One Day

The silhouette of a warrior woman with storm clouds in the background.One day

I shall bare my soul
It’s dark and cracked.
The cracks are unsealable, letting the light out
The darkness is remarkable, its weight tires me out
I will show you who I am and what makes me
What keeps me alive and what breaks me
A training you may feel, before you take the hike
Where to take shelter, how not to let the lightening strike

I will show you the hits and misses the holes and crevices,
The nooks and corners of me.
What holds me up, what pushes me down,
What part of me I never want to see

Let me shed light on my heart on what makes the pain go away,
To only come back at every stab and where I sink back in and stay.

I will bare you my story for you to know it’s not my last escapade,
Dont want a shoulder just need your words to help me sharpen my blade…

Questions!

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I am tired. I want to go back to simpler times.

When we walk home and mom is ready with food. Your troubles are when you have fallen and bruised your knee. The biggest problem you have is the expected test in school tomorrow. You worry that you best friend is moving out of the city. It used to be much simpler when your books got wet in the rain, not that you have to write more, when you would worry of how dad would react cos you reached home late that night, 7.30 instead of 7. You looked forward to running chores for your grandparents who would give you a big hug and maybe a chocolate as a token of appreciation. When your chores were to run and make sure that there wasn’t anything getting overcooked.

 

What changed with time? We grew up, we complicated things. Gadgets, money, success, fame, love, marriage, all these became obligations rather than just natural behaviour! Cheating, lying, politics, business, chaos, puddles, mud, manholes, storms, tornadoes, climate change, famines, droughts, competition, murder! Economic growth, financial stability, blood sucking mosquitoes, dengue, presidential elections, government servants, rulers, rules, laws, need of the law! Humans, animals, inhuman, evil, satanic, do-gooders, philanthropists, adjectives, verbs, descriptions….

A massive period…! We don’t stop, we crave, we don’t stop, we demand, or we steal, we rob, we cheat, we lie, we scream, we cry, we need, we want, we just do not stop. It is loud in all our heads, but it is not clear, there is a constant shouting, but there is no sense to the noise, it is noise not sound. More chaos, more jumbles, more complications.

 

We do not want what we have, but we crave what we cannot have. Forbidden? I need it. Out of bounds? I will drag you down if needed for me to get it. Illegal? I must have it.

 

THIS IS BEYOND GREED, this is beyond normal, this is not what we were planned for, this is not what we are here for… but then why are we here?

WHAT? What is our destination? What is this journey?

WHY? Why do I get a headache when I think so much, am I the tin-man? Are the pins that keep it together about to fall off?

WHERE? Where am I supposed to go? Where am I headed? What is the point of this journey?

HOW? How do I make myself happy? How do I stay sane? How do I make this stop?

 

I AM TIRED…….

Autowaaley Bhaiyya…

Autorickshaw

                   So I had my own, unprecedented and rather unexpected “Humans of Mumbai” type encounter today evening when I was on my routine return trip from work to home, like any other weekday. While I am swiping away at my candies, crushing them to get rid of the troublemaking chocolates and jellies in my phone, my auto driver reminds me to tell him the direction I have to go to. “You can just instruct me where to take the turn and then you can go back to your mobile and I can go back to my own”, he mused. I laughed it off like just a random banter an auto driver might have with his passenger and told him to take a right turn. Just when I thought he would miss the hidden turn, I reminded him again and he told me he was only trying to make way around the humongous truck that was also looking to turn.

                   “I am a private car driver in the daytime and so I know how to navigate carefully. I know how all auto drivers cut through your pathway in this daily rush.” And then he slowly eased into the confession of what we all do but seldom accept, “as an auto driver I complain about the car drivers and as a car driver I do it the other way around”. We all have abused the rash drivers as pedestrians and we have always hated the ‘slow’ walking ‘garden walkers’ or ‘jay walkers’ while we are trying to move in a road with heavy traffic. But then his discussion moved on, in another direction. The ease with which he spoke was really surprising. “My boss doesn’t really know about me driving an autorickshaw. Not that he would say anything, but just for my reasons I have kept it from him. He is a really good man. He has helped my son and paid for his education. I feel really good to work with such a generous man as him. He is big man who always takes good care of me. My son is no less; he has been a topper in his class. He got 92% in his 12th standard and is now looking to take up IIT. I said go ahead.” The pride in his eyes was apparent and the never fading smile on his face beamed even brighter.

