Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saree Shopping

Shopping! The most tiresome thing on earth probably after delivering a baby... but then what do I know about that! But not everyone views shopping like that. For instance some members of my family. The only thing that interested me was the fact that I was going shopping for me! Unlike S and Mom who are always excited to go out and spend hours sifting through stuff in shop after shop. The fun starts even before we reach the marketplace. Mom announces in the car while travelling that we should not roll our eyes or make stupid noises at her wish to see a few shops before we finally select something. I have come to realise the merit of this activity but gaawd! it is tiring. The first place we visited was a saree shop. she promptly reminded us that there are other famous shops in the vicinity and we were to remember that before we made a purchase. Its amazing how these guys build elevators in a two floor shop. Jesus! A little exercise won't kill anybody esp the woman who is planning to drape the saree. Our attempt to take the stairs was aborted when the lift man who wanted earn his salary said that sarees are on floor two and not one. That was enough to change mom's mind. We were ushered into a quiet chilled room with white mattresses. And the show was finally on. Out came reams and reams of silk, jute weave, gorget with resham threads, kashmiri thread work, woven jute with silk and an exceptional array of colors. We lost our hearts several times. Its amazing when we love a saree and can't hide it. The shop keeper carries that instinct. The royal bastards know exactly what to say. "Madam, yeh aappar bahut jachegi", "yeh dekhiye, yeh kaam aur yeh color scheme apko kahin nahi milega". All my MBA smartness went for a toss. S & I stared at the golden rivers of shimmering silk with "suckers" written large on our foreheads in bold and underlined font. Mom is an old player at this. You won't know until the end what she is going to put her hand on. Shortlisting and finally selection. Somewhere in all this three cups of coffee/ tea were offered which were declined. But somehow I found myself and S sipping Pepsi. Once we had made our choice clear, we then were taken back two floors down in the elevator of course and the wallet got a lot lighter than it was when we arrived!

I could breathe fresh air once again when we got out! As a child I abhorred saree shops since mom used to disappear in them for hours. Dad would sometimes find the patience to sit through and at others he would stand outside gulping fresh air. I think going forward I too might end up spending hours in such places for I do love this typically Indian garment we call the saree. They say it brings the woman out in you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Am Atlas

No result is ever final. A beginning happened years ago and it continues. To say this is it is equivalent to death, the giving up of hope. Sometimes inner conflict and turmoil brings about a churning that destroys whats exists to make room for the new. To know that you are in the middle of a churning is not comforting. The uncertainty of an unclear future, projection of self is futile for I do not know the events that are yet to emerge. I am aware of some events of past; not all, even though they have bearing on me as I am today. Each man for himself. I am who I think of myself to be. The rest is unnecessary detail. I break to a million pieces to be new again. I will break again to be something else in future. I am alone for there is room for only one. You can color me but my colors are my own, you may vary my shade but I will still be me and not you. You are unique too but I am not aware of you as I am of myself. I strain to hear the music in my breath. The night talks to me of strange things. I am afraid of dark even today. I have been travelling and its been eventful. The magic and adventure has been replaced and I struggle with its loss. A sense of wonder still prevails. For some time I have managed to cut loose and stray aloof in some obscure direction, even willingly delusional I think. Like intoxication of some kind, showing me glimpses of what does not exist. I write in order to talk - to myself. I am atlas.

Monday, September 28, 2009

To Ishrat Jahan

There are not too many things that move me. There was a time when I would often sniff while reading a novel or some work of fiction on a quiet afternoon. Now the afternoons aren’t quiet. They pass by in a dizzying blur. But then that’s not the point here. I was surprised at myself when reading current affairs brought a sudden sob. It was grossly inconvenient to express those feeling as I was alone and travelling on an airplane.

