A world, far away, lost.
Quiet. Ignorant. Hidden.
Of my own, myself.
Secrets. Whispers. Sighs.
Pieces of glass, in black.
Illusions, optical, in colour.
Eddy. Deep. In-fi-nite.
Smoked up, high, hits the brain.
Nirvana, through the veins, from the heart.
Sweat, breath, breathlessness.
Guilt. Fear. Insomnia.
Detached, fallen, from the clouds.
Let go, scattered, through terrains.
A quest, tunnels, limitless.
Journeying. Patiently. Maturing.
I see a face;
Quite far away.
The hair, the lips;
A mirage you could say.
I start a little slow.
With doubts in my head.
Do I walk towards him?
Or should I just stay?
I think no more.
I decide to move.
I walk straight ahead.
As my steps gain pace.
He’s still right there.
Like he’s waiting for me.
My eyes stay fixed.
And my breath gains speed.
I now see the checks.
On a full sleeved shirt.
They’re blue with some red.
Or wait, is it grey?
There’s a faint little smile.
Is that a dimple that I see?
My heart beats faster.
And my feet go numb.
I take another step.
From just another three.
I reach for him.
I pout my lips.
And like a funny joke of destiny.
A stranger crosses my way.
Famous. Not on page 3. Followed. Not copied. Loved. Not taken for granted. Important. Not fake. Heard. Not for the sake of it. Kissed. Not distracted. Happy. Just like that. Respected. Not feared. ‘Liked’. Not clicked. Free. Not judged. Remembered. Not saved. Lost. Not found. Furious. Not stupid. Silly. Not dumb. Patted. Not Pitied. Envied. Not ignored. Hurt. Not forgotten. The one. Not the other one. Held. Not owned. Pampered. Not possessed. Bad. Not hated. Good. Not easy. Asked. Not assumed. Noticed. Not scanned. Funny. Not foolish. Thought of. Not regretted. Alive. Not the usual. Special. Not another word. Understood. Not defined. The answer. Not an option. Sure. Not stubborn. Wrong. Not questioned. Right. Not confused. This. Not that. There. Not here. Me. Not she. Read. Not between the lines
A silent whisper,
I continue to be.
A shadow missed,
on the deserted street.
A speck of dust,
that nobody sees.
In ancient trunks,
and cobwebbed locks.
I lie inside,
a forgotten sigh.
Through dirty nights,
and foreseen dawns.
Im nothing new,
but a shade of grey.
Warm and calm,
I’ll always be.
A secret I am
I continue to be.
Then there won’t be grumpy bosses anymore. They’ll be too funny, for you to notice their grumpiness. All that once made you sulk, will now make you laugh. Short deadlines will make the client look funny. That wannabe colleague, who stole your idea and got a raise, will look pathetically funny. That college sweetheart, who dumped you for Miss Fresh Face, will give you cramps in your tummy, as you laugh hard pointing your finger at him. The auto driver’s expression, when he charges extra, will look insanely funny. You’ll laugh at the weighing machine, you’ll laugh at those dark circles, and you’ll laugh every Monday morning. The “out of order” board on the lift will look funny and your boss’s mail, that says “not working”, will look funnier. When your bike stops half way, for the hundredth time in the past two months, you’ll kick it hard and then laugh at yourself.
The world’s filled with lazy people. Including me. Blame it on technology, and the stuff it brings along. I mean, how else do you explain the LOLs and the Hmmms and the WTFs?
Take a normal chat conversation, for instance.
Reena: And then I said this..and then he wus like whoa..oh god it was so funn! you shud have been there and damn I don’t believe it happened.
(Hand on chin, droopy eyes, breathing through my mouth.)
Now that’s definitely not how I LOL. I’m just too lazy to even laugh and too lazy to even type out anything more that I feel, about my friend’s funny experience. So I LOL. How convenient.
Here’s another one.
Tina: So babe, you know what I mean right? It’s like serious. You know I’d say it coz there’s a reason. Right?
(Minimising windows, replying to Mary who just popped up from another window and trying hard to get some Maggie twisted on to a fork.)
“Hmm” just means, go on, whatever!
Hey now don’t give me that look. It’s not just me, right? It’s what you, Reena, Tina and Mary would do too! We’re lazy. Let’s just face the truth. Too lazy to even express. Forget the online conversations. When was the last time you told somebody how much you love them? Or even worse, when was the last time you actually LOL?
