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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Queen Mother

Note: The second of my attempts to interprete in my tiny way the characters from Hindu Mythology. The first http://aadityaandme.blogspot.com/2008/08/cursed-warrior.html won me the 'Blog of the day' for my blog.

She never thought she would see this day - for she had had a lonely childhood. Her mother the Queen was banished by the King and she was raised by a maid by the name Manthraa.

Today, she was a Queen herself - a Queen mother to four charming princes who were not all her sons but who all looked up to her as their mother.

She was Kaikeyi. One of King Dashrath's queens. She had raised the four princes along with the other queens - one of which was Kaushalya. 

When Ram had to be coronated as the king, Manthra came to Kaikeyi only to infuse in her the poison of vengeance. And just one ugly thought.

One ugly thought - of proving her superiority over Queen Kaushalya. One ugly thought - that estranged Ram from her. One ugly thought - that reminded her of her stepmotherhood to Ram. One ugly decision - to force King Dashrath to send Ram to exile and hand the throne over to her biological son Bharat.

Ram went away. Dashrath died in the sorrow. Her son Bharat was aghast at her decision and never called her his mother again. That one ugly thought was what she repented all her life.

Kaikeyi had a death as lonely as her childhood... She had come back a full cycle.

Kaikeyi became the villian of the story. Without her knowledge and choice.

She was destined to think wicked for a period of time so that the story could happen. So that Ram could be sent to the jungle with Sita and Lakshman. So that Ravan could be killed and the world be reaffirmed of the power of Good. So that the world could witness the Ramayan.

She was not the villian of the story. She was its creator.

Suicide note

"Dear All,

I don't know why I am alive. I am in a field I never wanted to be in. My mother was my support until now. She scolds me continously now. I have no one to live for. I don't want to live...

Good bye all. I love you mom-dad.


He folded the paper and kept it on his table under the wooden pen-stand which his friend Nishi had gifted him.

His mother was out. She was at a counsellor's clinic seeking advice for her son who she had observed, was feeling depressed. She was worried herself.

A friend was trying to call him to invite him for his birthday party.

A new job opportunity was on its way for him...


Next time you want to hit the 'Stop' button, please remember that something good could very well be on its way. You could miss out on it due to one hasty decision...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Broken Octagon

Picture clicked by: Aditya Joshi (which is me.)
Location: KReSIT, IITB, Mumbai

Disclaimer: The post is completely imaginary. It is merely an interpretation of the photograph.

The building had an octagonal glass pyramid for a roof. The sun filled every corner of the interiors through this glass ceiling.

One day, for a reason nobody knows, a section of glass on the ceiling broke and pieces of glass came down like sparkling stars.

The ceiling was repaired - the glass was fixed again. They could not find a piece of the same colour though. So, though you could not make out the difference from an angle, when you stood right under the ceiling and looked upwards, you could see a part of the ceiling to be of a different colour (the picture.).


Heartbreaks occur. We heal them all. People look at us from different angles - not many of them manage to notice the mended hearts. 

The very few who look straight into our heart, however, notice the broken octagon in the heart. Something that perhaps will never be perfect again...

Diwali throughout the year

The Entity that created the world wanted us to know the importance of light - and so She made a sun and a moon, the lanterns of two different colours that alternate every twelve hours.

There is light always. Around us. Within us. We all celebrate Diwali. Throughout the year...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The King who celebrated Diwali

Disclaimer: Fiction fiction. Original work.

Long long ago, there lived a king who loved Diwali - the Hindu festival of lights. He celebrated Diwali with his subjects. He would give them sweets and clothes. In the late afternoon, people would queue up outside his palace to receive these gifts that they considered auspicious. It was believed that if you got a gift from the king for Diwali, you would be prosperous and happy throughout the year. Just when it was all done, there would be crackers that would fill the atmosphere with light that Diwali brought to lives of everyone.

Like every other year, the king distributed gifts. Just when he thought he was done, the king was returning back to the palace. He saw an old lady sitting under a tree in his orchard. He thought she must have been in the queue but must have gone tired.  The king walked to her and asked her, "Why are you here, oh lady? Were you here for the Diwali gifts?"

