
रिश्ते के धागे
जला रहा हूँ!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Deep said it first...

Today, I was reading one of my old favorite blogger friend's blog - Inderdeep's. and she has said the following at the end of her latest post:

"Sorry again for being so irregular. I am still writing posts in mind, along with the most appropriate titles. I wish I could share with you some day :-|"

I think I can borrow these lines from her... for I've been doing the same for so long!! In my head, I've written about all the travel I've been doing, all the old friends I've met lately, my IIMA visit after so long, the new friends I got, the issues facing the nation, the economic ideas I've been pondering, the people I love, the people I hate, the new hobbies I got, the fights I took, the birds I clicked, the courses I taught, the poems I wrote, the secrets I know, the life, the universe, and everything.... and yet, Alas! All I've been doing is to sit like a lazy bum and think and think and then, think some more!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Poetic Geniuses - 5

I don't understand much of English poetry - that feeling of adopted language's non-mother tongue alienation is still there. English, for me, is the language of professional expressions or perhaps, the one for communication. But love, dreams, and poetry still happens in Hindi-Urdu only.

And yet, there are few English poets, whom I have followed and admired. One such name is Nossim Ezekiel. Among many gems from Ezekiel, a friend told me about this one a few days back - Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher by Nissim Ezekiel. Tis funny weird amazing interesting that how we find our lives in someone else's words. I don't know how he knew that I was... and I am (!) all three - Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher!!

To force the pace and never to be still
Is not the way of those who study birds
Or women. The best poets wait for words.
The hunt is not an exercise of will
But patient love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing;
Until the one who knows that she is loved
No longer waits but risks surrendering -
In this the poet finds his moral proved
Who never spoke before his spirit moved.

The slow movement seems, somehow, to say much more.
To watch the rarer birds, you have to go
Along deserted lanes and where the rivers flow
In silence near the source, or by a shore
Remote and thorny like the heart's dark floor.
And there the women slowly turn around,
Not only flesh and bone but myths of light
With darkness at the core, and sense is found
But poets lost in crooked, restless flight,
The deaf can hear, the blind recover sight.
- Nissim Ezekiel
Find previous posts on Poetic Geniuses Here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Those who love... and lose!

Though they never met, Frasier was a contemporary of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Well, Frasier was a TV show that was aired between 1993 and 2004. The protagonist, Dr. Frasier Crane, is a psychiatrist and so is his younger brother, Niles. The series was a situation comedy but throws some good light on dimensions of psychology at times. However, that is not why I am writing this here today. I'm on the 8th season now and a discussion between the two Crane brothers hit a chord somewhere. Here is the context and the conversation:

Context: Niles has loved and idolized Daphne, the physio and household help of Frasier, for over 7 years. Finally, she gets to know of his love for her and after a lot of slips, they are finally together. However, suddenly, Daphne starts over-eating and gaining pounds. Thereafter, she goes into a therapy, loses extra pounds, and tells Niles about her therapist. Niles jokes about the therapist because she said Daphne might have been afraid of this relationship.

And that is when, the following conversation takes place between Frasier and Niles (quoted from IMDb):

Niles: Help me understand. Why is everyone acting like I've done something wrong? The only thing I am guilty of is loving Daphne, and that's all I've ever done.

Frasier: Yes, and how did you love her? From afar. You were never in love *with* her, you were in love *at* her. Now, you've been given a chance to experience her in a real relationship and yet for some reason, you're resisting it. Rather than see her as she really is, you keep holding on to the memory.

Niles: No, that's not true.

Frasier: Niles, the woman gained sixty pounds! And everyone in the world saw it but you. All you ever saw was a perfect woman in a red dress.

[long pause]

Niles: Okay. If you're right, and that's a big "if", why would I do that?

Frasier: Maybe Daphne's not the only one who's afraid she won't measure up. Maybe you're afraid too. After all, if it turns out she's not perfect, then there's a chance things won't work out. Then not only will you lose Daphne, but you'll have wasted the last seven years of your life chasing an illusion.

Ain't it the same with most of us - we love an idolized image of the one, who lives in a different world - a world of perfection. And when the love culminates into marriage, what happens? The Utopia clashes with the hard reality. The fantasy ends and the reality begins. The loved one is in front of you all the time and they are not perfect any more. The idol is broken. Perhaps that is why more love-marriages fail than the arranged ones - there is no idol to begin with.

Those, who love and win, are lucky. Those, who love and lose, are luckiest.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

And the most favorite organ is....

Someone asked a few days back that if you have to rate the organs in your body, which one would be your favorite. That reminded me of some fables, read in childhood and therefore deeply ingrained. Those fables suggested that a human being is human because of his brain but what makes one a real human is the heart. Another tale told that a compassionate heart is more desirable than a genius brain. Well, therefore, I said so - the heart would be dearer than the brain. However, the words kept on playing inside my head... after some thought, I wrote a Facebook status:

"My brain? Yes, that is my second most favorite organ!"

