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No, Vasundhara is not my real name. I am breaking it in for a friend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I am muddled in the head...

It is yet another day, and no, I am not one to live life as if it were a dreary chore.
But I am muddled in the head...so much so, that I don't know what am I to do, whether I should speak to people, if I must do what I want or what I am expected to be doing.

My head is whirring with a thousand (perhaps that is an understatement of sorts) thoughts...about life, and death, and the futility of it all.
About relationships (of any kind and form), about work, about anything and everything that qualifies for 'anything' in this life. And then there is the 'next'...

Like the past two posts, this too goes live sans proof reading...my head and mind, both refuse their office.
If you are reading this, perhaps you understand or have been through such a phase yourselves. If you have not, you just might some day...i find myself ending up 'searching' for ways to cheer up on the WWW. My head is clouded, perhaps shrouded...I feel I am lost.

Here's to everything and anything that qualifies as a confounding factor in life, everyone and anyone who has ever been confounded ( more often than not) by life, death, and everything in between...

It is this whiz and whirr I hear,
It is not my mind, or head; It is just Fear;
I do not even know if it is so, for fears don't baseless-ly show.

I am shocked and shut,
Too tired to think, I say;
I am confused and confounded by Life, and Death, and everything in between,
Too numbed and muted by it, those and them; too lost in translation.

There is this uneasy gloom that o'erhangs,
As if there is something abrew...I am inert, to everything and everyone,
'Ere long, I hope it will melt away or is that making a wish too soon?

I feel this heaviness weigh me down,
I can feel it as I would an iron slab o'er me.
I lose a beat or two every now and then, and I also lose some peaceful sleep.

Quietened me all this has,
For I know not where to begin,
All my irrational acts I think,
Are a mechanism to just coax me to break this jinx.

Yet, here I am,
All confused and confounded;
Yet, here I am,
All the more dumb-founded.

As I pen this little piece, I hope it all ends,
As I share with you my thoughts,
I hope I don't turn insane;

I'm sighing and breathing heavily,
Yes, that I just did.
As long as , these tricks, just loosen the lid.
I wish to shed a tear or two,perhaps to make myself feel at ease.

This sense o'er-hanging my heart must be sent packing with haste,
I look forward to sunny days and not let this Life go waste;
Here's Hope and a prayer for peace to my mind,
All I know is that my Maker is rather kind;
He will tighten the hold only as much as I can bear,
For as they say, "If He has put you in it, He will see you're out of there!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Art Of Killing Time.

It is always an art. Yes, it is...for time is rather precious. More than that, and than the act of butchering something so very precious in nature, what is Time?
It is something which I read somewhere, a few people commoditize and yet others treat as a scarce resourse. We might choose to kill it or for that matter be forced to!
What is important here is not that we or you or I or someone 'kills' time. The question here, L&G, is, "how"?

Stories have been spun, journals (or not?!? ;) ) have been written, films have been scripted, songs have been sung, and words exchanged. All strive to answer or answer in their own capacity the unspoken, omnipresent and omnipotent question: how do we/i/you/kill time?!?
And then there is something called 'demographics'...I extrapolate it to the demographic alignment to time-wasting or killing tactic. Better read as, "time well spent is hardly time killed".

Recounting a few examples:
Children would read/play/talk/eat/sleep
Adults would talk/shot/cook/clean/read/...
The elderly would sleep/read/tell stories/listen to music/watch T.V/...
Your pet would snore/bug you/rub itself against the wall, your feet, the sofa/eat the other lesser mortals for fun, food, or game/...
The politicians would talk/talk/talk/do nothing the rest of the time/...
The sportsman would pose for a magazine/talk(after all he too is a human)/eat/shop/...
The teacher would study/read/share her share of howlers and good stories/...
To cut the long and dreary story short, each one of us 'kills' time in her own way.

