Friday, December 22, 2006

A New Year Resolution For Mr Big Mouth

Mr Big Mouth.A name given to me by a close friend recently ( We shall call that friend X for the purpose of this post ).And I am ashamed to admit, I deserve that name. Mesmerised by the sound of mine own voice ( no sin, when blessed with such a divine voice and keen intellect to boot, one might argue :P ), I have been guilty of speech without thought.

"C for Control", was my classmate Liju's formula. I have been sadly remiss in following this excellent advice.Its one thing to be funny , quite another to be cruel.

I resolve above all to follow this quote, in letter as well as spirit:

"When someone blushes with embarrassment, when someone carries away an ache, when something sacred is made to appear common, when someone's weakness provides the laughter, when profanity is required to make it funny, when a child is brought to tears, or when everyone can't join in the laughter, it's a poor joke"
Cliff Thomas

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Till Death Do Us Part

Sanjeev looked at Sandhya and smiled. Her eyes held that look of infinite tenderness. His hands caressed her, gently sliding through her tresses. "Till Death Do Us Part", he murmured gently into her ear. She smiled her agreement.Then and there Sanjeev decided that come what may, Sandhya would become his.


Sanjeev breathed a silent prayer. His mind was made up. But he would need the last ounce of his courage to do what he had decided must be done. He saw Shyam coming out of the office. That sight helped him expel the last doubts from his mind. His fingers clutched the knife he held in his right hand more tightly. He advanced towards Shyam.


Sandhya looked down at the dead body of Shyam. Her husband. She looked up at Sanjeev. His eyes had a hint of guilt.She understood. Nothing had prepared Sanjeev for what happened next. He recoiled from the sight of the hate and terror pouring out of her eyes. In that instant he realized he had lost for ever the one woman he had ever loved. How tragic that it was Shyam's death that had parted them.


The courtroom was silent. The Counsel for the Prosecution and Defence had concluded their arguments. The crowd was awaiting the judgement. Judge Sandhya pronounced : "The prosecution has been unable to prove the charges against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt.I therefore declare the defendant acquitted and order him freed with immediate effect".The courtroom erupted.


They were at Sandhya's house. She had poured him a drink of Vodka and Orange Juice , his favourite. The orange juice was sour, it had made the drink bitter. He wrinkled his lips in distaste. But at last it was all over. Sandhya still loved him. It was getting late. He could hear Sandhya as he fought the drowsiness , "Luckily , no one knew about our relationship. Otherwise I could never have tried your case. I loved you , you know. But I loved my Shyam too. Thats why I decided you will be mine. I would never give you up to the police. No, you will die by my hand, killed by the poison I have mixed in your drink".

Monday, December 18, 2006

And The Die Is Now Cast

"If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference." - Abraham Lincoln.

Life is full of tough choices. Tomorrow I make mine. Let me rephrase that - I made the decision a long time back. Tomorrow I need to see it through.

"Itni shakthi hamein dena daata
Man ka vishwaas kamjor ho na
Hum chale nek rasthe pe humse
Bhool kar bhi koi bhool ho na"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Trip To Vizag

A teammate at office was getting married ( one more poor soul sacrificed at the altar of marriage , tsk tsk ) in Vizag, so 3 of us decided to make the trip. I preferred a train since it was a long time I last made an overnight journey by train ( not since my days in Bhutan ).And so it happened that we booked 3 berths on the Prasanthi Express departing Bangalore at 2:30 pm.

On the day we were to start, I decided to confirm the train timings. I looked at the printed ticket and to my surprise found that there was no departure time printed, just a bland message, "Train timings changing from Dec 1st. Pls confirm exact timings". A wise guy at the office remarked that the new departure time was 10:30 am , which of course was not very good news considering it was already 11am ( Turns out Mr Wise Guy was looking at the booking time printed at the bottom of the ticket ...duhhh!!! make that Mr Dumb Ass ). A frantic 15 minutes later ( spent in dialling countless Railway nos, which were all engaged, and surfing the Net ) we confirmed with a sigh of relief that the timings for our train were unchanged.

We started from our office around 1pm ( after applying for the half day *Sick* leave , heh heh ) , and reached Bangalore City Rly Stn around 2:15 after an uneventful journey ( barring the changing of autos because our auto ran out of fuel, the mad rush through traffic with our backpacks slung on etc etc , you know , the usual stuff that just seems to happen whenever I start on a long journey). The nick of the time arrival meant a change in our original plan ( no Vodka + Sprite mix to be taken on board ) :(.

The train chugged off at 2:30 pm and no sooner were we out of Bangalore City limits than I had a surprise. A momentary digression while I give you a lesson in Biology. You will ofcourse be aware there are 3 kinds of people - men , women and the hijaras. My early encounter with hijaras was during my days in Delhi, where I looked on in amusement as they came to our houses, sang some songs , collected money and left. Being then at the tender age of 12, I did not fathom the mysteries hidden behind these singing aunties. Now however, I was a fully grown male (hold your horses , I never said grown mind :P ) capable of understanding the weird ways God ( always assuming there is one) worked.

To continue ( Editor's note: Get a move on please , we have a story to finish here ) , I looked on with a slight amount of distaste and increasing horror as hordes of these wonderful people descended on our compartment and started patting cheeks , thighs etc trying to cajole money out of our miserly hands. I will spare you the gory details but suffice it to say I held on ( nay , not a 50 paisa coin out of my hands ). Was that a cheer I heard? And now a tip for the inexperienced - the trick is to remain completely indifferent. Dont show loathing , dont be angry, in short dont do anything...just continue doing whatever you are doing ( this last proved difficult in our case - we were playing cards and one of the hijaras tried to run away with the cards we were playing with ) . Anyway , you get the idea.

An exciting 24 hours later we were in Vizag. The marriage was at 1am. We spent the time lolling around the beach, going on board the Navy submarine 'Kursura' and downing a few beers. We went to sleep at 10:30pm, woke up at 12:30 am and attended the marriage function. ( Got a few photos to prove the fact.Agreed,I dont look in prime form in the pics, but then beer + power nap is hardly the formula for a smooth, rosy complexion ).

The official reason out of the way, it was time for a blast in Vizag. Unfortunately , we had only 24 hours for the same. Our travel plan had been planned beforehand by experts. The idea was to make a trip to Arukku valley - around 130 kms from Vizag . On the way , we dropped in on Bora caves. Really amazing place, such a huge cave. There is even a Shiva linga there ( which we decided to give the go by , not being the religious type ) , but the Vizag trip was worth it just for the caves itself ( and oh yes, the marriage too ) .

Arukku valley is another 30 kms from Bora caves. On reaching there , the driver informed that there is only a waterfall and a garden to be seen there ( Now you tell us !!! ). The problem was the waterfall was 4kms away , and the road was not fit for a bullock cart, much less for a car. The garden we had decided wasnt worth spending an hour on. So guess what we did? Bingo, you are right. Headed straight for the AP Tourism resort to drown our sorrows at missing the waterfall in a couple of beers.

We reached Vizag back around 6, then only had time for a short visit to the Kailash something something ( This is atop a peak and offers a bearthtaking view of the beach ). After that there was only time enough for a couple of beers and dinner and then we hit the sack. Back to Namma Bengaluru after another encounter with those exotic beings on the train.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Love Found...and Lost

I knew she liked me, her eyes told me as much
If I messed up,would I get another chance such
Put my best foot forward, make the best impression
Just smile at her, hold in check my passion

We were made for each other , or so I thought
Every time we shared a joke or playfully fought
She was more than a pretty face, that I say
God just make her mine I did pray

I loved her truly, with all my heart
She was one in a million , the pick of the lot
Girls have come, and girls have gone from my life
She was something special, the one to be my wife

O! What dreadful surprises are held for us by Fate
In the journey to her heart, I arrived years late
Nobody told me the race was on
I started too late , the prize was gone

My heart broke into pieces, a thousand and one
Consoled by the wise man hearing his sermon
Why should for the loss of one I so pine
She who never did love me,she was never mine

I hold no bitterness in my heart, certainly none at her
For the foolishness of my heart , how can I blame one so fair
Be happy , wherever and whomever with you are
Iam peaceful, when I see you smile, from afar

Monday, December 04, 2006

God Has a Sense of Humour

Our hero was a quiet chap, a real romantic at heart
He was but Average looking , and not quite so smart
Believe you me, when I say it was Love at First Sight
Into his Dark world, had come this Goddess with Light

Now Our Hero was shy, one who used his tongue but to taste
He gaped at her, and stared, but didnt show any haste
One month passed, and one more , and still he pined
Watching her talk to others,jealousy on his heart dined

At last he mustered the courage, asked her out
She said sorry , but her brother had the gout
He offered his sympathies, suggested a doctor
She kept a straight face, nearly dying of laughter

Not one to take this setback lying down
Our Hero was ready to fight for the crown
For her Love was the prize he held dearest by Far
More than gold, more even than steak done medium rare

He had his plans ready - a resourceful chap - was this bloke
A candlelight dinner , then drop to his knees and, propose
Accordingly he told her "This Place I know , is the in thing"
She said, "Cmon buddy cant you guys just take a hint"

But let me end this tale, on a Note of Happiness
Its been said God's partial to fools and idiots
She stumbled on his blog, was fascinated by his sonnets
They have been married three years now, raising the triplets.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The End of Tragedy Inc

Enough of tragedy , they cried. Why so much death, they asked? What could I say in response but this: "A true poet ( ahem, ahem) cannot but follow life. Life is not all hunky dory, in case you didnt notice. For those of you lucky enough to be alloted shares in the IPO of Utopia Co Pvt Ltd, its easy to say 'Be Happy'. For the rest of us, its not quite so straighforward". And so went my arguments. Enough to convince the most thick headed, you would have thought. But what place for arguments when emotions rule the roost. ( sighhh )

For the past few days , my Inbox has worn the look of a battlefield. I fought on gamely ,with only the strength of my convictions to egg me on. And would have gone on fighting till the end, if I had not been felled by a Brahmastra. Note how low the followers of Happiness can stoop to achieve their ends. They threatened to spam my Inbox with discount offers for books like "Learn to be Happy in 7 days", "Why Cry when you can Smile", "Be Happy or be Damned" , etc ( Gasp ! Gasp ! ) . I could have gone on fighting but my Will was broken. I then went ahead with the only option left before me. I pleaded for mercy and threw up my arms in surrender.