I was reading the sad tale of Ishrat Jahan’s family. Mr Modi’s state machinery targeted them instead of being their protectors as per forensic reports as submitted in Justice Tamang’s report. How must it feel for a poor woman with so many young children to stand up to the mighty Mr Modi and his corrupt police force. What kind of courage would that have required? Just when my feelings were brimming I happened to look out the plane window and saw the beautiful horizon a great distance away and I felt God’s presence. What troubled me was that he seemed as far away as that horizon. That moment was intensely personal between me and my God.
I was painfully reminded of how God can put you on a spot and challenge you to use a resource you thought you never had – Courage, which brings me to another thought. Power is difficult to handle for mortals like us. The usual laws of too little or too much are not applicable to power. Power corrupts. Simple. Maybe Mr Modi and his police force believe that they are one step ahead of the law. Maybe they are. But there is another court waiting for them. Universe has a system of balancing out things. What would it take to balance the power Mr Modi carries? Loss of Votes, court cases.. and what have you.

I hope Ishrat Jahan’s mother and siblings find justice and peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Satya - The truth

I have fallen for this word.....

To me it means the struggle of life against death, light against darkness, peace against turmoil.

If I had another name... this would be it....

I am amazed at how I never looked at this before, my disbelief at its impact on me. The world may percieve me as crazy for having these thoughts. I am seeing - Satya - for the first time and feeling it in me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Farewell Notes

The usual clutter prevails between the ears. I am trying to make up my mind on which colony of thoughts I should write about.

A is leaving town. He is a much loved colleague and we decided to give him a send-off party. He would continue to work with the company but in another town with other people. He is a valued member of my direct team and is honest, reliable & diligent. Not once in the last few years have I heard a "no" from him for any work asked of him no matter what the time lines. So, its only natural that I am sad to see him go. But this is what he wanted. He wanted to be closer home to his folks. Am happy that we could make this happen for him.

I had left the city two years ago and only visit the branch when meetings are scheduled. This send off party brought back the old sense of security one feels amongst old friends. Surprisingly this is one branch where inter/ intra departmental politics have little space. These guys believe in having fun together. I haven't laughed as much as I did last evening for months. I thought about what makes one set of people stick. Maybe, it has to do with the fact that one always wants to be with those where one has most fun. What makes these guys unique is not the absence of things needing correction; rather its the atmosphere where light humor (and sometimes heavy humor) is used to convey precisely what is being objected to. I was offered a box of sweets by the office boy. I enquired about the occasion and the person who has taken the initiative for the same. Was surprised by B when he said - "S Madam is quitting, so I am distributing sweets". I laughed and blinked at the outrageous audacity of this guy. He laughed back and said - I have announced this many times that when s Madam will quit, I will distribute sweets. Every one was chuckling and I was trying to imagine the scenario being repeated given that the lady in question has put in her papers for the fourth time (as I was told amongst peals of laughter).

However, at A's farewell party B chose not to drink and saved himself from being the butt of many jokes and kept quiet. Deathly quiet. Strange fellows. I can't understand them. Then there was this other guy who never said a word since he arrived. Promptly had three stiff ones and then suddenly when we had forgotten he was around, he got up and in that small bunch of people looked straight at me and said - Madam! you know... I love Bengalis!!! I am not saying this because my boss is a bengali but I really love bengalis. Madam I am from bihar but when I take leave from work I first go to West Bengal. You know why?? Because that is the only place in the world where a man can eat a full meal of fish curry rice in ten bucks! But madam I am not saying this because my boss is a bengali. (His boss - another good friend - was sitting right next to me and laughing.)

In all this tamasha someone called A and said why don't you sing. A who is usually rather shy, agreed almost immediately and sang that old fav - "Baat niklegi to phir door talak jayegi". More than his voice it was his expressions and body language that took me by surprise. He was so totally into it. I had a face-splitting grin on the whole time. Of course A didn't stop at one song.

We had stuffed ourselves with starters but now it was time to eat dinner. Later the good byes and farewell hugs and speeches got longer, Eyes were watery, more hugs and more sweet words, more stories of episodes in drunken stupor in other parties and then it was time to perilously ride our bikes back home!

I was horribly beyond the curfew time. But you know what they say about home - when you come home, they let you in.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Changing the world

Did you know that four crisp toasts with melted butter are therapeutic at 1.00 AM !!

There are two kind of people in the world. Those who accept the world as it exists and those who want to change it. Which one is the hero? The revered ones are the ones who see things that don't exist and go about creating them, the ones who fight against something that appears much bigger and overwhelming than them. We can't stop writing about these people. Can't stop being in awe of them.

