Wednesday, 15 December 2010


"I close my eyes and I let my body shut itself down and I let my mind wander. It wanders to a familiar place. A place I don't talk about or acknowledge exists. A place where there is only me. A place that I hate. I am alone. Alone here and alone in the world. Alone in my heart and alone in my mind. Alone everywhere, all the time, for as long as I can remember. Alone with my Family, alone with my friends, alone in a Room full of People. Alone when I wake, alone through each awful day, alone when I finally meet the blackness. I am alone in my horror. Alone in my horror..."
-james frey, a million little pieces

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

dim blue light...

As the darkness is occasionally disturbed by the lights of oncoming vehicles,
I yearn to see if you will smile,
as the bus eats away the miles to our destination swiftly,
I wonder if you would be mine,
there is only a dim blue light between us girl.

Brightly lit temples we pass,
and there is a soft drizzle on the glass,
the breeze from the open window blows your hair towards me,
and I wait to see your face in the glow of your cell phone,
there is only a dim blue light between us girl.

Sleep eludes me even as everyone else is fast asleep,
having seen you smile once, I want to see it again.
I watch you as you stare out dreamily from the frosted windows,
as you try to breathe in the smell of wet earth through your tiny little nose.
There is only a dim blue light between us girl.

There is a slow song playing in my head all the while
and I'm torn between my desires of reaching home early
being beside you forever.
As you fiddle with your bangle and steal innocent glances,
I know you too are thankful for this dim blue light between us girl...

Sunday, 16 May 2010


photography (noun) the art and technology of producing images on photosensitive surfaces, and its digital counterpart.

Photography was a hallowed art once, with seasoned practitioners, who perfected their art over the years. Every town had one or two famous studios where one used to get their photos clicked. Ah! What an occasion that used to be! There would be a tinge of thrill in the air when the people got ready to go to the studio. Carefully selecting their attire, powdering their noses, meticulously parting their hair, adjusting bindis, oiling moustaches... And once at the studio, trying to strike the perfect pose, while the photographer adjusted the lights to bring out that perfect photograph, after umpteen looks at the studio mirror to ensure that no strand of hair stood out of place.

It was probably a curious art form earlier, when the photographer vanished behind a huge camera, under a blanket, to click those exceptional black and white photographs of yore. Stately princes with their kills, royals in all their jewelled splendour, temples and palaces which seem to be stuck in a black and white time though the world was as colourful as it is now. (Little secret: I find it hard to imagine my ancestors in colour till this day! They will always be the black and white image of themselves which I glanced upon sometime)

Then there was the era of the family hand-held camera. Those little gadgets which accompanied families on outings, wrapped in a soft cloth. It revolutionized photography, much like when the Indian economy was opened. It meant that anyone could be a photographer & you could treasure the memories of your trips forever in a hard bound album. But as rolls came with only 24 or 36 shots, it took careful consideration & calculation to ensure that you had a photo of the best moments of the trip. There was not a photo to waste!

And then came the digital cameras. Bulky apparitions to begin with, but they got sleeker with time, and bulky again - to support more features. They sounded the death knell for small photo studios & analog cameras. And now with cameras in every mobile, there is not an ounce of privacy left in anyone's life! You never know when someone will point a camera in your face & pop a picture! A candid moment...

But somehow instead of making photography enjoyable, digital cameras have taken the joy out of it. You don't treasure your photographs, you don't love your cameras - because you are too busy looking for upgrades, you don't remember your trip because you spent the whole time either taking pictures or posing for them!

The number of photos you can take in a digital camera is virtually infinite. As soon as your memory cards start getting loaded, all you got to do is transfer all the photos to some web album, and you are ready to start fresh again!

What has happened though now is when 10 people go on a trip, at least half the members carry a digital camera, and each one will upload 500 odd photos. Compare this with the times when a group had to adjust with just one analog camera and means only for 24/36 photos! So now at the end of our trip, we have 2500 odd photos & a mild headache going through them & no one really wants to see them again a few years down the line.

So has technology really improved our lives? Or are we just using things just because they are available to us, falling into a bottomless pit as we do so? Of course, all these advances in technology means that we get a lot better photographs than we used to, we have access to all our photos at any time, we don't have to wait for a week for the photos to be developed, we can reorganize albums as we wish...