The terms of my surrender were such that would put The treaty of Versailles to shame. The salient features are given for your reference:

a)This treaty to be henceforth known as "The Terms of Agreement for the Dissolution of Tragedy Inc" and to be referred to as "The Treaty" hereafter.

b)The salient features of "The Treaty" to be provided on the blog of the CEO of Tragedy Inc.

c)Sachin to resign as CEO of Tragedy Inc ( after filing for protection under the Bankruptcy Act)

d)No new sob stories to be written by Sachin ( Clause 9.1.4-a provides for sad stories to be written during periods of extreme morbidness , provided the frequency of such does not exceed one every three months ) p.s : The old sob stories will still be readily accessible under the Label : "Short Story".

e)Sachin to listen to "Dont Worry Be Happy" every morning for 15 minutes ( Sob !!!!! )

The headline writers had a field day. "Tragedy King pleads for mercy", went one. "Sachin promises to laugh", screamed another.

As proof of my changed colours, I offer you the following story:

A Happy Story

Once upon a time there lived a young prince. He grew up into a charming young man. In due course he fell in love with a beautiful princess. After the usual love affair, they got married, had dozens of children and lived happily ever after .

Friday, December 01, 2006

April Fool !!!

At last , April 1st had arrived. Another April Fool's Day , only today it was not he who was going to be fooled, Ashish thought. The day held bitter memories for him. It was exactly one year before that Remya had told him she was going to marry someone else. The pressure from her parents had been too much, she said. At first he had thought it was a prank, she was making a fool out of him. Her earnest face soon convinced him otherwise.

And so they had decided to part. They had not seen each other since, not once talked over the phone. In two months she was married, her husband a doctor at the same hospital she worked.

His mind went over the happenings earlier in the day as he waited for Remya. Ashish had called the hospital and asked for Dr Remya. He had wrapped a kerchief around the phone to disguise his voice. When Remya came over the phone, he gave the address he was at and told her that a person had suffered a heart attack and no one there knew how to handle it. "And please hurry", he had added in a screeching voice, for good measure.

Nothing to do but wait now, Aashish thought. How would Remya react , he wondered, when she saw him after all this time. He could now hear the loud siren of the ambulance as it slowly threaded its way up the busy road. He smiled.

The ambulance stopped. Dr Remya and the attendants rushed out. Quite odd , Dr Remya thought. For a place where someone was dying,surrounded by a crowd presumably, this place is pretty quiet. The loud report of the gun took them by surprise. Remya rushed to the room from which the noise had come. She pushed open the door and rushed in. The sight that greeted her was like something from a movie. Ashish was lying on the ground, a bullet hole on his forehead, the pool of blood slowly expanding under his head.

Her hand automatically felt for the pulse. There was none.He had a tissue paper clutched in his hand. Shocked, still in a trance , Remya removed the paper and opened it. It had two words - 'April Fool'.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Crush

Raghu looked at the bus. The driver had not yet climbed in. Still some more time before he bid goodbye to this city - he had spent the last one year of his life here . And what had he got in exchange? Some wonderful memories, that he could treasure for a lifetime. Might it have been different if he had shown some more courage? His mind wandered back to the beginning.

It was his first day in office. He was just getting accustomed to the newness of it all, when he had seen her. He had been struck dumb by her loveliness. She was not extraordinarily beautiful - but something about her face seemed to touch a chord in his heart. Was this what they called love at first sight?

Her name was Chandni. She sat in the next cubicle. The next two weeks were like heaven on earth. He used to catch her eye often, his mouth open in wonder when she laughed at something. She had noticed him staring at her several times - smiled sometimes as if in invitation to go and talk to her. But he had never quite mustered the courage. Raghu had never felt like this with any girl before. When Chandni appeared he got tongue tied, a sort of dim witted fool.

One month after he had joined, someone had told him the news. It was the office gossip. Chandni was married. It should have broken his heart. But strangely enough , it didnt. In fact , it didnt cool his ardour one bit. He still felt the same pure love for her. Everyday, he would search for her face as he entered office. All the while, in his heart of hearts he knew that there was only heartbreak in store for him.

And that was why he had finally decided to leave. For a strange land. Bidding goodbyes to the friends he had made and a silent farewell to the beloved who didnt know she had a lover.

Honk! Honk! The sound of the horn snapped Raghu out of his reverie. The driver was in his seat and had started the engine. The passengers were slowly getting on to the bus. Raghu took out his mobile and searched for Chandni's name in his phone book.He had her number - just never called her. Somehow, it had never seemed right. After all, she had never given him the number. But surely, this moment was different. Shouldnt he at least call her and say goodbye. He would have given his life at that moment to know if she cared. The moment passed. The decision had been made and now he had to stick to it.

It was better it ended this way.

"Sir, Are you waiting for someone"? , asked the conductor. "No, no one is coming", said Raghu as he got on to the bus.

Sachin Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai?

I hold myself to be a very liberal person - I can take any kind of criticism ( I usually give as good as I get ). What I dont like is anonymous comments which ridicule others on my blog. One rotten comment can spoil the whole blog atmosphere.
Most of the people who comment on this blog are those who I do not know personally ( my personal friends usually let me know their opinions on the post through emails. The more tolerant of these start with eda , poda , thendi etc )

I dont mind any such. More are welcome. Only condition - they are directed at me or my post. What I wont accept is the cloak of anonymity being used to make degrading remarks of a personal nature.

And so I have decided to go in for comment moderation.

What is acceptable:
Any criticism as long as its not personal ( and believe me , I give a whole lot of leeway here eg "Your blog sucks" *will* get posted).

What is NOT acceptable:
Comments of a personal nature, lewd/degrading remarks, sweeping statements about race/religion etc . You get the idea.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Tryst with Vegetarianism

And now Ladies and Gentlemen - for the good news. I have become vegetarian. Yes , you heard it ( rather , read it ) right the first time. No more meat , eggs or fish for me. ( Unlike some people I know who consider egg to belong to the veggie class, heh heh , you know who I am talking about ). No Sir, no half measures for me, me going the whole hog ( Aiyyo, that word had me drooling over visions of steaming hot pork fry ).

And before the smart asses among you snigger about Hare Rama Hare Krishna or new found love for my fellow Earthlings or road to salvation etc, let me tell you it was nothing romantic like that. Iam on a course of Ayurvedic medicines. And any fool will tell you ( I didnt know BTW ) that ayurvedic medicines and non-veg food are a strict no-no. The price one pays for ignorance. Now I find myself cut off from nonveg for one month.

Now in my house, my mother is the menu decider. So it seemed only correct that I inform her of this momentous decision.

The conversation went something like this
Me : Mother , Iam taking ayurvedic medicines for a month, so only veg food for me during that period.
Mother : What a pity. We are having chicken curry tonight.
Me : Ohhhhhhh.
Mother : Dont you worry. I will prepare some nice rasam for you
Me: No no. Dont go to all that trouble. Anyway, better not to take such decisions after sundown. I will start my medicines course from tomorrow.

Next day , there was no other option than to bid goodbye to the chicken legs, the mutton chops , the fish fries , the chilly beefs ( Control Sachin control , you are drooling again ) etc etc. And that as they say, was that.

Whats the big deal , you ask? I will tell you what the big deal is. I have now been on this diet for two whole days ( no less ) and its truly seemed an age. And its even more tortuous when I watch my friends digging into the chicken kabab and chilly chicken and me staring down on my plate desperately trying to protect my eyes from this nauseating vision ( wondering all the while how the hell do I keep the crunching sound out of my ears), and what do I find on my plate? - a couple of drumsticks and some potatoes looking up at me trying to look their comforting best.

Come to think of it, this torture doesnt have to last one whole month. Just increase the arishtam intake from three spoons to five and the kashayam from two to four. Dont think kashayam ( yuck!!) will cooperate though :(.

p.s : I have been reliably informed by two experts that the consumption of alcoholic drinks and ayurvedic medicines is mutually compatible. Only issue is that the area of expertise of these experts is drinking. Any independent confirmation will earn the undying gratitude of a thirsty throat.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Of Black Tongues and Other Mishaps

Today I had a conversation with a friend about kari nakku.This friend is planning a trip shortly and I happened to mention in jest that if something untoward were to happen, I would lay a wreath on this friend's grave. Now , this friend did not share my lighthearted take on this and was plainly offended. And this got me thinking ( no mean feat, those who know me will agree ).

An incident that happened in Chennai some years back sprang to memory. A friend ( who for want of a better name we will call Mr Puli ) and I were going somewhere by bus. Mr Puli happened to remark that it was a wonderful thing that there were no bus strikes in Chennai. An off-the-cuff remark you would say, one which did not deserve a comment much less valuable bytes of storage in my memory all these years. Patience , dear reader , patience. To continue from where I left off ( those who know me will vouch that I can go tangentially any time which is apt to confuse the enraptured listeners waiting with bated breath for the nuggets of wisdom to fall from my pearly lips ) ...uh oh where was I ?

Oh yes, the bus trip. So we continued on the trip, reached our destination ,did some shopping and were ready to return ( see , I can be curt and to the point if I want to). And here , gentle readers, ( Editor's note: Hold on tight. Shocking surprise coming up ) you will Iam sure get the shock of your lives when I tell you with an Alfred Hitchcocksque air that there were no buses to board due to a lightning strike. And from that day on we had a new term - Puli yude nakku. Which brings us to the end of the narrative on Black Tongues.

