Friday, February 27, 2004

So many times, I feel as though
I am playing Treasure Hunt with life
So many times when I feel I am almost there
I reach a dead-end, the treasure never to be seen
And I stand there disillusioned, drenched to the bone, tired
Shouting at life not to play this game with me anymore, to give me what I am looking for

All life does is, mock me in return, saying
"Its all your fault
For having interpreted the clue the way you wanted to, not the way it actually read"

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Band-Aid (*ouch*) Queen

Coming Soon!! (This is for the pharmacist next-door who is sure going to strike gold)

And for the aam junta,

Not coming to work at all in the next few days. Reason being, the guitar chords. I can't really use the keyboard productively with cuts in my left hand fingers, can I?
My last few posts whilst I can touch the keys without wincing.

Current Music: Mohabbat Ho Na Jaaye - Kasoor and Vellai Pookal - Kannathil Muthamittal

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I had this story in the pipeline for quite some bit of time. It was initially based on a photo in the Nat Geo, a snap which won the third prize in an amateur world photography contest. The image featured three children running across a field somewhere in rural India, a very powerful shot indeed. The link is unfortunately not available now, but I went ahead with the story all the same, finishing it over the weekend.

"A little to the left Sir, and you Madam, stand closer, just a bit, yes, perfect, say cheeeese"

Click. Vrroom. I pat my Nikon lovingly. Wedding photography is not exactly my specialty but today, Shantanu and I are standing in for an ill colleague who usually takes up such assignments for my firm. It is very hot, as is the summer in this part of India, an hour to go for the mahurat, I grab a glass of coconut water from the waiter’s tray. In the meantime, the uncle of the bride, a prominent MP, is busy on the dais. In between the garlanding - felicitation sessions, he speaks, water blah blah education more blah a profitable market for the farmers etcetera and etc. Oft repeated lines, I could almost mime this man.

Click. The father of the bride and his politician brother. Click The inundation of garlands.

The wedding is to take place on the lawns of the MP's farmhouse, one of the many estates he owns. A thousand people are moving about, a few more, getting out of the cars lining up the driveway. Pot bellied men, most of them heavily into politics, their wives in rich brocades, obediently following them, pallus firmly on their heads.

Click. The line of cars. Click. Everybody shaking hands. Click. Water hugging Agriculture, I&B hugging Education, an outpouring of affections as per their needs in the long run.

"Aho Deshmukh, zara ikde ya na" (Deshmukh, please come here). Amidst much fanfare and a flurry of those in the welcoming party, the groom comes riding on horseback. A few interactions later and I have already started despising the guy in question. The best thing about the groom is the equestrian he is riding on, and first among the other equally detestable qualities, is his high-handedness. "Hey you photographer, do this, do that, do blah-blah". To begin with, here I am, disconcerted by the heat and then this lord-of-the-pigs adds to my woes (bah). I dislike being controlled and ordered about in a profession that I know better than he does. His pals hover about and bundles of cash exchange hands amidst talks of a drinks binge sometime later in the day.

Click. The groom, (his swagger et al). Click. His friends. Click. Champion, the horse. Click. Champion eating motichoor ladoos. Click. Champion tired of ladoos. Click. I-aint-got-a-sweet-tooth-you-idiotic-homo-sapiens horse ignoring ladoos now. Click. Champion eating the groom? Naah, no such luck, I would have gladly used up an entire roll of film on such a service to mankind.

Next in the focus of my mighty lens is the bride; shy, pretty, a contrast to her fiancée. A few interactions with her and I start feeling sorry for the young lady. She seems so lost and unsure of herself, I am certain she is being forced into the whole thing. "C'mon smile", a fat, obnoxious looking woman, "You are so lucky to get married to him. SiddharthRao is so rich and handsome (bah) and he has three cars and so many farms (so what, bah again). You will never have to worry about money all your life". A weak smile from the bride, and I sense a sharp stab of pain in my heart. Love at first sight, sigh. I wish I could just shout, there and then, like in the movies I had grown up on, "Yeh shaadi nahi ho sakthi". But before I can break into a dream sequence dance with her (like in 'em movies again) a sharp stab in my heart again. What was with these multiple stabs, I muse, isn't it supposed to be just one. Investigations lead to an adjusting of the buckles of the camera strap, stabs in the back of my neck now.

