Redemption

What is this? What have you done? What have I become? I look at the mirror and see organs, blood, muscle, tissue under a layer of skin covering up a hollow, endless abyss where my soul and spirit once used to be. There is a mechanical overtone to my movements, a clockwork precision that masks my aimless existence. Are you to blame for this vegetative state I’m in? Or should I curse myself for the rot that has set in?

Perhaps I didn’t see it coming. Hindsight is a bitch and introspection is a cunning bastard that keeps scratching your raw wounds and stuffing coarse salt in them. Flirting with you was like opening my front door in a tempest, impossible to close once the violent winds of your attraction lashed at my heart. Courting you was courting Death. Like Love injecting a potent, invisible poison of passion in my veins. When did a harmless intoxication turn into a lethal addiction? I don’t know. It was inescapable then. It is inescapable now.

I frantically thrash about. A man out of his depth. A fish out of water. Gasping, with hopes of water gushing in and calming me, only to take in more air and feel my throat drying up. I freeze in my tracks like a deer in headlights. There are moments of sanity when redemption looks possible, when I scavenge the depths of that hollow abyss and try to find traces of the lost soul I once had. Madness returns mostly in the form of the same mechanical existence and the abyss swallows me whole. I am lost in the depths of my own despair.

But redeem myself, I have to. There has to be salvation somewhere, in some form, waiting for me to claim. I could forge a raft of logs, hoist sheepskin as my sails and obliterate the monstrous hurricanes of the seven seas. I could lead a revolution and topple governments. I could dismantle the Colosseum and rebuild it, brick for brick.  I could be the conqueror of worlds wasting his spoils of war on the lepers in the street without waiting for their blessings and marching on to my next conquest. Something, ANYTHING to feel a fleeting semblance of the life I once had.

Would it be enough? Would I have lived?

 

DELTA1

 

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A Petrol-head’s Dream

Forgive the clichéd title, but being a petrol-head and admiring those metal beauties zipping around on rubber on black tarmac since my childhood, my share of driving one came too late in life. The start of my thirties to be precise. And so I believe I must be allowed this indulgence.

Anyway, I grew up in an era when the choice of tourist cars was the grand old HM Ambassador with windows that wound down manually and a sort of igloo shaped cabin that magically expanded to hold as many people and stuff as you needed it to. I enjoyed my vacations to different holiday destinations in my state in this car and every trip had some breakdown or accident that was worthy of being retold generations later. It was but natural that my curiosity would gradually turn into an avid and keen interest and admiration. A part of it was also due to the changing passenger vehicle market. Tata Motors gave us icons like Indica, Safari and Sumo – timeless cars that still have a soft corner in my heart. The Daewoo Cielo, that loooong sedan majestically advertised on the glossy pages of The Sunday Times, Ford concepts splashed across some glossy magazine that I got for free while rummaging for comics at a local bookstore, all added to the awe and I was thoroughly smitten by these divas. The impact these harbingers of the history of cars to come would be indelible.

Fast forward to about 20 years and the car segment in India has drastically changed (and for the good, of course). Consumers are now spoilt for choice, car makers are busy releasing new design languages, models, variants, refreshes or outright creating new segments! What a time to be alive!

It was high time I grabbed me one of these beauties and check off one item from my bucket list – owning a car. The first challenge was to learn to drive. Since we didn’t own a car before,I never really got a chance to lay my hands on one and learn driving. And as I always fell asleep when I rode shotgun I was scared if it would happen while driving as well. 2 days into my driving lessons and I was hooked! The acceleration, the awareness that you have the power of a hundred horses at the tip of your right foot was exhilarating to say the least! I knew then that I would enjoy being behind the wheel come highways or twisty narrow lanes choked with traffic. Falling asleep at the wheel was the monster under the bed I had already vanquished.

Driving tests done and dusted, I then turned my attention to buying the best car my budget could allow me to. For me it was a simple decision, the new compact sedan Zest from Tata Motors. The buying decision, my thought process, the pros and cons warrant a new post altogether but the bottom line is that in my humble opinion it’s the only car in its class that gives the most value for money. For me that had a significant impact on my buying decision.

