Thursday, December 15, 2016

A shade paler

I think i have become a shade paler.
All that made me, me,  seems to have lost a tinge.
Dropped a note.
Lost a symbol.
Lost.

My strengths there were aplenty.
I felt I could touch the sky.
I pushed my people to believe and fly.
And then - my flight was stopped...

All I did made no difference.
I wasn't like the others they said.
I didn't want to be like the others!
I was me, why should I be the other?
I wasn't like the others they said
...

I lost my color, my drive.
I stopped pushing my people to excel.
I didn't want to be a role model who got it all wrong.

They are looking for clones.
But me - I'm looking for me...

My colors have faded.
My mind is uneasy.
Was all this a lie?
Will the truth not emerge?
Will I find me and what my destiny is?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Confession

History buzzing past, making sounds like it never will in the future.
Blue versus red; red all over.
Red to black...only time will tell.

Hours and months of hard work.
Anxious wait. Silence.
A pat on the back? Discreet cough.

Walk the talk - day in, day out.
In a language that is not mine.
New tongue. New eyes. Same heart.

Old values. But do values age too?
New ideals. Just words.
How do I find the bird that sings all through?

Conviction. Concession. Confession
No more belonging.
Just a longing.

To find the start of the path.
To a new world.

Confession.

Monday, January 25, 2016

To be or not to be is not the only question

To be or not to be
Are these the only possible states?

In the va et vient,
Isn't there a state which is in-between?

Then, why will I not be that...why can I not be?
Why do I always have to be at one end or the other?

The journey is made of the walking, the stopping, the pausing, and the u-turns
Then, why does just the start and end qualify?

The breaths in between, the sweat, the tears, the smiles, the falls, the fear, the anxiety...
All of it is the state of being.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

26/11 - Never the same...

Mumbai, a city, which I've visited but once or twice. Mumbai is not a city which tugs at my heart. There is something about the place, which makes me want to look for an escape. It is too crowded, too many people all the time and that does mean - all the time. I recall my shock when I saw the local train teeming with people at 1:00 am in the night!!! Instead of feeling liberated, I had felt disoriented. Mumbai - never called out to me until 26/11 connected us.

26/11 was never going to be the same ever again in my life. Each year as I wake up to family and friends wishing me a happy birthday, I am reminded of what transpired in Mumbai that day. The horror of it always come back. For me, a spectator who is affected because of the date, the horror is just a damp feeling. I think of all those people who were there and then weren't there again. And today, the same gnawing feeling is back because of Paris.

Paris - another city, different feelings. Paris of the lovely bridges, the cafes and bistros, the romance in the air, the sights and sounds, the fashionable, and the ancient....so many memories, so many feelings. And then, a lock down. With just one blow, Mumbai and Paris stand at the same place - equal now in their darkest hour.

The darkness grows
like the ink that spreads on a blank sheet
Except what the ink had power to cover
this darkness takes over asphyxiatingly slowly

You and I continue the blame
Why Paris? Why not Beirut?
Why not Mumbai?
Each one - alone in their sorrows and miseries
Each one - lost and a loser
Each one - taking one small step each day
Will that not bring Paris and Mumbai on the same step
But in sunshine...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Discovering Delhi - Baolis and Bawra Man

Literal translation: Discovering the baolis of Delhi with a crazy heart

Saturday had been a crazy working day with unusual timing of ending at 9 pm. I wasn’t sure if I would have the energy to make it to the walk by Delhi by Foot. The walk was to start at 8 am on a Sunday. Who wakes up so early on a Sun?! Well, apparently loads of people do. I confirmed with V and we decided to wake each other up. So, Sun dawned bright and fresh and off I started towards the Metro.

Met V enroute and we reached Barakhamba all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Ramit Mitra, the host and master of ceremonies for all things Delhi by Foot was right there. We waited for the other fellow walkers to join in and the Sun morning calmness of Barakhamba hit us. We saw some bikers standing just across and thought how cool that was! Little did we know that they would be our friends on this walk.

The next surprise for me was to see a familiar face…Monsieur Madavane. And all of my JNU years came back to me. I never thought that I would run into him and that too as part of a DBF walk. It was such a great start and I was sure that the day would unfold many pleasant surprises.

A note about Ramit Mitra: He sure is passionate about Delhi and that is clear in all that he does to curate the walks. The other things is the way that he drops in and out of animated conversations. I guess this is because he is preoccupied with getting everyone and everything together. But that adds to his personality as well. I know V would agree. :)

So, off we set to find our very first baoli, in the heart of CP – Agrasen ki baoli. This one has recently been made famous due to its movie appearance but was always on my to-do list. I just had never found it and it was so close. Lovely baoli, well maintained and the restoration work is still going on. Finding the Agrasen ki baoli on Hailey Lane is exactly the kind of reason that I love the city of Delhi.
From here, we wandered off to Firoz Shah Kotla and the lovely baoli there was beautiful too. Even better were the several trees in the premises and the story of the djinns. Or should I say the faith of the people in the djinns made this place more enchanting. Ramit did a great job of explaining the seven cities of Delhi using the tickets to the premises and of course, the Qutub Minar, which kept toppling over. And in the background, the leaves swept up closer to hear the tale.

