Friday, December 31, 2010

Year's End

He could barely see a thousand metres beyond the glass of his office cabin that kept out the cold wintry fog of the nation’s capital and even then, everything within sight was drained of colour; the light from the sun could not or would not break through the haze and our nearest star was reduced to a glowing disc in the background. Swivelling around to face the fourth floor of the office building where he worked, the overcoat he wore for his daily commute through the icy cold hanging across the back of his chair, he wondered if there were any chances of rain tonight, for it had been drizzling of late and he had an open air social gathering to attend to honour the festivities of the season. The year was almost over and this was the first time he would be greeting the new one so far from either of the two places he called home. It was an event he looked towards not without a touch of melancholy, for it seemed that smog had replaced the clouds that ran amok through his ancestral house and glass and steel buildings were now his abode when once he resided in a city of palaces. He was a long way from home indeed.

The year was almost done with. It had been better than the last, he noted to himself, even though some of the bad experiences from that year had spilled over into the next. An unavoidable occurrence, given the nature of those bad experiences, and something which was very much like the taste of bile that lingers on your palate long after you’ve spat it out or swallowed it back down. It occurred to him erratically that the word bile and the word melancholy were once upon a time linked, an anachronistic concept that sadness was caused by the liquids of the liver. It did not matter. The year and the last (the two seemed a pair now) were both history, the events that occurred in them would no doubt be remembered internally, but he would invoke them externally only much later on as a story or perhaps a lesson to one of his offspring, the boy it would be, as he would reprimand him, starting with the words “when I was a younger man…”

Seven hundred and thirty days.

By now it was six in the evening, and whatever few employees had turned up to work on the last day of the year which just happened to be a Friday as well and hence the perfect time to take leave and cash in on an extended weekend off had now also vanished. But he stayed back for a little while longer, standing up to don his coat and turning to the world outside – the last leg of the city’s metro line under construction, the massive malls that sprung up every eighteen months or so, each trying to outdo its predecessors, the vast multitude of the great Indian middle class tearing up the highways and the by lanes of the national capital region in their swanky cars and tailored suits, all of them no doubt heading for some memorable event to reign in the new year. All of them also, no doubt, had their own stories to tell, but for now, he thought as he finally packed up his bag and headed towards the lift, he would have to make do with his own.

There would be prologues of course, and prequels to those, just as there would be sequels and spin-offs to make up the years that would follow. All that would go into writing the grand story of his life. But for now, the New Year beckoned to him, replete with challenges to conquer and dreams to chase, lands to travel to and people to meet. When the time would arrive, it may come to pass that the world would fade quietly; he did not know and mostly did not want to, you could say that he did not care. This was the way the year would end; not with a whimper but a bang, and with a bang would start the new.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Of Little Princes

"I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset now."

"But we must wait," I said.

"Wait? For what?"

"For the sunset. We must wait until it is time."

At first you seemed to be very much surprised. And then you laughed to yourself. You said to me: "I am always thinking that I am at home!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Lights

Ever once in a while, a song comes along that just hits all the right notes. Maybe this is just my opinion. Maybe the song will burn out and be forgotten soon. But damn, that piano riff, Chris Martin's vocals, Will Champion's 3x3 kicking in midway, all make for one of the most bittersweet tunes to hit me in a long, long time. It's not really a Christmas song in the strictest sense of the term - it's not a hymn and it's got no traces of Christianity to it. But by all that's holy, it's got humanity. And in the process, a bit of godliness as well.

I believe Elvis lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

From one mortal soul to another

The celebrations end, the lights are taken down,
and cycles circle on in the midst of a wintry town.
For a moment we relive our times of yesteryear
through memories of innocence and smiles of good cheer.
And before we carry on losing the poetry of the earth,
we raise a toast to history, our pitchers filled with mirth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Maker

Oh, oh deep water,
Black and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open
I've run a twisted line
I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker

I could not see for the fog in my eyes
I could not feel for the fear in my life
From across the great divide
In the distance I saw a light
Of Jean Baptiste walking to me with the Maker

My body is bent and broken
By long and dangerous sleep
I can't work the fields of Abraham
And turn my head away
I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker

Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters
Standing there with broken wings
I have seen the flaming swords there over east of eden
Burning in the eyes of the Maker

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Punchline 2

We humans are funny creatures. Despite our affinity for positive emotion, all our empathy and happiness permeating through the pores of our oldest art and our newest social networks, we thrive off the negative. It is not imagination that fuels our economies, but greed. Love does not keep our houses warm, pride does. And when we need to lift ourselves up when all else has failed, it is not hope, but fear that gives us wings.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Social Network

To answer the first question, is the movie of the year? So far, yes. Does it deserve an Academy Award? Well we’ve still got just under two months left before the window to the 83rd Oscars closes, but yes, I for one would put my money on it over films like Inception and How to Train Your Dragon, the former being more of an exercise in logical reasoning than a movie and they aren’t really going to award the best picture to an animated film just yet.

TSN is incredibly fast. It’s like learning how to speed code within the span of a few hours. The characters speak at an amazingly annoying fast pace and action cuts between two ‘presents’ and past so quickly that you feel like you’re sifting through a Facebook album filled with pictures of Mark’s life from college till now. And for a movie essentially about a bunch of nerds duking it out over the internet, college journals, through emails and across deposition meetings, it’s extremely riveting. Most of what’s depicted about Zuckerburg’s character in the movie is supposedly false, so I won't get into details about whether his character is in the right or not - I’m sure Hollywood has lionized and demonized to their heart’s content. But all in all, despite facts, it’s still got a great script and some tight directing.

But what really struck me were the implications of a single line spoken by Justin Timerblake’s character, the founder of Napster, Sean Parker.

“We lived in farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the Internet”

That’s why it’s a must watch movie. Because, if nothing else, it’s a sign of things to come. Computers changed the way we work and play, but the internet has fundamentally changed the way we live. Forbes recently published its second list of “68 people out of the 6.8 billion who matter”. On it, Mark Zuckerburg was ranked the 40th most powerful man in the world. He’s 26 years old. And every single person on that list this side of 44 years of age has gotten on it through the internet.


The movie ends with Zuckerburg 'adding' as a friend on Facebook one of the junior associates of the law firm who had been sitting in on one of the depositions. He then proceeds to stare at the screen, constantly refreshing the page, to see if she accepts or rejects his request. And it strikes a chord because after the lights go off and everyone leaves the party or the office, that's the importance we actually do attach to something as trivial as a social networking site called Facebook.

Errata Edit: So he didn't add the lawyer girl but his ex-girlfriend at the end of the movie. The point remains the same, even if the form doesn't.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From Seth's Blog

Risking the appearance of weakness takes strength. And the market knows it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maurice Nagar

We lit a candle and said a prayer
Left wax behind where once we were
The light may fade, to dust return
But that within will always burn

Friday, September 24, 2010

Second Hand News

I was recently chatting with an old friend who'd just finished her internship and had taken a small break to go home for a while. I'd asked her if she had enjoyed working in the role she'd chosen when she replied saying that it had been a great learning experience and awesome fun with brilliant people and all that, but not something she'd want to do for the rest of her life. That got me thinking, because I've known some pretty smart people who, despite their flair for success and their addiction to excelling, rarely know what they really want to do in the long term. I replied to her emphatically, saying:

"There is very little in life we do now that we want to do for the rest of it."

Granted, this isn’t path breaking ideology here. I’ve heard this argument enough times and more at various stages of my life and in different forms. But there is that oft quoted difference between knowing the path and walking it. And discovering it on your own - discovering the exact path, finding it with your own eyes - is really different from asking someone for directions and walking towards where they point their finger. It goes something like this.

You’re at one edge of a clearing with tall grass in the woods and you have to get to a certain point on the other side, so you ask someone for directions. He/She (let's not be sexist) points to a particular tree amongst all the others at the other end of the clearing and you walk towards it. There could be a path across the clearing but you can see the tree anyway so why bother? But then imagine that while moving towards the tree, a sudden gust of wind clears the foliage in front of you for an instant and you catch sight of a dirt track for ever so brief a moment.

