Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It is not a good feeling, I concur, being a loser- a word recently added to my lexicon, a word that I considered fit only for the short-sighted youth. No, I am not some lone old humbug disparaging the generation-X, Y or Z. I’m just another one of the thousand twenty-two year olds trying to make it big, somewhere.
But contrary to their verve, a terminal exhaustion has set in me. The very fact that there are many such twenty-twos to experience, to breathe through, makes me glum.


“Did you get the job di?” I heard an enthusiastic voice inquiring. It was my frisky little cousin, Ria.

“Yeah. I did.”

“ Then why do you sound so dead? Party time yar!”

It is one thing sounding dead, I thought.
“Yes, darling. Weekend.”

“Yay! Can I invite my friends over? Just three-four? Please?”

“Of course.”

“Thank you! See you later, di. Sam is waiting.” and she leapt away.

I watched her, so blithe, exhilarated, extracting heavenly joy from the littlest thing, not having the liability of a younger sibling, the responsibility of running a house, or proving something.

As she disappeared through the door of my balcony, I realized that I had been sweating. The weather wasn’t humid. In fact, it was rather dry. As dry as my eyes. I felt as if I had been caught. And before I could stop, there was a colossal lump in my throat. Finally, tears surged down.

He was also like me, I now learnt. The burden of three sisters and the yoke of an alcohol-addict father. His mother, an asthma patient.

7.30am – We sat in the same waiting hall. He was the third candidate to enter. It was the first day of the interview at KOC & Co. All thirteen of us felt tremendously lucky to be even seated in that room. But we were well-aware of the fact that only two of us would be hired.
A click on the door-knob, and he was out. The confidence in him had not been annihilated. He maintained his perfect composure. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy him at that moment. His smile was slight, but more than enough.

After five hours and twenty minutes, I was called in. The Board comprised of seven members. Seated in the center was the DG.

“You’re Miss Aisha Sharma?” he asked.

“Aa..Oh…y..ya..yes, I am.”

“Hah! Not sure eh?” he sneered.

“Of course, sir.”

He looked at me with his two brown beads, frozen for a while. I shifted nervously. Then the rest of his troop took over and began their act. The act of establishing their supremacy, afflicting the interviewee, and deriving strange sadistic pleasure out of it. I exited the room, flushing, near to tears.

I skipped lunch, and instead, sat in one of the lawns of KOC & Co.; not wanting to leave the premises of my dreamland, clutching the grass, digging my nails into the sacred soil.

I have to make it here! Somehow! Anyhow!

I saw the DG reaching for his Corolla, and rushed up to him. It was my only chance left.

“Excuse me, sir?”

“Hm?..Ooo…Aren’t you Miss Aisha?” he winked.

“Yes, sir.” I said, attempting to sound confident this time.
Confident about my own name, at least. Great!

“Ah! Much better. A wee bit late though.”

“Sorry, sir. You made me nervous. I was..”

“It’s my job, dear. Now hop in.”
He directed me towards his car.

“To where, sir?”

“I’ve been watching you for the past two hours sitting there. Don’t you have the habit of taking lunch?”

I reached late that night. I had put across my proposal and sworn almost a hundred times never to let him down if he hired me. He hadn’t shown the slightest signs of reluctance. I was assured that I would be The One.

The next day we all re-emerged from our respective dwellings. I saw him, standing with the same coolness as yesterday. We were seated in the office when the Assistant to DG addressed us. The time had come.
We held our breaths as he announced the two names.

“The two people are − Palaki Pathak, and…”

I uncrossed my legs.

“..Vinay Gupta”


I couldn’t believe it. I saw him stand up with an air of haughtiness.
So HE is Vinay Gupta. Crap! And who the hell is this Palaki Pathak! Palaki Pathak? What kind of a name is Palaki Pathak?!

My eyes turned towards a ravishing lady, blushing in a red suit.

Fuck the bloody bastard!!

“Ahem! Excuse me, everybody.” the Assistant said. “There has been a huge mistake” he continued.
“Sincere apologies to Mister Vinay Gupta, but somebody seems to have tampered with the list. The seat actually goes to Miss Aisha Sharma. Error is regretted.”

His jaw crashed, and for the first time I saw his eyes flutter. The slight smile transferred into my lips, and grew into a grin. I couldn’t contain my happiness. The efforts had paid off. I was indeed The One.