While on one hand, we spend half our time romancing with technology and expressing half heartedly with fake emotions, we’ve forgotten how a warm bear “hug” feels or what the joy of receiving a tight, passionate “mmuah” is! ;) Lucky are those, who haven’t.
Like now, as I type this, I’ve keyed in a lot of “hmms” and “lols” and “ohhs” and “hehehes” across various chat windows. Sorry you, on the other side, you still have all my attention. Swear to God. And I promise, that when I LOL to your last ping, mom walked in to my room and went “What the hell was that?” See? I did laugh out loud!
So I hereby make an oath. That no matter how stuck to my chair my ass is, I shall express more. I may not “roll on the floor laughing my ass out”, but I will, for sure, smile when I click on a smiley, listen carefully and ponder when I “hmmm”, and will not stop at a “hehehe.”
;) (I just winked, really.)
And then just when Sasi thought that he was done dealing with the most difficult aspect of being in a relationship, just when Sasi had given in to the million-dollar, diamond studded, salt rich tears that rolled down those wrinkled cheeks, Sasi was in for problem no.2!
Sasi’s ex-girlfriend’s best friend! Tada!
Aaargh! That bleddy biatch! That nightmare of my first nights! That fighter of a woman who’ll scratch, bite and shred me at sight and inject those venomous thoughts into my poor little, angelic ex-girlfriend’s mind! She who ripped me off my aww-nice-guy image and crumbled me into teeny weenie pieces of shame, disgrace and humiliation. She who made me the bad boy of every Hindi movie.
Tsk..tsk..tsk! Poor Sasi.
So now what do I do! Oh there’s an update. Oh a new pic. Shit! The biatch’s liked it! Ugh. She commented. Oh my God a new note! It’s all about me. I know it, I know it! And there a thumbs up! The world’s going to see it. They’re all gonna know it’s about me. They’ll all hate me now. Can’t these women stop talking about me? Can’t they just let me be? Oh! Oh! I know what to do! Aah! Why didn’t I think of this before? You wait and watch you best friend, you woman! Here I go, I UNFRIEND you! CLICK! And, she’s gone! Phew! That was close.
So safe Sasi feels in his new found world. So blissfully unaware of the action outside. Locked from all sides, blocked in a page of his own, Sasi chooses what to see and what others must see. Sasi’s startled at a post and Sasi trembles down a note. Reading between lines and staying awake all night. I pity Sasi so much. And Sasi’s scary sad life. But then like they say, boys will be boys. And sasi will always be Sasi. Looks like they’ll never grow up.
I walked into the advice store to find advice. The big bold fonts, that flashed in bright yellow neon, wooed me in. “Now these guys ought to have something for me.” I told myself. I’d gone almost everywhere tried almost everyone, but nobody really had what I really wanted. They were either too old or they simply wouldn’t fit me. The advice store however, looked quite promising.
A warm smile stood by the door to welcome me. I walked in and a tight hug greeted me. There was a couch waiting and I rested myself on its lap. I leaned to the side and I felt light in the head, already.
The store was big. And there was advice of every kind, hanging in almost every corner. There were shelves full of it too. And baskets and cupboards and folders and bags. There was advice spilling out from everywhere. Like nobody needed them anymore. Like they’ve been there for years together but nobody’s walked in looking for one.
It was started, they say, by a man from the hills. He traveled around the world looking for advice and finally found so much that he had to find a place to put them all. There was advice from the mountains, advice from the seas. Advice from Texas, from Greece and even from the trees. There was a piece of advice, heaps of it, there were harsh ones and the ones you just wanted.
There were pretty ones, knitted with lace, and dark ones you’d never want to take. There were funny ones, sincere ones, some friendly advice and unwanted ones too. I looked around and wondered what to take. I scratched my head, bit my nails, frowned a lot but just couldn’t decide. Everything looked so good, like they were just right for me. But every time I tried one, I’d wriggle out of it.
So then again I decided that this isn’t perhaps what I need. And just when I did, a note caught my eye. A crumbled piece of brown paper, with red ink smudged all over. And written in awfully bad handwriting, was the following text:
“Oh dear one, looking for advice. Why come here for what you seek? It’s all out there and ready for you to take. Look at where you’ve been and think of what you’ve done. You’ve perhaps missed something, and that’s probably what you need. Look at where you’ve been and think of what you’ve done.”
It was signed, the man from the hills.
