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.


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.


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.





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…”


The Seductress

Of all the seductresses who will lure you all your life, Hope is the cruelest. She plays with your mind endlessly, manifesting herself in dreams and nightmares, ambitions and apathies, serendipity and missed opportunities, successes and failures. She promises you better tomorrows at the end of hopeless days, silver linings to unending grey clouds, healing of past wounds, and exorcism of the demons that threaten to rip apart your spirit and soul. And here’s the scary part. You believe her. You believe her more than the God you worship, the religion you follow, or the master you bow to. You believe her like your life depends on it. You believe her more than yourself.

It is hard not to. While you’re painting a picture of the grand success your life will eventually turn out to be, and writing the eulogies that will be read at your funeral by the who’s who of whomever, you know that the average day is duller than the absolutely inevitable and monotonous passage of a second, signaled by the movement of the second’s hand of a clock. The devil lies in the details. And there are details to be taken care of, if you do wish to complete that picture you so cherish. It is a giant jigsaw puzzle, with pieces after pieces of the same colour, with just a suggestion of a change in shade or hue. But you work at it nevertheless, hoping that the pieces you are putting together are in the correct order as you edge towards completing it. So each day that you work tirelessly towards something, without a hint of progress or achievement, this Hope, this picture pushes you on. So while the ticking of the second’s hand is inconsequential, the change in day, month and year is most certainly not. That’s ‘The Butterfly Effect’ at its purest. She dangles carrots, she whips you with sticks, but she achieves her objective. You are seduced into tomorrow.

And cruel as she may be, that tomorrow is always the best thing that could have ever happened to you, simply because the alternative is to stop existing. And you don’t want to do that. Not while you have Hope seducing you. And that is her saving grace, her exit sign from hell. Because without her, there’s only Time. Hope’s seduction is perhaps the only thing that is keeping you from perpetually fixing your eyes on the clockwork motion of the second’s hand or slitting your wrists open and drain into oblivion. Without her seduction, your life’s graph will only contain a timeline and some semblance of activity running parallel to it. Falling prey to her seduction is what you are wired to do. That is why you pick yourself up and dust yourself off after falling down, you mend your broken heart, and you start again from square one. Granted there are moments when you look beyond the seductive possibilities Hope presents, when you are able to separate the white canvas from the shapes and colours of your picture. And those who make this a sustained habit are the ones who achieve nirvana or wash up dead on the shores. But that is a rarity.

So give in to this seduction. Let Hope lead the way. She may promise you roses, all the while drawing blood with the thorns, but it will be worth it. There will be a moment when she’ll let you smell them and keep them. There will be a moment when the second’s hand will feel proud because it will move in your honour. The pieces of the puzzle will suddenly make sense and a life defining pattern will emerge. You will boast of not being tempted into NOT being seduced. It will be orgasmic. That is when you’ll get to say ‘My Turn’. And don’t worry of Hope ever losing her charm or her moves.  Don’t bother of Hope deserting you in pursuit of another suitor. Don’t be afraid of Hope leaving you in the pessimistic depths of your mind’s hell.

Rest assured. Hope springs eternal.


Cup’s Home.

Back after a wild party on the street. No one knows anybody else out there, but everyone is everybody else’s best friend tonight. The one thing that binds this country together, has also brought us our biggest joy in recent years, and the biggest festival of any of the numerous religions followed here. But then again, if one has to look closely, it will be clear that the real religion is, cliched as it might sound right now, CRICKET.

We are a country that is pulled apart by ideologies that are in stark contrast to each other. We are a nation where everyone is looking in a different direction, of their own choosing or ignorance, and lack a leader who can point out the right direction and make everyone look there. But come match day, everyone is a follower of cricket. Race doesn’t matter, religion is forgotten, social class is banished, gender is ignored, all that remains is the pure, unadulterated love for the game. And tonight, that love for the game has reached it’s crescendo.

2003 was a heartbreak. 2007 was a shame. What followed was a painful rebuilding exercise. Stung by a divisive coach who ended up ruining the careers of two of the finest players of our generation, we knew this was not the way to build a world conquering team. We got a young, unknown face to replace a veteran as the captain – wicketkeeper. A mild mannered South African took on the stressful job of the coach. We found talent from the under 19 team, and also began grooming the youngsters from the regional sides. Somewhere on the strategy boards of the dressing rooms, a team was taking shape.