On to Other Mishaps. This is another incident when I and Mr Puli were returning by bus from office. Since we were housemates , one of us would get the tickets. On the day in question, unluckily for me , Mr Puli got the tickets. Now just before reaching our bus stop , there was a speed breaker. Unknown to me Mr Puli had used the drop in the bus speed at the bump to hop lightly off the bus. I continued on merrily till the bus stop, where I got down and was greeted with elation by a crew of ticket checkers.

What did I have to fear? I waited for the passengers to get down, among which would be my dear friend Mr Puli with the tickets, seeing which the ticket checkers would stop looking at me like I was a you-know-what and fawn on me respectfully like I was a you-know-who . I waited. and waited. and waited. The bus was nearly empty and then I realized how Buddha must have felt when he attained Nirvana. For you see, light ( tubelight probably, since it took so long ) finally dawned on me. Mr Puli had disappeared. AWOL. There was nothing to do. I had to swallow the righteous indignation I was spewing out and pay the fine.To add insult to injury , I could hear one of the passengers commenting loudly "Thiruttu rascal" , "Thiruda" etc - in short showing off his by-no-means-limited vocabulary. I contented myself with giving him a dirty look and walked away in dignified silence ( not too easy when you consider I had just been picked for ticketless travelling ).

p.s : The story doesnt end here, you dear readers will be pleased to note. By a happy coincidence, I was carrying the house keys. Needled with this affront on my pride, I headed straight for the barber shop. And one hour later ( what was the hurry anyway :) ), when I f-i-n-a-l-l-y reached home, Mr Puli was still waiting outside.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sheila's Diary - An Extract

Nov 1: Dear Diary, Guess what? I have decided to start keeping an entry of my day to day happenings. This was suggested by Dr Prasad at the hospital. He suggested it since off late I have been having problems with memory loss, nausea , giddiness etc. This was the reason I went to see Dr Prasad in the first place. Such a nice man. In fact he has referred me for an appointment with Dr Mathur for tomorrow. Seems Dr Mathur is a renowned expert in his field.

Nov 2: Went to see Dr Mathur. Such a change from that nice man Dr Prasad. The fellow seemed too curious - asking me about my close friends etc. Really if Dr Prasad had not insisted, I would stop seeing this jerk. But Dr Prasad has made me promise that I will stick to my appointments.

Nov 5: Really, how wrong can one be with first impressions. Behind Dr Mathur's rough exterior is a kind man who seems to really want to help me. I told him about my best friend, Sanjay. Really there was no stopping me once I started. I went Sanjay this and Sanjay that. Dr Mathur was wearing his little smile all the time. Little does he know.

Nov 8: Today was another day of talking to Dr Mathur about Sanjay. Dr Mathur wanted to meet him. I had to explain to him that Sanjay is a really shy person who does not mingle freely with others. Really a sweet chap once you get to know him, but an introvert.

Nov 10: Today I told Dr Mathur about the other person in my life, Sunil. Not a very nice man to know - really short tempered , freaks me out sometimes. But I dont need to be afraid- I know his little secret. I was almost laughing out loud today at the session. It was so funny - Dr Mathur was asking me so many mundane questions , and all the while I had this knowledge of Sunil's dirty little secret. Dont worry Sunil, your secret is safe with me - after all, what are friends for?

Nov 15: Oh my God. Sunil will be so angry with me if he finds out. Really it was all Dr Mathur's fault. He needled me saying I had never done anything important and then I couldnt stop myself from speaking about the murder I had seen Sunil commit. You should have seen the look on Dr Mathur's face. He wouldnt believe me till I showed him the newspaper report about the unsolved murder last week. Dr Mathur was very disturbed - he cut short the interview then , said he had to see someone urgently.

Nov 20: They took me away today. I was kicking and screaming , telling the inspector I wanted to see my friends Sanjay and Sunil, but he just laughed. At least they allowed me to keep this diary.You better watch out Mr Inspector. Once Sunil comes to know how you have treated me...

Dr Mathur finished reading out from the diary to his class and concluded, "Students,this was an unusual case of schizophernia - unusual because I have never seen such a recorded case where the female personality is in command and the alter egos are two male personalities."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Conversation with an Optimist

Optimist He : Hey , are you going for the Office Dance?
Realist She : Of course, wouldnt miss it for the world.
He : Cool . You can be my date then.
She : Oops sorry. Iam going with Vasu.
He : Vasu? What do you want to go with that idiot for?
She : Well for starters , he *is* my husband
He : Thats my point. You are with the guy all day. Give a poor bloke a break.
She : Hmmmmm
He : So is that a date or is that a date?
She : Take a Wild Guess.
He: Great. Your place at 8 then.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Different Perspectives

Rahul swore softly under his breath. The swirling waters of the Ganga flowing down below seemed to be holding a sort of magnetic attraction for him. Pity it had to end this way. But there was no other option. He had tried his best. The past few weeks had been a torture - wearing a smiling face so none would suspect, all the while his heart tearing apart with grief. In a sense, it was almost a relief that it was going to end today. If he had the chance, would he have chosen differently. Irritably , he shook his head , almost as if to clear away all these useless thoughts.For all that
was beside the point now. He had laid his bed and must lie down on it. He truly had just one genuine regret. That he and Sandhya would never be together. He smiled bitterly. To think the one person for whose happiness, he would lay down his life was suffering because of him was what hurt him most. "Till Death Do Us Part" - how many times had he enacted that scene in his mind's eye, his right hand holding a blushing Sandhya. The time for parting had truly come - except could you call it a parting when they had never been joined in the first instance.

Rahul had left a letter in his father's jacket pocket. A simple note , really. No flowery speeches, just one word. Sorry. He had read somewhere that your life flashes before your eyes during the last few moments before you meet death.Was it true? Well , time to find out. Gritting his teeth tightly , he took the plunge. Strangely enough, there were no flashbacks, just one burning thought , "Sandhya, may you always be happy".

(Let us now scan the thoughts of those Rahul held to be his near and dear ones while he lived.)

Priya , the 8 year old neighbour: Why doesnt Rahul uncle come? And whats all that crying noise, coming from Rahul uncle's house. Why is vellyamma crying so loudly? Mother is also looking so serious. Let Rahul uncle come. He will explain everything , in his kindly tone. He is the only one who does not treat me like a young child, incapable of understanding anything.

Suchitra, Priya's mother: Such a Kind chap, always willing to help out. Really , such a tragedy. Was it something to do with that girl, now what was her name , Sandhya? One hears all sorts of rumours nowadays, musnt give ear to all that one hears. But if not Sandhya, why did the poor boy do this? Whats the time now? Oh nearly eight. Must go soon , otherwise hubby dear will be back from office and no dinner. Will someone notice if I slip out now?

Kishore, Rahul's childhood friend: Really what possessed him to do this. and not giving me a hint. True , he felt that way about Sandhya, but really this. And will his death solve any of Sandhya's problems. Would he have mentioned anything about the 3 lakhs he lent me to his parents? Should I give it to them? Let them ask first.

The Father: My son, why did you do this? If I had but one inkling that this was what you had in your mind when you said this morning "It will be alright, Father". I would have accepted Sandhya as my daughter-in-law and never mind what anyone said. Cursed indeed am I that I have to attend my own son's funeral.

Sandhya: Poor Rahul, suffering so much because of me. And wearing that brave face of his when is he with me , as if I cant make out his anguish. Fie on me that I can live, knowing my lover is suffering. Tomorrow, he will get the letter I posted today and he can start a new life. You will despair at first , my lover , but understand it is all for the best. Let me take this poison and die, that my lover may live.

Epilogue: Rahul's body washed ashore on the third day. "Moonam Pakkam", murmured the old fisherman.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bond, James Bond

James Bond was a worried man. As he walked into his favourite hangout , the local bar , his mind was flitting among various thoughts. He had heard disturbing news - there was a mole in his organization , someone who had access to all his defenses.

The waiter asked,"The usual martini , Mr Bond? Shaken not stirred?". Bond was so busy with his own thoughts that he started.

"Huh, what's that?".

The waiter was a bit surprised. He had never seen the normally ice cool Mr Bond of Universal Exports so perturbed. He repeated the question. Bond at the moment just wanted to be left alone.

"If I want a drink , I will ask for it , so bugger off", he cried shrilly. The bar crowd was stunned. The Prince of Monrovia, sitting at the next table, licked his lips in anticipation. Well well well, he thought, so our Mr Bond is not his cool self today. Maybe I can get back the mini fortune I lost to him at cards yesterday.

Abruptly , Bond rushed out of the bar. He found himself facing the heavy London evening traffic. He missed the quaint car Q had arranged for him. It had broken down one week back. He had been promised a replacement , but nothing had happened. Bloody bureaucrats, he thought, cursing the system.

He looked at the groups of children rushing to watch the next show of the Daniel Craig starrer , Casino Royale. For a moment , he felt a wave of pity for them. They thought his life was just guns, fast cars and attractive ladies with all shades of hair colour. They didn’t know , he was a marked man. He looked at the giant Daniel Craig poster staring down at him. The fellow was quite goodlooking, he had to admit. But at least he had actors to do all the stunts for him, Bond though bitterly , fingering the long scar that had left the right side of his face hideous to look at.

Irritably, he shook his head. This would never do. There was a dangerous enemy on his trail, an enemy who had only two days back killed his lover from his latest adventure. He needed to watch every step. But had he left it too late? Would some blunder from the past catch up with him?

There was no report on his latest enemy in the MI-6 files. But Google had given him a wealth of information. ( He had started relying on Google ever since that goof-up in Bohemia, when to his surprise, he found that the building marked on MI-6 maps , that he was supposed to bomb , did not exist. He had got out of that tricky situation by relying on Google Earth ). Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he recalled the close shave.

