Monday, November 22, 2010

Amchi Mumbai...

People who haven’t been to Mumbai often wonder what it is like. Some notions and presumptions often noticed are concerned with drug-lords, mafia, swanky cars and film stars. Three years back when I first reached the city, I too had some pre conceived notions. I thought that I would have to pay hafta to the local goons, that if I roamed the streets at night, the drug mafia would catch me and use me for drug trade, that I would have to wait for hours in traffic due to a cavalcade of some film star. None happened.

My first breeze of the city was a full blast of hot July weather at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The first thing that I noticed was that everyone was in a hurry. I couldn’t understand why everyone except me was in such a frantic frenzy. Even the beggars were begging faster that they do in Delhi or Kolkata or Chennai. I was also amazed of the fact that I was not harassed by gundas or drug dealers or the police. In fact a nice but loud police officer helped me get a cab. I asked the cabbie, as one would do in other metros, “Goregaon tak ka kitna?”, and he answered to my utter disbelief “Meter se jitna hoga”. I managed to get a good place to stay in two days and started venturing out at night, shedding all my fears.

Slowly as I assimilated the culture of the city, I understood why Mumbai is what it is. In spite of some political parties goofing around with people’s minds and some idiots trying to terrorize the aam aadmi, Mumbai knows that from the beginning of the day till the end of the day, not a single second is worth wasting. That is why Mumbai swarms with people “running” in every direction, working and making money.

When you see a city where people don’t care whether it is flooding or it is scorching hot;

When you see a city where people don’t care whether madmen are shooting around or blasting off trains;

When you see a city where people don’t care whether politicians are practicing dirty tactics or trying to disrupt normal life;

When you see a city where no one, from the rich and influential to the police, from the politicians to even the mafia dares to come in the way of people going for work;

When you see a city where the chant of Ganpati Bappa Moraya mingles rhythmically with the sounds of laughter and the buzz of work;

When you see a city where people toil hard not for petty issues, but for prosperity………

Be absolutely sure that you guessed it right; that city is the financial capital of India, that city is where dreams come true, that city is Mumbai…..

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another walk

Ctrl+Alt+Del Enter. The computer is locked. I stick the "Please do not shutdown this machine" sign on the monitor and push back my chair to get up. Nonchalant to the fact that my desktop would consume quite a lot of energy to stay awake all night and in some way increase the global warming, I walk off towards the door. I stand in the lobby and wait for the lift, although, it’s not quite needed while going down. I wait. It comes and the shiny metal doors slide open. I enter, and press the button for the ground floor. The doors slide close with a 'ting', followed by a 'clang' overhead. The lift begins its descent, the acceleration due to gravity resisted by the motors up above. The lift display shows zero. It’s not absolute zero temperature on the Kelvin scale, as I can’t endure that mathematically. The doors slide open with another 'ting', with a soft voice from somewhere saying ground zero. I far from grounded, I feel like flying, and quickly flash my card to the exit door. The glass door opens with a beep, to liberate me finally under the night sky. Finally after a series of discrete sounds, I come out where the sound is that of a distant rumble or grumble of a mega city. A cool breeze whisks past, and I cuddle myself and start walking briskly. All these hours inside the air-conditioned environment has stripped me of my resilience towards the fluctuating weather. I now feel quite naked to nature; vulnerable like the ugly pigeon chicks that if not for their parents would die in hours. All this while, the human invention, the air-conditioning system spoils the environment to keep us comfortable and silently but steadily taking away the power of resistance. I keep up the brisk walk on the deserted, bird crap filled, boulevard towards the grand tall exit gates. We have so many gates to protect us, still we are attacked over and over, I wonder had there been no gates, what would have happened. Probably we would have learned to coexist and prosper. As soon as I step out, on the express highway, I am nearly deafened by the mad roar of the vehicles zooming past; the shouts of people running; the deep, loud music from an auto-rickshaw. This is another form of pollution that is far from being controlled. To reduce noise we improved the cars. The cars are now quite silent. But a hundred such cars still make quite a formidable amount of noise. So, we are back to square one. All this time the moon up above smiles on, even with the Chandrayaan orbiting it and photographing it, inch by inch. I walk into the subway, the blind beggar, now fast asleep doesn’t greet with his songs now, and he is in the happiest moment of his day, fast asleep. Sleep is such a wonderful thing, it rejuvenates physically and mentally. I heard once of a person who had gone crazy due to insomnia. Still it’s like fluoride in the toothpaste, too little and too much both can harm. As I step out of the subway into the mad highway again, all thoughts get away as I run and dodge the numerous speeding vehicles to cross the road, all the while holding fast on to dear life. Finally I successfully cross the mad-way and am welcomed by the strong smell of long boiling tea. Ahh... the tea, such a great beverage, full of antioxidants, quite refreshing after a long hard day. The tea in India has taken a totally different form that its original recipe, a different concoction now, boiled in milk, laden with ginger, cardamom and copious amounts of sugar, it’s more of a sweet dish today. The chai-wala is staunch follower of that Indian chai tradition, and me being only interested in tea, walk on towards my flat, amidst the star studded night. Far off a supernova happens, we would know of it millions of years later as the light would reach us then, but sill it in some way creates some change, that effects us in some unknowing way. Somewhere below me the magma shifts and flows, preparing for some future earthquake. Far away somewhere, some mad scientist prepares for another night with hysterical laughter. In the jungle the wolves howl in unison, the dogs bark away happily. Somewhere in a dark cottage, in front of wood fire, a mother sings her baby to sleep.

