Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Lust

Memories of a lifetime of book lust. An ever-growing urge to escape the visible boundaries of my dross, uneventful existence and plunge headlong into the infinitely exciting and unbounded lives of others – men, women, children, Indian, foreign, of all races and classes and colors and aspirations. Plunging into their strange hearts and minds and souls. Using them as looking glasses to examine and make some sense of my own existence.
Staring in open eyed wonder at the old-style glass cabinets in my dark basement school library. That was the place that opened up a whole new world to me. A world far more interesting and personal than the glossy, too perfect to be true world shown by television. Once books entered my life, television took a backseat. Cinema faded into the background, only to emerge as a more powerful influencer in later years.
I still remember feeling my pulse quicken reading about the Hardy boys rushing downtown to solve a case. Or half-comprehending the mental prowess of Sherlock Holmes brooding over a new case while staring out of the window of his 221B Baker Street apartment. All these pleasures came to me in that barely lit underground library with gargantuan wooden tables and red plastic chairs. Shy student that I was, I would sneak into the library by bunking academic classes and carefully place a novel in the middle of my textbook, appearing suitably engrossed in science or maths.
I discovered bookshops really late in life, only once I started earning. The sweetest memory that comes to mind is buying Orhan Pamuk’’s Snow from a Crossword store in GIP, Noida from my first salary. It was the kind of impulsive purchase middle class people engage in when they feel like being lavish after getting their first salary. Had only heard of My Name is Red from Nobel laureate Pamuk till then, but the pristine white cover of Snow, with Ka smoking a cigeratte had me hooked instantly. And what an amazing purchase it turned out to be. A strange, dream-like tale set in a cold, faraway land with a poet as protagonist. A poet who doesn’t write deliberately, but to whom poems “come” in a feverish state during his journeys in an unfamiliar town. Peppered with themes of politics, religion and spirituality.
That first purchase from a bookstore was preceded by 3 long and miserly years as a college student satiating his hunger for the written word from books borrowed from friends and the British Council Library in CP. Funnily enough, the membership fees for that library was gathered by shrewdly coaxing two college friends to join as silent co-members. As I expected, they hardly borrowed their quota of books and I ended up reading their quota as well by paying just 33% of the fee.

Returning to bookstores, before I could allow myself to get addicted to them came the e-commerce revolution and affordability and convenience made Flipkart my new best friend.

To be continued as I have lost interest in this post for now....back to that book I was reading for now...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Lost Generation

We do yoga in the mornings in search of an elusive peace of mind and body.
We work our ass off during the day chasing money we spend on things we don’t really need.
We go on holidays so we may have something to talk about and nice pictures to upload on social media.
We party ritualistically on weekends as if our lives depend on it. We drink till we drop to make the rest of the week bearable.
We smoke weed looking for a temporary nirvana.
We read to quote, write to impress.
We got all the basic necessities of life on a platter. Hardship for us is a measly 10% increment.
We don’t know what we are after or where we want to be. But we are running like mad to get there. With the spirit of competition injected in our blood since childhood, we scamper breathlessly up the corporate ladder to prosperity, two steps at a time.
Perpetually lost between the poverty of our past and the promise of prosperity of future generations. Living cozy, causeless, casual lives.
Cocooned in glittering urban centers of the “shining” parts of India, we are untouched by untouchability and other grim realities of caste, class, race and gender that continue to shape the lives of millions of others of our generation. Rohith for us is just another “Breaking news”. Our Protests beginning and ending with the click of a Like button on Facebook.
Breathing our careers, we are immune to the faint, barely audible call of Identity.
Our lives parched of Politics. Of Passion. Of Poetry. What will your legacy be, they ask us. We stare into space for a long moment, snigger at them and click a few selfies to clear our minds.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ground Ziro

