musings & short stories

sedition, lies & video clips: where has objectivity gone?

Posted 2/26/2016
I am your average Joe or should I say Janardhan. The middle-aged, middle-class guy who pays his taxes on time, spends hours stuck in traffic jams, generally apolitical, opinionated a few times and an optimist who believes that the larger good is good enough to prevail.

I write this since I am pained by the narrative of doom that seems to be enveloping this country’s psyche. Most people like me have a voice courtesy social media. Be it tweets, posts on Facebook or discussions in WhatsApp group my ilk has taken to expressing socio-political beliefs and views on events & happenings like fish to water. There are views, counter-views, opinions that get aired, debated and exchanged at the speed of thought.

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कुछ पैसे उधार

Posted 12/16/2015

धीरज और उमा की कहानी भी किसी हिंदी फिल्म से कम नहीं. पहली नज़र का पहला प्यार, छेड़ छाड़, दो खानदानों की तकरार यानी की पूरी मसालेदार पिक्चर. यारों दोस्तों में धीरज और उमा के प्यार की मिसाल दी जाती है. लेकिन ये कहानी उनके प्यार से ज्यादा उनकी गृहस्ती के शुरुआत की है.

 उन्नीस सौ नवासी या नब्बे की बात होगी शायद. हमारे धीरज साहब थे तो B.Sc. IIIrd year के स्टूडेंट लेकिन ख्वाब वह शायर बनने के देखा करते थे. पिताजी से बोलने की हिम्मत तो कभी हुई नहीं इस लिए छुप छुप के लिखा करते. उन दिनों में जामिया मिलिया के हॉस्टल में शेरों शायरी करने वालों की महफ़िलें सजा करती थी जहाँ शमा-ऐ-महफिल का किरदार एक किंग साइज़ सिगरेट निभाया करती थी. धीरज की शायरी का ज़िक्र इन महफ़िलो से निकल जामिया के कैंटीन और वहाँ से संगीत कला अकादमी के मंच तक में होने लगा था. धीरज का तकिया कलाम था गाफ़िल.

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a long dark night

Posted 11/26/2015

I have been around for over a hundred years now.  Architecturally speaking that would make me middle aged.  A lot has changed around me since.  For starters, there weren’t as many buildings around me.  Back in the day, people would come riding on bullock carts from villages far and near. 

Not all would get to spend time with me though. I was meant for the elite! Only the gora sahibs. Sometimes the wealthy zamindaar or the nawabs entourage.  I used to be under lock and key for most part.

I was spacious. I had two large cushioned couch sets that faced each other across a heavy wooden center table. They were leather! The sahibs wouldn’t have settled for less. A tasteful engraved wooden screen separated the seating area from the sleeping area – a gift from the nawab

There was provision for ten people to sleep.   Four independent beds and three bunker beds lining the opposite wall.   I have two windows, one right between Bed No. 2 & Bed No. 3 and a larger one on the perpendicular wall.  It used to face the fields that stretched all the way upto the river.  The moist evening breeze would kiss the crops and make them sway almost as though choreographed.  A great view.

Attached to me are a small pantry, a wash & changing room and a storage area.  All in all a self-sufficient unit.

My interiors have undergone some changes.  The drapes, the upholstery, the beds, the bunkers and the couches all have got changed multiple times now.  Few things have remained as is though. Most important amongst them; the engraved wooden screen. The clock that hangs on the wall facing the main entrance! Oh yes and the picture frames adorning the walls, of course the pictures inside them have changed like seasons. Only one picture however, has been around for half a century now. It’s a picture of a dark man with round-rimmed spectacles and a bare torso with what seems like a loin cloth wrapped around.  A Sanskrit phrase is printed under the picture reads “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma”.

Talking of pictures; isn’t lifetime just a picture wall with special moments hung on it? How many such moments does one really have? How many are really vivid? How many pictures really find their way on to the wall? But a few. The ones that do, are the ones living the lifetime for!

Like anyone else I have seen a range of emotion in my lifetime.  Anger and calmness, friendship and enmity, fear and courage, shame and shamelessness, benevolence and cruelty, pity, indignation, envy and of course love and hatred.  But all of them in one night! Bound to be an unforgettable night.

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the thin line

Posted 9/9/2015

Emotions like everything else in life are a part of a continuum. They do not appear in discrete packets. There is an intermediary stage before irritation turns to anger, a smile turns into a laughter, between pulling someones leg and being mean and when assertiveness becomes stubbornness. Most of these observations, if I may add, are from the perspective of the watcher than the do-ee (I picked this from Everybody Loves Raymond)

So the question now is whether there's a thin line separating these stages, how many degrees separate these stages and who owns the line? My guess is, its most always the watcher.

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ek re-take milega kya?

Posted 9/9/2015

It was a friends anniversary a few weeks back.  It was also a day spent reminiscing. It was a day spent wondering what it would have been like.

How many times have you come across people with the capability to live in the moment...no matter what..? More often than not these people have the capability to inject that bit of enthusiasm into dullards like yours truly.

The words "Chal, kuch kartein hain..." (come, let's do something) keep ringing in my ears time and again. How do you not think about a person who has pretty much been a part of the start of everything in your life...sport, eating out, partying, rock music....love. The chal kuch kartein hain has been responsible for many a thing and more often than not getting us into trouble!!

Shakespeare famously said and I quote


"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages..."

Feel as though the script went horribly wrong somewhere. The curtains came down much earlier.

Just one thought though..."Ek re-take milega kya??

unforgettable

Posted 9/9/2015

Have you ever felt guilty for having forgotten something? Something that in normal course would never ever have escaped you.

Perhaps forgotten is not the apt word, perhaps not even the right word but in a strange sort of a way it is the word that you'll use to chide yourself.

It is an uncanny feeling when you know that there is something brimming underneath the surface but its not front and centre as far as your conscious mind is concerned. All day, you try figuring it out but you can't.

And then, like a bolt from the blue it hits you; BAD!! The realisation is like a ton of bricks crashing down on you.

Question is; what is your reality?

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roots

Posted 8/31/2015

How important is it to have a town that you could call yours?

Someplace which would always be home...

You can't always explain this feeling but one does get attached to places..more often than not these are places where you grew up..despite all their shortcomings some corner of your heart always craves and wishes that you could find your way back.

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a tale of two cities (r.i.p. Dickens)

Posted 8/27/2015

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had ­everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present peri­od, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Courtesy: Charles Dickens (sometimes the best way to say it is by quoting the original)

This is a new tale of two cities. One with phoenix like capabilities and the other with a mythical lineage. This is the story of the path they traversed over the past 10 years or so. This is the tale of opportunities lost. This is the tale of Deadly and Greedgaon.

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Where The Mind is Without Fear... The New Meaning of Independence For A Digital India

Posted 8/16/2015

As I write this post on the occassion of Independence Day, the patriotic fervour has been higher than I have ever seen in my conscious years. In an age where the distance between thought to tweet is 140 characters and an entire nation can be bridged with seven degrees of WhatsApp group separation; thoughts and opinions can travel....fast.

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Separate Lives

Posted 8/16/2015

How many people do we get to know during the course of our life time? When we meet them, while we meet them do we pause and think about the kind of impact they make, are making or will make on our lives??

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