The lady said, "Oh, you don't remember me? I lived with you in your palace for many years. You have been giving gifts to everyone every year - but you have forgotten me always. You never paid attention to what I wanted for Diwali."

The king stared at the wrinkles on her face and the way they grew as she continued to complain.

"I know you for long now. You were a bright student when you were away at the ashram for education. Your guru taught you to be courteous and helpful. He always told you that a king rules people but a good king rules their minds."

She went on, "You distribute gifts to them every Diwali. Throughout the year, you levy exhorbitant taxes on them - you nearly choke them. What's the use of giving them a gift now? I am as old as you are. But you know why I look so old? Every time you go wrong, I get older, weaker and more frail."

The king was listening carefully."You make me weaker each time an apparently noble deed of yours has a secondary motive involved. Do this for me. Be nice to people throughout the year and then give them a gift at the end of the year. Whatever the gift is."

The king said, "Why do I make you weak?"

The answer came, "Because I am you. I am your conscience. I have gone old and weak. I have gone away from you. If you want me to come back to you, you need to clear your heart. That's the only place I can stay."

The king smiled. His servants had lit the crackers by now. There was light all over.


Diwali is a festival of lights. It is about bringing light to each other. Why do we, then, fight throughout the year - only to wish each other a happy diwali at the end of it all?

Let's have a truly Happy Diwali this year. Let's vow not to fight and not to take the light of joy and peace out of each others' lives.

Happy Diwali!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Note: This is not really a review. It's just a product of frustration that I experienced after watching the film. Hence, it is unrealistically exaggerated.

I know why the three 'z's were added to the title - it was the astrologer's advice. And hey, the astrologer was so freakin' right in predicting the state of mind of the audience after they'd watch this film. I actually saw someone zzzing all the way through the second half of the film.

Karz is a story of revenge - as all of us know. And why wouldn't it be! If I knew I looked like Dino Morea in my last birth and like Himesh Reshammiya in this one, I would want to seek revenge too - but wouldn't know how to give vent to this feeling of mine. The film is exactly this - confused...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Under the shower

Note: Random ideas

The key turned and the door opened. He slammed the door back as he hurled his bag on the couch. He walked into his bedroom - the sheets were astray. He had left them that way in the morning when he left for the place where he was an intern.

He kept the keys on the semi-circular glass side-table. He looked at the wall-long mirror. He stared at himself. He saw this stylishly dressed person in his late 20s - someone who would be an object of everyone's desire with his beautifully shaped jawline, glowing skin and amazingly sculpted torso that he could see from over the shirt. He was a confident, successful man who everyone around him admired.

He stripped down to nothing and got into the shower.

The water flowed into his shoulder-long hair and dripped through the ends like dew drops over the leaves. There were several streams of water moving down his chest and back. His hand moved between his hair as he looked at the water.

He looked into the gushing stream of water falling all over his body. His body shook each time he was under the shower. The water flowed down his body as he felt he was peeling off. The brave face that he carried everywhere would come off and an overgrown child, lonely, dejected would stand under the shower - staring at it. Waiting for his parents to call him back to the place where he had grown up, waiting to get back to them. He had been living away from them for quite some time though he wished he didnt have.

The man who stood confidently otherwise now stood with his shoulders drooping. He was bogged down by the loneliness he experienced in the city where he had grown up.. the city which had seen him with his family... the city which was seeing him staying alone in this apartment...

He walked out of the bathroom and stood before the mirror again - looking at himself. He looked to his right. The bathroom door was left ajar, the light was on. He could see the shower jeering - for the shower knew all that he was going through.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

You know you are watching a KJo Film when..

Note: Slightly tongue-in-cheek. Exaggerated. For humour only.

And note: If you are not a white person or an Indian who has settled abroad, this post is not for you. As much as these K Jo movies.