Now you know that there’s a path. You’re still walking towards the tree, but you know there’s a path even though you’re not walking exactly on it. Only now that you know there’s a path, and others have used it to get to exactly where you can see yourself arriving at, you don’t really want to find it because you know that you’re going to end up at the place where you wanted to be anyway (or at least you believe that you will).

So you’re like, fine, I’m sure I’ll get there my own way. And you build this ego around yourself saying that you’ll make your own path and don’t have to follow anyone. By now you’ve gotten about halfway from where you started when there’s another gust of wind, and you suddenly see that the path you’ve been following has been the path everyone else has been talking about all this while. The thing is, it’s still your path, because you followed it out of your own volition and not simply because it was there or someone pointed it out to you. But it’s everyone else’s path as well.

And in some strange way, you realise that it’s not about being unique or leaving your own trail or anything like that. That doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t even matter where you’re going. Everyone else is just as lost but heading in some general direction, just as you are. There aren’t many people with a plan. And even for the few that do have them, there are always variables in life. Things thrown our way, hands dealt to us that just don’t seem fair. And even if there isn’t, nothing in life is really certain.

What does matter is that when the breeze dies down and the path that was so clear for just an instant disappears again, and for a minute you lose track of the tree that was pointed out to you at the beginning amongst all the others, you can’t just stop and wait for another breeze to blow. You have to take a leap of faith and take a small step forward instead.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Nicolas Cage has acted in better movies. His character in the 2007 movie, Next, can see two minutes ahead into the future. Here's some simple logic (or so it seems to me) as to why this premise is flawed.

Consider hero at three different points in time. 0 (present), +2 (2 minutes into the future), and +4 (4 minutes into the future). At +2 point in time, he will know what happens to him at +4 point in time. But at 0 point in time, he will know what he knows at +2 point in time. Ergo, he knows what will happen at +4 point in time as well, and hence, by the principle of mathematical induction, he will know what happens at a future point, say +6 point in time, and so on, ad infinitum.

I'm not saying that the movie is bad, heck I haven't seen it yet. It's just that it doesn't make sense to define it by saying that it'll be limited to only two minutes into the future. Sure, you can poke holes in this argument and say that maybe he sees what happens two minutes ahead and not what he sees two minutes ahead. But then that's just semantics.

Fine. I'll admit it. This was more an exercise in banter than an actual test of reason. But the subject matter doesn't really inspire, so I consider myself absolved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


It was the same place we had been to more than two years ago. I remember now that it was where we'd first spent any time alone together. So much had changed and so much stayed the same. Cats and mice were running around at our feet and not a soul passed us as the raging night wore on, squalid rain clouds hurling bolts of terrible lightning and just the two of us - talking, not talking, feeling, being.

It was the same place where she had asked me for help and it was here that she told me I would have to go it alone. Some things, indeed, do come full circle.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

When work gets to you,

stand up and scream,

"screw you guys, I'm going home"


Also, I wish life had an 'eject' button sometimes. Something that goes like this.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray for God my soul to take

Monday, August 23, 2010

I used to think it funny when people would offer apologies when someone you're close to passes away. "I'm sorry for your loss" is such a cliche. Why would you even want to apologise? It's not your goddamn fault. If it was, the last thing I would want to do is listen to what you have to say.

A year ago someone very close to me lost his father. Despite knowing that I had nothing to do about it, I apologised for his loss. I was lost for words. I didn't know what to say, so I resorted to the old cliche. "I'm sorry to hear that". Today afternoon, another person I've known for a very long time lost her mother. Even though I don't know her too well (she's more of a friend of a friend) I sent her a message saying I was sorry to hear about her loss.