I could feel the DG’s gaze fixed upon me, but I went into my new office, avoiding it.

So, there, now I have it, I thought. But at the cost of my chastity. I wouldn’t have regretted it. I had given my all for a Purpose. The Purpose was greater to me, than anything. I wouldn’t have regretted any of it if the newspaper hadn’t read this –

Twenty-three year old hangs himself.

Ironically, even in the passport-sized photograph, he looks as calm as ever. And I still envy him. Because, even in death he is better off than me.


Friday, October 10, 2008


Your moist eyes simply blink
at the emerald stretch,
as my culpable ones
diffidently shift.

Your chiseled smile exudes
shrouded consternation.
My face – tinted crimson – 
is buried in my palms.

Your hand – black, blue and red – 
holds my unblemished one.
The other ready to
catch my secret tears.

Your nobility seems to
scoff at my cowardice.
Your frayed clothes ridicule
my ragged being.

Piercing my ears
is the booming silence,
which blares out chapters of
your courteousness.

A thousand times over,
I wished to be your vestige.
And a thousand times more,
I wished you were dead.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Leaving School

Embossed in its very air,
the (now) precious tomfooleries,
the endless repartee on trivialities,
and the freedom
to craft newer ways to err.

I put down a loaded bag,
leaving the old books,
to lift another equally hefty.
One that carries
the fruit of duties, deeds and discipline.

My feet, alongside the entrance
which once stood so tall,
timidly stride on a new course.
And perhaps,
would create a few of their own.

Hauled by nostalgia, I stop
and give a last parting glance
to my fourteen-year-old dwelling,
only to realize
that it had taken me in for-ever.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

August 15, 1947.

A thorny circlet on its plucky temple,
makes the sweat go astray.
Yet it bows, gives a humble show.
Its greater dogma, at display.

Nonchalant, as it lets the thicker drip,
salutes to the esteemed one.
Bends to touch the fertility in itself,
submits to the higher canon.

A red-eye’s cries had been wasted,
deaf ears silenced the woe.
A vein was cut. Another, to resonate.
And the red did flow.

‘Twas when its heart and brain bickered,
that Trouble announced its decree.
It split. But congregated, as the ants were
marching towards the same tree.

And as the fire caught on afar,
Browns were draped in white.
One after another, nails hit the coffin,
all to its Master’s plight.

Its kite flew on a slender thread,
the wheel continued to spin.
It weaved itself into a handsome three,
and simply affirmed its win.

Burnt in the heat of a triumphant flame,
It bears a blackened hand.
Moist soil festooned by the revered ash,
Free, but fragile, it stands.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Déjà vu ?

Argh! This is maddening! Now how the hell am I supposed to come up with something on a day’s notice! Stories aren’t cultivated in factories! Why can’t they just do what other channels are doing! Flash the latest breaking news, animate the events and there you have it!
“We are breath-takingly different” My foot!
“We bring you the REAL news” Ha ha ha!
“Stories you’ve never heard before” Now that’s so true! But HAS ANYBODY CHECKED THE TRPs??!
121 All India Engineering rank, but I wanted to ‘follow my dream’. Wish I had known that my ‘dream’ involved coming across the craziest of people, keep taking rounds of the filthiest places, get blotches of sunburns all over my skin, dig out stories after stories. And then what? They call another bimbo who runs an Exclusive Report and I see my name Pop up somewhere.. not to mention the meager amount I am paid for the fucking effort! But if I quit.. Ooo if I QUIT, I’ll be poured with a hundred..no
thousand..no a GABAZILLION.. ‘I-told-you-so’s.

“Uhm.. Mohatarma?”

Somewhat annoyed, since my chain of thoughts-ARGH! The unjust bastards! What do they think of—was disrupted, I replied in a “Huh?”. I turned around to find a man, probably in his early sixties, dressed in a sherwani with a karakul hat.

“Will you be kind enough to guide me to the Prime Minister's residence? You see, it has been quite a while since I was last here. So much has changed! I feel like a foreigner in my own city! Ya Allah!”

Prime Minister's residence!- Those few words worked like fireballs!

“Well…..it’s a long walk from here. Maybe you should take a taxi…”

“Hah! No, No.. I can do with some walking” he said, almost mocking at my suggestion.

“Er, do you have an appointment, Sir?” I asked, obviously curious.