Certain traits in a KJo/Yash Chopra film:
  • Punjab is the only state in India and Punjabi the only language.
  • If you are a lady, you can screech at the top of your voice, you can very well dream of being the central lady of the film. If you can't do the screeching, you better be someone's someone.
  • In the film, you see the skyline of a foreign location, the chiffon sari of the heroine, the breeze - but you can't see her face clearly. And the expression on her face too. But who cares? (Note : She will end up winning the best actress award and thanking Yash uncle for the challenging role.)
  • "Soniye", "Kudiye", "Raanjhnaa" - three words that are written on the paper a random number of times. Other words are arbitrarily spun around to form the lyrics of a song.
  • Britishers ruled the country for a long time, it's our turn now. We make them dance in the background of a frame to our tunes.
  • The climax always has to have - background music in loud volume, one long speech-cum-emotional dialogue by one of the central characters and storm/rain/lightening/dark night - two or more of these.
  • When a Bipasha Basu wears a revealing outfit in 'Jism', it's outrageously vulgar. When a Rani Mukherji does the same in a song from 'Bunty aur babli', it's just stylish, aesthetic and of global appeal.
  • Duniya mein koi bura nahi hota. Achhe logon par bura waqt aa jaata hai. I am a achha aadmi and I have this bura waqt when I watch a movie that has the heroine saying this.
  • If the movie claims to be 'young and happening', there'll certainly be a lot of skin show. The Naked-Neil-N-Naked-Nikki will stand testimony to my statement.
That's it. I need to watch Kuch kuch hota hai the two-hundredth time. Oops!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Shadow on the moon

As I see through the dark branches and leaves of trees that are as tall as the sky, I see the moon...

As I walk uphill, the moon moves along with me as if it were following me. When I think he's following me, I think of you.

I see your shadow cast on the moon. I see the moon glowing in its presence.

The trees get denser, the moon goes out of sight. The shadow descends as it fills everything around me. I watch with bated breath as I see my world fill up with your presence.

Dark shadows are formed by objects in light. You are the light in my life.

To me, you are so bright that you could cast your shadow on the moon too. Yes, I see it there...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Somaiya days - butterflies that flew away

Note: A completely imaginary story about real people
Credit: Bhaumik Oza, Amerika, for the idea.

As the stars shine down on Houston, he collects his books, puts them back in the huge box that he uses to keep his stuff. He gathers himself, pulls his blanket over and closes his eyes. He remembers his parents who are far away from where he is. In the cold of the night, he feels up the velvet blanket he uses to cover himself. When he retires every night, he remembers people - his friends from college. 

The ones he spent four years with - the ones that irritated him at times, the ones he liked, the ones he didn't like as much. Now that he had to ask for a friend's number to another, he remembers how close and connected that person was.

He now saves the minutes on his cell phone so that he can call back a friend in India- he calls each one in rotation every week.

The college he is remembering stands where it has always. There are people who are remembering it from different parts of the world.

So is he. He remembers one of his friends today, a joke he cracked and he goes to sleep. 

The butterflies of different colours had gathered above the flowers in a garden. They tickled the surface of the flower to get its nectar. They pushed each other, fought with each other yet, stuck together. 

One day, the butterflies flew away in different directions. Their bodies had rubbed against each other - they had left a mark of the unique colour each of them had on each other.

The butterflies are in different parts of the sky now... with each others' colours on their wings.

Do they realize the presence of this colour on their wings?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Bride and the Ukhaana

She stands in the doorway with the pallu of her sari over her head. She is wearing a nosering studded with pearls and a semi-circular bindi - typical of a Maharashtrian newlywed. Her husband is standing with her. He is smiling.

The women in the house, the distant aunts and cousins are pushing each other to have a look at the new bride. The son's grandmother is guided to the door by one of her granddaughters. The grandmother looks at the new bride and smiles. 

"Ukhaana ghe" ("Recite an ukhana"), the grandmother says playfully, "We'll not let you in without that."

Ukhaana is a typical Maharashtrian tradition where a newlywed/married woman recites a couplet with her husband's name in it. Women recite ukhaanas at marriages and several other occasions. These couplets are the woman's opportunity to display her language skills and also allow her to take her husband's name - something she isn't permitted to do otherwise. So, an ukhana is considered romantically poetic, poetically creative and creatively interesting. And the ukhana-recital tradition starts just after you get married.