So what makes a hero? I think the hero (read true leader of the people) is careful about what he chooses to change.

Hitler too was a leader. But it was either his way or the highway. Gandhi Ji was a leader too. But his style was different.

You can't be intolerant of other peoples choices and expression and simply expect them to follow you without selling your idea to them in the first place.

You can't be a good leader if you are low on sensitivity to the very people you lead.

By force a leader can have a perfectly synchronised set of building blocks. But it will take very little to bring it down. People don't like being forced to do things when they don't agree with them.

Anyway... so what makes a good leader?

Is being firm with people same as being loud while talking to them? Does firmness necessarily have to come with a crisp tone and a rude set of statements or a decree?

I had read somewhere - be very nice to people but carry a big stick.

That made sense to me.


So anyway.. I was talking about the kind of people who want to change the way the world exists. So what do they want to change? ...I figure, you definitely can't be on the right track when you are changing window frames of your neighbours' home.

Conformity is good and desirable. But it lacks creativity and freedom. Each has its own advantages. I figure both need a space ... in varied degrees.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Leap of Faith

What makes people walk out or stay in relationships?

What happens to a relationship where somebody lies and the other takes a leap of faith.

What happens to those relationships where somebody gets hurt by a lie and continues.

What makes people stay even when they know they are being lied to. When they close their eyes and look the other way.

when the choice is between less hurt and more hurt... we choose less hurt.

People don't end things on any one account. It gets added up. And one day the things that were being added up get so large in size that they don't fit the closet you were stuffing them in and shutting tight. So then ... it spills.

Leap of faith is scary. But we take our chances.

Someone had once told me that women are beautiful creatures meant to be loved. Yeah... I agree.

Hook Line and Sinker

He said - you are a beautiful person... you radiate when you talk.

She fell for it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Well - Aware

The need for silence is immense. It is met. Friends, family, work, God .... they all seems to be standing on the other side of this fine line that seems to be around me. I am a little too aware of the pace and the change around me. A blur would be preferred. You know when you blink and something is different. There appears to be doorways inside myself that I seem to cross while changing gears to adjust my pace. I can walk inside to myself. Its a bit lonely there you know. But then its the same outside. I am neither the hero of my life nor the victim. I have not won any war nor have I been tormented by injustice. I am not seeking fame nor am I dying of anonymity.

I am truly an ordinary atom in the universe. I see that as a good thing.

But sometimes I want to escape myself and my mind. And thats not good. I want to see but not observe and thats not good. I want to be alone without being lonely.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Love is a chemical reaction!
Well..... is it????

Heck... what a rush :)

Yeah I know... eventually the ride gets over....

And then what.... and then you swim... in doubles....


Single life.... what fun!

Can't have no regrets baby! So here we are... in the game of mixed doubles... except its not tennis... its swimming :)

Its also like baking a great big cake thats gotta last a life time (is that twenty years...?). You put in all the right ingredients. when its done, you take it out, cool it down and finish the icing and then you hope like hell that it tastes good and lasts forever (twenty years is it..?)

I am baking the cake ... so very busy...

Excuse me!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fire Burned

Sometimes I am surprised at my own ability to risk things and the courage I carry till the end.

Another similarity in the universe worth noting... the heat of the fire makes a pure metal... somethings just get stronger when they are thrashed around and tossed about (and I am not talking about just feelings)... the rough edges disappear and a smoother shape takes their place. Thats durability.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Sometimes a blank page is torturous.

A troubled pause in the sequence of thoughts.

A flow so slow...

Missed in a blink.

Once again searching the divine balance.