"This will never do , Mr Bond", he mocked himself. Google had told him that he now faced an implacable enemy, an unrelenting foe which would not relent till he had been destroyed. The ease with which his former lover ( his heart ached everytime he thought of the lovely , desirable Irene ) had been destroyed was warning enough. He must get to M , fast. Maybe he would have a solution. How many times had M saved him before? Maybe the man could work a miracle this time as well.

He caught the tube and rushed to MI-6 headquarters. He rushed into Miss MoneyPenny's cabin and pressed the intercom to M's office.

"Whos that?" , it was a relief to hear that familiar voice.

"Bond, Sir, James Bond"

"Come in James", said the kindly voice.

Bond entered M's office. M was shaken to see his 00 agent so pale.

"Sit down ,James. Tell me , whats the problem".

"Sir, Have you heard of AIDS?".

A Hasty Decision

He saw her standing by the railing, her back turned to him. There was something familiar about the figure. Could it be? Yes , it was her. Swapna. The girl he, Rohit, had proposed to one week back. He went nearer. Her whole body seemed to be shaking. He was so near now he could almost touch her. Almost , but not quite. "Swapna", he called her softly. She didnt seem to hear. And then the memories came flooding back.

He remembered asking her out to Coffee Day the previous Monday.

"What for" she had asked, flashing that winsome smile at him.

"Theres something I need to tell you". Her eyes had clouded briefly at that - or was that just his imagination, his nervous heart playing tricks on his mind?

They reached Coffee Day. He gave the order , "One Cappucino and One Hot Chocolate". She smiled softly, maybe at the fact that he remembered her favourite drink. It had been after all nearly 3 months now since they had gone out together.

The order came. He just couldnt bring himself to speak.She broke the silence.

"What was it you wanted to tell me"?

He started. There was something he couldnt quite place in her tone of voice. Almost as if she knew what it was he was going to say. All the talk he had practised for weeks was forgotten.

"Will you marry me, Swapna? " , he asked.

There was that look again in her eyes. For the life of him he couldnt make out what it was. Pity, hopelessness, pride all mingled into one.

She got up pushing away her untasted cup of coffee.

"You know it cant be Rohit", she said and walked out of his life.

He had been heartbroken then, not knowing what to do with his life. He had run around like a mad man. That had been one week back. Strangely enough, one week hence, now that he was so near her , he didnt feel that despair. His mind was empty, devoid of all feelings, at peace with itself. He realized why her body was shaking. She was sobbing softly.

"Rohit, Rohit". He started. Could it be? Was she really uttering his name? He was about to grab her into his arms , when there was a call from behind, "Swapna , where are you? ". He turned. It was her father. Her father did not even look at him. Swapna hugged her father and broke into heart breaking sobs.

"There , there my dear", her father patted her head, "Dont blame yourself for what happened".

And then it all came back to him. The mad rush from Coffee Day, back to office and in that brief moment of madness, the plunge from the eighth floor window. And then , blessed darkness.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Remembering Macha

Manjunath Shanmugham. ( 23/02/1978 - 19/11/2005)

IIM Lucknow graduate , IOC employee, killed for threatening to seal a petrol pump selling adulterated fuel.

He spoke out when he could have kept quiet.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Whisky and Coconut milk Dont Mix

Today I was reminded of an incident that happened a long time back - to be precise around 11 years back.It seems very funny now but looked set to end in tragedy at the time. Just goes to prove my point that Time is the best healer. I was doing my first year in Engg at the time. It was vacation time and I was at my cousin's place. I was 18 then and my cousin was all of 17 years of age.

We had a desire one evening - to partake of some whisky. We had located the mother lode - where my cousin's elder brother used to keep his liquor supply safely ( or so he thought ) stashed away. We waited that night till everyone was asleep , and then got out the bottle from the hiding place. It was almost full - just around 2 pegs missing. We had , I think , around 2 pegs each. ( That being my first time, I was unable and uninterested in keeping exact count ) . Anyway when we were done , we found the whisky level in the bottle to be alarmingly low. Now here lay a problem - both of us being students , our stock of pocket money was something that would have made the beggars at Mahe Railway Station blush. Replacing the bottle with a new one ( thus ensuring we could have some more gos at the old bottle ) was a very attractive idea. Unfortunately , like most such ideas, this one was definitely not practical. Our bade bhaiya was at the time a teacher in a local parallel college. His own monetary supplies being low, having him discover the missing whisky was decidely risky from a personal safety point, for us.

I will always maintain that some of the best ideas come under the influence of drinks. True, these ideas seem pathetic under the cold reasoning of sober daylight, but what the heck, thats why we drink , right. My cousin had the idea of bringing the bottle to its original level , by mixing some water. In a momentary flash of brilliance , I suggested adding some karingali vellam ( karingali is a powder much like jeera which is usually boiled with drinking water giving it a reddish brown colour ) so the whisky didnt lose its lustrous colour and look diluted. The blending operation was a tricky one - we had to ensure the original colour was retained ( so some strong karingali powder was required) , while at the same time ensuring the resultant product , did not have a karingali flavour. You will appreciate the difficulties we faced when I tell you that while the operation was in progress, there had been an unfortunate power cut and we were at the mercy of candle light.

To continue, we made up some of the deficit in the bottle by mixing karingali vellam and then went to the bathroom for a supply of fresh water. It was at this moment that I had my second flash of brilliance of the night ( above average by my standards and can only thank the whisky which by this time was playing havoc with my nervous system ). Instead of the tap water that my cousin was planning to desecrate this bottle of soma rasa with, I suggested using some bottled water kept in the fridge. We went to the fridge , took out a bottle of water , brought the whisky bottle to its original level and kept it back in its original hiding place - remembering to replace the strand of hair bade bhaiyya had placed to catch any pilferers. After this we went to bed for a well deserved rest.

We woke up , bright and fine in the morning, the doings of the previous night a distant memory. Our first inkling of the disaster that lay ahead came in the morning , when my aunt asked us if any of us had seen the coconut milk bottle she had kept in the fridge. I forgot to mention earlier that after topping up the whisky bottle, we had used the remaining contents of the fridge bottle to quench our parched throats ( no doubt , the readers with a scientific bent of mind will
appreciate that hard liquor causes dehydration and any person having two drinks for the first ever time can be excused if his taste buds do not tell his disoriented grey cells that the liquid making its way down his dry throat is not plain water ). We laughingly told my aunt that perhaps we *had* drunk the coconut milk in mistake. There the matter rested, or so we thought.

After some time, my uncle came to us and enquired about the unseemly smell that seemed to be pervading the whole house. We eagerly joined in the hunt for the guilty party - eagerly that is , till our by-now-sensitive noses led us uncomfortably close to the hiding place of the whisky bottle. And now , the cat was out of the bag. We learnt that day , to our cost, that whisky mixed with coconut milk causes a chemical reaction which releases gases compared to which the smell of rotting eggs (Hydrogen Sulphide if memory serves ) is like that of the freshly bloomed jasmine flowers. The only thing that saved us that day was that it was in bade bhaiyya's interest as much as ours that the bottle remained undiscovered - for what thief reports a theft at his own house to the police. What followed was gut wrenching - for even bade bhaiyya , hardened drinker that he was, could not bear that foul smelling potion pass his lips. And so we arranged a funeral for the erstwhile liquor bottle ( preferring the Christian/Islamic tradition of burial to the Hindu one of cremation ). You will believe me , Iam sure, when I tell you that there was not a single dry eye ( among the six eyes ) that attended the last rites.

Friday, November 17, 2006

This Oven is Not For Me

Angeethi is a restaurant famous for its North Indian food in Bangalore. I got good food reviews about this restaurant from a couple of friends. Thats why when the time came to go for a team lunch, I decided to go for this place. I called them up and made a reservation for 12 people on a Friday afternoon at 12 pm.

Now you know what Bangalore traffic is like. We started for this place and by an unfortunate quirk of fate ( read traffic jam ) we reached Angeethi at 12:45 pm. And there was this big hulk standing in the lobby informing me of the pleasure he felt when he decided to unilaterally cancel our reservation, since they had a policy of waiting only for 15 minutes. He also was kind enough to give me a lecture on the advantages of punctuality.

Before you dear readers come down with your moral sledgehammer on me , let me give my point of view. I accept that reaching 45 minutes late was inexcusable ( even by India's allowed slack time standards this was a bit extreme ). But I was not informed of the "15 minutes" policy when I made the booking, nor did they have the common decency of informing me when they decided to cancel. Now this is a bit hard to stomach. To reach this place , we had to walk 15 minutes after getting down from our vehicle near Brigade Road. This being a Friday afternoon , we could not reasonably expect to find a place in any other good restaurant. ( That we were able to get seats in Ebony is beside the point ).

For those of you aware of my short tempered side, it would seem inexplicable that I left the place without punching that d***head on the nose ( excuse the language ) .The thought did cross my mind, I assure you. The only thing that saved him was his six foot frame and a chest to match. Only an Evander Holyfield can take panga with Mike Tyson - or so I consoled my grieving heart.

The Angeethi guys might be better cooks than me , but I sure can teach them some manners.

Let the hate mail pour in.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An Offering To the Gods ( Vol 2 )

When Fate frowns at me , shows me the lows
Then I start counting my blessings
I reach her, stop , my cup of joy overflows
Free from despair, my heart sings

If I had the chance, for but one desire
It would be to watch over her as she sleeps,
So gentle , so delicate , so fragile
Drink in the sweet breath she exhales

The Fates have only happiness written in her account
Thats the promise I make myself every night
Just one thing I ask for in return
That she be with me in the dark, hold me till the light

When I feel I just cant take it any more
She beckons me close, holds me in her arms
Burying my face in her hair,holding her tight
She is the Only one I will ever need

Hold her soft face in my warm hands
Give my very life , to remove a crease from her brow
Having found her ,Nothing more I ask for from Life
Would go to the ends of the earth, to rid her sorrow

How could Fate have given me so much happiness
I have got more than my fair share
Taking her for myself, Will the deities be upset , the poor sods
For her name is Anjali, which means 'An Offering to the Gods'

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did You Hear?