Simply a walk

I come out of my flat and step on the potholed road, thinking, when the municipality would start putting the taxes to something good. As I cross the microscopic, grass-less, pebbled, tramp of a park, I see a bunch of kids making good of their time and playing some GALI cricket, without wickets, while the Indian cricket team creates a perfectly oscillating history of wins and losses. I walk, jump and trek on towards the Bengali chai wala’s food stall, buzzing with a myriad of customers, oblivious to the fact that the chai wasn't originally an Indian drink, but introduced by the British and India is, and can be, legally the only producer of Darjeeling tea. While smelling the intoxicating smell of the freshly brewing tea, I step on the express highway; the scene changing suddenly, the leisure, the laughs and the calm of my colony fast fading into a modern city. Suddenly I can see numerous shiny skyscrapers jutting out from the ground, almost defying gravity; sleek shiny vehicles zooming past me as I try to dodge people running after the huge red buses. Some vehicles draw my attentions for split seconds as I think, what’s bad for environment sure is good looking and desirable. With my life perching on my shoulders, like the animated parrot on the desperate condom awareness drive campaign, but not that faithful, I cross half the road and enter the subway. Feeling a bit more secure, I see the same old blind man, singing his signature devotional song, that has now become my morning raga, disinterested of the city he lives in and the so called prosperity that it boasts, as his living standards remain the same, his job remains the same. All the literate, civilized jargon means nothing to him, he is more human, and he is interested just in surviving. The vehicles overhead zoom away with all their magnificently corrosive glory as I come out of the subway and pass the banana wala cum coffee wala cum chai wala cum smoke wala, selling his stuff in full gusto under the laughing sun, who is all but thinking that humans can rival him one day by controlling nuclear fission and commit the impossible by harnessing the energy therein. The banana wala doesn't give a damn about that, though at the back of his mind he has the fear that his bananas and their children may not survive if something went wrong, not so far away at the Bhaba Atomic Research Center or at a crows fly away at the much hyped LHC. Whatever hell maybe let lose when small black holes are generated for fractions of a second, the McDonald's Chicken burger would keep tasting the same. I think and I act, I enter the plush mall and the McD's outlet therein and get a burger for me, knowing that Savage Garden was right when he said "I believe that junk food tastes so good because it’s bad for you", I believe that too, but resisting temptations isn't my cup of cake. While it’s the tradition, profession and sometimes the obsession of some people to resist temptations; they are called sages in the Himalayas, whose glaciers are melting fast due to global warming; actors in the cine city Mumbai; patients at hospitals and medical centers; and freaks at all other places. Since I am neither of those, I munch on happily , as the burger clots the arteries of my heart, taking me slowly towards a cardiac arrest. I munch and I walk towards my office complex, suddenly halted by the street kids, the kids of lesser Gods, maybe orphans, but great survivors, who look hungrily at my burger. Deep within a volcano erupts, the magma forms a lump in my throat, I give them my burger and the second one that I had saved to ease my hunger until lunch. I feel good and jubilant as I cross the gigantic gates of my office complex, with the eagle eyed guard almost x-raying me. I don't mind as in the wake of the terror strikes in this city, everyone and everything is on the edge, and that’s how this city is destined to remain as some people mix up politics with religion, religion with territory, humanity with insanity, and all the other permutations and combinations. All this and the looming gates of my office again dampen the merry spirit. I flash my card at the swipe point, it beeps as if to say good morning and the glass door opens. I see numerous people, waiting for the lift; I suddenly choose to take the stairs, trying to get a bit of exercise. As I enter my cubicle, half panting, half groaning and hundred percent perspiring, the good boss says hello and hands me the day’s work, which would take away my evening and a major part of night, and get me some money to sustain my walk to office every day.


In the endless ocean I stand,
A tiny rock jutting out,
Slapped by waves,
Kicked by wind,
Eroded every moment,
But I stand...

I look up all the time,
The sun stares back with pride,
In his indignant sky,
How dare I.....
I keep looking up.

I wait every moment,
For the sun to sleep,
For the sky to face away,
In a slumber so deep...

For you appear then,
With your so bright a face,
Lying on the dark sheets,
Nothing but pure grace....

Surrounded by glitter,
You move in your bed,
Millions of hearts crumble,
You look at me instead...

We are the same,
Yet quite not so,
Ye are together,
But quite not so..

So distant you are to me,
Yet so near your light is,
That light touches me,
And saves me from going into abyss.

So brutal is the destiny,
That we are not together,
We are supposed to stay,
This way forever.

In the endless ocean I stand,
A tiny rock jutting out,
Slapped by waves,
Kicked by wind,
Eroded every moment,
But I stand...