(With time, the ukhanaa tradition has changed. These days, the husbands are made to recite an ukhana too.) 

Getting back to the bride waiting to get in.. She smiles and shies away - this happens in all Maharashtrian marriages, yet the brides get their right to do nakhra when asked to recite an ukhaana.

After persuasion (that happens in every marriage. If you start reciting the ukhana immediately after you are asked to, you are perhaps considered outrageous), she recites an ukhaana. 

The new bride topples a vesselful of rice over with the thumb of her right foot. She enters the new house...

Love story 1950. and 2008

Note: A fictitious and exaggerated attempt at humour.

Credit: To a friend I don't chat as frequently as I did.

While I'm still recovering from the shock of having seen a movie called Love story 2050, I will take you on a drive in this time machine that the producers of the film sold out for Rs.25 to cover the losses the film made. But hey, the time machine isn't working properly now - so it just goes back and forth.


Year 1950: Two lovers from Vile Parle, Bombay.
Year 2008: Two lovers from Vile Parle, Mumbai.

Year 1950 Time: 6:35pm : She's worried. She tells him, "Mohan, we need to leave now. It'll take us twenty minutes to get back home. Baba will be furious if I reach even a minute after 7."

Year 2008 Time: 6:35pm : The 'She' of 2008 is even more worried. She tells him over the phone, "How can you give me such a short notice? I can't reach Bandra at 9.30 - I need some time to get ready! Next time be sensible honey!" She hangs up on him.

Year 1950: A love affair is addressed as 'our love' when they are feeling too bold. Mostly, they just call it 'this'. ("What if Baba gets to know about this?")

Year 2008: Love affairs are in abundance left, right and center. So are the names they have. The names are, in fact, layers - you can be 'dating' each other, 'going around', 'seeing' each other. The level two is when you are 'in a relationship' or when you are 'committed'. Assuming that a higher level in your relationship is not actually when you stoop to a lower level.

Year 1950: You get her a flower that you plucked from your garden. She'll perhaps get sheera * that she has made herself in a tiny brass box. When you say it's tasty, she'll go pink with all the blushing.

Year 2008: She gets your name tattooed on her waist. And flaunts it too. 

Year 1950 and 2008: There are different types of pressures in the lifestyles of both these eras of time. Despite all that, there are lovers, there is love. Like a language, love undergoes changes major and minor - but no living creature can live without both.

After all, if language has been an expression of emotions, love has been the source. Across decades.

Sheera * - A Maharashtrian sweet dish. Its synonym in Hindi is 'Sooji ka halwa'.

Death of a Bat

Shreya let out a scream as she saw a bat entering from the window. The bat flew in fast, she heard a scary flap as it flapped its wings.

Shreya bent down and closed her hands with her palms. The helper at the public library hurried in with a tall broom. She tried to direct the bat out of the window.

The bat kept moving through the room from one end to another and a shriek kept coming from Shreya when it was anywhere close to where she was sitting.

The bat moved closer to the ceiling and there was a sound of a snap.

The bat came down like a plane that has caught fire.

The bat had cut its wing in the pane of the ceiling fan. 

I saw the five inch long wing on the shiny metallic table which was meant for people to read. I saw blood through the portion where it was cut from the body of the bat.

While Shreya was screaming her lungs out, the bat was screaming too. Just that we couldn't hear.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A handful of sky

He is standing at the beach with his cream-coloured trousers folded up to his knees. He has rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, the first two buttons are off.

He stretches out his arms, he looks like the Cross. As waves splash against his feet, he begins to sink slowly.

His hairy chest continues to move up and down as he breathes heavily, trying to breath in as much joy as he can.

He bent down as he collected a handful of the waves. He threw them as high as he could. With the droplets that came down, he could feel the sky peeling off - melting as it fell over his head, down his neck. 

He could feel a handful of sky pouring down on him.

Hello - the Movie

'Hello', the new movie is based on Chetan Bhagat's One night at the call center. While the book was quite entertaining.... until the actual story, the phone call from God (now what was that!) arrives.