Think everyday I will unburden my heart
Bare to you my deepest secret
I see you and struggle for words
Did you hear what I left unsaid

A picture is worth a thousand words
What use for words when eyes doth speak
Not strong enough to call a spade a spade
Did you hear what I left unsaid

I catch your eye every once in a while
Do not know if I should smile
Or turn away blushing , still my heart craved
Did you hear what I left unsaid

I know I deserve you not, still desire
So lovely , so graceful, moulded by what fire
Silent my mouth, loud my heart cried
Did you hear what I left unsaid

Friday, November 10, 2006

Whats in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet ". Splendid thoughts indeed , expressed by the greatest playwright of all , Shakespeare. But Iam sure Rahul Gandhi would disagree.

For what the Congressmen gleefully call the Nehru Gandhi dynasty has nothing at all to do with the Mahatma. Not many "politically aware" Indians are aware that Feroze Gandhi ( father to Rajiv and Sanjay ) was actually born Feroze Ghandi. Why the nomenclature change then - I will leave that to the conspiracy theorists. However the fact remains that most Indians today still believe that the Gandhis of today are related to the Mahatma. It is this belief coupled with misguided notions of 'How can we not vote for the hand that feeds us' ( The Congress' symbol is the hand ) and plain old habits which will ensure the Congress plays a premier role in national politics for years to come.

An Offering to the Gods

Anjali - An Offering to the Gods

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Power of One

One man can make a difference and every man should try.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Whats the Frigging Problem?

I know I made a blooper
Just dont know what it is
My mind sneers , aint it just super
Who knows what my crime is

Was never good at playing games
'Nere va nere po' is my philosophy
Why is it this way with the dames
Mind reading was never my forte

Enough of this , my heart cries out
What for , do you now blame me
Decide, do we now grow apart
How will I know if you dont tell me?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fallen Angel

I respected you for your honest opinions, knowledge of topics vast
set you up on a pedestal so high, should have known twas too good to last
Am now faced with a hard choice, to choose between my principles and emotions
Did God feel thus when he cast down Lucifer from the heavens

I would have gladly accepted a plain face with a kind heart
Instead Fate gave me a poisonous tongue, from its blows my eyes did smart
A hideous heart hiding behind a smiling face, took me long to know
I lost a friend, my country lost a patriot, why it had to be so

Tis easy to be a fanatic, for someone's blood babble
Much harder to raise your voice, be heard over the murderous rabble
For the mob sees every one with its coloured vision
Brother kills brother, blinded by religious division

How does one turn out like this, join hands with infamy
Peer pressure , the company you keep, the excuses are many
The time to choose is now, let reason clear your vision cloudy
You can still turn back ,your hands are not yet bloody

Forget not the innocent millions in your search for a hated few
What person with hatred in his heart can admire the morning dew
One person can make a difference and every man should try
Lets work for the day when every eye in this country will be dry

Farewell to Mediocrity

Resolve this day to do your best,
For if a thing is worth doing it is worth doing well
No matter what you do be it big or small
Its done by you , say it proudly standing tall

Its easy to do the right thing in public, when all will judge
Difficult when you are alone, only have your Conscience as a judge
For if you lie to yourself , even though none see you
How can you be true to others, when you dont know the real you

Let me always speak up for what I believe is Right
Though it be against the opinion of the majority as it might
What care I for ridicule, contempt or slight
My eyes are opened, they still search for light

O God ,May I never judge a person on factors extraneous
What matters to me his race ,his creed , the colour of his face
As long as his heart is in the right place
Tis the only way out of this hideous maze

*Inspired by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam's "Ignited Minds"

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A General and His Conscience

An imaginary conversation between Gen Musharraf and his conscience ( Assuming always that the tin pot dictator who is the self proclaimed Ataturk of modern times has one )

Gen Musharraf: Guess what? We are now victims of terror alongwith India.
His Conscience: Hats off to you , dude
GM: That was a neat piece of work , if I do say so myself. Really pulled the wool over Mannu's eyes.
HC: Those Indians are suckers anyway. But how do you propose to rein in the ISI. What about if the Indians give you a proof of some impending terrorist attack?
GM: Dont worry. If I get any such proof, I will be immediately on the phone to the ISI to postpone the attack so our poor jihadi brothers are not caught.
HC: You really do think of everything dont you?
GM: Ahem , ahem , I try to do my best. Speaking of which I am thinking of some initiatives to make Pakistan a world power in IT/ BPO , try and emulate India's success.
HC: You know we should stick to what we do best. Indians excel at IT/BPO , leave them to do it. We on the other hand are rated the world over for churning out highly motivated , highly skilled terrorists...
GM: You do have a point...You know something? The Library of The US Congress is highly overrated.
HC: How so?
GM: They claim to be the largest library in the world. But I didnt find a single copy of my autobiography 'In the Line of Fire' there?
HC: Did you check the Fiction / Fantasy category dude ?!?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

At The Crossroads

I knew all along this moment would come
That knowledge doesnt make my job any easier
Would things have worked out different
if I had known it would come to this

The time to take the decision is nigh
The time to choose between the old and the new
The old with all its known comforts
the new with its allure , yet know not what it hides

I know my decision was made long ago
What for this hesitation then
Have given a promise got to keep it
Goodbye to the old, ring in the new.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Death of Dreams

A listing of some very moving / inspiring quotes I came across recently

Sabse khatarnaak hota hai hamaare sapnon ka mar jaana.
(There is nothing more dangerous than the death of our dreams.)
–Punjabi poet Avtaar Singh Sandhu (Paash)

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine."
Che Guevara

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist."
Dom Helder Camara

Like all of Aesop's fables , every post should have a moral rt? What should this one's be?
Ningal enne Communist aaki?

Mandira da jawab nahin

This post is dedicated to Mandira Bedi - of Shanthi fame.She was made famous by Set Max during their telecast of the last cricket World Cup. Who can forget her compering the show in that transparent brown sari.

And now she is back with a bang in Extraaa Innings for the Champions Trophy.

So what if her sound bytes are next only to the Sidhuisms pouring out from that other clown's mouth. Doesnt your TV remote have a mute button? For those worried about the next do or die match for India v/s Australia this Sunday ( Oct 29th ) relax - theres always Mandira to look forward to.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eyes Wide Shut

Imrana's case is hitting the headlines these days. For those who have not heard of Imrana, here are the salient features. Imrana accused her father-in-law of rape. The case was tried in court and the father-in-law was found guilty. So far so good. Now comes the googly. Some Muslim maulavis came up with the contention that since Imrana herself has admitted to having sex outside marriage, she is guilty of adultery and so should be divorced by her husband !

Most interesting in this matter has been the All India Muslim Personal Law Board's ( AIMPLB ) reaction to all this. A lawyer associated with AIMPLB had something of this sort to say ( Iam unable to lay my hands on the article so cannot quote ): "There is a school of thought that Imrana did not commit any crime, so no need for divorce. We support that.There is another group of people saying, she is guilty of infidelity and so should be divorced.We do not oppose that either. So it is basically upto Imrana to decide what course of action to pursue". Doesnt this just take the cake. This from the self proclaimed highest decision making body on Muslim laws in India. Just imagine if the SC had given this judgement in the Afzal case: " The Defence has shown reasonable doubt so Afzal should be acquitted. However, the Prosecution has given convincing evidence so he should be hanged. We are basically happy with whatever decision the President takes".

I have been reading up on the AIMPLB ( specifically articles by C M Naim on Outlook ). I agree with him wholeheartedly when he says the AIMPLB is a discredited body which gains its importance only from the media coverage it gets. It is not at all relevant in today's circumstances ( Its president some time back issued a statement saying contraception should not be followed as it is against Allah's wishes. When it was pointed out that Iran was successfully using this, he had some not-so-polite things to say about Iran. Seems there is something to Naim's contentions of a Shia - Sunni divide with the AIPMLB being dominated by the Sunnis)

It would be a real tragedy if the non Muslims in this country were to judge the whole Muslim community based on the ignorant comments of some AIMPLB leaders. The media has a real role to play. By giving prominence to the outdated specimens they are stifling the saner and moderate voices among Indian Muslims. Whether that is precisely the intention is another question.

There are None so Blind as Those who will not see.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You Broke it , You Fix it

There has been talk recently about the US looking for a viable exit strategy from Iraq. It would have been hilarious if it wasnt such a sick joke - you go into a secular ( yes , Iraq was secular under Saddam ) country , depose an elected govt ( hell Saddam's 99% votes compared favourably with Musharraf's 99.9% votes ), install a puppet Islamic govt there , leave the country on the brink of Civil War ( Sunnis and Shias, with the Kurds joining in wherever they can ) , and then catch the next flight home.

When the US invaded Iraq, their reasons were clear to Bush and the majority of Americans - Saddam was somehow behind the 9/11 attacks. Of course the fact that Iraqi agents had been arrested for trying to assassinate George Bush Sr. had nothing to do with it. The President of the US could be expected to rise above such base nepotic considerations. Of course , there was not a shred of evidence to connect Saddam to Osama. But so what , we had Dubya's word didnt we?

As the hysteria mounted , the US came out with a backup theory for the Iraq invasion. Saddam was developing chemical weapons, it was claimed. Colin Powell did a presentation before the UN , in which he showed pictures of mobile missile launchers. There were reports of Saddam trying to procure nuclear material from Niger ( which was found to be totally baseless by a US official - by a strange coincidence within days of him debunking the nuclear claim , his wife's identity as a CIA undercover operative was outed. So much for getting on Dubya's wrong side. The trial for this case is still going on - in the US , divulging a CIA operative's identity is a criminal offence ).