Click. The bride. Click. Her mehendi. Click. Mrs. Obnoxious. Click. Pretty young girls, her cousins. Click. The saris gifted to her. Click. Her gold ornaments. Click. All the females in her family tree aged fifty and above, bawling their eyes out. Stop her someone, you are ruining her life. Stop crying and do something.

Whilst busy in wishful thinking (such as the chances of her agreeing to run away with me), I am rudely shaken by the shoulder, this action followed by an irritated voice, "Deshmukh Saheb, we have been looking all over for you, please come to the marriage pandal as soon as you can". With a mental note not too mistake myself to be her knight-in-shining-armor (movies, movies, too many movies) and with a last look at the lovely lady, I follow the guy to the pandal.

Five minutes for the mahurat.. Click. The pandit. Click. The flower decorations. Click. The guests taking their places in the front rows. Click. The sheer waste of money on the grandeur of decorations, on all that deceptive merriment. Click. The groom again, scowling at the poor worker, arranging the chairs, and then catching sight of his arch enemy, (me, who else), he scowls again.

I never knew what came over me, but I am sure it was the heat coupled with my impatience that was partly responsible for what I did subsequently. I walked off, right then, of course not march gallantly, no, but I sneaked off, just like that, out of those lawns, out of the gate, and after making sure I was not followed, I ran, towards the fields near the farmhouse. I was well aware of the furor that would surface at my sudden disappearance, but I also knew that Shantanu would take care of the marriage snaps thereafter.

The fields. Click. Three children running merrily by the river, the boy pushing the tyre with his stick Click. Their house by their small farm. Click. The mother, sitting outside, sifting through grains, smiling as she sees her children play (none of them have noticed me yet) Click. The hens scurrying around her. Click. A bird building a nest. Click. The juicy mangoes hanging dangerously low overhead.

Not very far away, a sudden audible applause and the band starts playing. I rest assured that I am personally not present for the marriage vows. A slight breeze and I doze off, confused dreams follow, Champion nibbling at my feet, the groom looking like a motichur ladoo, knights in shining armor suspiciously resembling me. I wake up with a start, when the bride suddenly turns into Mrs. Obnoxious, breathing down my neck.

Its those children again, fingering my camera, and when I am fully awake, they start questioning me. A few interactions later and I ask them to pose with their mother, but she refuses to, what would her husband say, when he comes home. The children are more than pleased to oblige me.

"Azun thoda davikade, ho bass thik, perfect, smiiiile" (A little to the left)

Click. The children, jostling each other. They probably do not know what “perfect” means nor what “smile” means. They don’t even need to be told. For the first time that day, my mighty lens captures expressions happy, the happiness genuine.

Current Music: Return To Innocence - Enigma (a very African feel to the song)

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Silence does not necessarily rule out noise
Silence could also mean the cacophony of your thoughts only, strong enough to muffle the pandemonium

And in such silence do I concentrate on the strums of only my guitar, with ten others working on theirs too.

Current Music: Pretty Woman - KhNh, I like the intermediate stanzas best, "Sone ka rang hai...." and "Aankhon mein hai nasha.."

Monday, February 23, 2004

Out of habit, I was going to say "Next time definitely", when I was struck by a bolt of an awareness of the context of the conversation and instead I replied "why don't you treat us here"
Her question was "Why did you not come for my wedding"

It seems funny now, but for two minutes then, I struggled desperately to find an alternative string of words.