Just saw the full-page ad in Mid-day today and was surprised to see only five characters (the book has six.) I remembered the elderly gentleman in the book (who has issues with his son and his family) and yes, he was missing in the promotional photograph. Ouch, did they drop him out?

Then I saw a tiny advertisement and yes, it did have photographs of 'six' characters.

If you are a senior actor, unless you are Amitabh Bachhan or the likes, you don't feature in a full-page ad. Irrespective of how significant your character is.

P. S. : Ditto for Kabhi Alvida Na kehna advertisements that had Amitabh Bachhan but no Kiron Kher. Both of them had an equally significant role in the film.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gmail Goggles

Note: Aah, I can't blv I'm writing about a technology on my blog. This is what IIT does to you perhaps.

Saturday nights (in the Western World, the conservative me likes to believe) are the time when people get drunk. Then you send hate emails to your boss, come-back-to-me emails to your ex and so on. Google has come up with a solution to the problem this situation could bring.

So as you see, the feature that Gmail has introduced is called 'Gmail Goggles'. In a nutshell, it gets activated on a Friday/Saturday night when a user is possibly drunk. It asks the user to solve a set of maths problems in a stipulated time. If you are able to solve it, you have proved that you are 'sobre' and your email is sent.

An issue here, however, would be the difficulty of problems and the sobreity of a person. As an Indian, I like to believe that Indians are smarter at solving Maths problems - so if you have to test how drunk an Indian is, you would have to pose more difficult questions than what you would otherwise.

This feature, ahem, is outright silly. Well ok, this will never be advertised as a critical feature of Gmail. But then, people actually give all this so much thought, eh?

Nevertheless, it is indeed amusing for an Indian student that I am. The feature is up on Google labs. Good for people who get heavily drunk and then turn on their computer to send emails...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Shooting Star

As it falls under its own weight, it cuts through miles and miles of the sheet of atmosphere that covers the earth.

As it cuts through the air, it burns.

As it burns, it leaves behind a trail of sparkling light - like the tusk of an elephant.

As it continues to leave its trail, it dies.

As it dies, people close their eyes and ask for their wishes.

The shooting star knows it is about to die. It is then that it acquires this special power of granting you a wish. And it does even as it dies.


There was pindrop silence in the class. The students listened carefully to the words the teacher was speaking out. They were to write down twenty such words as a part of a language dictation session. "Remembrance", the teacher said.

The students wrote the word their notebooks - the spelling the word took in each notebook was, however, different. Nishant wrote 'Rememberance' whileKritika wrote 'Remembrence'. The teacher would ocassionally peep into the notebooks of the students. She would want to giggle at the different spellings each one of them had written. She was rather amused at the way students would get worried when they saw her coming. That was because when a student sensed the teacher coming closer, his palms would go wet, he would grab the pencil tighter and the letters would become sharper.


Life dictates. Always. It will put you under pressure, try to throw challenges at you.

While you get scared of the problems that have been posed before you, life only giggles silently.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vikrant - Changing Adjectives

Note: Totally fictitious. I have liked the way it has turned out – did not have anything on my mind when I started writing it.

 “Vikrant committed suicide in 2006.” The tea in his cup seemed to have gone heavy in no time. Immediately after he heard Shrikant saying that, Jay put his cup down.

 He kept staring into the cup half filled with tea. He could see the vapours rising from the surface. He thought they had gone chilling cold.

“Vikrant went into acute depression in late 2005. He consulted psychiatrists and counselors. Nothing helped.” Jay remembered Vikrant standing on a couch with his shoes on at this coffee shop-cum-bar and announcing to the guests present, “Friends, my friend here has done a good job in his new business venture. In his honour, the drinks are on me!” As the crowd would break into an applause, Vikrant would take a bow himself. On behalf of his friend who would smile sheepishly.


Jay remembered Vikrant. As the person Jay wanted to be – a person who smiled at every stranger, a person who would end up befriending atleast one person each time he travelled, a person who spoke too much, made too many promises – yet never let any of his word go wrong.