The reason we apologise, the reason we say we're sorry, is because there is no alternative. I'm sad to hear about your loss? You're not sad. You're sad for me but you're not sad yourself. And any variation in degree of the word just doesn't cut it. We cannot possibly empathise with a person who's lost a loved one. So we apologise at our inability to do so. We show sympathy and verbalise our emotions by using the five letter word. We're sorry because there really is nothing, despite all our technology and our power to move mountains, to explore distant planets, to split atoms and reclaim the land from the sea, that allows us to lessen the burden of grief from a fellow human being.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arithmetic Progression

The full force of the North Indian monsoon hit me in the face like a ton of bricks while I was doing 60 on a bike heading East on NH 28 towards a small town called Motihari in Northern Bihar. My companion in front of me bore the brunt of the onslaught though, but he manoeuvred the two-wheeler onto the front lawn of a small school that lay just beside the highway without any hint of grievance. We ducked under cover of a classroom filled with bags of produce and otherwise just one wooden table in front of the blackboard of the class and five plastic chairs, three of which were occupied by three elderly gents engaged in a relaxed discussing in the local language of Bhojpuri, a language I had absolutely no grasp over. My fellow motorist, a sales representative who I was exploring the rural towns with, and I sat ourselves down on the two empty chairs and looked out through the windows of the pink walled room at the first heavy rains of the season, losing our trains of thought in the spray of fresh water and the smell of evaporating rain on dry earth.

Exactly three years ago to the day, and only within a few hours of the time, I had been prancing about on the beaches of Mahabalipuram just off the East Coast road in the state of Tamil Nadu with an assortment of friends celebrating the completion of our first set of exams at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. Earlier that day we had scrabbled across a rocky outcrop that stuck far out into the sea (such that if you stood facing eastward from the tip, you would have over 180 degrees of sea on the horizon) and popped open a few cans of beer. We later hit the sands and the surf with a football we’d found vacillating on the waves between the beach and the water. Then as the evening had drawn to a close and we had dried and changed up for the last leg of the trip (to Pondicherry, no less, where copious amounts of alcohol and an invitation to Auroville awaited us) the rain threatened to drench us once again with a sudden downpour out of the grey evening sky. Barefoot, with shoes and sandals in our hands, we had bolted across sand littered with splinters and shells of boats and animals long gone, tippy-toeing as much as possible so as to avoid injury, intermittently stopping for refuge underneath the shacks that lined the beach till we got to our taxi and rode off.

Thirteen days ago, I had boarded the Danapur Express from the Howrah Station just north of the city of Kolkata to head towards the city of Patna. I had marvelled, while I towed my luggage through the narrow aisles of the train compartment, at the fact that I had once said goodbye to it all on that very same platform over half a decade ago. Then, I had set out for a different journey and a different ending, a different adventure altogether, to the one I was embarking upon now. In six years’ time I would have had my fair share of goodbyes and hellos, fallen in love twice and lost out both times, and made enemies and friends who I would keep for a lifetime, and yet some things would always feel the same. Train stations, airports, bus stops. In the end, they all serve the same purpose. My mind had wandered then, as I pulled back the seat on the bottom berth of seat number 23 and plopped down on it, to my own memories of each; a tight embrace and a whisper in the ear before a flight home, a cup of chai and a conversation while waiting for an inter-state bus, a slight nod trying not to show too much joy welcoming me back, a text message apologizing for the hurried goodbye in order to catch the first flight to work. The train had lurched forward while I had still been stuck in rewind, but as it did, I smiled to myself at the irony of the situation, because it seemed just then that sometimes, in order to move forward, you had to take a few steps back.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just in case life only happens once,

you should smoke some more. Sure, I know about all the side effects but... well, I don't really have an argument against quitting. I could go and say that "I want to die at least as much as I want to live" or spew some other nihilistic bullshit. But I can't use logic to defend myself, so I will quote precedence.

If you really, really, think about it, there are quite a few things in life we do that aren't entirely logical.

Anyway who the fuck cares. I wrote this cause I came across a good phrase and it made me want to light up. I didn't come here to start a debate.

Peace and goodnight Patna.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Of Inception in general and Ideas in particular

First of all, see the movie first.

Christopher Nolan is one of the brightest visionaries out there right now. I say visionaries and not filmmaker because I don't think that his movies capture the truest essence of what he is trying to say. And I say this not because he doesn't have great ideas, but because the medium of films lack that final dimension with which he can portray them. A poor worksman blames his tools, but you can't build a space shuttle with all the slave labour in the world if you have only bricks to work with.