By this time I had already reached home, but he wouldn’t stop talking and I didn’t leave the inside of the auto although I did pick my bags several times indicating time to go. In the interim we both had already lied about the lack of money change for the ride and then found enough to settle. “You can check his name on your mobile internet, his name is Mohan Yadav (Name changed) and he was from XYZ college, where he topped his class! He was felicitated, we were called for the function, and he earned good scholarships from everywhere. From Asian Paints, from the school, from his Tuition Classes, he is smart really. The trustees have given him scholarships in big amounts as well and told him that he must not stay back like I did and drive an auto. And my son says he will get IIT or VJTI, the top colleges for sure. He wants to be a Mechanical Engineer. I am sure he will grow big someday.” I could see the clichéd future reeling in fast forward motion in his eyes, not with hope mind you, but with undeterred confidence. I felt happy and proud for the man. He was not ashamed of anything, his work or his situation, he was more than happy to show me the photograph on his phone of his wife and the smart son. I don’t believe in sugarcoating or glamourizing, however, this boy did seem like one of the few intelligent students that we see at work – the likes of, with technical paper publications, intensive research work or innovative designs. That aura of knowledge and still simplicity in behavior is what I would describe it as.

“He did not want to go in a big college where his friends were children of rich people; he decided to go to a humble college where he could really focus on his education.” Not one moment went when the smile from the proud father’s face faded. He did not once indicate that he was looking for more donations. I, in fact did mention to him about where I work and our overseas education consultancy, he however did not once mention the possibility of scholarship to go to a pricey university in another country. The photograph of the mother and son with a backdrop of a modest kitchen just completed the picture that he had started to paint, of simple happiness in ambition with satisfaction in one’s livelihood and life to be the key needs of everyone today. Greed never touched his pride adorned face. I was humbled, pulled down even, by the gravity of the needs and wants that we crave.

As I wished him and his son the best of luck for his seemingly brilliant future, I started to bid goodbye and tried memorizing the face of the student, you know, in case he won a Nobel Prize or something, letting my need for vanity take over. I asked him for a picture, he obliged, without any qualms or questions, gave me his number, and said if anyone is looking for a driver please do not hesitate to give them my reference, but do not go below Rs. XXXXX, or it’s not worth it. He didn’t compromise on value, and did reveal a rather similar ambition to grow as his son did, and without reservation. A big car, a big house, branded clothing and our constant bickering toward our working hours and apparent stress are what govern our daily lives today. Our ambitions are shadowed I believe by greed. I do not discourage or claim such demands to be wrong, we all have our own definitions for success, but we as humans tend to not know when to stop demanding and when to start enjoying the satisfaction of what we have. This man had none of it, but was still able to instill in me the evil head of jealousy for his happiness to be more untainted than mine. I walked away thinking to myself this is one book I would like to get to the epilogue of, to see whether he really makes it big.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister

Namo Namaay

Respected Mr. Prime Minister,

Welcome to our country, welcome to the chair, welcome to everything that is unfair! Although, this may be one of the most prestigious positions, I am sure you are warned about the dirt and dust, the puddles, keechad, poisonous snakes ready to pull you down!

Whatever may be the reason that has helped luck favor your side, the need for change, the lack of trust in the other parties, too many scams or just pure hope from the general public, do remember that we have pushed in a lot of hopes in your basket… We have seen your rallies, your posters, your promises, heard your talks, now is the time for action. I am aware that your acceptance was no easy task, you had to face allegations, rumours, the past brought back to you, but you have conquered them all! The past few months have not been the ‘honeymoon’ periods like many other leaders get, yes I read that statement in your interview after your 100 days of ‘rule’. You are buzzing in the media with your trips and meetings with various international leaders.. great… I as a citizen of India do not regret it. Do what you wish to if you think it is needed in the long run for your reign and growth of the country. But a word of advice, our country is leaking with leeches and hyenas, unfortunately waiting to jump upon you to bring you down, to point fingers at you, to malign your image. Be wary of them, stay sharper.