At the end of it all, just one moment stands out in my mind. I was in a theatre in Pune, on screen a father and son were walking on the breakwater towards the sunset while the mother stood on the shore with a newborn. When they reach the end, the father realizes that he has forgotten to bring his camera along & now it’s too late to turn back and fetch it as they would miss the glorious sunset. So he kneels down next to his little son and tells him that they can’t photograph this moment, "Remember it always. Remember that you and I made this journey and went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go"

The photo was etched in our memory forever...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

blast from the past...

Do you know the feeling when you have a song stuck in your head & just cant get it out? Well, I've had my fair share of absolutely ridiculous numbers playing on and on for days together in my mind, so much that every time I open my mouth to hum a song, I subconsciously sing that same irritating tune!

The last few days, I've been humming this song we wrote in the 7th standard! I have no idea how it found its way back to my conscious mind. Here is how it goes (Yes! I actually remember the lyrics from a song written for a school play over 13 years ago - though I cant go grocery shopping without a list!):

Trees, the beautiful trees,
they give us all that we shall need,
wood for furniture,
fruit for our dessert,
leaves for medicine,
& yet we're hard to please,
we cut them down without mercy,
as pretty as we please,
oh! what a beautiful world,
ours would have been,
if only each of us,
plant a tree within!

Maybe it's because of the Earth Hour this evening...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

the end of an era...

It’s quite amazing how people & places become so intricately involved that it’s hard to imagine one without the other. The adaptability of living beings is unquestionable. In no time people adapt to their surroundings & acquire characteristics specific to particular places. But have you ever thought that places may be influenced by the people that live in them? That it could be hard to imagine a place as you knew it, once the person attached to that place moves somewhere else?

There is a great void in one area for me, now that my friend who used to live there has moved. On my way back, after seeing him off, I found myself involuntarily humming Md Rafi's "chale the saath milke, chalenge saath milkar, tumhe rukna padega meri aawaaz sunkar...". He had moved many times within that area, but this is different. All those eat outs, chai joints, the places we tramped about together will no longer be the same, & no one may ever know. But to me, it will all be as alien as it was before he introduced me to it. How can I forget the first time I parked my new bike, fresh out of the showroom, at his doorstep, the first time I saw the sunset from the temple hill, the first time I had that soup on the road corner...

Though he would spend more hours per week in my room than his, he still leaves an unforgettable imprint on his area. Of course, he influenced the colours of my walls too, there may be no more enthusiasts left for terrace cricket anymore nor anyone to accompany me to dabba movies with an unparalleled zest in the run down theatres of my locality, but now there will be no one to call for directions, the next time I'm lost in that jungle of an area of his, no one to tell me about the new places open there or unbelievable offers!

I'm sure as kids we all had favourite spots in our homes. Places where we could be happy, where we could be sad, where we could laugh & everyone would know, where we could cry & no one would know, where we hid things, where we curled up when we were scared, places which smelt good, places which let us stretch our hands to catch the drops of the first rains... All these places too acquire a distinct character. Yours. Your parents would probably look at these places when you are away from home, & try to imagine how it felt when you were there...

There is a joy in knowing a place, its lanes, its shortcuts, to be able to warn your friends about the speed breakers & potholes on the road in the dark, which tea stall will be open till what time, when the baker bakes his bread, which barber gives you value for money... When a person moves from a place, you lose a source of so much information! We also lost the ration point, where we stored all our eatables before a trek. There will be no more stops in front of that house. But every time I pass in front of those places, I will remember. I will remember the stars shining brightly in a dark, cloudless night sky, when us friends would try to point out constellations to each other on the terrace, I will remember the aroma of the dosas as they came out fresh from the kitchen of our local food joint, I will remember the comfortable silence as we killed time sipping tea on the steps of the tea stalls, I will remember the empty roads as I returned to my place late at night after dropping my friend to his room, I will remember his eccentricities & his stubbornness & I will miss the love we had for laziness typified by our dishevelled looks & unkempt hair!

Change is good & change is necessary, I can understand his pursuit of happiness. Maybe I'm a little sorry that I'm still in this hole, sad that I have not managed to chase the dreams of change which I cherished. I am now reminded of a time, which seems so long ago, when someone said to me "There is nothing in Goa, make your life elsewhere" & me thinking "Everything is in Goa"...