What Inception does, and what many people will fail to realise, is challenge the viewer. It takes them out of the passive and makes them think, rehash scenes in the movie, different alternatives, other possibilities, all sorts of explanations. That's not to say that the plot is akin to the plot of The Matrix sequels. Anyone who's paying enough attention will understand what's going on. But Nolan, like always, doesn't deliver because his movies put you in a place where you want to be, but because his stories and ideas nudge you into spaces where you are least comfortable.

I won't dive deeply into the plot and the twists and the few weaknesses I felt were present the movie. But when I left the hall, I walked back in a trance like state. I walked a little faster while searching for a ride home. I picked up an extra cigarette and smoked it a little harder. I sweated a bit more because my brain wouldn't sit still. All the while wondering about what I'd just seen. Loosely, the film is about dreaming and different stages of it and how you dive in along with the protagonist into the subconcious before pulling he pulls himself and the viewer back out. I won't call it a great film, but Nolan's brilliance comes through in delivering one little detail that so many others have tried and few have accomplished. Think about 12 Monkeys, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Gattaca, and you get a sense of that feeling I'm trying to convey. When the credits roll up, you won't stand up and applaud the way you did for The Dark Knight, you won't leave with a sense of absolution and triumph. But you aren't supposed to feel those things; those come from movies that only tell you stories. When you leave the hall after Inception, you feel like you've dived into, and woken up from, one helluva crazy dream.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Every Grain of Sand

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dying voice within me reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break
In the fury of the moment I can see the master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other time it's only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Black WIdow

Firrsht Day, Firrsht Show. Thank you, Stan Lee, Jon Favreau, Emily Blunt (for not showing up) and whoever else I may have missed, for bringing everything together for this.

Ryan Renolds, you're a tool.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Get your geek on

Given the spate of Android phones, 4G Apple iPhone leaks, and even laptop and PC manufacturer Dell entering the booming smartphone market (with the Windows 7 Phone OS, to boot) you'd think that the old guard would get wise to the act and come up with something better.

Yes, I'm talking about Nokia and Research In Motion (RIM). The former, it is safe to assume, will always have an edge in the lower end of the market and can, presumably, rest easy. One would think that's exactly what they're doing; what with the flop of the n97 and the x6 (the n900 has found a few takers with it's Maemo OS, but is still far too hefty), and the n8 is said to be riddled with speed issues even before it has been released - this comes with the much awaited third generation of Nokia's Symbian OS.

Research In Motion's (RIM) WES 2010 was expected to throw up a host of new generation phones. The Ontario based company has weathered the surge of rival smartphones since 2007 very well - managing to slightly increase it's share of the market and is currently hovering at about 20%. (The iPhone essentially ate away Microsoft's piece of the pie) With the Android OS now gaining popularity and seeing exponential growth in applications (and a v2.2 on the way), RIM was expected to launch a new breed of smartphone at it's annual conference. Fans and users - this author included - wildly speculated that there would be a new breed of Blackberry that would have a touchscreen and a landscape slide out qwerty keypad. Alas, this was not to be. Two products have been announced. The Pearl 3G is a poor man's 9700 and the Bold 9650 is a CDMA version of the same.

That being said, it is true that RIM had truly outdone themselves with the Bold 9700. There really is nothing much more they can pack onto a phone; nothing business related, anyway. In any case, the conference is only halfway through. While I will be waiting to see if there are any other new phones announced - which is very unlikely - I'm pretty sure that I will be joining the fray of Android toting nerds within, oh say, a month.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010


"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

– Helen Keller

Oh and

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


How long how long will I slide
Separate my side I don’t
I don’t believe it’s bad
Slit my throat
It’s all I ever

I heard your voice through a photograph
I thought it up it brought up the past
Once you know you can never go back
I’ve got to take it on the otherside

Centuries are what it meant to me
A cemetery where I marry the sea
Stranger things could never change my mind
I’ve got to take it on the otherside
Take it on the otherside
Take it on
Take it on

How long how long will I slide
Separate my side I don’t
I don’t believe it’s bad
Slit my throat
It’s all I ever