“I don’t need one” he stated. And going by his loud expression, I could tell that he was fairly offended.

“..oh! I meant …because if you’re late then it would be better—“

“I am in no hurry. Shukriya. Khuda Hafiz.”

Now blame it on my job, but I smelt a story there. So I went ahead and said,
“Okay.. Do you mind if I join in then? I am Anita, by the way..”

“Sure! Mubashir Allahuddin” he said, finally with a smile.

“So.. you’ve been away?”

“Yes, seeing the world. Britain, France, China.. Everywhere! But our mulk has no competitors!”

“Ya…very true..”

“The air smells so nice without the British around. Ah! I have spent sooo many glorious years here.. My ancestors belonged to Shah Jahan’s court. We had royal blood in our veins. But it was all ruined. Power can make even the finest horse go wild. See what his son did. Got all the temples demolished and lost the goodwill of his Hindu subjects. Now Islam doesn’t preach that!


“But I don’t know much about all this. The history accounts can’t be trusted y’know. Anyway, I was born in Lahore. It was the time when Gandhi came into prominence. Just see where he is now!”

“Yes! The Father of—“

“My father was always with the Congress. Attended all their conferences. Ah! He was a great man. His name was—“

“Um.. Mohammed Allahuddin?”

“Oh yes! So you know him!” he exclaimed. And rambled on and on and on.. But strangely though, it all sounded familiar His narrative…even his face now. I could almost complete his sentences. Was it a déjà vu? I couldn’t say…

“I had to leave India in 1956…”

“1956! So it has been a very long time!!”

“..amm..yes..not so long though” he said, sounding a tad confused. “But then every moment away seemed like ages!” he added with a smile.

Finally when he halted, it occurred to me that I could use his story for the next show!
Aha! Now history does sell!

There were thousands of rapturous bubbles bursting in my over-excited little head.

“Umm.. Would you liked to be interviewed, Sir? I work for MetroZone News. People would love to hear your story!”

“Well..why not!” He grinned

Halleluiah! I have a story!
I excused myself and rang to the office.


“Ritu! BANG! I got it!”

“Oh you did! Whew!”

“Yes!Yes!Yes! So should I ask Mubashir ji to come over tomorrow?”

“Er, what did you say his name was?”

“Mubhashir.. Mubashir Allahuddin.”

“Hmm.. Anita.. Did you read today’s newspaper?”

“Huh? Yeah, of course I did. I have it with me right now”

“Then check out the fifth page”

“What the—Ohhh!!!!! DAMN ME!”

I rushed back to my old man, and asked,
“Sir, can you tell me the name of our Prime Minister?”

“Why… Pt.Nehru, of course! What kind of a question is that!”

Poof! See..see..SEE! We really don’t have any shortage of lunatics. What a crazy job I have! Crazy people, crazy places.. Am I going crazy now?!

And then, I took a deep breath and chanted..
I love my job…I LOVE MY JOB…I love my job…


Friday, June 6, 2008

A Letter.

Dear Anna Veerappan,

I received your messages and I appreciate your concern very much.

I will tell you that I am totally fine here. But it is too hot here. I can not smell any relief. Ayyo, the food is like grass. I am highly missing attige’s appas! Aaan, but what to do? The whole day I have been just running and running. So I am a little tired. Actually I couldn’t find a place to take a bath. I found some pool. Good water, but the people didn’t like me there. Later I came to know that my folks over here are not very fond of bathing. If it is like this here, I wonder how the city would be. Chhe!

So, anna, is it true what I heard? That you have been challenging another state government? I am very very sad. Very sad that you didn’t wait for my return. And how come you even released Rajkumar? He is getting too much publicity. But, churukaaa, you are also all over the television! (Here almost every house has one! Silly people don’t lock their doors. You should come here! But do pack loooot of food. I am so famished.) Good, Aaan!

But, it is my fault that I disappeared. See, you must understand, I am still convalescing. You remember that bitch who kept eyeing me? We were actually secretly seeing each other. I know, I know, you must be shocked. But it was such that I could never could tell you! Not after she stole your precious stolen ivory. Tira sorry! And now she has left me. Yes! I am so miserable. I couldn’t face anybody. She went to Chambal, Tola told me.

But I’ll be okay udane. Then I’ll return to Satyamangalam. Kali stutisu!