Coming to the center of my world, I write/sit in a corner and think/stare blankly at the wall in front of me/sleep @ work/ walk/ drink plenty of tea and water to kill time. The beauty and art lies in the fact that how well can I (enough of putting 'you'! first) and you or we benefit from this act. How well can we 'hone' our skills whilst we utilise this 'bloody' (after all we are 'killing' time) opportunity.
More often than not, I resort to read or write...even sketch for that matter.
What do you do?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Why , why & why... is the sky so high?
Why, why oh! why...are men always in a quagmire?
Of course they are fools, so they will see no reason...
If common sense is uncommon, they will 'show' it, not to be satisfied with just the saying!

They will say something, but feel the other way.
What is on their minds, they dare not ever say!!
It is a crime unto their tribe, if they ever speak out their minds.
Therefore, you see, so difficult to deal with them one finds.

Why, why & why...is the sky so high?
Why, why oh! why...are men always in a quagmire?
Of course they are fools, so they will see no reason...
If you are to fall for one, it would be as cold as being put in prison!

Yet, you shall strive, and try till eternity.
Though, they will be blind, and deaf, and show total apathy.
You shall reason with them, only to be shown the door.
The only saving grace will be then, a prayer, and hope until you can hang on to it, for sure!

Even if they feel just as you do, they will never ope their lips to say so is the truth.
And if they say something, which drives you to madness, take it easy, dear woman, it is a sign of hidden fondness.
He will sneer and laugh, and cold-shoulder you.
He will ignore you, and torment, and say could-not-care-less too.

Yet, you must be patient, for that is what he wants.
A woman who is patient to his child-like tantrums.
He knows he is weak, and just fears to lay bare,
His heart, as he knows it, once broken, is beyond repair.

So, he just acts difficult, to assure himself,
Of you, and your virtues, and values, for he cares.
He knows what he wants, but he hides it from you.
For he knows not how genuine is the heart that beats within you!

So keep showing it woman, show him that you care.
Let not one moment of opportunity pass you in despair.
Hope, if you not lose, who knows, there will be a day,
When you and your man, will lay all secrets bare.

That day you shall see, how strong you are.
How meek he is and how insecure.
You were made by your Maker an epitome of strength,
To be shaken, and tested, to any length?!?

Yes, that is not fair, as you would believe.
Yes, it is not fair play, though they do as they please.
But the Maker has kept it thus, for reasons not plain,
He knows only you can take that much pain.
Yet, be there by man's side, come storm, hail or rain!

p.s.: if you find similarities, it is because we are all cut out from the same fibre... :) !

Sunday, June 6, 2010

For They Were There...

Here's to 22 May, 2010!!!
And to 'Them'!!

I was scared, nay, petrified. I would perspire at the very thought of it. The minute I stepped close to one, my heart skipped not one, but 75 beats a minute. I would look, and stare at them, as they surfaced, and then vanished, moved either up and up or down and down. Ceaseless. That motion had me on the edge. All exercises to bring on the 'calm', failed! Big time!!

I remember creating quite a mess for those who tried I get the hang of them. Unabashedly, I would tell them that they would only end up making a fool of themselves and the entire effort would embarrass them in the bargain.

When I entered spaces and facilities that would qualify as little less than high rises, I would scurry to spot fire exits and elevators. I would excuse myself and run on the hunt. I would cite excuses to the tune of 'being health conscious' (yes, I can almost hear some of you grimace and sneer ;) ... so hush, hush!!). I would even quote the last deadly encounter I had with them...almost 10 years back.

One day, I found myself desperately seeking the fire exits, so much so, that my younger brother patted my back with a congratulatory pat, and said, "now that's what we call 'survival instinct!'
Nay. I was not embarrassed, for I was sure I could never ever do it again.

I was so very petrified of getting onto escalators.
Then came the 22nd of May, 2010.

Three of my pals from college and I went gallivanting. Agenda: to loaf around. We stepped into a shopping mall and my heart started racing. While the rest of them headed towards the escalators in the basement, I ran to the nearest fire exit.
They were sweet enough to follow suit and climb the stairs with me.
Each time they obliged. At times they waited while I hunted for exits and elevators, and then waited until we got the chance to step into a relatively empty one. Soon, 'twas time to return.