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Quite knowing why, I succumbed once more
To what I'd resigned not long before
The sand's been turned, my time's begun
And the necessary has been done

I cursed the smoke yet lit the fire
Burnt my life on a two inch pyre
The song's the same, the words repeat
You can check out, but never leave

[PS: rorschach, thanks for the lines]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friendly Fools

All along the road less travelled
Where shadows still abound;
I met a youngish spriteful man
wearing sorrow in his gown
Said me to him "Hey you,
are you walking along my way?
If you are and are alone,
then do join me for the day"
He said not a word but followed me
as I blissfully trod along
But when I started reminiscing,
he broke out into song:
"Life's too short to recollect,
and spend time in the past
Whether 'tis for friends long gone
Or some faraway young lass"
We spent the day cavorting
and to night it quickly turned
And with the light extinguished
the shadows more deeply burned
Sitting beside the glowing fire
that threw embers in the air
My new found friend thought silently
and twiddled his fingers into his hair.
We ate what nature offered us;
We did not go a-hunting
For we felt He would provide for us
and not leave us a-wanting
As we padded the ground with leaves
that had long since turned brown
My companion's mood sunk suddenly
and his smile turned to a frown
He spoke aloud once supine,
his words directed at the stars
"Would you accept a small barter,
if I told you I have the power?
Your soul for the rest of your life
spent in wondrous happiness
And – No – I'm not the devil,
I'm with you – this is just a test

See what I am is an angel,
an agent of the Lord
But we don't do his bidding constantly,
sometimes we just get bored
And for once think for yourself,
not about what you've been told to do
All those parables, all those texts,
don't apply with what you've been through.
Yes, I'd know, I've been watching you.
You're what you could call my ward
I'm the go-to guy for your prayers,
the middleman to your God.
We don't get much by way of payment,
just immortality and all that jazz
But we're allowed to fuck around once
and tease our wards real bad.
And yes, in case you’re wondering,
I’ve made this offer before
Let me give you some examples,
to show you what’s in store”
And he reached to me and showed me
(in his own mysterious way)
Those who had come before me
and had accepted his hefty wage
Emboldened, with the sun rising,
I turned to him once more
“Could you show me – if I rejected you –
what my life has yet in store”
And then he showed me misery,
my own suffering beyond belief.
The tides would pull more fervently
and I would be forever bound with grief
I had no time to think,
(and that’s exactly what he had predicted
Who knew this joyful little man
could have been in truth so vindictive)
“Make your choice before the sun
strikes the roots of yonder trees
Or I’ll disappear forevermore
and you’ll be eternally on your knees”
So I sold my sold to my new found friend
and gleefully he cried
“I’ve been called crazy before
but y’know I’m just you inside.
See how the sun approaches,
and lo, I’m still standing here.
Our barter stands on mutual lands,
but I’m not the powers that you fear.
For those are reserved for you –
you loathe what you’ve become”
And just like that the day had broken
and his face shown from the sun.

Decades it’s been and I’m still here.
As for my soul I cannot say.
What happened during that fateful night,
and what happened the following day
For there's no such thing as the devil,
the horns and pitchfork are myth
True evil lies within us all,
it’s up to us to see it and admit.
And for those who feel they’re justified
and righteous in their path
Fall under the sin of arrogance,
and will still incur His wrath
That’s of course if you’re assuming
that there’s someone up on high
For all you know it could be a bluff,
another frolicking friend of the night.
You see just as a word has different meanings,
based on the parties that are involved
A soul that’s been sold can always be justified
by the way the story has been told.
And my story’s far from over,
for I’ve still many miles to go.
But know this, the path that you take
will rarely be the yellow brick road.
There are struggles that you will face
that will put your firmest beliefs to test
And through it all don't ever forget,
you’re just like all the rest.
God and his hosts, they may exist,
and if they did it would be great
But so long as you’re here you’re on your own,
the master of your own fate.
Right or wrong, these are defined
by the truth you mould yourself
And that’s the simple fact to it,
there’s nothing really left to tell.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The last laugh

I know not, nor can I tell
Whether ‘tis right for me to speak
Of how thine words afflict my mind
And leave my heart so weak

You are such stuff that dreams are made
And the treasure that all men seek
The destination for this broken road
The faith behind all beliefs

But if all the world’s a stage
And thespians we all must be,
Clad in pied clothing, always a-joking
I’ll play my part happily

For I know not nor can I tell
Of what stuff am I to thee
If ‘tis only fools that do rush in
Then a clown forever I’ll be

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

You realise that God has a sense of irony when you decide to quit smoking on Ash Wednesday.