Today as we see your presence in the media, I wish to look forward to a brighter tomorrow for India, you are the hope for us all. GDP growth, lesser farmer suicides, employment growth, lesser corruption; You are the one to make it happen, you are the one who is the beacon of light, holding the staff for us, the messiah to free us from the rot and the impending death of our democracy.

I know this is a ‘chhota muh badi baat’ letter but I believe you need to be aware of the sort of hope you are for us, I am sure you are aware of the pressure you are under, even more than what Sachin felt before he got his 100th century, I know this is very less time for you to prove your worth for every vote that came up to you. But don’t let us only look at the packaging of your substance in the media, let us see the fruits of your bearing, fruits of your hard work and planning, don’t let us in your shadow, the umbra of your light, do not cheat us! This time the rage of the youth has grown beyond the strength of the tsunami, and this storm is only waiting for the smallest of blows. Then no one will trust anyone else. Not only will it hamper the future of democracy, it will hurt the sentiments in those hopeful eyes of the people who almost worship you. As Indians we have always been overly emotional, practicality goes out of the window, in fact, people like me and my friends have started to actually plan a career in politics. Ashamed as I feel I am one of the few who do not own a voters ID. Trust me this time I have felt guilt of the highest order for having a mouth only depraving the situation of the country and not contributing in it. I was one of the few who never really gave a crap about it and also were lost in the saying of ‘India ka kuchh nahi ho sakta’ but never took the initiative to be the change. What I am saying is, we have started to trust again, we want to be a part of the change, for over 60 years, we waited for someone else to do it for us, but this time it is personal.

This is no threat, but more of a warning and loving advice for us, for you and I and the billion like me. This time, no false promises, no cheating, no corruption, pure unadulterated freedom from oppression, inequality, caste-ism, and no bell curves please, curves are good on us women, just exponential growth in every sector.

I hereby lay all my prayers, requests, advice and most importantly, once again, my hope in your daan peti, and wait for you to do what you are assuredly best at…change our face as a nation make it what we all have waited for it  to be for ages now. We lay our faith in the true Indian image that you portrayed with your simple Indian clothing, use of the national language even in the foreign nations…

MOST OF ALL I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FROM THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!!

JAI HIND..!

₹oti $ufferers…

“$un Raha hai na tu, ₹o raha hun main” -The most popular phrase of 2013 Q3!

It’s been dwindling, falling apart and in some obscene although truthful words as described by Chetan Bhagat, it has been ripped off of all its virtue. The growing and booming economy of the country is now at a stage where medically speaking we might need a ventilator. All the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men are trying hard to put Humpty Dumpty back again but seems like an impossible task as in the poetry. But what will a non-economist like me know about it? Sure the news and media are providing more than ample of reading material, but as an Indian, cynicism is a deep-seated infection in our brain. We can’t stop wondering if all our leaders are indeed doing anything about it, are they taking the right steps as one big family to safeguard our present and future or just trying to fill their own individual coffers before the rainy day!

Articles, books, debates, journals, discussions, news reports have one major headline of how the Rupee and the Dollar are in the boxing arena and the Rupee is being bruised and killed at every round. One can imagine the US Dollar in blue boxing gear, raving about in the boxing ring growling and grunting with its arms flexed up, jumping up and down. In the other corner we can see the bloodied and beaten up Rupee in red gear sitting heaving on the stool looking for support but there is no manager trying to quench its fatal thirst with water or giving it speeches of motivation. The Rupee sees all it’s supporters and team members sitting as far away as possible trying to avoid eye contact, hands held to the head nodding along in regret.