Your faithful dog,

Thursday, May 29, 2008


With each passing second, the pallor on his face was building up. His body was shriveled due to dehydration. He had been rocking in the water, with his upper half on a feeble wooden board, for more than three hours. But now, he was loosing his grip. Gravity was displaying its dominant force, and pulling him downwards pitilessly. His legs were growing flaccid. He knew he didn’t have much time.
That’s when he saw a boat, wandering. And in it, a man struggling to maneuver it.

Finally! I could direct him till here, and then lead us both out of this hell!

But as his luck would have it, a floating debri struck him at his midriff, throwing him off the board…

Three hours ago::
The man in the boat rose. He appeared dazed, recuperating from the shock to which he had been subjected. It had occurred so abruptly! The crash.
He recalled crying out for help. The whites had ruthlessly thrown him out of their life-boat and had sailed their way to the rescue-team, leaving him lone and unconscious on a similar boat.
He wiped the blood off his forehead, exposing the injury on his painted skin; and stared at the vast sea, bedecked by the shipwreck. He placed his hands on some regulator and pulled a string. But only more water gushed in.

How, in the world, is this thing operated!

He played with some gear, and sent the boat on an aimless path.

After hours of driving around without any sense of direction, he gave up. Tensed and overwrought, he looked around.

Ain’t there nobody in here?!
His weary eyes inspected the scene and soon spotted a movement!

Hope ‘ts some fella’ to run this damn boat!

He fixed his gaze at that point, and it didn’t take him long to concur that it was a man’s hand. But he froze. The hand was a white one! And that was all he saw. He became deaf to the man’s howl, and blind to the fact that the person could have been a potential rescuer. All that he saw was a “white” bleeding arm, and a “white” shuddering fist.

‘ey there! Row it! Towards here! Towards here!’
‘.m….going down….it fast…row it…here….!!!’
The board had sunk, and with his legs completely limp by now, he was scarcely able to keep his nose and mouth above water. He flew his hands in air and called out to the man in the boat for help.

White! I ain’t gonna save a white! Huh.

He turned away and, in order to gain momentum, pulled the string so hard that it came off to his hands. This time, the water surged in with a startling velocity. He faltered, and the boat flipped.
His cries were swallowed by the saline poison. And as he drowned, he saw the white hand fall down and then float. He too, in no time, was gulped down; and lost his life as a vengeance to the universal humanly inhumanness.

The fear of death, which sheds all barricades, failed to peel off their skins. But it united their spirits. Black and white amalgamated and rested in the only divine azure of both the worlds.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Silhouette
Attached to the city’s cathedral was a missionary house which, by the looks of it, manifested nothing less than a palace. As the dusk arrived, the weather outside was growing sullen, quite in accordance with Kamala’s disposition. All the lamps were out, save the ones on the staircases.
Mother Rosemary vigilantly stepped into one of the rooms, holding fast to her lantern.

‘How is she now, Sister?’ she asked addressing Sr. Joyce in her customary poised tone.

‘I just now only returned out of her room, Mother. I am very much worried about her, and also double worried for her child. Until yesterday was she crying and crying, but today she has not expressed a word!’ came the answer, in a thick Keralite accent.
‘She refuses to talk to me also!’ she added, sounding fairly hurt.

‘Well her state of mind is such. We must understand. Poor girl!’

‘Even I am seeing the situation, Mother. But she is not even wanting to have a look at her child! That delightful baby! He is not deserving this!’

‘Sister, she is just a young lady herself and has suffered a lot. It is now our duty to take care of her child, just as we did while adopting her.’

‘Oh! How can a mother not bother to give a glance to her baby? I can not abide with such irrational behaviors! Already she has done enough damage and now she will—’

‘Hush!! You mustn’t speak like that! You very well know it wasn’t her fault.’

‘But she shouldn’t have gone there at such a late hour.’

‘How was she to know? She trusted him. We all did. So we let him stay…..’

It had started drizzling by then. Kamala gingerly moved across the hall. Without a source to guide her, she tripped a couple of times before reaching the terrace.
Then, there she stood. Alone and drenched. Drenched in the drops that brought down all the smog and burnt her very being. And it came back to her.., all of it. The sweet talk, the offering, the touch, and his face. That friendly old face. One that was never seen again, after that night.

Ah! Finally it is out. Now I’m free!