In the meantime, we started winning. And we started winning big. The Australians were ridiculed at their home, and only an apology of a match at Sydney meant we didn’t come up aces. But we crushed them at Perth. Other championship material teams were also ruthlessly taken care of. We became a force to be reckoned with. A team that had suddenly found its killer instinct. A team that had the brashness and ‘in-your-face’ attitude of the Australian team, but not their arrogance, and certainly not their foul mouths and dishonest ways.

More knowledgeable people than me will always maintain that the recently retired Australian captain was a true legend of his craft. I would politely, but strongly disagree. He had the privilege to lead stalwarts, absolute masters of their trade, against sides that were in awe of the sheer mountain of skill and talent that was facing them. He himself was always a top notch batsman, but nowhere near to the gentleman in the ‘Gentleman’s Game’. The truth is he was handed a champion team by his legendary predecessor, and also received tutelage from the master. Whereas our captain worked from the ground up. He actually built a group of players that could be depended on to perform on international stages. Players that had nerves, and could hold on to them, even to the very last one. He put on an icy cool exterior that was never confused, never flummoxed, never worried, never angry, even if the world around him was falling to pieces. That personification of composure was what gave his troops the confidence to pull out victories out of hopeless situation, something our team was not known to do. If history should ever judge the greats who toiled as captains, I daresay it will stand on a desk, and call out to the Indian team captain as ‘O Captain! My Captain!’

Through all this, one player, who had crossed every line, every statistic, every hurdle had carried on with the dogged determination of a mountaineer on a mission to conquer mount Everest. He was not playing for himself, for that would be too easy. He carried on his shoulders the expectations of an entire nation. In a nation  that  treats its favourite game as a religion, its favourite son was its God. Considered in a class of his own, even by his own equals, he was slowly finding a new level of performance, even at this late stage in his long walk. The early part of the new millennium was not very kind to him, and there was a repeated speculation about his eminent retirement. He never found it necessary to reply back. His own famous words after a match winning effort succinctly summed up his attitude towards everything – ‘When someone throws stones at you, you convert them into milestones.’  He found his second wind, and he just blew everyone away.

It’s 4 am on April 3rd, 2011. The feeling hasn’t sunk in. I was on the street and it was mayhem, chaos, insane. But none of it was disturbing. It all felt right. It all felt natural. I shouted slogans and hooted so loud I must have torn my windpipe. I bled blue, needless to say, but such was the intensity that it must have healed by itself. In any case, I was too busy reveling to notice it. If any country has malicious designs on my country, just look at the celebrations today. This is the united India. We are an unstoppable force when we charge. We are an immovable object when we shield.

In a nation besieged by corruption, social inequality, religious divide and political opportunism, there is one game that rules us all, one game that binds us . One game that makes Gods out of mortals, and followers out of fans.  One game that makes a nation realize that we PROUDLY bleed the same blood, red or blue. One game that makes us insane, makes us laugh and makes us cry. One game, that makes us dream, and lets us live them.

For what are we, if we can’t dream, or live them?






The Chase

The evening breeze disheveled his hair, or what was left of it, making him smoothen it with an irritating frequency. His loose spectacles slid on his nose, and kept sliding, annoying him further. The humidity on the beach formed a thin layer of oily mist on the glasses, blurring things, but he didn’t mind. He intently kept watching a dog furiously trying to catch his tail. Something in that circus touched him.

The dog stopped abruptly, sensing something was watching him. He looked at him, neck tilted to the side, as if to say, “Yo human! anything I can do for ya? You seem pretty interested watching me catch my tail.”

The man smiled to himself, as if to say, “I started young, full of life and energy and the hope that I’ll be what I’ve ever dreamed of. I moved across cities in pursuit of work that interested me and paid well. I made those cities my home, to the point that I actually missed them when I left. Every moment of my living time was focused at achieving something, adding something to my cart.  I made everlasting friends, fell in love, broke hearts, attracted some people, repelled others. And yet that chase, that single-minded pursuit was towards achieving more with every step I took.”

“Now when I look back, it all seems so pointless. I remember my time spent in every city I lived, and yet the city I was born in, the city I grew up in, has faded from my memory. I grew branches, but lost my roots. The hearts I broke found others to mend them back, and I marched on, never thinking of a day when I might need the warmth of one. The cars I drove have become obsolete, the once up-market area where I lived is now a common street. The gadgets I once flaunted are now lying in some junkyard. The ones that replaced them are too advanced for me to use. Or rather I’m too challenged to use them. My body aches and rebels every morning I wake up and try to get out of bed. The biggest challenge for me is to get a good night’s sleep because the only thought in my mind never lets me rest.