I am sure as a consumer and a part of the general public, aam aadmi as we are, I maybe just as much responsible as everyone else. Text messages, emails, social network posts are being shared indicating what we can do to stop or reduce this raging, (one-sided) war. Stop using international brands, reduce oil/petrol consumption, stop buying gold! Yes, that’s right, we should probably do all of that and more, but how many of us are willing to try and help out the country? Erm…. Maybe none. We are going about living as if nothing is wrong, except for when we see the rising inflation and the ever increasing unemployment problems, and as if on cue we decide to blame the government, the elections and how this is just a phase etc. etc. blah-di-blah-di-blah. I am equally a part of this group, this insensitive, nonchalant, group which only feels pure indifference and like a Bollywood movie believes in a ‘Happy Ending’ and that ‘All is well’. What do I need? I need someone to tell me what I should do. A leader who makes a plan, who rises to this situation and directs me to do a couple of things. If the right person with the right accolade and credibility walks-by and directs me, I am more than confident that we can all be programmed like ‘Vicky’ from ‘Small Wonder’ and follow instructions.

Enter Mr. Raghuram Rajan, reminds me of Shah Rukh Khan from ‘Swades’ who has come back and decided to sacrifice self needs to live abroad and rather work for his country. As a representative of India he has made his mark in the world. But he returns back for our good and I feel pride when I see his pictures in the press with a confident and determined look while he waves out to us from the entrance to his office as the 23rd RBI Governor. He is not just a name for us who has been added to many others in the history of India, but now he is like Agent J from ‘Men in Black’ come to save the world from destruction. But what is our Agent RR’s armor and ammunition that makes him a brighter star than all the others in the past? If we take his first address as his first chance of creating an impression at his position, we can see a few pointers which seem as the Endorphins to the human psyche of an average Indian at this point.

  1. Communication
  2. Inspirational Leading and ability to take charge
  3. Keeping his team at the forefront
  4. Using team inputs and appreciation of their efforts
  5. Motivation
  6. Keeping his sight at the horizon focusing on the target rather than surrounding factors that could bring him down
  7. He has a plan, not just promises.
  8. He has walked in the middle of the storm and did not bat an eyelid, ready to take on his charge.
  9. He has set his priorities straight
  10. Consulted past leaders
  11. Sounds Optimistic
  12. Remembered all the rivulets that the RBI’s decisions affect and decides to relax a few tight holds.
  13. He is gaining confidence of people around him.

Source: IBN Live

Is this an eyewash of a speech or does our cynicism as Indians always take the best of us? We have always waited and watched, given opportunities to people who haven’t really done anything besides give us false promises and never work on it. For an individual who has taken charge at this ripe age with a back up of great educational qualifications and international experience, I think he does command a certain amount of respect towards him.

Welcome to the dark side Mr Rajan. We look up to you as the bright beacon of light for our ‘Oh-so-almost-damned’ economy as our hope that will take us through these bad times and bring us to rise back in the limelight. Thank you for being our “Knight in Shining Armour” come to the rescue of our “Damsel in Distress” of a country who is being eaten up rotten by termites of her own womb!

We all hope you are successful in every plan that you make and shut every face of the pessimistic insect that is trying to deter your objectives!

Couldn’t help but share this image from Economic times

Source: Economic Times

In conversation with Him

One evening I was pondering, thinking to myself, when I decided it was time. All I needed was to form a question and he answered back!

Me:           So who am I?

Him:         Who you are is what you make of yourself! You are a pawn in the life sequence for others and the King or queen of your own. You are a part of a major story you just don’t know it yet.

Me:           Why these sequence of events?

Him:         Your every action creates a sequence; everything that is around you and surrounds you is a reaction to what you have done in the past.

Me:           Alright. How do I know what I have done is right or wrong? What is my purpose?

Him:         There is no one right answer. What you do is a mere representation of what your perception of the ‘Right thing’ is. What is right for the spider is chaos for the fly. Who you are and what your purpose is a big mystery. It shall unfurl and you will know how your actions affected in that final result! Savour the taste of this mystery, savour this sensation. Who would like a mundane story where you know how it ends? Wait for it, every moment of anticipation shall be worth it.