Vast open rice fields all around a tiny elevated piece of heaven. A green sky beneath our feet and a clear blue one above. Pure air in between, clean as white clouds seen from an airplane window. The people - young, bohemian, some looking to escape, some to impress, most to seek and discover. The easy sound of guitars waltzing with the breeze.
Rice beer and wine served in bamboo glasses. Light on the head, heavy on the spirit. Travelling from the sun soaked fields of Punjab to the rain drenched hills of Meghalaya on the wings of a song.
Gum boots and bamboo huts and airborne photographers. Apple cheeked and innocent eyed school kids wearing colours of the sky, ambling by. Up and down a hillock of grass.
The Apatani people - friendly, wearing shy, honest smiles. Humbling the outsiders with their hospitality.
Night - bonfire, guitar and guttural sounds mixing in the mist. Laughter, new friends, old songs, new meanings. Prem baba and chacha galibh flying kites in a starry sky.
Tents and sleeping bags and musical dreams.
The morning after - more of the above.
A festival for saints, seekers and memory keepers.  Addictive.
Banao banao banao banao...right now!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A raped woman speaks

Go rape your mother first
She deserves to see the real face of the monster she gave birth to
In your childhood
When you sucked at her supple breasts, did you bite them like you did mine..with the same demonic glee?
Did you shove your thing inside her like you did inside me?
If you think it makes a man out of you..go do it to her...
Give her back her love ...along with the interest of your barbarity
If boys are boys let your mother be the certifier of your manhood...she deserves it for spouting out filth like you...
Not I didn't ask for it...didn't want I won't let any other man love me...for I am yours for life ..whether you want me or not...I have a right on your thing...I will hack it up into so many pieces that your tiny brain will not even let you count...
But not before it goes inside your mother...from where it should never have come go on now...prove that you are a "man". and I will rejoice in not being cursed by that evil identity... For I can create what you can only destroy..
Rape me a thousand times and each time I will rise...not as your victim but as the mother you betrayed...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mujhe nashe me rehne do!

Mujhe nashe me rehne do
Main nashe me hu to kya
Par nashe me mujhme 'main' nahi
Gar is mai ne mujhse 'main' ko nikala
To is mai se bada duniya me koi nasha nahi

Main: me
'Main': Ego
Mai: Alcohol

Friday, May 16, 2014

Beginning of Ram rajya?

Six thousand lives for six percent growth
Not a bad deal, sirjee
Not bad at all!

He gave us Gujarat
We need development, right?
Never mind Godhra
A blot on the hinterland
Even the moon has spots

He will make a man out of us
Teach us to leave our wives
Wear khakhi shorts
And embark on yatras to annihilate histories

Textbooks will be rewritten
Ram temples will be rebuilt
Ram rajya will return
When Lord Ram himself will lord upon us

We will bomb the bloodsucking neighbours away
They gave us 26/11
We will rule them 24x7

Billions will come rushing in now
Our ratings will soar
FDI, FII, the sleeping sensex will roar

Who cares if the 10% live or die
We can do without them
They are a dark spot on “shining” India
We will shove them away
Sahranpur banega Shanghai
Let us go the China way

What if its their home too
But damn them, they are so few
Let’s build a few more nuclear bombs
And  of course we will subsidise their tombs

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A lament for modern times

Shining iphones with a million apps
Wafer thin handsets, the promise of a zillion pixels
I live in a land of subway surfers and candy crushers
Where our phones are smarter than us
It’s got an eye at the back and a mirror in front
Yet it doesn’t show me
But hey it got 47 likes on facebook, must be a ‘nice’ pic, no?

Let’s burn all the faceless books out there
And download free ebooks
Otherwise what’s the use of that ipad I got
Oh it’s so easy on the eyes, and so many options too
The other day I browsed through a hundred titles
But couldn’t decide on one
Don’t want to waste time on mediocre stuff you see!

Why are the damn birds so angry?
I used to envy their flight once
Tried to emulate it as well
But what the hell
I learnt to tweet instead

The other day, the mirror asked me
Are you all right?
Did you have a breakup?
You haven’t changed your display pic for like a week!
Gosh, I must unfriend that bitch
Don’t worry, I told her
I’ll get over it
Try Black Label, she said
It’s a girl’s new best friend

The world consumed in a race to click the best selfie
While the self lies alone – unheeded
Shrinking into an abysmal wretch
How many friends does it have?
How many likes?