But all these were mere distractions to the main plot. Ignoring world opinion , the US went ahead with their 'Shock and Awe' campaign. Imagine Dubya's mortification , when the invasion exposed all his claims and charges for what they were - a pack of lies. So what ? Like a trained conjurer , Dubya pulled out the trump rabbit from his hat. We are in Iraq to bring Democracy here. The New Iraq will be a beacon of light and hope for the entire Middle East. After years of playing with Coke and Pepsi , the Americans, it seemed had now decided to export Democracy.

Of course , the fallout is now clear. There are more terrorists in Iraq now than there ever were ( if any at all ) under Saddam. The presence of nearly two lakh American soldiers in Iraq can be only an attraction for them. And we will be paying the price for this. In the 1980s , the CIA trained Mujahideen to take on USSR in Afghanistan. Once the Russians withdrew, these out of work valiants turned their attention to other areas - Kashmir among them.

I just finished reading an article about Bush admitting parallels between Iraq and Vietnam. America messed up in Vietnam. But all that did was deflate American ego. Iraq is a different cup of tea. We ( The rest of the World ) will be paying the price in the years to come for Dubya's misadventure in Iraq. Colin Powell is reported to have told George W Bush before the invasion , "We Break it , We own it". The US invasion of Iraq was one of the blunders of this century. Leaving the country now in this mess, will only compound the issue.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Confused Hindu in Secular India

"But why do you refer to it as a mosque at all? Where is the mosque, my friends, when the namaz is not performed? When for forty years idol worship is going on there, what kind of a mosque is it? That is just the temple of our dear Ram." This is the secular saint of modern India, V P Singh speaking to RSS leaders about the Babri Masjid on the eve of the 1989 elections. Of course , our dear old V P changed his tune after the elections, when Imam Bukhari and others warned him that handing over the Babri Masjid site might set a precedent for the claim of other sites currently owned by the Waqf board.The irony of the matter is V P is still the foremost secular voice in this country. In India, Secularism presumably means pandering to all religions.

Remember the seige of Hazratbal? Indian Intelligence got news of high level militants hiding in a mosque there. The Indian army surrounded the place and after 2-3 days negotiations began - not for the surrender of the militants holed up there but for their safe passage . Their guarantee to freedom - they were holed up in one of India's holiest Islamic shrines. Forget the fact that eight years before the same Indian Army had destroyed the Golden Temple to flush out the terrorists there. But the situation was different now. Blue Star was ordered by Indira Gandhi , Hazratbal by a weak but secular Narasimha Rao. I still remember L K Advani deriding the Govt with "Bullets for the kar sevaks, Biriyani for the terrorists".

In 1990, over two lakh people were forcibly evicted from their homes. 16 long years hence , they are still refugees in their own country.Iam talking about the Kashmiri Pandits. Long ago, Mr L K Advani had asked this telling question about them: "What, and how much would our 'national papers' have been writing about them had they not been Hindus, if they had been Muslims in particular?" But pay no attention to Advani, he is that well known Hindu fundamentalist. As long as our enlightened liberals ,Arundhati Roy et al , havent commented on this , things must be just fine.

After the Vajpayee Govt assumed power in 1999, there was a revamp of the ICHR ( Indian Council for Historical Research ). Some known pro leftist historians ( Romila Thapar among them ) were replaced. And Lo a cry was heard across the land "Saffronisation of history". Sitaram Yechury criticised the move saying it was "politically motivated". I remember being amused at the time - How could the removal have been political if the appointments themselves hadnt been political in the first place. But of course, I was missing the whole point. The removal decision was taken by a fascist BJP govt , the appointments done by a secular Congress one. What else can you expect in a country where every party other than the BJP and Shiv Sena is secular.

Recently there was an incident where a committee asked the Indian Army ( among other organizations ) to release a religion wise census of its numbers - the idea presumably was to see if there was a representation of Indian Muslims in the Army in proportion to their population. There was a huge hue and cry at the time.The govt finally gave in when even the Leftists opposed this. There was an article by Shekhar Gupta around that time that was very inspiring. Titled 'Kitne Musalmaan Hain' , it was a fervent appeal to keep the army free from the communal divide. To quote Shekhar, "Justice Sachar’s committee asked the armed forces: Kitne Musalman hain? What happens, when after an Army unit has spoiled his riot party, a communal thug asks: Kitne Musalman the?"

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Happy Philosophers

You are alive and surrounded by friends
For this alone give to God your thanks
You are lucky , there were many better
Who are dead now , you get chance another

Be cheerful buddy ,always have a smile to spare
watching you another might be lifted from his despair
Your smile brings joy, lightens up his heart
The Circle of Happiness joins people far apart

So this day bid farewell to your worries
No more drowning in your own miseries
And when you can see no light at the end
Say, "This too shall pass" and disbelief suspend

If sorrow does bring a frown to your brow
Just think what it will mean to you tomorrow
Not much , I can guarantee, for this is how it goes
What we worry now, means less and less as time flows

This is the secret to a life lived well
On yesterday's heartbreaks do not for long dwell
Aye , we are always singing , this Band of Brothers
No wonder they call us The Happy Philosophers

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Guilty as Charged

Iam writing this post against my better instincts. To write 3 posts on Mohd Afzal is to glorify him - a glory that he does not deserve. I have followed the different articles on this case religiously and now my mind is made up - To be Hanged till Death.

For those arguing for his clemency I will just point out that Mr Afzal himself has never requested pardon , never ever denied his alleged crimes. The Supreme Court in a recent ruling has pooh poohed his supporters claims in another case - The fact that he was tried separately and found guilty by 3 different courts ( The Sessions Court , The High Court and the Supreme Court ) negates the claim that he was denied a fair trial. India is not a banana republic, ours are not kangaroo courts.Two other persons tried alongwith him were acquitted ( The Supreme Court said Geelani's conduct during this period was very disturbing but still gave him the benefit of doubt). So take away the shroud of innocence and conspiracy theories that his supporters would cover Afzal with and we realize what we are really facing - Blackmail , pure and simple.

Hang him on the last Friday of Ramzan and face the backlash of Kashmiri Muslims , warns Ghulam Nabi Azad. To somehow portray Afzal as a God's soldier whose death will see Kashmir turning to a jihadi battleground is Osama Bin Laden's job - not a democratically elected CM's. Farooq Abdullah says Hang him and we will not sit silent, remember Maqbool Bhatt. Mr Abdullah , to refresh your memory, Maqbool Bhatt was the founder of JKLF who was convicted of killing an Indian intelligence officer. His death did result in the terrorist movement in Kashmir rising to monstrous proportions - but should that be an argument for Afzal's clemency. Are we going to show ourselves to be so weak kneed and spineless to terrorists ? Is striking such a Faustian bargain really going to save us like the "person who kept feeding the crocodile hoping it would eat him last".

One thing that astounded me was the ease with which Afzal's family got an audience with the President. Mr Kalam , you should have shown better judgement. Was this person the captain of the Indian cricket team returning from a series victory overseas? He is just a terrorist glorified by a lot of pseudo secularists , media outlets , self serving politicians , human rights activists etc jumping onto his clemency bandwagon.

Afzal has committed a heinous crime against the nation.Let him now pay the penalty.

P.S: ( Oct 22- 7:45 am ) :- Yesterday I had occasion to read the statement released by Afzal's wife. This statement was released in 2004 before her husband's case came up in the SC. The contents were disturbing to say the least.However , I still stand by this post. The Judiciary is the one institution I still have some respect for. When a case has been tried in the Supreme Court , no less, I have full confidence that the judges will have gone into all aspects.All of us need to respect this verdict . Otherwise where do we stop. Today it is Mohd Afzal, tomorrow it will be someone like Dhananjay Chatterjee.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dont Play With My Future

"Dont Play With My Future" - I remember these words staring at me from a poster held by a protestor during Mandal I protests. The words had seemed to me very poignant then. For a few more votes, the politicians were ready to play with the very lives of an entire generation. Frustration used to boil in me at that time - rage at the politicians for doing something that was so plainly wrong and rage at myself that I was so small, so insignificant to make any difference.

Still there was a silver lining during those days . Once I got into college , who could control my destiny then. Agreed , Govt jobs were out of my reach , but private jobs were still to be decided strictly on merit.The world seemed at my feet then. Not any more. Not satisfied with the gravy train they have rolled out , the powers that be now want to introduce caste based reservations in the private sector.

How long do you think an Infosys or Wipro can compete in the IT world if hobbled by having to implement quotas? Not my position to say that those getting in through quotas are somehow inferior , but certainly a quota based selection as opposed to merit based selection has its handicaps. Some might argue that this move will lift some people at least from the quagmire of poverty. Certainly , but at what cost? In five years , Infosys and Wipro will have become history. Where will you find the jobs then?

During my time in US and Australia , people used to come upto me regularly and ask me why dont you settle abroad. I used to reply proudly , " Sorry bhaiyya, I need my country". Sadly , it seems now, that country no longer needs me .