No, they said, they would not let me run to look for fire exits or elevators now. My heart stopped beating and I looked as if I was freshly out of some high end sauna. I coaxed them with my smile first and then cajoled them with a thousand 'please-s' and more.

No. They were not going to listen. Not today. I had to do it they said. My usual reasoning that they would waste their time and I would embarrass them, took me no where today. They were simply not going to listen to any of my pleadings.

I remember their words, "we can wait for you Vasu, for an hour, for two...even more. Today, however, you have to step onto it!"
"You must conquer this fear". Nay. I did not give in. I did not budge. We stood their. five minutes passed, and then ten. It was soon twenty minutes of pleadings and encouragement...and then thirty. People passed by, watching in amazement, for each time I would step closer to the escalator and then inch backwards. After uncountable "please excuse me-s", and constant you-can-do-it encouragement from the trio, I stepped close to it again. Then ran right back.

It was an hour later that they said, "okay, let us make a deal...one of us steps onto it before you, and one after. One will be right next to you, holding your hand." Again, we stepped closer to it, one of them stepped onto it. I shied yet again.

Finally, they said, "what are you afraid of?". "Of falling and tripping onto it," said I.
"We will not let you fall. One in front of you , one behind, and one by your side. We say step, and you just step. Don't fail us then. Again, we will not let you fall, Vasu", said they.
Finally, all said, " trust us. We will not let you fall.".

The last of their so many words got me thinking. Here were three friends, who had been patient long enough. If that day, I would not have stepped onto it, they would not have said any thing. Yet, I would have lost. This struggle against myself, and the fear of escalators. Also, some amount of respect in my own eyes.

One stepped. The one next to me held onto my hand. "Step", said the friend, and I did. I lost a beat, and while the third stepped after us, I felt comforted, and reassured. It was a moment of mixed emotions. Of having conquered this ten-year-long fear, of being blessed with friends so patient and kind, and of the knowledge of being in safe company. Then there was this feeling of , "what a fool I had been all of these years.

They then made me practise. Twice and then thrice, and finally a fourth time, before we left for home. They 'yay-ed' me throughout. They patted me on the back. They celebrated my little victory. I can never ever forget the alertness with which each would be perceptive the minute I would step onto the escalator, for they knew, that I was scared.

I am no longer scared of getting onto one. Albeit holding hands. Yet, there always is a first time...and always a first step. Thanks to the trio! I feel so precious and blessed!!

P.S.: Could not help keeping this one short. They merit the details. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Whatever will be , will be!

How often have you paused in your tracks to wonder that there is some force, some dynamics at work, that adds that final push or blow to what you have planned? That you can plan, but execute you will on subject to that 'will', that you could at best be content with the fact that you tried, and that as they all say, "man proposes and GOD disposes"?
Let me not get you to think that I am those behaviour-books-preach-this Type A/Type B person. Nay, I am not one to sit back and do nothing for I know I cannot decide what will be.
I am one who knows, that whatever will be, will be. Yet, my sweat and toil can and will eventually tilt the balance in my favour. In your favour, in our favour!
I often am left thinking how trivial and spec-like I am before that unseen power, that order, that force! And I bow, in obeisance!! However, I also appreciate that there will be a few who will counter this thought, with perchance a logic flawed, or otherwise. I am staying put. I swear allegiance.
Here for you L&G, a humble case in point.
My recent trip to Bombay ( no come what may, I still prefer to call it Bombay), though deserves to be chronicled in a separate post.
All my bags packed, I left for the station-lock, stock, and barrel. The station, true to its reputation, is bustling with activity. Security, travellers, the occasional stray dog, porters, stalls, A.H.Wheeler-there were these and more. The B
infamous Bombay humidity irked me, as I dragged my feet towards the platform. I was so overwhelmed with all that happened for the week I stayed there, that my otherwise quick feet refused their office. I wanted to stay a bit longer. And then there are 'signs'. I did manage to reach the platform and soon enough, the train chugged in to the platform. "This is it!", I said to myself.
I still had to check my ticket status, and I dial the railway enquiry number. The train engine blows its whistle loud and clear. Time to say goodbye. I am straining my ears to listen to what the IVR says. "Passenger 1, booking status- followed by a loud whistle- interrupted by yet another loud one-current status,- porters yell, passengers scream, rush, madnees on the platform,"
"Passenger2, book...whistle, rush, scream, whistle, waitlist."
What did I jsut hear? "Waitlist". I try again, to no avail. I call up a friend to check on the Internet.
Yes! The ticket remianed unconfirmed. And I stay on for another week.
I rushed to the counter to get it cancelled and head back home. That voice in there is mumbling... it says something... I try to shut it up..but my mind speaks louder this time, so much so that I end up thinking aloud...
Que Sera Sera...
Yes, whatever will be, will be! and commitments half-met will ensure that they get completed, unless ofcourse, tehy are meant to be left unfinished.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Death, Be Not Proud !!!