Other side of the coin

Feeling the way everyone feels,
About the life that scarcely heals,
The feeling comes that it’s not totally crap,
That happiness is just under the cap.
Under each unturned piece of stone,
In each person of flesh and bone,
With each bird that flies high,
And each instance worth a happy lie.
Under the glittering sky,
Over the glorious land,
While walking hand in hand,
Or while giving the smile that’s sly.
Watching the babies grow,
And the farmer walking with his plough,
Seeing the crop dance,
And going into the undefined trance.
Chasing the butterflies of heaven,
And getting the feeling of being chosen,
Running with the wind like a colt,
And acting in a thundering bolt.
Feeling the sensation of love,
That’s purer than a dove,
Being able to make people smile,
And for love walking that extra mile.
All are the things that are being shunned,
As feelings of the weak,
But for the ones who are not like a humanoid,
They are just the other side of the coin

Verrrry Funnny! A pun towards…………

The morning used to be an alien to me,

It wasn’t the place I was supposed to be,

But knowing the unknown is my passion,

So I gave up nights and took up days to fashion.

My body clock was synchroed to the New York Time,

But I changed it and made it IS Time,

And aghast I was when I saw the morn,

And that too when I wasn’t worn.

The sound of twittering birds filled my soul,

Thus I felt that while denying days I was an a**hole.

I wake up in the morning and raise my weary head,

I wake up and learn when Ned and Ted go to bed.

That feeling makes me think…….

That humans are jerks,

That they push around for perks,

They think they can control nature,

When the stark reality stares down on the face,

That we all live with noting but God’s grace,

That the whole humanity can’t be awakened at the same time,

If done,

Devil’s regime will spring up like smoke from quick lime,

That we are not masters of the game of life,

Whatever may we do, however may we strife,

Thus we should learn to live with nature,

To harness it at max and to strengthen our future,

With that note I pledge today,

That I would live with nature and not fight with it anyway,

Go to sleep when I feel that way,

But if that happens in the morn,

Its God’s wish…….

I shall not sway!

Man Who Lost His Heart

I came, I saw, but I strangely lost,

Columbus did the other way,

I came to win,

But I lost my heart,

That Heart Was With Me to Stay.

Rains fall with the same sound,

The patrolman takes the same round,

Everything seems to be the same,

But everything seems to be so lame,

With nostalgia I sway,

And think on…

That Heart Was With Me to Stay.

I go to work,

I talk to friends,

I do every single thing that I did before,

I look and talk shallow,

That’s what my folks say,

I think on…

That Heart Was With Me to Stay.

Without you the world’s so colourless,

The birds fly but seem so song-less,

The leaves move but yet the niche is breezeless,

Its only empty walk that I have;

I seem to be only what I weigh,

But I ponder…

That Heart Was With Me to Stay.

Thinking on where I came from,

Thinking on where I want to go,

Everything points to one point,

The point where my heart remains,

Instinct says I ask it back,

But I can’t, as I lost it,

Lost it to someone who mended it,

Lost it to someone who understood it,

Didn’t let it go astray,

But still…It’s my heart!


That Heart Was With Me to Stay.


Futile is your imagination,

Futile is thy soul,

Futile is the way you have chosen,

To lead you to your goal.

Futile is your spirit,

Futile is your knowledge,

Futile is the way,

That you push yourself to the edge.

Futile is your will,

Futile is your courage,

Futile is the thought,

That you won’t die of old age.

Futile is your existence,

Futile is your brainy grove,

Futile became everything,

When you thought of you and forgot your love.

Independent Soul

I wanna tell the world about my land,

I wanna roam around,

And don’t wanna stand,

I wanna shriek aloud when full of joy,

And do the same,

When I run in a decoy.

Don’t try to push me,

Don’t try to stop me,

Don’t even try to pull me back,

Cuz what I do and what I am,

Is none of your business,

You wisecrack!

So step off my way,

And let me go,

Don’t call me back,

Cuz I said so,

Don’t nag around,

I would not yield,

So leave me now,

And find a new field.

I know that you care for me,

I know you want me to walk your way,

But whatever I do,

And however I do,

For you its nothing but dismay,

So let go,

Don’t think for me,

Cuz I know what I am supposed to be,

I know exactly the way to my goal,

So better,

Clear off the way of this independent soul.

The beginning, The end

Life has a crazy rhythm, whatever goes, comes back, whatever is shot, is recoiled back, whatever is taken is ultimately given back. And these all occur with a fascinatingly random precision. Never can one escape the assaulting force of life. Never does anyone sane want to do so. But its quite weird that we all tend to go that way, plaintively, stupendously, with a crazy accuracy, to achieve what we don’t seek, mortality. Life and death are like two sides of the same coin, two sides of one grass, none more shiny, none more green. Yet we find our face of coin shinier, and our side of grass greener. But we must understand that like life, death is another aspect of existence, existence in nonexistence, matter in nothingness, light in darkness. And that nonexistence is our ultimate goal; however we may deny that, it asks us not to fear it, but to admire it, not to shun it, but to accept it. After all the rhythmically crazy life leads us to that peaceful, fearful, dignifying, stupefying, bright, turbulent death.