Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lunar Musings

White blotched orb. Keeper of secrets. Guardian of somnolent souls. Scribe of crazy silence. Eternal insomniac. Lonely heart. Wolf god. Or Goddess. Gaia's pale stalker. Pockmarked space football. Conductor of ocean tides. Chopin's muse. Galileo's muse. And Gulzar's too. Mother pearl in Lucy's sky of diamonds. Starman's last stop. The third person in every conversation. The first witness of shy suicides. Night watchman. Dawn greeter. Quiet walker. Dream whisperer. Indiscreet spy. Circumambulator. Romeo's friend. Juliet's matron. Lovesick. Pale. Cursed. A thinker. An idea. The full stop after Earth's sentence. The period before universe begins. Or ends. Explored rock. Unknown territory. Free. Independent. Scary. Moon. Luna. Chand. Male. Female. Foe. Friend.

Can you see me? Do you hear these words? 


Sunday, January 17, 2016


Quiet, muddled, befuddled
Never reaching a conclusion
Endless, meandering, circumambulating
Tiresome in their childish repetitions.
Are never clear
They never come to me
Like they do in my dreams
Lucid, transparent
With you before me
Gathering my words in your arms
Slowly, letter by letter
A game of scrabble only we can play
A puzzle formed block by block
Till I finally find the right words to say
They never come to me
Like they do in my dreams.
Clear, precise and charming
Completely disarming
With you on the other side.
It never happens that way.
It never will.


I wish to be exhausted
Too tired to breathe
Walking on broken bones
Staggering to bed
Empty of thoughts, feelings and you
So I work myself through
 pains last flashpoint
Break all memories' joints
Forget the task of remembering
Build a life of dismembering
Events, words, every trace
Of the shadowy curves of your face
The tinkling bells of your laughter
That ignite hope in a dangerously flammable heart
I fight the last fires that burn in the infinite dark
I wish to be tired, to sleep
Like I slept in your arms
Quietly breathing in life
With all its minutes and memories
Complete and half-done
When I could lift my eyes and touch the stars in your dreams
I wish to be exhausted of these

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Be True...Re-view - The Secretive Six by Saurabh Mathur

Umberto Eco, offering advice on his complicated task of writing, said, “If we think that our reader is an idiot, we should not use rhetorical figures, but if we use them and feel the need to explain them, we are essentially calling the reader an idiot. In turn, he will take revenge by calling the author an idiot.”

Sensible advice and one worth following. Saurabh Mathur, sadly, does not stick to the famous librarian's words. His debut novel ' The Secretive Six' reads through like a badly shot film that leaves you regretting the ticket price. Revolving around a group of 'super' cops seeking to solve the mysterious murder of an IIT professor, the story becomes predictable in a way it shouldn't be. As a writer, the author needs to dominate the pace of the story, releasing plot points and Macguffins slowly. Mathur, on the other hand, seeks to explain every bit. Nothing ever happens by accident in Mathur's novel. While that might be a fascinating philosophy for Sherlock Holmes to live by, it reduces the allure of a suspense novel. After all, where would the suspense be, if the protagonists knew how anything and everything happens. This is one of the key reasons why creating an antagonist in a suspense novel requires just as much work as creating its main characters. For every Batman to work, you need the Joker. For every Sherlock, there needs to be a genuine, bonafide, genius Moriarty.

The novel does have its good parts. The characters are well fleshed out, and the murder, though not mysterious, does have its complexities. The technical aspects of crime solving and forensic science do emerge in some detail. This is a credit to the writer's research, we presume. It would make for an engrossing read if you have the time to spare. Otherwise, Saurabh Mathur might want to take Umberto Eco's advice and try sparing the readers all the details next time.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tum mere paas hote ho goya...

I opened my eyes to annoying brightness. 

'Where are we going', she asked. 

I didn't know. Somewhere good, I hope. Why are you here?

'Why? Would you rather I was not?' 

The desert raced past the windows. I could see her reflection imposed on the scenery. A reflection of my mind. 

'It has been a while', she smiled.

I wondered about the last time we met. There was no day that came up in my thoughts. There was no word I remembered having spoken. Yet, there was her face. Popping up like warts across the skin of my memories. 

Why are you here? 

'I was bored. I needed someone to talk to. Did you miss me?'

Time casts a shadow upon memories. A glance, a second, could expand to occupy hours of your dreams. 

'I was gone a long time, wasn't I? Did you miss me?' 

The rain started as suddenly as the conversation. Tiny little drops of memories that teetered on the edge of time. And then, without a thought, fell. To rise up again, some other time. 

The darkness of the room was so different from the light I had dreamed through. I could still hear her smiling. 