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I still remember the days she used to come to me running
A spring in her step, love in her eyes, her pigtails dancing
Ten long years I have loved her , and vice versa
I owe her much , into my life she brought fun and harsha

Iam an average poet , no homage to her this lousy work of art
How to eulogise her , She who is the queen of my heart
If there is a God, and he would grant me one more life
Nothing I would ask for , but to look at her day and night

What do you like most about her , people often ask me
Who am I to pick and choose, from one God created in his beauty
Her winning smile, lovely face , the cute dimple on her cheek
Her slender limbs, lowered eyes, from whence she gives me a peek

In politics our views are different, differences none too slight
She is wedded to the left , Iam uncompromisingly far right
I enjoy the arguments we have , and so does she I declare
The hotter the arguments , the closer the bond we share

Her ready wit attracts me much, who can but remember forever
Her crystal clear laughter, like the twinkling sound of water
I could like this go on and on,everyone who knows us would aver
If this be love sickness, who would wish to be cured ever

Promised to me by tradition, put in my hands by Fate kind,
She is my "mura pennu", mere mama ki ladki, do you mind
Never would have thought , I could love her more and more
Love increases day by day , who am I to keep score

Her thoughts steal into my mind unbidden, every moment of every day
She comes to me in my dreams every night, in the morn drifts away
Oh God, for this precious gift ,every moment of my life, I thank thee
For her who knows all my faults, still has the heart to love me

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Secularism and Other Things

My last post on Mohd Afzal has earned me a new honorific - "Pseudo secularist". Can only blame it on the sad times we live in. This post is an attempt to set the record straight.

There are several things that disturb me about "Secular" India. The dictionary definition of Secularism stands for all religions being treated equally. Is this the case in modern day India - sadly not.

1. Iam not sure of the whole of India, but in Kerala, all Hindu temple collections are taxed by the govt. The places of worship of other religions are exempt.
2. The central Govt provides subsidy to Haj pilgrims. No such thing for Hindu pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar.
3. One nation , one people - what about one law? The Constitution provides for Uniform Civil Code but after 50 years of Independence we still have a situation where a different law is applied to different persons based on their religion.

I could go on but this is depressing enough.

So my secret is finally out - a Hindu fascist in a pseudo secularist's disguise.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Broken Reed

I never knew how much you meant to me
till the day you bid me goodbye finally
Your smiling face would brighten up my day
Just one look and nothing more to say

Pour out my troubles to you and become calm
You would listen to me and be like soothing balm
I set you free , like I heard the the bard in the poem say
You never came back, no one told me it ends this way

I know Iam impulsive and you should have too
Never should have taken my words at face value
I should have listened to the wise man who said
Better to lose a new joke than an old friend

What to regret now , alone must mourn my loss
If I could turn the clock back, I wish alas
Can you give me one more chance baby , just one
I have learnt from my mistakes, will never let you run

Blinkered Vision?

A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. Terrorism knows no religion , knows no nationality. Its not my case to prove either the guilt or otherwise of Mohd Afzal. I have no sympathy for those who oppose his execution on the argument that the Death penalty is savage. I believe that those who live by the sword will die by it.

"Let a thousand criminals go scot free, but not a single innocent should be punished" - This was the lofty principle set for our Judiciary by our Founding Fathers. Justice must be seen to be done, said a friend of mine. I completely agree with that. More so , when the case is the attack on Indian Parliament and is being heard in the Supreme Court. Presumption of innocence till the guilt is proven is the basic right of every accused. The severity of the alleged crime should have nothing to do with this.

There has been some criticism that there was no direct evidence to prove Afzal's role in the act. I was astounded by such naiveity. In a case of this nature , you will have to rely to a large extent on circumstantial evidence.Terrorists can hardly be expected to take video recordings for the convenience of the prosecutors. Also no terrorist should escape on technicalities due to loopholes created by blundering investigating agencies.

Having said this, the majesty of the Law should not stoop to cold blooded revenge. A particular line in the SC judgement disturbs me. "The collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender".If he is guilty , he should be hanged. The state should not yield to blackmail or public opinion. Justice should be blind.If on the other hand , this sentence has been carried out to assauge the feelings of the general public, who can honestly support this.

To quote Swami Vivekananda, "I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and nations of the earth. "

Satyameva Jayate.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mohd Afzal Ki Jai

In the court of the Honble Supreme Court of India

Justice v/s Indian Secularism

Accused : Mohd Afzal

Crime accused of: Terrorist Attack on Indian Parliament, responsible for 5 deaths

Verdict : Guilty. To be hanged till Death

Extenuating Circumstances : Born a Muslim. Only 5 commoners died , Your Honours. No one from the ruling class ( read MPs ) was affected

Final verdict : Changed to Life imprisonment ( eligible for parole after 5 years ).

Reader comments: Thank you , Your excellencies, for making India a laughing stock through the Free World. Long live Indian Secularism. May his sacrifice ( 5 years of prime life ) inspire a thousand terrorists.

Stop Press : The review petition for clemency is currently before the President. Heres hoping common sense prevails.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cry, My Beloved Country

While the world sleeps, India awakes to freedom
Three score years ago, these words heralded a new dawn
A freedom paid for by many sacrifices, purified by their blood
If those fighters could see us now, wouldnt they leave disgusted

One scoundrel says Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai
Another has his own way - Telugu Kannad UP ke bhai
As if this wasnt enough along came VP with his Mandal
No votes for them, they need a kiss from your sandal

In a country where a thousand mouths go to bed unfed
We still find the time to fight over statues of stone and wood
Religion was never meant to divide people, we know from the scripts
What hope left when power has corrupted the mullahs and the priests

The cancer of corruption has laid this country low
Everyone has only this to say , "Mujhe Mera Hissa do"
Too refined to soil his hands, "Chalta hai" says the gentry
What price his honour, he who betrays his country

Dont go to bed, hoping someone will clean this mess
Do we continue thus or do we change ,its all upto us
We fought the foreigners, time again to don the role of sentry
Time for another Revolution, this time to save our country

Ever Forward Comrades

An ode to el Che ( whose Death anniversary falls on Oct 9th )

Very many years ago , we started this fight
Deep rooted injustices, we decided to set right
The path wouldnt be easy , we knew all along
We had swords in our hands,our lips had a song

We have won many battles, the war isnt yet over
Suffered many losses, the worst still waits yonder
Right is on our side, The truth is our shield
Though might and wrong come hand in hand ,we will not yield

What can the enemy give us worse than Death
Dying in glory , is better than living by stealth
What have we to lose except slavery and chains
Give up freedom and honour, and what remains

Stand tall upon the battlements and cry out thus
You can kill us but will never defeat us
United we stand , and though we number ever so small
The mightiest army facing us, will see us and pall

I have done my part , given my all and more
Let fresh blood now come, take the place of one so sore
This is no time for weeping, no time to mourn
Remember ,It is always darkest before dawn

Take care brothers, do not be led astray,
The path is narrow, our goal still far away
I now bid my farewell, carry on without me
Do not cry, do not mourn till we achieve Victory

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Office Romance ( Vol 2 )

I fell in love the moment I first saw her
So lovely , so exquisite ,designed by what Power
Not greedy by nature , just one small desire
Watch her all day long , nothing else aspire

If her smile was this glorious, what about her laugh
Believe me when I say , "No idea boss, never got close enough"
She used to catch me often, stealing at her a glance
Did she understand or did she not, or just thought me a dunce

And then one day , a friend told me the terrible fact
To possess her , you must with the Devil make a pact
She is married, this guy went on
Light had come briefly , and now it was gone

Ever the optimist , my mind spoke up
What matters to you, be she married or broke up
Yours neither to own her , nor to hold and tremble
Yours but to idolise , like the priest in the temple

How do I tell her I love her more than power and pelf
What light cares about the moth that burns itself
Should I give her the address to this blog, do you think
For someone with her brains, a nod should be as good as a wink

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One Man's Drink ( dedicated to all Kudiyanmaar )

Tired from work I reach back home
The body is tired and numb is my dome
Looking for something to drive away the gloom
My fingers feel a bottle and lifes abloom

Caressing the bottle lovingly by the neck
I give it a kiss first and then a peck
My mind cries out , No drinks without Touchings
some mixture , some pickles, maybe chicken wings

Full of happiness , brimming with joy
Seeking an Outlet , Look , a wine cupboard ahoy
Enough to share , and still left to spare
Let me start and lay it bare

Wine makes no distinction of class or rank
It treats the same the King and the prank
Good wine inside him , the King does dance
No status to worry about , minds no one's glance

I love my drink but wouldnt force it on you
If you knew what you were missing , you would be drinking too
I know every man has his own reason
One man's drink is another man's poison

God is in His Heaven ( Grateful thanks to Robert Browning for last two lines)

In the clear morning light, a bird breaks into a song
Yonder by the mountain side, rising to meet the blue sky
Faced with such magic, who can help but sing along
Supported by an unseen conductor in Divine Choreography

The mighty seas dwarf inconsequential Man
If man be so small ,of what account his worries
No matter how many footprints you leave in the sand
The silent beaches will never tell your stories

Every man has a part to play , a time to leave
Dont waste your life in frets and worries
Time is precious, seconds slipping through the sieve
When tis time to exit, futile wishing to change histories

Sing through your life , drunk with Happiness
If sorrow does crease your brow, wave it goodbye
Every moment spent worrying is one moment less
Sand slipping through the glass, and its time to die

Death in the end is a small price to pay
For all I have had, and all I will ever hold
Yea it must be, God is in His Heaven
And all is right with the World

Judge Me Not

I started this journey , all spruced and smart
Expected Life to return in kind
A smiling mask hides my grieving heart
Saddened by a thousand cuts unkind

Buffetted this way and that by Fate, ignored by Chance
Still proudly I say ,"I may break, but will not bend"
I have repented for all wrongs , done my penance
Only one regret , this way it had to end

My eyes have seen all they wanted to see
Betrayed by my own, swept aside by the flow
The Day of Reckoning comes nearer, beckons me
No one to cry over me , neither friend nor foe

The choice of my End, is in mine own hands
No Angel of Death will come , claim me for his own
Sword in hand, I shout my Defiance
Its the time for action, not to mourn

I have drunk my fill from the Cup of Life
Have made good over all I pledged
Let me say now my farewell to all this hate and strife
Judge Me Not that Ye be not Judged


Gandhigiri ( as opposed to Gundagardi ) , forms the basic premise for the refreshing new film "Lage Raho Munnabhai". Watched it yesterday. Good movie. Dont go and watch it as a followup to Munnabhai MBBS which was a pure comedy. This has a more serious message for our troubled times.

