Friday, September 18, 2009

The Invisibles

Not inspired by the mind bending series by Grant Morrisson, so there.

The newspaper delivery boy
The Onyx worker who cleans the garbage dump
The Bus Driver and Conductor
The people working at ticket counters
Your fellow passengers and driver on a bus/ share auto
The waiter who serves you at a hotel/pub
The beggars you meet in a day
The shop owner at the mobile recharge place
The store assistants at the grocery/clothing store
The temple boys
The doctor's assistants
The usher at the movies
The petrol bunk boys and girls
The people who clean our excrement ridden railway tracks
The lady who sweeps the dust off the roads in the morning
The iron man
The chaukidaar who shouts on nightly patrols
The electrician/plumber
The cable guy
The delivery guys

The list of people who we see but do not notice. The new invisibles. I'm sure there are tons of people i've missed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Austere Penance

Doesn't the word Amar Chitra Katha conjure up images of yellowed pages, their glorious rustling and those pages after dripping with glorious 4 color art(i hate the desktop era 16 million print) ? In my case, Uncle Pai's merry crew served as my first introduction to the rich, under explored and ill understood world of indian mythology.

There were certain formulae, certain rules which every story followed. There would be an Asura, who is fuelled by certain motivation, to seek certain boons from either Bramha or Shiva. And the way to get your boon? AUSTERE PENANCE!!! I am not kidding, right from Hiranyaksha to Rahu to Chanur, and so on, every major antagonist undergoes severe meditation (with the classic anthill forming on their bodies) and god miraculously appears, grants their boons, (indirectly sowing seeds for chaos) before god/goddesses save the day.

Well, imagine my surprise when i opened today's paper, to see the word "Government's Austere Drive". Having once watched the Lok Sabha channel once (don't ask, it was a dull and lonely afternoon), i could not for the life of me imagine any of our beloved saints in delhi undertaking fasts and chanting sessions. But then again, i could imagine them as the Asuras of myth, seeking forbidde boons to obtain forbidden fruits.

But as i read through the article, i couldn't help but laugh. Austerity in India means a minister must fly economy class and make a fuss about not making any fuss. Austerity in India means only taking 3 additional people along( when only the minister is needed). Austerity in India means "Sacrificing" five star hotel stay and "only" living in posh government guest houses, situated in heart of the cities.

Do away with austerity and start collecting their dues i say!! the mountains of unpaid BSNL bills. The Crores of unpaid travel bills (for family and friends on official trips), electricity overuse, and plain old bungalow grabbing, even after being booted out by their constituencies! levy charges from their personal pay and disqualify them, when they fail to attend even 30 % of the parliament sessions.

Cynical i know. perhaps i should switch over to Hindustan Times. what say?

Saturday, September 12, 2009


You return home after a tiring day out,
a sigh emanates from your lips.
Feel like whooping, too tired to shout,
and slowly, with a dream, sink into the couch.

The world goes silent, or perhaps you grow deaf,
and listen to the music of your soul.
A light that shines from within, fills your eyes,
and you discards the burdens of growing old.

Then the sting, that travels up the spine,
eyes flare open, bliss left behind.
A dread that throbs and burns you up,
a buzz announces terror, come to sup.

The nightmares that never ever leave,
on stormy nights, or humid dreams.
An enemy who cannot be slayed,
mock our progress, to our dismay.

They dwell in our homes, much before we do.
And linger long after we've left.
An evil so ancient that it will endure,
and outlast humanity, with contempt.

You slap your skin here, Oh another spot there!
Stop moving so fast, it isn't fair.
There's one of me, and thousands of you,
powerless in the glare of your stare.

There goes that hum again, the call of pain.
Of parting with blood we'll painfully regain.
I've tried smoke, mats and gel,
yet you soldier on, with total disdain.

I close my doors and windows are shut,
The lords outside try to burn you out.
Yet you always killed and continue to,
helpless we are, our defenses few.

Perhaps we only get our due,
for killing this world to suit our needs.
We may conquer space, land and sea,
but your creed conquers us with glee.

Through the ages, you've truly earned,
the title of being our greatest foe.
We will pray and hope for a day,
when we lay to waste, the menace of the mosquito.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Great Game Resumes

Well, i am taking a break from all the rhyming and indulging my verses for once. A recharge as it were, for regular prose, lest i forget how to compose it.

I recall a quote i read somewhere, which said " Politicians are bullies who never grew up and Politics remains an extension of playground warfare". Which just about sums up my feelings as i read about Chinese incursions into Indian territory.

I have tremendous respect for the men and women in uniform, who stay awake so that we may sleep. The armed forces always command a sense of respect and gratitude in India. But their masters, our ministers seldom do so.

Far too often, our politics has used the might of our army for public display and bragging purposes. Remember the year long standoff that India and Pakistan indulged in, post the attacks on the Parliament? What purpose did that action serve, besides keeping soldiers on both sides on high alert, with tensed nerves? I can't stay in a nervous state for more than five minutes, so imagine what 13 months of "High Alert" mode can do to a person.

Those who bay for the blood of their enemies, all in the name of "national honor and pride" are seldom the ones facing enemy fire in the battlefield. It is this disconnect between the glamour and horrors of war, that result in inexplicable delays in procurement of equipment, revision of pay, and upgrade in post retirement benefits. While the babus themselves are busy in increasing their salaries and extending the reach of benefits doled out to them.

As far as Chinese incursions go, my gut feeling is that the Chinese authorities are playing mind games with our leadership, to gauge their reaction levels. In today's world, apart from USA, no country has the sanction to invade another in the name of "liberation and spread of democracy". But what can be tested, is the reaction times of foreign armies, as well as the strength(or the lack of) of their intelligence network. Officialese notwithstanding, the People's Army can add another feather into it's cap, with two successful exercises of incursions into hostile territories.

This "Bluff" game has made the Centre nervous and left them high strung. While our ministers spend their time in drafting the expression of outrage, General Ping and his boys must be patting themselves in the back, over a job well done. The scars of the lost war may have healed, but the wound festers within.

Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai. Just like the Ambanis.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


I bob gently, up and down,
nauseous and yet not.
Seldom does panic desert me,
the way to the shore, lost.

While i try to ponder and decide,
is it murder or suicide?
To waste your life as it goes by,
Always shrinking and shirking,
from a burden only you can feel.

Not an anchor on whom to fix,
my empty reserves of prayers. Bliss
which teases and never comes,
into my arms, efforts undone.

Am i alive? Am i dead?
Not a feeling left in my head.
A heart that pumps a blood so cold,
freezes love and blackens gold.

Where is the rope that will bind,
a person to what they hope to find?
What is this elusive hunger to live?
A shoulder to lend, a hand to give?

The kingdom of life, a paradise, an island,
on the ocean of eternal sleep.
As i bob up and down, i slowly part,
with all the memories that i keep.

The temples of Beauty, Love and Lust,
Affection, Sympathy, Hope and Trust.
Their flames burn a bright farewell, to those who travel
ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

The silent sea all around me,
frothing and never still.
Impatient to claim me for itself,
moving in for the kill.

No regrets or unfulfilled wishes,
Stilled ambitions, lost kisses.
No remaining ties to my world,
nothing of note to remind.

As i bob up and down, I duck and sink
and leave the living world behind.