In search of a center.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

A meeting with roasted papad

The building was all stone and glass. We walked into the foyer (yes thats what it was) and found ourselves completely minionised under the high roof and the strange silence that seems like a punishment. Unlike usual bustling offices, here one had to look hard for the reception which was behind a certain wall. I noticed no sofas or no chairs. Nothing. Which can either mean that people in this office don't intend to keep their guests waiting at all or the other possibility ... there are no guests! That would be rather odd. But my first guess was correct. We were on time (Thank God!) and were immediately ushered into a meeting room where two gentlemen were waiting for us. We said all the right words... how are yous, surprisingly no traffic today, thank you for this wonderful opportunity... blah blah!
I had been forewarned that these two have a "fauji" background. So when we exchanged cards I wasn't astonished to read "Major" So and so & "Col" So and So. I looked up to see some smugness. Didn't find any so figured that retirement from "fauj" must've been a while ago. Thought that the crispness that is the gift of the military style that stays with people long after they retire must've left. Boy! was I wrong. This gentleman was as crisp as a roasted papad! He put me on my guard from the moment he delivered an invisible slap on my face when I asked him if their entire exercise was being done just for the heck of it, as had been our experience for the last four years with his organization. Collect quotes and then nothing. Ofcourse I quoted this statement in two inches thick sugar dip. It was time to change gears and sit pretty. Let him do the talking. And talk he did. Somebody had told me that women yak too much. Well ... here was our friend col roasted papad who would've put any bunch of women to shame. I realised, give an old man half a stage and he would make full use of two. Especially if the audience is the fairer sex and young and quiet. So off he went into the discussion. Well maybe its appropriate to call it a monologue. We listened. We get paid for it after all! Ha!
Tricky man this, I had to rephrase the risky (likely to offend a superior soul) questions multiple times in my own head before I quickly delivered them to this stumped (that would be us naturally!) audience. We were four of us. The girl from my team chose to remain mute the whole time. She figures if I am around, I have to bat and not she. She is wrong but we'll come to that later on. Col saab had his side-kick (Remember the major saab) siting next to him. He too had his mute button on. But then in his case I suppose that must always be the case as in true military style, the big boss gets to speak and give orders and its the job of the reportee to only nod in affirmative. The true fauji never says no. Er! but they chose otherwise in this case. They said NO to the rates quoted. You see ma'am, with a market like this (ref the downward spin of the world economy), you simply can't send a quotation like the one you have. I chose to smile, words were not a good choice at that time. I could've said a lot but then I was biting words since I arrived. Twenty minutes into the meeting and we still hadn't found common ground. Using my "fauji" connection is always a last choice, in most cases I don't prefer it. I share it only if I like the guy at the other side of the table and that too as a parting shot. But here, we were swimming and not really going anywhere. The colonel continued his tirade of superior experience, not to mention the three phone calls that he just had to take. Ah! nothing like the attention of a rapt audience that waits on every word you utter. And then suddenly a ghost appeared. He was wearing a jacket, had gloves on, no name tag. He said only two words - We muttered something. It didn't matter what we had. We wanted to get out. HE brought steaming brew almost immediately. The col waited until he had left and then said to me madam can you tell me whats wrong with what he did. My fauji knowledge was being tested. I am expected then to know everything about service. Well I was too busy not attending to such training growing up. I knew I was dead. The man had delivered a perfectly good cup of coffee. It even tasted good. Damn! Thats when my client says, you see ma'am he has given you too sugar cubes on the spoon kept on the side of the cup. He should've brought sugar in a different container. He should've brought along a napkin. You see ma'am fauj teaches us some very fine things. I had a flash in my mind. I saw myself standing outside a chai pakode shop in pune and having hot pakodas without washing my hands and you can bet on it.. there was no napkin. And here I was ... nodding in affirmative to this ... client. What am I becoming? I also knew that had that pantry steward who served us the coffee been on my company's payrolls, heck I would've been proud of him. He was good. He was polite, he knew how to take orders and he knew how to serve. Gaaawd! What a psycho ! He was thrilled to know me when I said I know what you're referring to, I have had a fauji upbringing. I said all the right things afterwards.
Something was very wrong here you see. People who go through the fauji culture usually fall into a strange trap. They believe themselves to be better that the civilians. I know this because I was one of them. Fauj is the perfect way of living in a make believe world. Its hard to shake it off if you are the kinds who need a certain life style to prove that you are good and successful. But when you do shake it off, its then that you actually enjoy life. This man here in front of me was for a few minutes completely lost. He went back in time. I could see that.