I always kept running thinking happiness was just round the corner. Now I know I was running in circles.”


Of Ends and Beginnings

After 16 months of some great work, a lot of idling around, living through the biggest scam in Indian corporate history day by day, loving idly wada dosa sambhar and tamarind rice, saying ‘Tamil teriyaad’ countless times…here I am, bags packed and ready to put Chennai behind me. There are mixed emotions as I write my last post from Chennai. Happy that I’m going home, scared a bit now that I don’t have a job anymore, sad because I’ll be away from some amazing friends and food 😛 , relieved that the turmoil of an uncertainty is behind me, anxious to find a footing again soon, panicky because I’m staring at another uncertainty in its face.

It’s way too cliched to say that Time passes away too quickly for us to stop and think about everything. But it does, and leaves us the choice of running along with it or getting dragged all the way. To be honest, neither of these is a choice anyone of us would prefer, and therefore, ironically we’re left with no choice but to choose.

I for one always believed in procastinating. I gladly let time decide for me, and most of the times, it worked. Time kept eliminating options for me, and all I had to do was go with what remained. It’s easy to live in denial that way, and be ignorant of the possibilities that could have been mine, had I decidec to choose for myself. But this is something I can live with, so be it. Maybe I’m on of those who let Time drag them along.

So the fact remains that the time has come to make a few choices, start something new (don’t think of any products people, not my intention here! 😀 ), leave the end behind, begin again.

Perhaps Robert Frost’s lines will make all the difference.

‘Two roads diverged in the woods…



I wrote earlier about how Bollywood cannot match up to the creativity and freshness of hollywood, try as we may. I am glad I was proved wrong, though I wish I am proved wrong like this more often. I say this because I saw ‘Taare Zammen Par’ yesterday. And I’d be a humanoid if I say that it didn’t move me.

We really are self centered, aren’t we? I mean, we just refuse to look at something from the other person’s perspective. ‘If he has difficulties, it’s his fault, not mine. My way of doing things is the most feasible way, and If I can do it, why can’t he?’ We just refuse to  accept the fact that ‘individual’ is not just another word in the dictionary, meant to be used  in essays, it means that every person has his identity, and we cannot impose our perspectives on him, just like that. So all we do is try to convince everyone else how and why we are right and righteous, while seldom trying to grasp what the other’s perceptions are.

So here’s this kid, living in the shadow of his genius, but caring and loving big brother, and who has to face the wrath of everyone who expects him to do as well as his big brother. He is the quintessential Calvin, but while Calvin and Hobbes is only about how a first grader looks at life, and what marvelous things keep happening inside that tiny brain, Eshan has to face the vagaries of life, and the expectations levied upon delicate shoulders. All pseudo expectations superimposed on a mind that’s way ahead of it’s time, imagining the universe vividly, moving planets, talking to animals, all the wile absorbing these shocks from people who it believes should love the kid the most.

And what expectations they are!!! The conformist in everyone speaks, the kid should be competitive, ready to face the world, take every challenge head-on, be a man, when all the child needs is some change in the way people look at him. A classic case of what happens in our country, isn’t it? “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, we are asked, and the parrot inside us replies quite instinctively about the glamourous professions that are Medicine, Engineering, and Business. How many sport stars have we lost because they were too busy trying to study when all that was going inside their head was about the football practice they missed that day? In our schools, creativity is like our lunch boxes, to be taken out only during recesses, and then kept inside, whether we want to have more of it or not.

There is this notion that there is security and stability in these professions, which the sport world does not offer. While this is true to a large extent, all the proponents of this argument should understand how the corporate world works today, where a large number of engineering graduates end up, and what is the condition of an M.B.B.S pass-out. They’ll be disillusioned big time!!! I really wish we all can think a little off the track and let the young explore uncharted waters. Let them break free, do what they feel they’re the best at, at least in their formative years. I do believe that this will do them a lot of good when they end up in any profession, because their minds won’t be boggled down by structured theories and preconceived notions about everything. I hope ‘Taare Zameen Par’ is able to achieve it’s purpose. But then again, I’m reminded of a great quote I read somewhere,

‘The most futile cry of man is his wish to be understood. His attempt to understand, perhaps, even more futile.’