And so during the auspicious Ganesh festival last year as I grinned from ear to ear while accepting the keys to the metallic grey petite beauty, I fulfilled my dream of owning my first car and checking off an item off my bucket list and added some much needed ‘Zest’ to my life.

That grin still comes back on every time I take the wheel.

 

DELTA 1

NOTE:

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Love

Love.

Takes you places.

Places you’d rather be and places you don’t want to see.

Places of your dreams and places that make you scream.

Places dark with a ray of light, places bright with a storm in sight.

Places you never want to leave, places real yet so make-believe.

Love.

Changes you.

For better and for worse, without a chance to rehearse.

Makes you a Demon and a God, makes you fight wars uncalled for.

Makes you laugh in your misery, makes you cry when you’re happy.

Makes you a saint. Makes you a sinner.  Makes you lose all and still be a winner.

Love.

Kills you.

Drives a knife in your spine and kisses you a sweet kiss goodbye.

Squeezes your heart dry and leaves you to die.

Rips you apart from a gaping bullethole to leave you a corpse without a soul.

Makes you hate life and welcome death. Makes you pray for your final wreath.

Love.

 

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The Fog

It wasn’t a typical cold winter’s night. And yet just cold enough for a walk. The first fog of the season rolled lazily over the dim gas lit streets. We were strolling, wandering really. We didn’t know where the road was taking us, and didn’t need to. She looked splendid enough to make me forget journeys and destinations. Her face glowed in whatever little light the street lamps shared with the world around them. I was mesmerized. She was bewildered. Her beauty and modesty was as beautiful a potion as it was toxic. And my heart was already feeling the first pangs of its power.

I deliberately stopped under a lamp to slow her down, just so I could soak in the radiance of her face. The fog rolled past the lamp as lazily as ever, but it danced across her face, caressing it like a lover and making me jealous. And in that jealous, love filled rage, I touched her cheeks, almost as if to wipe those shadows off her face. Startled, her eyes questioned me as fleetingly as they found the answer. She smiled and something in those eyes assured me the fog could never touch her the way I did. Her eyes laid bare my insecurities and covered them in a blanket. I was lost in them, and would’ve paid a fortune not to be found again.

Something did find me. A noise somewhere in the distance perhaps. After the moment I took to recollect my thoughts, my eyes sought her again. Framed and behind a thin veil of glass, her eyes still fixated me and pulled me away from the banalities of existence. The memories started flooding my mind again, making my head throb with the sheer collage of images of an unforgettable yesterday, and making my heart ache with the feelings each moment held within itself. The brain defense mechanism made me involuntarily reach out for some book on the table, and open the first page.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

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The Guardian

I’m late for this. It was long overdue. But it’s never too late to make amends. The following short essay is a pathetic attempt to pay tribute to a guardian, grandmother, friend, philosopher, sage, comic. I wrote it as a part of a contest in my office and it found approval from some people. When I had envisioned it earlier, I would have perhaps written a lot more. But this is perfect.

 THE MOST INSPIRING WOMAN IN MY LIFE

 Every. Single. Morning. She wakes up to open the door for the maid, sharp at 6. All 80 years of wrinkled skin and creaky bones. The winter chills don’t freeze her. The warm blanket has no power over her. The monsoon dampness cannot peg her down. Each slow step has a resolve and a purpose. The arched back has an unknown source of strength. The hands find their support without the help of the weak eyes further weakened by the darkness and dim lights. Her day begins in this darkness, almost mocking the Sun for rising later than her.

At an age when she should waste her time savouring the sweet fruit of a tiresome life she has led, she has come out of retirement only to fulfill the promise she made to her dying daughter. Her solemn word was not to let her grandchildren ever feel orphaned or straying nomads without roots. With every small action, every small word, every small gesture and blessing, she still strives to fulfill that promise.

Her grandchildren use her as a punching bag; an outlet to their frustrations and disappointments. And when all is said and done, they still seek solace in her embrace, and peace in her quivering hand in their hair. Gods will be worshipped. Heroes will be praised. My grandmother will still remain far above them all. She will forever remain the benchmark against which I will measure myself.

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