Oh! There are so many things that i would want to write on...the sad story is, that each time i log in to my account, i am left thinking for 'what-precisely-should-i-write-on?' !!
I had this urge last night, to write on Death. Reasons: best -known to me, and I have just decided that I am not going to share them here...
However, Death, it is!
Different things to different people- that is how i define 'Death'.
To a child, the loss of an important cornerstone of her life; to an adult, the loss of companionship/friend; to an artist, the loss of a pioneer/champion to the cause; to a soldier, the moment-of-truth of his duty; to a student, the fear of losing an opportunity to learn from the one who left; to a musician, a subject he can pick to express his talent on; to a celebrity, yet another/maybe final brush with the paparazzi; to a conman, a chance to con yet again or a turning point in life, that results in him never conning anyone anymore; to a protege, the loss of a guide and mentor...this could go on...each one of us can interpret it the way we want to.
To me, it is not a force, but , 'how do i put this?', ah! 'a subject which never ever fails to draw my undying attention to it!!'
I would lie to all of you if i say that i am strong enough to remain unaffected by what 'Death' does to people around me...that i remain composed when i lose a loved one. Yet, every bursh with it lends some 'strength' to cope with it. So while it is tears and denial in the first few minutes, it is courage to face the truth in the rest of the next that follow. And there have been times, when this barrage of strength gives way, and the over-bearing human nature to weep takes over, and then, tears do flow. So much to let myself know, i am human ;) !
Drawn to Death eversince i got to know what it means/does not mean, I have sought to understand what it is all about. My writings, my expressions, my talks, all bear an impression of my ummm... not inclination, but certainly, interest/will to stand tall before it!
Death serves like an 'experience'-the more you get to witness it from close quarters, the more 'used-to' you get to it and its dark ways. Yet, each time you get back to the 'living' faster than you did the last time.
Death teaches!!
It teaches us to let go, to rejoice while we have the time, to cherish wonderful memories of those who have left us, and the oft-quoted truth, "nothing is eternal. Life and our existence upon this Earth is ephemeral."
The human spirit is 'elastic'...and it rebounds, after each such brush with this snubber! and as they say, life goes on...
As far as my thoughts go, the only befitting end to these thoughts is here, in the very words of John Donne:

"Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppie, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better then thy stroke; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Trip to Amritsar

I love to travel.

It was more of an impromptu plan..."let us go to Amritsar", said one of us.
"Aye!", we assented!!! Tickets got booked even with the salary showing a dangerously low mark. Plans made. Tickets booked. Rest is when we get set to go. That was November of 2009.
Cut to December.
First week passes by with minimal chill in the air...
"Winters do not quite feel like winters, anymore!", said I to one of my friends. "Yes, how hateful this is becoming!", said the friend.
December last week, weather reports and news channels are crying hoarse about how cruel and harsh the winters are this time...the cold wave as always true to its image, gave reason to people to stay indoors rather than venture out.
It struck me first, our tickets, to Amritsar, booked for January, first week!!! :)
What luck! We get to see winter in all its glory!!
Everyone who hears the itinerary is sure enough to laugh our plan off! And so they do.
I readily scan papers for the temperature at Amritsar, hovering anywhere from -2 to 0, each day.
Woah! This is going to be some trip!!! :)
Meanwhile, the Indian Railways books huge losses owing to cancellations of trains. The Shatabdis, Rajdhanis and Sampark Krantis are not spared. It is only but natural for the lesser locos to get cancelled...and ofcourse, delayed, at times, by more than an hour. I choose not to mention about flights, because I am an eternal "hope personified" being, and I still believe that because exceptions are always there, common sense, after all, just may be rather common! Also, because I care more for the trains...I too am travelling on one to Amritsar.