In the auto on the way to work, Mom calls up, "It's Ash Wednesday... the start of Lent... just reminding you"

So this is me trying to resist the temptation of bursting into flames on a two inch pyre.

Less than ten hours into my new decision (and just over twenty four hours from my last cigarette), I already feel the craving. And I see the truth in the words of old Greg, that most people smoke - without knowing it - because they want to die at least as much as they want to live. Because it's better to have hurt inside you than nothing at all. Believe you me, I know.

Already a very morbid start to this year's period of mourning. But then again, could there be any other way?

"The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean"

- Hebrews 9:13, NIV

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters."

- Seneca

Monday, February 15, 2010

Of ageing (ungracefully)

I was at a friend's birthday party this past Saturday night (was one helluva party too). I had taken along another friend who is currently staying with me, let's call him SRK for now (and I know two people who would love that)

At the party SRK and I were standing around and doing our thing, which isn't saying much, now that I think of it. We met this chap who's a pilot and what not and generally began chatting with him about his career and all that. Damn nice guy, damn sweet and all that. When we asked him his age, said pilot replied that he was 21 years old, at which both SRK and I (who are 23 and 24 respectively) turned to each other surprised because - and let's face it - once you hit 23, everything below seems that much younger. We didn't think much about it then though, we were pretty hammered ourselves.

Fast forward to five minutes ago, I'm at work sitting next to Big Z (who's 27), and I remember and narrate the above story to him, ending with the comment "I can't believe we now find a 21 year old guy young"

Comes reply: "Get used to it asshole. It only gets worse from here"

Saturday, February 6, 2010

From the desk of T J Eckleburg

It is night, around him and within him, in his soul and in his mind, in his home and in his city; and such nights do not give him peace. They never had and they never will. He knew this - the old man had told him so. It was just that the old man had reasoned it differently. Either he did not know the real cause or he knew too much of it to tell so young a boy; a boy not yet capable of looking after himself; no sense of responsibility, no sense of concern; a selfish, self-centered boy.

The night was broken by the shining lights of an electronic device that served to distance him a little further from those around him, every single day. Thousands of people could be seen through it and a humdrum of their chanting voices was met by the stony silence of those who have nothing to say, to each other and to themselves. The mindlessness of one of his passions reminded him of his failures. He is only eighteen. He scored twice. At least he has done something with his life. Must have gotten a lot of support from those around him. Silent voices accused themselves and defended others. Not a sound escaped the crack between the lips and this was the only way that love could survive, at least for a while.

The battle is over; won by the better side and the celebrations follow. They have been victorious. In their minds they smile and laugh, within their souls they suspect that victory is relative. Soon they will lose to someone else and will be framed losers. They might not lose to anyone for another twenty battles, but at some point there will be someone better than they and their names shall again be forgotten. The ones who lost now have it easier for they will get over it quicker. The bitterness of defeat shall be mild for they never tasted the sweetness of victory. And how lucky each thinks the other.

He gets up to light a candle, to break the darkness that ensued soon after the shining lights were removed. He still hopes for a good night. It is a mistake on his part to say it out loud. His breath blows out the match and he knows the night will be long. He relates his story to himself, calmly, softly. He will relate it to the others, calmly, softly. They shall speak to him, calmly, softly; and no one will be able to help for he is beyond that. It is a perverse sort of pleasure that he always enjoys when he realizes that he is alone.