She had expected to be treated with empathy, but the condemnation which she received had accelerated her emotions to such a height that every impudent word uttered would exaggerate in her mind and burst!
Her eyes flared up, and she let out a scream. Only, it was mute.
She looked at the sky with eyes filled with terrorizing revulsion, as the rain continued to pour. Her mind was like a broken mirror, all the pieces reflecting the same design. A one-way escapade.

I’m free now. They can’t stop me.

The rain ceased, and silence clouded over. She stood at the brink, motionless, till she couldn’t endure the clamor of her own overflowing thoughts. She stood there, staring into the nothingness above, demanding an answer. And she moved forward.
A sudden bolt, and the silence was disturbed. She withdrew her step.

Huh! I can’t even do this, she cursed herself.

Overwhelmed, she decided to retrace her steps and headed back to her room.
On finding the door to the Prayer Room ajar, she went in. Even though she couldn’t see a thing, her hands were clasped in hopelessness and knees bent in submission.
And she cried. She cried like never before. She cried till she fell off the____.
Then she rose, took a deep breath collecting all the frustration that had accumulated, and exhaled. All of a sudden, something strange occurred. It was out of the ordinary. A beam of soft mystical light filled the room, to form a figure in silhouette. A familiar image of a woman holding her child to her heart.

What is this supposed to mean?
Petrified and bewildered, she gave out a shriek!

Mother Rosemary and Sr. Joyce rushed into the Prayer Room with their lanterns, only to find Kamala sitting in a prayer-position. Her dry eyes closed, and shivering lips chanting the same prayer, over and over and over.

“Hail holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping; in this wail of tears. Turn thy most gracious eyes toward us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb- Jesus. O, clement. O, loving. O, sweet Virgin Mary."

The glim was doused.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


The quill occupies
a quivering hand,
animates my thoughts.
Justice not done.

A distended heart cries,
to you it sounds
like another sound,.
The melancholy, unheard.

Each time you slip,
off your contour,
I blush.
A weakness disclosed.

Memories, soured
by stipulations,
You struggle to forget,
Wounds re-exposed.

For the unattainable,
I try,
And never tire,
Perseverance assessed.

My pain, never shared,
scrutinized by
your reproachful eyes,
Condolence missed!

Day by day,
I age.
The dead parts wither.
I wait.

Wait for the tears to taste sweet.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Life. Some people would die to have a full piece of this delicious cake, while others might rather die than have to take another bitter bite! And as it turns out… most people loathe their own lives, willingly putting the weight on our dear Lady Luck’s tender shoulders. But they crave for the life that others show off with much pride. Perhaps, we all do. When the curtain falls, others’ applaud… but what remains overlooked is the backstage drama..! What appears true to the naked eye may be just as virtual as a mirage. Eventually, the illusions will dissolve. More often, the truth remains unnoticed, for it’s more convenient to ignore its brutality. And then slowly, the blatant lies… when so often told, with so much confidence,….becomes a loyal companion. Yes,.. the world is graying. No doubt. One day, nature will have its way. This will end. But now, man’s growing... and gradually turning into a gruesome monster. Man has captured the land, the seas,… even the moon!.. He has grown tall, by stooping towards hell! He has achieved greatness. Supremeness. But as they say, ‘it’s very lonely up there at the top….’. So he will fall… he is bound to. And the greater the height he reaches, the more it’s going to hurt. People wriggle.. Wriggle to survive.. to breathe free. Vanity has filled our brains. Such is the sense of self-importance that we fail to see where we actually stand. Take a look at the Globe. No, you can’t spot yourself on it. You are small. I am small. We are nothing but mere creatures who have been bequeathed power.. Power to make a difference.. to save this dying world. This short life that we have been blessed with is not to be spent whining about the unattainable. To want to conquer the whole world with a penny in your pocket is idiocy! But that doesn’t imply that we shouldn’t dream. Dream. Dream big! Be humble. Know your soil. Bow before the Almighty. Pray. Live. Live for the ones seeking for an Angel. Live for your loved ones. More importantly, live for yourself!! During the trying days, weep. Cry over the mistakes you made. Then rectify them. Help others’ lives blossom. Believe in yourself. Then cling on to the hope to stand out…someday!!! ‘Coz in the words of P.B.Shelley, ‘If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?’. àNEETHI {Goldhawk!}