January 8

The morning trains get cancelled. So do the ones that are to run in the evening. I pray that mine does not. I calculate my funds, the other two friends too quickly do theirs. "Noting doing!", say we, "if the train ain't taking us there, a cab surely is!"
We reached the station. I scan the status board almost every five minutes. We have our share of fun too. The platform is pure chaos. People...men, women, youngsters, good(handsome)young men to look at, children, porters, luggage, pick pockets, dogs, security, F&B...we had it all there!
We clicked a few quick pics ( my other two friends are rather camera friendly, love to pose endlessly, and needless to say, they are eternal posers! :P )
A boy reads aloud on the platform, he is reading a novel... one of my buddies goes and clicks him.. he is so engrossed, he barley notices... We munch onto something...we look around at other passengers...and we stay alert...and I true to my "restless" self, keep rushing to the board to see whether our train is on time.
Soon, it is official, the train is two hours late...
We pose more, we click, we talk, and wait...finally the train chugs into the platform...everyone picks up their luggage and is ready to board the train.
"Wait!, there is still time to go", says the engine driver. Twice , thrice, it shunted... each time, raising our hopes, and crushing them to smithereens...
We are on it finally, 18:40 hours...and we leave New Delhi for Amritsar. The train is abuzz with chatter. People offer unwarranted advice on the time it would reach Amritsar, and more. The chap behind us cannot stop talking...and all of my life I had been thinking I would put any obsessive conversationalist to shame with my gift of the gab!
The train is doing just 20 kmph, for the records...and we are starving ... when the attendant gets the tea, he smiles and says, "Madam jee, it all depends...".
We get it.
We cross Panipat in three and a half hours...ask anyone who has been on that route before what it means. In short, it spells doom for the people on board the train!
We have had soup, and then dinner, and the "eternal crap" sitting behind us is still going on. He is just unstoppable. When people don't realise, they ought to be made to realise. Soon enough he minds himself.
Our enthusiasms did not flag despite the train's delay...and we also know by now that we are not to reach Amritsar before dawn breaks...
Winter at its best...a journey that generally lasts six hours, lasted almost twelve. 05:45 hours is when the train whisltes onto the platform.

PS: If I continue to write about what happened when we reached in this post, I would have fewer readers than what I presently do...more in next.

If you cannot convince them, confuse them...

I have quite an "urge" to write today. Write precisely what, is what I am not able to pin down...
So let me try something...I do not even know what that "something" is, for I am just typing sans thinking...it could be a game, a writing development exercise...just about anything..m random thoughts...by the minute...!
So...here we go!
I am listening to some songs...laid back, with a melancholic and mushy touch to them...and I am sipping some tea...and I have a lot of things running on my mind.
Nay, this is not writer's block. Experimentation, I would rather call it! ;)
These are the first few thoughts that come to my mind...and I shall not edit what I write now, for the next five minutes. The timer is set, three...two...one...
Songs, because they are what I am presently listening to. Some songs are purely addictive. Dil tou baccha hai jee, from Ishqiya is one such...I have kind of fallen for the rhythm, the lazy manner in which it has been sung, and ofcourse the lovely strumming.
My writing, it is lying where I left it a month ago...what is happening to it...? When am I going to get back to it..write a few pages more...perchance complete it? No, I do not know!!
In a time not so long ago, in a place not so far away was a village called "Utopia". Off all the citizens of that village nestled between hills, "Arjun", was the best soul that the village had ever had.
I have a lo to do...

PS: If you actually have read it to the end, re-read the title, please.