This is hard to explain. Growing up I saw a lot of polished brass. A lot of red lipstick and high heels. Taash parties, holi fests, diwali bashes, dining ins, dining outs, weekend parties, etc etc. Back in those days, a working wife of a fauji would be a teacher (9 out of 10). Husbands would leave for work at 8.00 AM. Return by 2.00 PM. Lunch. Snooze. 4.00 PM either games (basket ball, tennis, golf). Tea at 6.00 PM. Party (atleast once in ten days). 10.00 PM dinner. To bed by 11.00 - 12.00 mid night. This is the routine of a slightly social fauji officer. The not so social ones were home after 6.00PM and slept early. You saw them at compulsory social functions like the mandir pooja program or the gurudwara functions or official dinners (I never saw those, kids were strictly not allowed).
Life is different. You move around mostly the English speaking apparently sophisticated apparently educated cordial lot. You almost never stand in a queue. Its stylish not have your daughter know how to cook. Nearly every fauji wife will have dark sun glasses. (My mom didn't. But then she was a mis-fit in the flying kisses type from the very beginning). I don't know now but a fauji will always get up when a woman enters the room. He will always be polite with women. Yes there are exceptions. There are enough loud drunks with uncomfortable wives who keep praying that her man doesn't put his foot in his mouth. I've seen it happen the other way round too. The man quietly picking up his wife's purse and taking her to the car. Smiles passing around.
These men and women who wear these olive uniforms during the day and attend these social evenings, go home and be themselves again.
And then one day all of it disappears. You find public transport. You discover that there is a queue to pay the telephone bill. You find that there is no spare vehicle except for the one you had the sense to buy from your meager salary while you lived in make believe castles. You find a whole new world. And the best part about that world is it will take you as you are. You don't have to have dark sunglasses, red lipstick, a crew cut, or high heels to fit in. You just do... just as you are. And its a lovely world.

But people like my roasted papad client here, never really come out of the fauji life. They dream of it every now and then. Even when its long gone. I wanted to shake the man and say.. dude...forget it. Take a local from borivali to churchgate. It would make you appreciate the guy who served you that cup of coffee.

Back to the drama in this meeting room. The meeting was finally over. By now I had made a record of sorts of nodding in affirmative and smiling so much that my face hurt. Suddenly colonel saab got up. Shook my hand (not like a fauji, just the fingers, not a grip) and strode out of the room with his side kick who said a polite good bye and followed his boss out of the room. That when I heard my team mate for the first time. She said look at this picture on the wall. I saw a square frame. With a white square border, there was a smaller square of grey clouds. It had a red dot a tiny red dot on it. I saw it and blinked.. what the hell is this. And then she said, look over there... theres three of em. And there they were. Three almost identical frames with just the red dot in different places. We laughed and tried in vain to control our pitch. This was the most weird meeting ever!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let it roll baby....

Oh the bloody hormones...

Ladies & gentlemen, if you're still here... May I suggest this is the best time to quit reading and resume more meaningful activities.


The longer I stay away from this page, the heavier the price. Jerry Maguire... you know the movie... to be exact the movie you see to see Tom Cruise smile and block out the sun. I was just watching that ... he left a job because it led him to a place where he felt he didn't belong. I was wondering why do people laugh at those who stand out and say - Hey... I quit since I don't belong here. Do people really want security so much that they never once look inside and check if all is well. Do people get uncomfortable with themselves? I think I already know the answer. I know some people who'll tell me - Oh comon... its just a movie. I heard that when I said something about Atlas Shrugged to my friends. So I stopped saying a few things.

I thought about this - whats wrong with expressing how you feel. Why is it such a social taboo. I think its unfortunate that we don't see people do that at work or even outside. Its so cool to be always in control that even if one feels raging passion, don't say it! Think something should be done differently, keep quiet, sit down. I find that suffocating to say the least.

Besides the bullshit above, I sadly came to a conclusion - and yes unfortunately I am as usual the last one to arrive at that!

I don't know what I want.

Everyone around me is telling me that something is wrong and I have been in denial.

You know the feeling where you want a good scrub so that whatever it is, gets washed away!

I realise I am pretty slow to reality checks!

For now... confusion prevails.

Good night!