“Vikrant would lock himself up in his room in his last days. His servant would keep his food outside the locked door and collect the empty plate two hours later.” Jay remembered Vikrant eating panipuri at the roadside stall – with the innocence of an eight-year old on his face. Jay remembered Vikrant buying a dozen balloons from a physically challenged old lady. Then letting them go up in the air and taking snaps as they disappeared into the blue sky. Jay remembered that Vikrant had disappeared like these balloons.


“What the…”, Jay could hardly finish his sentence. He only remembered Vikrant’s smiling face, the lean body and the eloquence only Vikrant could show.


What could have happened to this person who was enthusiasm personified? “But why?”, Jay asked Shrikant. Jay had tears in his eyes. Shrikant’s face, however, was stern, expressionless.

 “You’ll not believe it. His parents found out one day. He was gay!”

 “What?” Jay’s jaws dropped.

 He had a question mark on his face and many more in his mind. He began to think, “Vikrant was gay? He said I was his best friend. It meant he had feelings for me? Oh yuck, no! Oh I remember, once he had told me that he would stand for me whenever I wanted him to. Did he mean it ‘that’ way? Eww… He always befriended people whenever he was touring the country? Did he have ‘such’ intentions on his mind when he smiled at people or helped them? Oh God!!”

 It was only for a moment now that Jay remembered Vikrant’s smile. Jay clenched his lip almost into a disgusted frown.

 The tears had stopped from Jay’s eyes. The adjectives that made Vikrant what he was to Jay, had fallen off. To Jay, Vikrant was no longer ‘friendly’, ‘helpful’, ‘happy-go-lucky’ or ‘polite’. To Jay, now Vikrant was only gay.

Graffiti and Ads in Railway Compartments

(As a part of the 'Stories of the Lifeline' series)

The walls of the trains are … a creative playground. The exteriors have been taken over by the marketing gurus as the compartments get covered with posters of Mallika Sherawat kissing a hero whose face we cannot (and do not really want to) see just before her film is about to release.

On the walls, one often sees the paint scraped off so that the words ‘Raj Rahul Rohan, 9.31 local Frands group’ appear written on the walls. No kidding, but I have actually seen ‘Upar dekh’ written on the wall of a train compartment and ‘Upar kya dekhta hai be #$#$#$’ on the ceiling. Youthful perversions manifest themselves in the form of graphical obscenity on these walls – they are best left unspoken about.

If the graffiti is not enough, there are advertisements – posters, large and small. There are Bengali babas advertising their talent to keep away everything from waasna to (intoxicating) rasnaa. And there are photographs of Kekta Kapoor’s Kusum – the Khaas Kahaani or of an undies-clad model showing off lipsticks marks all over his body – encouraging the patrons to get assaulted the way he has been – the only way to do so being wearing that particular brand of underwear. Some advertisements are believably funny. They have amazing statistics quoted for detergents, face soaps or toothpastes (Something like : Other soaps - 0.543% GPPD, Our soap - 0.0023% GPPD. What is GPPD? No one knows.) What’s more, these figures are certified by research laboratories that have abbreviations as funny and ‘familiar’ as the index values they give - something like YWNKITDAE (You Would Never Know If This Dental Association Exists).

I’ve been amused by this amazing advertising strategy of a tiny paper pouch pasted to the wall that has a very stern, assertive and funny ‘Take one’ written on it. (Spycams to check if I took only one?) And when you really dare to take even one of the chits that the pouch contains, it enlightens you about ways to earn 10000-50000Rs. from home and gives you a contact number. Accompanied by a contact person’s name. More often than not, this name is that of a female. (Marketing strategy you know!)

If nothing else, most of the times, the walls of the train compartment are great entertainment. A good respite in a crowded train – only if you manage to see through the crowd during peak hours and take a look at them.


Vapours rise from a hot plate as droplets of water fall on it.

Vapours are seen coming from a scoopful of icecream as it melts slowly.

Two extremes of the attribute, temperature– the form they exhibit, however, is the same.

It is surprising to know that despite the differences between the so-called positive and the so-called negative, the two will meet a common fate.