Current Music: Kevha Tari Pahate (its a very famous and soft Marathi song, the kind you would hear when you are alone in a room, seated in a rocking chair, the room illuminated in a mellow yellowish light)

Friday, February 20, 2004

After all, tomorrow will be just another day..
Scarlett, here, would disagree, for her, tomorrow "is" another day

Standing on a cliff
The wind tugging at her hair
She looks down yonder
The winding road
She traces it as much as she can
but somewhere she lets go
Too many curves, all those ups, all those downs, in life, her life
She has lived, has she done justice to her existence, she would know not
Has she added life to the years or just years to her life, she would know not
All she understands, is that she has to keep walking
On a path strewn with roses, a path strewn with thorns

All she knows is that she has to keep walking, making a difference to those that matter, the paths lined with milestones too, on which 'tis written not "was she here?", but saying "she was here"....

Current Music: Pal - KK and Kuch Tho Hua Hai - KhNh ( the chorus at the end is fantastic)

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Don't most of us have some beliefs/affectations we like to stick to, such as a lucky pen for the exams, a lucky outfit etc etc (utterly stupid, if you reflect upon them)

Presenting one of mine:
When the first traffic signal you come across while driving, is green and/or most of the rest of the signals are green too, look forward to having a pleasant day.
Caution: This does not mean you drive at breakneck speed to get through, by hook or by crook

Yeah, I know, its illogical, I don't know how I came to such a conclusion (must have been a bad day at work, or the devil slogging away in his workshop in the idle mind on the weekends), but now I can't seem to get rid of this concept :-)

Maybe on a very bad day, I can also blame that cat who crossed my path. She was all black with green eyes, to make matters worse.

Current Music: Uyirum Neeye (very soft, and melodious, indian classical)

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Di(e)lemma /Mus(h)ibbat : To go or not to go, that iz ze question

March 09, 1996 - India vs Pak, World Cup, India won ( if my gray cells contain the correct data)
Not being too familiar with cricket stats, the only reason I remember this day is because I was at a friend's place celebrating her birthday, and studying for the 11th Std exams which were just a few days away. The exams date, I don't remember too well, but I can remember the sumptuous cake for sure ;-). Yeah, I also remember having a huge crush on W. Akram then :-)

8 years later (my, my, again that feeling of growing old)
March again, India vs Pak and a tug-of-war (the contestants being, the TV on one side and the exams on the other) for the SSC (Class 10th) students.

But, this March, I sure will be glad to be on the other side of the fence, IF the men in blue consent to indulge in a w(p)illow-fight (hope it is not weepy willow) with the men in green..

Current Music: Gurus of Peace - Nusrat Fateh and ARR (excellent composition, meaningful lyrics)

Monday, February 16, 2004

Chaos, pain, torment
and then..
A certain sense of quietness settling in
A lull
An end to a dispute broiling within
Its over, finally, acceptance
Tranquility, placidity
Like the water gently lapping the sides of a boat in a lake

My headache, of course, anti-climatically speaking
(if they can have words such as bhadralok, chacha, bapu in the Oxford dict., I don't see why the stiff upper-lipped shouldn't approve of "anti-climatically" )

Current Music: Can't Cry Hard Enough - R. Marx and Duur - Strings
(This are one of the first few songs I want to play when I learn the guitar, maybe have a tabla thrown in for some fusion)

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Now I need to get a black t-shirt with Metallica emblazoned across it and a change of hairdo - maybe gel parts of it to create those spikes and colour them green, pink and yellow? or blue?

As long as they promise me that singing is not part of the course, I am going to continue the yet-to-start (Monday actually) guitar class.

Talking of singing, I was trying to enact a soprano the other day when I remembered that I am not stranded on an island, that I have neighbours and that it is 11 at night. My guess is only their cat would approve of the song. Still talking of singing, the best thing that has happened to me in my driving life (apart from my motoscooter of course) is my helmet. Now, I can sing what I like, however I like, whenever I like, without caring two hoots as to what the other people on the road think.