The lights shine again and they seem just as insignificant. But they are not, for only they can assuage the rage that grows within him, gnaws at his insides, hurting him and telling him that he has to do something to rid himself of it, but he sits and stares, sometimes at the shining lights and sometimes at the soulless words that are pouring from within him and his rage grows. Rage. Rage compounded by rage upon rage. Rage enough to blot out the sun. These words ring through his mind (They were words that he had read elsewhere. He had not the skill to come up with such words and this infuriated him, burned his insides and momentarily lit up the night until he realized that it was useless). The words he came up with always promised to take him away, into a faraway, magical land (like the lands that Enid Blyton would take him to when he was younger), and then unceremoniously drop him back into the dark night, shivering as though he had been attacked by all the devils in hell.

He was given another matchstick, another candle, another failure. The darkness is good. The darkness helps guard against the burning light.

It would pass, he said to himself, as it always did. And it would return, as it always did. Nobody had any right to control his life, he was told, but he knew they had no choice; he was not capable of doing it himself. He never would be. The words might pour out from his soul, from his mind, from within every particle that made up his misshapen body, but none would be good enough. Some are not meant to be good enough. They have to stay alive to let those who are know how good they are. Contentment was never enough because contentment was a fantasy created by men to be able to live life without killing themselves.

Death was too far away and this was what he wanted. All men are cowards when death makes the rounds. There is no man who had won over it and only stories said they had. He had read such stories and also tried to write a few. Past mistakes never help and they are not the building blocks of success; they are the clouds which darken the night.

He will fight dawn with all his might and lose. Dawn will bring a new hope, a new discovery, a new day, another opportunity to hope for a good night and a new failure. He stays up and waits for dawn and lights another matchstick.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Someday, when our blood has cooled, and the wide open windy places are revealed to us, when our achievements have been crushed to dust by those who are younger, brighter, with the energy of our spent youth, we will meet at a tavern, we will raise our glasses to one another, we will collapse in helpless laughter all over again.

In the interim, we wait, not without impatience."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Love is Noise

I've been wondering what it would be like to make music videos for of a living. This is a thought I've played around with in my head ever since I was old enough to illegally download content off our departed friends like Kazaa, Morpheus, and many, many others. And David (Dave) Meyers used to be my favourite video director back in the day.

To me music, when accompanied with a strong enough visual input (doesn't have to be a video, could be just staring at a blank wall) takes on a different emotional dimension.

Case in point is The Verve's Love is Noise video. It consists of mash ups, shots of people in ultra slow motion, scenery, and abstract themes. All in all, a beautiful work of art.

Will those feet in modern times
Walk on soles that are made in China?
Feel the bright prosaic malls
In the corridors that go on and on and on

Are we blind - can we see?
We are one - incomplete
Are we blind - In the shade
Waiting for lightning - to be saved

Cause love is noise and love is pain
Love is these blues that I'm singing again
Love is noise and love is pain
Love is these blues that I'm singing again, again

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Anno Domini

When the clock struck midnight on the last day of the last year of the first decade of the third millennium of the year of our Lord, I was out cavorting with four friends whom I’ve known for more than five years and one more whom I had just met.

When the two hands of the clock met to give the illusion of a single finger sticking straight out the middle, we were rolling into old watering holes we had not been in half a decade. Some of them had remained exactly the same while others had drastically changed for the worst. It wasn’t, in the eyes of many, what you would call a “cool” night, but it was, nonetheless, a whole lotta fun.

Ten hours later, I was standing on a platform where I had last been over five years earlier and where I’d said goodbye to it all, waiting to greet a friend I hadn’t met in three months to arrive from a town I’d never been to. We drove around Chowringhee and stopped at New Market and paid a visit to the Cathedral where I saw what I had seen every weekend for ten years of my life through new eyes and new wonder.

Nine hours later, I was standing in a room where I’d had my first sip of Heineken all those years ago with people who were screaming and singing into the air and firecrackers exploding into the eight storey sky outside as we tried to Save the Night, but – as always – would fail.

When Londoners and people along the Greenwich Meridian were doing the exact same thing, I was sending off notes to ghosts and, assailed by pangs of hunger, craving for cupcakes and a two week or two year (either would have suited me perfectly) rewind on life.

We celebrate the New Year's not to greet the one that comes, but to bid farewell to the one that has gone by. Whether it is with tears or with smiles, it does not matter, as long as it is one of either and not neither.