'Did you miss me?' 

You're still here, aren't you? 

Tum mere paas hote ho goya 
Jab koi dusra nahi hota 

You are by my side 
When no one else is

Saturday, July 19, 2014

REM Sleep

The quietness of dawn is creeping upon me. There is no sound, but I can feel it. In the coldness that covers the floor. The creaks and snores of bodies in the other room. The sound of the dripping tap, one that was to be fixed last week, causes a mild irritation. I still have to get used to it. As the words form on this blank page, coded by words themselves, I wonder if I am awake or asleep.

Life seems to be on autopilot. I find myself in an open cubicle during daytime. Typing out documents, filled with copy that is interesting and uninteresting alternatively. I talk, mumble, and sometimes reply to others. All the time, my mind wandering to a place I don't recognise. I see that place occasionally, in my dreams. Quiet, dark and cold like this moment.

Fear is the immediate emotion. Next comes wonder. Slowly, the mind wakes up to the fact that the only danger is itself. No being can kill the mind, except the lack of escape from such a dark place. A place so dark that the mind loses its ability to imagine light. You slowly give in to the darkness and the mind...goes blank.

Peace comes at a heavy cost. You sleep. Your body - paralysed. But your eyes move. Rapid eye movement, they call it. Your brain is functioning. It discovers new worlds. Light, Soft, sweet, warm light. It floats through it. The prisms of brightness radiating through the mind.

Strange words to type in the night. I can feel the cold creep back to me. I can hear the snores back again, through the darkness. I look up and find it impossible to make out the features of the room. It is pitch black again.

Am I awake, or am I asleep? 

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Attack of the Cells

Strangely, it takes time to settle in. You hear your  speak the words, but they flow over you. The dab of the needle is dulled by the anaesthetic, till the moment it wears off. Then you feel the prick, the cold steel prodding its way through your veins.

The first thing that hits you is fear. What now? How do you handle this? Where do you go? Something in your life changes forever. You did not expect this. You cannot handle this. You look at your mom, who is suffering from it. She smiles weakly, and you smile back. What do you tell her? What can you tell her? The numbness seeps in. The brave facade you put up in front of already mourning relatives and friends is not because you are brave, but because you are numb. You are still registering the shock of the news. 

Then come the doctor visits. Each trip to the hospital is a visit to purgatory. There are others. There are worse. If you thought you were in a spot, you see others. They fill the footpaths, crowd the waiting room, sleep on benches and wait for hours to get the doctor to see them. The hospital might be the purgatory that Dante visited. More specifically, the first circle of hell; limbo. 

Mom was fine till the first chemo. She would have been fine even after it. It was us. We were not prepared. We never quite grasped the intensity of the shock. We were still paddling in high water, when the chemo hit us. Mom could not handle it. And we watched her fall, like collateral damage between two rioting factions. It was painful, on so many levels. 

Yet, she fought. With a braveness I did not know existed within her. Somehow, the disease has taught me more about my parents than 27 years of life. I learned that my mother more than anything else. I learnt that there are love stories beyond the ones that movies or novels can create. I learnt that I can break down any moment, anywhere. I learnt that you can never have too much help. 

And this is just the first battle with the dreaded disease - cancer. The war is still on. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fighting Emptiness

Emptiness can be a difficult construct to get used to. It requires patience. An ability to sort out necessary thoughts from unnecessary ones is mandatory. Also, the ability to ignore the few unnecessary thoughts that peter into the consciousness can be helpful. I realise this is not everyone's cup of tea. The mind can be a dangerous, but unavoidable companion in those quiet moments. It is the birthplace of all illusions that will drive you crazy. Little niggles will expand into unbearable pain. The searing cut knifing through your thoughts, imploring you to find some placebo to dull your senses. Find something to delay time, or perhaps, fast forward it to the future. It will force you to find a way to pass time in the most boring manner. There will be anger. There will be a sense of frustration. A helplessness that will threaten to destroy everything you seek to protect. You have to keep it under a leash. It is difficult. Ever try to keep a tornado under a leash? It is impossible.

You have to fight. You have to rein your mind back. Again and again. From thoughts running wild, and create a cohesive idea. The idea is often dull, flickering behind curtains of foggy words and images. It threatens to vanish before you can capture it in your mind's eye. You stay on it. You draw back the cobwebs of delusions. You crowd out the noise. You need to fill the emptiness with silence. Easier said than done. Vagueness will cloud your senses. Fight against it. Focus. And soon, it will emerge. An idea, pure, clear and beautiful. You shape it, create it and put it on a pedestal for all to see.

Suddenly, in a moment, as unexpectedly as it arrived, it shall vanish. You are suddenly used to the emptiness.