YAY again. Next time, watch out when B Adams comes to India. I might just be on stage with him, or rather he with me ;)

Current Music: Tequila Sunrise - Eagles and Have I Told You Lately - Rod Stewart

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

As un-Piscean As It Gets

A fish in a glass tank
Unhappy, to want to see what the oceans are like
To want to break free
To want to shatter the glass
To want to brave the rush of water
(At the same time knowing it could be ruined)
To want to tear down its fortress at least once
To want to take the plunge, in the deep and the blue, the mystical oceans of life

Current Music: Unchained Melody - Righteous Bros

Monday, February 09, 2004

TOI isn't the same anymore, it doesn't go down well with the quintessential cuppa tea every morning, all those utterly nonsensical articles on Hllywod affairs or the current tattoos that wannabe page 3 personalities sport.
(Ok, how do I know, coz I do a veri veri quick scan of those pages, when I have to check out Garfield, who thankfully, hasn't changed over the years)

But it isn't all that bad either, I loved Neelabh's cartoon last week, when Jaswant Singh, aka Jassi, as he is now known, presented the interim budget. Grinning away to glory, in the manner of a cheshire cat, guitar in hand, aping Bryan Adams (who was to visit India for a concert), covering at least half the length of the front page, with the caption "Everything I do...". Brilliant, Neelabh, simply brilliant!
(I can't find the link anywhere. Any inputs will be appreciated)

Current Music: Everything I do... (thats what made me write this post) and Chinamma Chilakkama - Mnaxi

**Update: Got the link from Harsh, thanks buddy!
Check this out (you would need an indiatimes id, and the issue is dated Feb 04 '04)

Saturday, February 07, 2004

At a signal
Pollution Level Recorded : 213, Allowed Limit : 50 ( Puneites, we are choking to death)
Tattered, soiled clothes, an equally dirty hand extended, how old must she be? 6 years old probably
We ignore, like we always do, don't we, defiantly looking the opposite way, anywhere else but not at her
Obstinate, standing her ground, so what if it is 9:30 pm when no six year old should be alone on the roads
10 seconds to the signal, simultaneous vrrooms, engines being brought to life
she doesn't move, isn't she scared of being run over?
We leave her behind, soot on her body and her clothes

Like most would say,what would a few more dents matter to a battered soul anyway

I sometimes hate myself for being, not indifferent, but so passive. Planning to do something about this.

Current Music: Alternating between "Without You" - Air Supply and "Do kadam aur sahi" - Mnaxi

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Sign that you are getting older (and getting nowhere?)

One of my batchmates had a baby today. I remember meeting the couple just the other day, they looked so thrilled, we joked, thought of baby names, all the time I was handing out advice, you know, things you have heard other people say to would-be mothers..

Yesterday, we were almost at par, Today if I were to meet her, I would definitely sense a huge gap between us..a chasm that my emotions would fail to transcend

Current Music: Kandukondain Kandukondain

Monday, February 02, 2004

WhO LeT 'em DOGS OuT???????

One of them flicked a pretty-much-expensive Nike shoe from outside my house [#$%@#@^] and left behind the other one (insert another round of pounds-dollars-percentages-exclamations)
What am I expected to do with just one? Pretend I am John Silver?( of R. L Stevenson’s Treasure Island fame)

I had nothing against dogs till date. Well, now I do!!

Booo-hoooo :((((( and Grrrrrrr!

Currently pasting the following poster on a "stick-no-bills" space

"Wanted chewed or non-chewed
Anybody, who spots a canine roaming around with anything that closely resembles a blue-grey shoe, shall be suitably rewarded"

Weekends are meant for taking a rest, not combing the neighbourhood for dogs who have suddenly taken a fancy for your khuun-pasina-ek-kar-ke-laye-hue shoes
(a li'l bit of exaggeration is good for blogs)