And if you are still reading this..... well... I love you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things to remember

I would like to remember this:

It is the sign of a strong mind that can listen without agreeing or disagreeing, neither accepting nor rejecting.

My High Mountain

Everything is linked to everything else. You really need to sit on top of a really high mountain to get away from it all. Isolation is something that can only be created temporarily. you know like the thermos walls that keep the coffee hot. As long as normalcy prevails, you have to pay the price for it. Sometimes that price is discomfort. But I am comfortable with discomfort right now. Why? Maybe because it brings with it a strange isolation where only you and the problem exist. So basically that means I am sitting waiting for the problem to go away on its own. Not a very intelligent move I might add.

The better part of the entire deal is that I can find the high mountain right here right now. Its a state of mind and I know perfectly well that I can get there if I work on it.

Today for some very reasonable reasons (!) I was thinking of barriers. You know the ones not made up of physical things. The ones that exist between the ears. I was looking at some one while he was sharing something that showed a glimpse of his perception of the world. His basic assumption was that the world is a certain way. He was wrong in his assumption. Which is fair. But I was astonished about his lack of openness to a different reality. And then it dawned on me - aren't we just mirrors. I can recognise something if I've seen it before.

And then again, even if people change, they do go back often to who they used to be and then come back again as some one new yet again. And so it goes. People often want a guarantee of words. I am afraid I can't give that. But I am like them too.

So I say - Its time to go to the mountain.

Isolate Isolate Isolate....... and float away!

Monday, March 30, 2009

E Fever

"When I feel insecure, I like a non-secular national party. When I am not feeling scared or vulnerable, I lean towards the secular party" - thus spoke my friend!

We seek a sense of security. Of course there is a sense of security in numbers. But the fear of falling through the cracks is always around.

Fanatics scare us but we would rather be with our own fanatics. Thats how I read it.

For me ... a fanatic is a fanatic ... there is no mine and yours on that one.

I believe that this sense of security is false. After some point this security will become suffocating and we would draw a line and say, you are a hardliner and I am not and divide ourselves again. There is no end to reasons for division. That has been happening since centuries.

The human need to feel better or superior in comparison is insatiable. And so is the need to overcome oppression and bondage. I admire Mayavati for she knows her math well and she is a good card player.... Success is truly the distance you cover.

I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that the concept of Hindutva came into being because it was an idea whose time had come. Even if I didn't approve. Maybe I was not tuned into a certain reality that always existed, that there exist people who genuinely want to remain divided for maybe it helps them in some way, like that old sense of security!

Maybe just maybe I need to keep this party's non-secularity aside and see if they have been able to do good work where ever they ruled.

I am thus looking at the candidates of these parties, not their allies but their candidates. Who do I trust to make the right decisions, which decisions matter most - economic policies, law & judiciary, reforms, infrastructure development, world trade and a few more issues.

Its funny that in this over crowded country the majority and the minority fear each other. Ha!

Each of the country's socio-economic strata's desire different things. I might want better growth opportunities and stability but the autowallah who gave me company today wanted a thousand bucks in exchange of the vote, someone else might settle for a blanket, yet another might want subsidised grains and commodities.

So what would I do if I want a sweeping victory? I will define my goal to reach each or some of these classes (maybe ignore those who are too few to matter... ), prepare candidates who each of these classes would relate to (I think that should be important) and launch them and then of course ensure I have the budget for all this.

If my target audience is illiterate, poor, deeply polarised on religion, then no sweat at all... Just say what they want to hear. Critisize your opponent, make false promises and win!

The election fever has caught up and its here for a while!!

Sporadically Inspired

I am given one million gallons of milk and and thousand tonnes of sugar. I have to use it all. But the milk can't be too sweet or too bland to taste. I need to know how much will go with how much and how long it will take to use it all up.

Thats what love is like. You have a huge load of sugar (affection, care, warmth) but you need to strike a balance to make milk shake. Don't use it all in one go. Don't hold back too much for then you will stop enjoying the moment.

Balance outside comes automatically when there is balance within. You gotta love yourself before you can even understand loving another.

My friend said - whatever you do make sure you have fun. I thinks thats very important.