Me:           Oh hold on a minute, if I am responsible for my every action, who are you? What is your purpose?

Him:         (he smirked) I am what you want me to be. Your faith is what makes me. Think of me as a stone, think of me in human form, think of me as a messiah when you need hope. I am nothing but merely what your belief makes me to be. If you do not believe in me, I do not exist for you. But that doesn’t change anything. If one day you decide to be an atheist, there is no curse that will follow, if you one day decide to burn down posters, break stone idols, there won’t be repercussions in terms of the end of the world. Have you seen a mother reduce her love for her little boy just because he is being naughty or throwing tantrums? My existence, however, is purely based on how you think it to be. I do not expect bribes, I do not want sacrifices. Everything that exists has its rights to exist; they were all made for a purpose. You may think you are changing its existence, but it has its own expiry date and a purpose to fulfil, you are only the tool which is bringing it about.

Me:           I am confused. If we are the tools and what we do is already destined, why are we to face a future with repercussions of those actions?

Him:         Don’t be. There is only so much that human brains are supposed to programme only so much they are to understand and process, only so much they are to grasp. Your curiosity is what keeps you growing. Science is the way you will unfurl every minute mystery. The further you go, more are the possibilities of greater knowledge. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know unless you know of it later.

With more curls in my brain than in my hair, I pondered more. I am not to know of what I am to see, I should not be afraid of the unknown, just remember that I am a tool for the actions in the world. What has to happen is imminent, but I have to actively participate in these exact actions to receive full advantage of it. I am not a spectator; I am a part of this play. Have to seize the moment and continue with what I think is right.

Life and death are the goal posts. I must play the game in between; tread the path in this journey. I have no one else to answer to but myself. He lives within me. He is what I make him. He is hope, He is peace, He is the messiah, He is the future, He is the past, He is the friend, the companion in this journey and He is someone I can believe in without his expectations of anything in return. He will stand by me, guide me. He teaches me to be humble, selfless and appreciative of everything around me and what I have. He is an identity to the force that human kind doesn’t understand but names as the creator or the destroyer or just ignores its existence. He doesn’t force me to believe in him, doesn’t ask me to teach others his ways. He asks me to be and give what he gives me, again with no expectations of anything in return.

Is it too much to do?

 

Rhythm of hearts!

Image

There are many things that people do with their hands, lips and mouth! But to use it for your driven passion and for the well being and happiness for the world around you is a virtue. Such is the use for art and music. Few of the best instruments are flute and violin. Their versatility is in the fact that they can give you company at your saddest moments, add to your cheer, calm you at your worst and make you shed a tear at your happiest!

                       If you think that money makes you feel like a VIP, I would deny it outright. My colleague helped me sneak up into one of the best music events of my life. The legendary Pandit PadmaVibhushan Shri Hariprasad Chaurasiya. A free and special seat at the sound and light board made me feel lika a VIP.

                         He would remind you of Lord Krishna, not only because of the beauty and rhythm that moves from his heart to yours, but also since at the ripe age of 89 he bears the playfulness of a 5 year old.

If you listen to the notes with your eyes closed, they create images. Not dreams, but images. When the music is low and calm, it can show you the orange crack of dawn. It can be the silent drop of dew falling from a leaf, it can be the fast rhythm of a rain shower. When you listen to the tabla, it is one that brings order to the rhythm around it. It is like the organiser of the entire show. Brings harmony to it, but it can build up a storm or create stepping stones for Lord Shiva’s Tandava.

Music is a magical adhesive which can join the ones who can hear it. It could be of different origin, different instruments, different rhythms, but affects the only one part of every human being, his and her heart! However evil or malicious you may be, notes of music although of a varied kind will seduce you to a feeling of content.

Pop, rock, metal, Hindustani classical, bollywood, classic, whatever maybe your choice, it is impossible to think of a day without the tiniest bit of rhyme and music, a dry day almost?