And so I leave the advice store and all the advice there. And go on looking for mine, from everywhere I’ve been. I try them each, one by one, and to my surprise, they fit me just right. Like they were made for me and nobody else, but me.
Who else would know what fits me best? Who else would know what exactly I need. No lacy advice, no friendly ones, none of those work for me. What does is what I have. Made from what I know of me.
A random ranting dedicated to the cows of the world. You cow out there, this one’s for you!
Such cowards, these cows.
So little, their thoughts
Their tails, so long.
Their horns, so sharp.
And yet so dumb.
Such cowards, these cows.
They moo as the pout
Or pout as they moo
That’s all they do
Such cowards, these cows.
They chew and spit
And chew and spit
They take it back in
And squeeze it all out
Oh cow do you know how fake you look?
With those big fat lips, and that stained brown teeth.
You poker faced meat, oh you poor thing, you.
I love you, yes, but I pity you too.
You thick skinned fellah
You dirty old creep
Go dig some junk
And dig deep in.
Cochin. February 21, 2011: Ok cool. So you’re on facebook now. Looking through albums, commenting on them, liking status updates, staring at your profile page for minutes together, sometimes hours. You’re just there. Like me. And damn are we lucky or what! Lucky that we have our asses firmly rested on a chair, palm sweating on a mouse, eyes fixed on the screen and our minds wandering aimlessly.
I love my life.
Bhopal. February 18, 2011: The city wakes up late. It’s 8 am, the windows are closed, streets empty, and there’s silence in the air. The night of December 2, 1984 is not one that the people of Bhopal want to wake up to, ever again. Sadly, they’re left with no choice. They sleep with nightmares from that fateful night still haunting them. They close their eyes only to see dark yet vivid images of their loved ones falling dead on the streets. They’re woken up by the sound of their five-month old crying, whose body they found amidst the debris that lay scattered. The poisonous gas that engulfed the city 26 years back continues to do so. In Bhopal, there hasn’t been a dawn since.
My visit to this city has left me feeling uneasy. A sense of restlessness crawls into me every time I sit back and yawn. What I feel, what I see and what I do, seems to go all the way back to what I saw there. The ‘gallis’ of JP nagar made me feel nothing less than despondent. Ask me if it was disbelief, helplessness or disrespect to myself that troubled me more? And I wouldn’t know. One question, however, haunted me throughout. What the hell was I thinking when I cried last night about how sad my life is. When I freaked out on hearing that my salary hadn’t been credited? When I yelled at my mother for not “understanding” me. What the frikkin hell was I thinking? Truth is, I wasn’t even thinking. Coz if I were, I’d have had a zillion reasons to feel good about. And that I realized right there. In Bhopal. When I met the victims of the Gas tragedy.
They were there, in front of my eyes. Mothers who couldn’t stop crying as they spoke about their baby they left behind, when they ran to save their lives. Girls in purdah, with mehendi till their elbows, who peeped from their little huts to catch a glimpse of us - the “shooting waale”. Kids who knew nothing. Who struck a pose in front of my mobile camera to give Shahrukh Khan and Hritik Roshan a run for their money. They stood there with silent questions that hit me right in my face. And as one among the zillion witnesses across the world, I knew that I owed them an answer.
Two decades since, the threat continues to linger. Kids are born with alarming defects. Their brain outside the skull, deformed bones constantly at war with their mind, refusing to give them a reason to stand. Flaking skin that peels off bit by bit as they smile. Eyes that see nothing but darkness. The tragedy screams into deaf ears. And it doesn’t end with what’s now. Pregnant women do not know what to expect. They don’t pray for a boy or a girl. They pray for a fully-formed baby. Nothing more. Nothing less. But they know that everything that’s granted will still leave them weeping in distress.
Where does the voice of the people of Bhopal sink into? Why aren’t they heard? Is anybody even listening?
The water the people of JP Nagar drink, remains contaminated. Fresh water is a need that’s ‘waiting’ to be considered at the court. Wrong drugs are still being administered. Death continues to loiter. And the people of Bhopal still find reasons to be happy.
Is this a tragedy we can afford to forget? Is it nothing but a thing of the past that can be brushed away with a shake of the head or a deep sigh? The Government continues to turn a blind eye to the world’s worst hit tragedy. While no compensation can make up for the memories they’ve lost, and will perhaps never find, it could give them the strength to build a better future. All this, if we make sure that the disaster’s not forgotten.
Bhopal. The heart of India that stopped beating 26 years back.