I can't stand ideology wrapped in morality and self righteousness. I meet it everyday.

More often people like to sell wisdom.

It takes confidence and depth to keep quiet even if you don't agree. But more often unfortunately it only takes fear for people to keep quiet.

There is great imbalance... the divides are great - rich and poor, hungry and well fed, illiterate and educated, hindu and muslim, marathi and bhaiyya, above poverty line and below poverty line, etc etc etc.. But there are greater levelers.... love fear kindness hatred happiness sadness and all the other intangibles. Happiness does not check my bank balance before knocking at my door, not does fate or luck.

There are two worlds I occupy, the one limited by sight and the one which is boundless within.

But I need the balance to make the transition.... as said the enlightened Buddha!

What I would never learn in MBA

The long weekend ended and the terrible mean Monday arrived. I always knew it was on its way... and that made the weekend even sweeter. So when this particular Monday ended I was too eager to get out of the office walls.

Mundane issues on my mind, I left office with thoughts of hot poha and chai waiting at home lovingly prepared by mom. On this evening the wait for autoriksha was not very long and along came a wandering lost soul who stopped and nodded in affirmative towards my destination. The usual routine of trailing large behinds of very large trucks or buses on a narrow lane. This man I noticed perhaps had an equally good reason to take me home and fast or maybe he was just himself ... "A get out of my way for I will not apply breaks" autowaalah! Having given up my fear of speed on crowded mumbai roads, I knew I'll get there pretty quick!

He was wearing a white shirt and pant, long hair and a grown beard. He asked me if I thought the new east-west flyover was any good. I said ofcourse, together with mahindra flyover it means that I am home in half an hour. What could be better. He shrugged and laughed at me. And I thought thats nice, for a change someone with an opinion. Brilliant!

Thoughts of the election fever on my mind, I casually asked -

I: Vote doge kya?
He: Nahi, koi fayda nahi hai.
I: Kyon? Agar dete to kise dete?
He: Joh hazar rupya dega, use vote denge, warna nahi denge.

I smiled to myself, my bloody MBA-programmed head and the stupid gyan is of no use in this conversation. He shut me up. Thats usually my state when theory (read gyan) meets its cousin - practical life.

And then on a whim or god knows for what reason, he said to me.... aap to shayad congress ko vote dengi. I was truly stunned.

My destination was arriving. And now I didn't want to reach home for the next fifteen minutes. I wanted to tell him why he should vote but I think its wiser to let people make their own choices but I did want to share with him why I wanted to vote. And hence I asked-

I: Bachhe hain kya?
He: ek ladka aur ek ladki. Dono achhe school mein padhte hain....

I wanted to say something but before I could gather my thoughts he said... madam main MA pass hun. Pehle ek jweller ke yahan kaam karta tha.

My MBA-junked head flashed a "System Down".

He smiled at me when I gave him extra change and asked me if this is my usual route....

While I walked away, I dragged along a zillion thoughts with me. I came back to the point where I have often stood, looked up at god and thought to myself why is God's design at times painful.

There was a lot I could've said but I didn't.

I am the lowest common denominator when I cast my ballot. It may be very minuscule a percentage... I may be the millionth number that comes after the decimal. But I am there. Thats all I am in this vast crowded country of mine. I add up... therefore I am!


For you

You are end of one road
And the beginning of another
The thought that sails on my sigh
The dream that weaves while I sleep

An extension of my desire
The root of my soaring height
You are my farthest distance
and the shortest route

You wash my world anew
cold winter mornings
Fog & Dew

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Walk in the woods

An old wise man once taught me - if you can link one thing to another, you would know more than the others.

And link I do.

There is undeniable order in the chaos around. At every level and every sphere.

For a long time, I laughed at people who said destiny can't be ignored. I can't ignore the data that is before me. Times are bad. People close to me have lost jobs. I haven't. It would take one meeting in Paris to decide whether or not the Indian subsidiary should continue. That's all. And yet here I am at the end of the month knowing very well that salary is on its way. I could be in anther's pinching shoes but I am not.

I work very hard, so does the lady who cleans my home and does my laundry. And yet, I am employing her services.