At times the solutions offered in the movie seemed a bit too simplistic ( particularly a scene where this person shames a corrupt official into not taking bribes ) . But overall a fresh take on things.

Never knew the Mahatma had 4 sons ( can anyone name them ? ) . A pleasant change from today's politics where nepotism rules the roost and everyone is trying to get wife , son and daughter-in-law a party ticket. The actor characterising the Mahatma was superb. Call me an idealistic fool but the film still left me with the hope that , one day , we will shake India out of its stupor.

To quote Rabindranath Tagore :
"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake"

Lage Raho Munnabhai !!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Planned Sick Leave

Planned Sick Leave ( an oxymoron if ever there was one - can oxymorons be phrases or only single words , lets leave that for another post ). How do you plan a sick leave? ( That thunder rumbling in the clouds tells me Iam going to have fever Monday , and so be unable to come to work ). Now you see a conscientious guy struggling with his conscience ( Conscience led on points in the first two rounds, but past experience tells the guy is going to knock out his opponent with a killer punch ).

You know you have to take leave and you are also fully aware that you have exhausted your quota of Annual Leave that your company so generously provides. What to do except to fall back on that tried and trusted friend - Sick Leave ? But can you just disappear and send a text message on the D Day saying you are sick - of course not. You cannot leave your team mates holding the bag like that. So you need to tell them in advance that you are "planning" to fall sick on such and such date

Which leads me to the events that triggered this train of thought. Oct 2nd is Gandhi Jayanthi and Oct 4th is likely to be Karnataka bandh. What more auspicious time to fall sick than Oct 3rd?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cruel Fate

I loved her and she loved me
We were as close as a pair can be

Together in happiness , together in sorrow
Lived each day to the fullest, till the morrow

She was the apple of my eyes
I was her one and only Delight

Such a couple was nowhere to be found
Envy of all , loved and renowned

What fault was ours ,what crime we did
Could God or the Devil , have done such a deed

She lies here now, cold and dead
A sacrifice to God, cruel, coldblooded

Take this dagger, plunge into my breast
That I may lie down , where my beloved does rest

Throughout the world , let this tale be told
Of how Love vanquished Fate, Lo and Behold

Better To Have Loved

Love tis a wonderful thing
Its what gives life its zing

You find yourself breaking into a song
And The whole world sings along

No time for fears no time for petty worries
It leaves you the most wonderful memories

Like the raindrops to the parched earth
Love brings relief to your aching heart

One day you look back in time
and can still hear the bells chime

Smell once more her sweet fragrance
when she stood near, her body a bottle of essence

You reach out and can still touch her
You hold her close and comfort her

Safe in your loving arms, held close to your chest
You shout to the world , She is mine, do your worst

The past is past and she is long gone
You may be feeling lost and forlorn

The memories she left you are still your own
Content with them , you bid all troubles begone

Yay, tis Better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all

Some Random Political Thoughts

BJP stands for the Bharatiya Janata Party , in case you have forgotten. The media darling just over a year back, the BJP seems to be in the news now for all the wrong reasons. Has the BJP become a rudderless ship , tossed this way and that by the waves , having no control ( indeed , no idea ) over the path it needs to take. Sadly , it would seem so. Sad for me personally, because the reasons I initially supported BJP still stand - probably are more relevant now.

I was in New Delhi at the time of the 1984 riots. I was all of seven years of age then - a very impressionable age. I have read Rajiv Gandhi's comments on the riots since then , "When a giant tree falls, the ground shakes". Of course things were not quite so simple as that , they never are.We used to stay in RK Puram Sector 5 . There were around 25 families staying in our block at that time , 2 of them Sikh. At that time Congress was ruling Delhi , so by a strange coincidence no policemen used to come when Sikh homes were being pillaged. I still remember my father and the rest of the non Sikh males lighting bonfires and staying guard throughout the night to ensure the safety of our Sikh brothers. This went for one whole week. At that time I did not realize the seriousness of the situation ( what does a seven year old know ). Maybe later I would have been outraged that any political leader ( let alone the PM ) could justify such a cold blooded progrom to wipe out a whole community. Thankfully nothing serious happened in our neighbourhood during that nightmarish week, but I have never considered the Congress as a serious political option since then.

There were two issues that attracted me to the BJP then - Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code. Strangely enough there is one party in India that shares the BJP stand on these issues - CPM. Only problem is our Marxian brothers conveniently forget this in the "greater" cause of isolating fundamentalism.

I personally feel that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was a situation that should have been avoided. Having said that , lets not attach too much importance to this. This was after all a 350 year old mosque where no prayers had taken place for over 40 years. And therein lies a strange tale. Strange because the Babri Masjid site was disputed even at the time of independence. Pt Nehru had ordered the site locked and no one was allowed entry . No one , that is till 1989 , when VHP were given the keys to the site. The credit for this went to Rajiv Gandhi and to a small extent , to a Muslim lady named Shah Bano.

Shah Bano had been divorced by her husband and she had filed a court case for alimony. The case went right up to Supreme Court which ruled in her favour citing Common Civil law ( common to all Indians irrespective of religion , caste or language ) . The mullahs saw this as an attack on Muslim Personal Law. They went up in arms and the Rajiv Gandhi govt ( they had 400+ MPs at the time ) brought in a Constitutional amendment to nullify theSupreme Court verdict. Of course to balance this kind of blatant minority appeasement they came out with a "majority package" as well. They gave the keys to the disputed Babri Masjid site to the VHP and gave them permission to perform shilanyas. Talk about letting the fox guard the chicken coop. The rest , as they say , is history.

Aint Love Grand?

I have always wondered how people can opt for arranged marriage. To tie the knot to a person you only know through a few casual conversations has always seemed to me a very risky proposition. You never get to see the "real" person. Even if you arrange any meetings, wont the person be putting on a "show" , projecting only his / her positive self. For to show our negative side or vulnerabilities , we would have to really trust the other person - trust which can only be gained after years of bonding.

Thats not to say arranged marriages do not work - far from it. Most married couples I know personally have been "arranged and married" . And they have been successful as well. But I have a sneaking suspicion that these actually work because arranged marriages are usually "Union between families".So your whole family has a stake in guiding this experiment to a successful outcome.

No such familial pressures in love marriages. ( By love marriages , I do not mean the fell-in-love-at-first-sight kind of puppy love ). The kind of love Iam talking about assumes you know a person for years, so much so that at times, they seem to be just an extension of your own persona. No problems sharing your hopes and dreams, fears and worries with them. You feel as much comfortable talking with them as you do talking to yourself. You have nothing to hide from them and vice versa.

These are my feelings but what would I know - Iam not married, yet. Lets see if I sing a different tune after that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Empty Life?

I wake up with an empty feeling in my heart
Still , have to get up and make a start

She who was there for me till yesterday
The morning's dawned and she's gone away

Will She return, my heart asks in despair
I know the answer, she doesnt care

Iam thankful to God for the gifts she left behind
Happy memories, which I replay in my mind

Maybe better it ended thus
No recriminations and no fuss

Cannot wallow in despair and sorrow
Life will go on, and bring the morrow

Let me pick the pieces and carry on
Tomorrow is another day , Today will be gone

Monday, September 18, 2006

Swargathile Leela Vilasangal

Wouldnt Life be Grand if you were born a God? I wonder how one applies to be one? Is there a rigorous Entrance exam or is it by draw of lots? Since anyway there are thousands of Gods, one more or less probably wouldnt make any difference. Does anyone know if they do a Assembly roll call every morning just to make sure no intruder has gained admittance.I wonder how the Gods address each other - by name ( not practical when you need to remember thousands even without counting for the different names for each avatars ) or by number ( hey number 2385 - some minor God, no 3 - Brahma wants you to go and clean his room ) . Surely there would be caste system even among Gods - numbers 1 to say 99 lording over all, numbers 100- 999 being the 2nd class gods , courtiers, jokers, Apsaras etc and the rest doing the menial tasks. Of course even Gods would need servants to do all the chores ,cleaning , washing etc. They being up in the vaccum, there wouldnt be any power sockets to plug in any electrical equipment , would there?

And if we could gain admittance to Indra's court , what fun hey? Drinking wine all day watching the Apsaras dance - do you suppose they still do only the traditional numbers like Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi etc or would they have learnt faster numbers now . Surely Narada would have told them about the latest developments in the music world - jazz, rock , hard metal etc that he must have come across while he was travelling the world stirring up trouble everywhere. And would he have traded in his old Sitar for a Bruce Springsteen guitar.

You hear about Vishnu and all his avatars but what about Indra? Being King of the gods surely he would have come down once or twice. Just wondering if he is among us right now - maybe as Kunhalikutty or P J Joseph ( BTW ,Is cross religion avatharing allowed - otherwise there is always Neela Lohithadasan Nadar).

If Wishes Were Horses

I never believed in love at first sight
Till I first saw her in the morning light

She was sitting by the cliffs
A gentle smile playing on her lips

Struck dumb I was , couldnt utter a sound
What could I tell this angel whom I had found

A gift of the Gods, for me made
She is another's , my mind forbade

Another place , another time , some other age maybe
The look of love in her eyes would have been for me

Forbidden it was , I knew, even to think of her
What to do alas,I alone knew my deepest desire

Sitting in judgement , my conscience sneers
Where do I hide from mine own fears

A glance from her and I would have taken on the world,
Faithless she was, she put me to the sword

Yet,I realize , maybe twas no fault of her
That more than me she loved another

Better than me in more ways than one
He laid his claim fair and won

Beaten by love, beaten by fate
Tied by my mad heart to the stake

No place to run , nowhere to hide
If wishes were horses, Beggars would ride