While a baoli is to be expected inside historical premises such as Firoz Shah Kotla, the next one was a big surprise! This was the R K Puram complex of baolis in the middle of Sector 5. I’ve been in and out of R K Puram for all of my growing years but never did I even dream of this place. Ramit mentioned that it was part of the Wazirabad complex. The baoli overlooked a series of tombs, very much alike to the Lodi Garden tombs. Lovely time here, exploring the place, climbing down, listening to Ramit’s stories, and imagining the life of yore.

Thank you Delhi by foot for a fab walk and for introducing us to such hidden treasures of Delhi. I will be going back to all of these for sure!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

16 Dec 2014



Where did so much hate come from? How did people become this? Who sowed these seeds of violence? What kind of religion is this? Will there ever be innocence – unharmed, untinged with darkness and blood?

They killed innocent lives, young children…and for what? To take revenge? To extinguish their very breath because they were living a normal life? Studying to become something? In a school to learn, play, grow, love…

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? HOW?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

R.A.P.E.

Once again…Rape…makes it to the headlines and we fume and fret and offer our opinion and judgment. Once again, no real action will take place. No case will be put up, nothing will happen to the accused. Yes, he’s been caught. Yes, he’s been put behind the bars. So?!
He has already been there and done that before. This person was sent to the prison earlier too on the same account. Raping is like a hobby for him; he rapes, goes to jail, serves a short sentence, is out on bail and back at pursuing his hobby. How convenient?!
And the girls – they dare to hail cans at night, they dare to step out at night, they dare to wear short clothes, they dare to work and have fun --- in the night. They dare to exist!!! That seems to be the crux of the matter…that WE EXIST!
There is no law, no shame for the guilty. The women are the ones to be judged again and again. Their very fault being that that they have two X chromosomes. They have a body structure and shape that is provocative. They happen to be. They exist. And if that wasn't enough, they actually attempt to live! What blasphemy! You exist and isn't that enough burden on the earth, on mankind, on the whole of the human population. On top of that, you want to live a life free of responsibilities! You damned creature – You dare to live and breathe and feel that you can have a life.
Scene 1 – The woman goes out for a movie with her friend, who has a Y chromosome. Now, read that again, SHE goes out with a human being for a movie in the NIGHT. Natural and obvious reaction – she is not only inviting trouble but initiating it. She NEEDS TO BE RAPED!! KILLED BUT NOT COMPLETELY!! BREAK HER SPIRIT
Scene 2 – The woman has chosen to work in a call center that operates in the up and coming city far away from home, she talks and laughs and wears clothes which are not Indian. She is raped. But of course!
Scene 3 – The woman after a day filled with meetings and deliverables and calls takes a cab to get home, she is tired and dozes off. She is asking for it by not being alert, how can she be so casual as to go to sleep in a cab! She MUST BE LOOKING FOR RAPE!
Scene 4 The woman is at her house and is wearing a saree and the man who has come to collect the dues is provoked. RAPE!!
All this and yet again, she dares to ask for freedom for a choice of life for the most basic human right….not even to be treated special, just to be left to be able to live!!
So, the mistake is that women exist that they dare to live and breathe in the same air that the men breathe!!!
And we stay quiet, we discuss it over coffee and think – it will run its due course.
WE DARE NOT HOPE FOR ANY CHANGE EVER BECAUSE IT IS INCONVENIENT AND NOBODY HAS THE TIME FOR SUCH CHANGES.
Why aren't more people angry about this? Why are women even saying that the woman should have been on alert?
Isn't this my country? Don’t I vote? Don’t I pay taxes? Don’t I exist? How come nothing ever is done for me….why do we give a fair trial to even those who have done the crime and everyone knows it! They should get a fair trial for human rights? What about my human rights? You have taken away my sense of peace my freedom, my way of life and I am at fault!!!!!!
Save the girl child… says the campaign. Just like we were fish or cattle or the forest….and need to be saved so that someday when we grow up someone can get the chance to rape us and get away with it! Save us indeed!!! Save us for later when you can ill-treat us and gloat on the degrees of ill treatment!!
All these crimes just keep on increasing. Every month, every year, we are just statistics. And the world moves on! We rant and rave and scream and cry and demonstrate and … then, go quiet. No explosion gets us an answer, maybe an implosion will. A collective implosion…
At times I wonder if all these incidents continue and happen each single day so that eventually women will give up, will give in, will wilt and accept their fate. And then there will be none…
And that thought makes me angry….howling mad inside me, an anger which does not go away even when I scream my lungs out, an anger so potent that it will burn down anything just by a breath. It is this anger that I feel. I’ll be damned if I follow your rules, if I get cowed down, if I give in. I will live my life the way I want to – you want me to end it, I won’t. You want me to stop existing, I won’t. You want to break me, you cannot. I will continue to live on and stare at you with the unspoken anger inside me which one day will cause your end. I will prevail. You cannot kill me, you cannot harm me. NO – YOU DON’T MATTER TO ME NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU TRY TO HURT ME, YOU CAN NEVER GET TO ME. I AM. I WILL BE.

I stand for R.A.P.E - Rage Against the Perpetual Emasculation

Emasculation = Loss of power and masculinity

If a man is not man enough, and a woman is nothing, there is no further evidence needed for a society which is castrated/emasculated.