When I take stock, I am humbled and overwhelmed by God's kindness. I have done nothing to deserve this good life. At least not yet. Not returned an ounce of goodness back to those who need it the most.

I visualise God as this source of white light (very filmy I know) flashing in my eyes - saying - so kid - hows it going?

This chain of thought started while I was watching the 81st Academy awards on television. A gentleman on receiving the award says - there are four places in the world that I thought I would never get to be at - the moon, the miss world pageant stage, (i forget the third one) and this place as the winner of an academy award. This is unbelievable.

And I thought yeah man - look at Barack Obama - Who would've ever thought. Or AR Rahman.

I realise that I can no longer not believe in the power of imagination, dreams and positive thinking.

I have always been better thinking in pictures rather than words. For a very long time, been thinking what can be the visual symbol of the universe - and for almost twelve years - I keep coming back to a mysterious spherical dot hanging into nothingness.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Moody is here and where the heck are you?

Our world is what we think. One moment I am Bridget Jones in her lonely phase and next I am Sarah Jessica Parker with a full love life. One moment I am destined to be a faceless entity in the crowd and the next moment I am the future - maker (Is that a word??) I am both - an astonishing failure and a sparkling success. I own a yatch and a Bajaj Chetak. I completely understand the universe' mysteries and next moment I am devoid of all earthly sense. I am the unfortunate opposites combined.

The acknowledgement of this power is ..well.. scary. I can spiral downwards or shoot straight up.

I think I am ready for a good scrub.... and wash this mood away.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Soul Food

Soul food..... I cooked some last night. To soothe frayed nerves, to drive out the dirty fumes I inhaled while on my way back from work, to forget the schedule of the coming Monday and also to forget that its going to be a lonely weekend...!

Recently I have hired help to cook for me. I realise I crave to cook... so is it a wise investment of money? Time will tell.
Cooking helps. Other people exercise, talk to others, listen to music, read.... I cook. So what does it help with??? Well for starters, your mind is busy estimating the effect of the ingredients of what you attempt to put together. My creative side also finds an outlet... for example yesterday I decided to mix lemon juice and honey as a flavouring. The taste of the vegetables (sauteed well) was a tingling sweet sour taste that you feel at the sides of the tongue. Colored capsicum was good to look at because you eat with your eyes and your nose before your tongue touches the food. It has to look good. The anticipation of the taste comes next. Actual eating and savoring of the taste is in fact the last step. So yes. I know what cooking does for me. It allows me to have an experience that my work life is devoid of! (I have to do something about that!!)

Earth's edge

I am walking the that is. Walk and reach a strange thing. It was nothing unusual. It was a hole. Bottom was not visible. Darkness was. I was crying because I was alone. I knew that the border of the earth and that bottomless pit was not the only border that I was experiencing. I peered over the edge. Almost about to topple over. At that edge I saw faces inside the darkness. Faces of people who had completed the transition over the edge. I asked - Is there where I will lead myself? The answer was - no! And I felt my body swing away from the edge. I was once more on land - firmly so.

Peering over the edge is not a good experience. I know that that is how others must've felt too. This defining moment has seen many witnesses. That defining moment when you know for sure that you are facing a fork in the road and you have to make a choice.

... But to know what the other would've seen when they arrived at the edge. And then those who fell over... and those like me .. who pulled back.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Loss of happiness

We lost someone very dear. A family friends' son, a friend to me with whom I had spent countless mornings, afternoons, evenings running all over the place. We were toddlers then. Didn't keep in touch as we grew up. But knew of each others progress in life. What was the other upto? Where? etc.. trivia. He was fondly called "Happy". And he always was. I always found him smiling until we fought. He is no longer with us. I haven't met him in over twenty years so why did tears well up?? I hope he is at a better place.

Life is fragile. We spend too much time on stuff thats not important.

I think the most unfair of life's demands is for parents to lose their children. It must be heartbreaking/ devastating.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You and the bend in the road

Walked to the end of the road,

And found that was not the end of it.

You stood at that bend in the road,

Smiled and held my hand.

I didn't know it then

But we were walking to that spot

All our lives

From different directions

Those moments were already there

We just arrived at them.