Perhaps, i had read these words somewhere and therefore the neatness in putting it up... nonetheless, the thought process behind the quote was deep. And yet, the word-play made it a queer quip. As it happens on Facebook, the friends started to take a flight of fancy and asking about the most favorite one. I decided to keep silent there but just to show how the world often twists the thoughts... quoting some comments here (I also din't get some of them but then...): 

  • And the first favorite organ is ???
  • Aah sidharth ji hum dono ki soch first organ ko lekar kitni milti hai
  • how romantic sir jee 
  • The benefits of being a prof ! You can use your first most favorite organ more than (and almost always, before) using your second most favorite organ 
  • His first most favorite organ might not necessarily be his own!
  • ... I can't figure whether you cracked a dirty joke or not...
  • ahaa haaa ahhhahaaaa
  • Oh no, not a joke, never ! I was just exploring the logical assumptions to the Professor's statement.
  • Why keep the first organ a secret? The heart? LOL.
  • jo hamare paas nahi hota hai vahi hame achcha lagta hai. am i right ?
  • Cha gaye aaj puri hui....shabash
  • Which is d 1st fav organ sir ?
  • people are so curious to know his favorite 'organ' !
  • The first most favorite organ still under wraps !!
And now, I am gonna post this post and then post the link to this post as a comment :D

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From the yearbooks of IIMA

 In this season of farewells senti-speeches, and yearbooks, I got nostalgic about the IIMA yearbooks. Here is a snippet of 2007 and 2010 yearbooks, in which yours truly got an entry!! I don't know who wrote these among the dorm juniors but whosoever that was, you are still thanked :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The man who was afraid of himself

Just when India's economy had started on the path of globalization, I did not come directly to home from school one day. I was late by about one and a half hour, although my school was about fifteen minutes bicycle-ride away. Even in those days of low traffic and safer cities, my parents got worried and started a search for me with half the neighborhood joining them (I was a good kid, unlike now, else they'd have rented my room out, as Woody Allen's). I was not lost or kidnapped or held back... but in my regular comic-shop, selecting stickers and posters of Nagraj and Super Commando Dhruv. The store-owner had brought a new collection and I was trying to optimize my purchases with my meager means. Finally, I spent about 70 rupees, which was a royal sum for a class-five boy then, and perhaps, it even today is.

It was not just one off day however, when I was so engrossed in my super-heroes - it was all the days back then. I'd rent some comic and start reading on the walk from the shop itself. Often, I finished by the time I reached my street and immediately turned back to borrow another. I read comics on exam days and on vacations. I not merely finished them cover-to-cover but studied them thoroughly, collected paraphernalia, and often, dreamed of having the super-powers like them. I had the richest collection, knowledge, and even remembered the sequence of release of each comic-book by heart. 

Then, one fine day - I gave it all away. Nothing happened. Yet, I stopped reading comics, I distributed my collection to two of my cousins, and even stopped thinking of all the super-powers I'd like to have. It was all over - I felt that I had reached a pinnacle, beyond which either nothing is left or perhaps, I'm not capable of traversing any farther.

It had happened the same way with kite-flying a few years earlier - I flew kites of each kind, at all times, on all days, and all nights. I spotted the lines, studied the threads, and learnt aerodynamics of kites. I collected different types of threads, collected amounts of kites, and even classified everything - on days without end. And then, one fine day - it all was over. There was a fulfillment. There was an emptiness. There was everything and there was nothing. 

It happened with many other passions later on - cannot count or name them all... but in hindsight, I grew afraid of myself. If I follow something so passionately, nothing of it will remain some day. Suddenly, all of it will be gone. Or perhaps, Worse! It will be there with me and I will want no more of my passion! And why I am recounting this all over again? Because I am afraid of myself again. It is happening again. 

I started bird-photography by chance - my sister gifted me a camera and there was nothing else to click from my room at IIMA but some trees and a lot of visiting birds. Whence I clicked them, there were questions. And then, I started studying birds and trees. It kept on for years with some time-demands but never as a major hindrance. But then, the fear of the tragedy of fear struck me - I've spent almost whole of last week in cataloging the birds and trees. Sitting for long hours at office or at home, trying to click one more bird, one more pose, standing in the lawns, collecting leaves and flowers, sifting through old folders, renaming files, recalling date and place of clicking, zeroing down on species and sex, seasonal variations, special habits, properties of trees.... I am getting mad again!! 

And that is where the tragedy is - some day soon, I will leave it all - not because I may have achieved enough but because I am spent to traverse any farther. Perhaps, that is the way I am - loving truly, deeply, madly... and then, forgetting everything completely. Did that with my loves, did that with my love life, and now, I am doing it again... I am afraid of myself - truly, deeply, madly!! 


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