Sunday, December 4, 2011

The rejected script for a short




The present

Scene 1: A sultry hot afternoon in a small town somewhere in north India. A few 6-8 year old children are playing hide and seek in the compound. There is a lot of noise and chaos. The camera zooms in beneath a staircase. In the cool darkness sits the protagonist, a 7 year old boy – average height, fair complexion, hair neatly combed to one side, plump face; he is sitting on his haunches, anxiously awaiting the seeker, staring straight into the camera for half a minute. Then he looks down and there is a sudden gleam in his eyes – something to his right has caught his attention. The camera focuses on his excited eyes as he bends forward and picks up the alien object. He hides it in his fist and pockets his discovery. Then he goes back to his original stance and the noise outside returns to its earlier chaotic levels.
Scene 2: A small bedroom in the small north Indian town described in Scene 1. A middle aged woman, around 35, medium height, wearing a cotton sari; is sitting in front of her dressing table. The camera shows us the woman from a distance. Next, it zooms in on the sunlight entering the room through an open window and moves on to the slowly revolving ceiling fan. We hear the woman humming an old film song slowly. Then the camera moves to the mirror. Through the mirror, we get a glimpse of the woman’s face. There is a faint, excited smile at the corners of her mouth as she applies kohl to her eyes. The little boy (the protagonist) comes running into her arms. She lovingly lifts him in her arms and places him on the bed. Then she holds his little face in her hands and says – “Tere papa ka phone aaya tha, wo kal aa rahe hain”. This brings a wide grin to the boy’s face. The mother leaves the room, humming the song excitedly. The boy jumps down in front of the dressing table, deftly touches his shirt pocket and lifts his mother’s mangal sutra. He puts it around his neck and starts grinning, staring at himself in the mirror. The camera moves to the TV set in the corner of the room, flashing images of the Kargil war.
Scene 3: An army truck, moving on a rugged mountain road. Just before twilight. We see a group of soldiers sitting in the open back of the truck. A soldier standing on one corner of the truck, stares into the open space around. He is a middle aged man (35-40), but looks older. Has thick stubble. The camera zooms in on his focused, unyielding eyes.
Scene 4: A small railway station. It’s around 11 am. The station is in its perennial state of chaos. Amidst the crowd on the platform, we see our protagonist standing with his mother, waiting for a train. The child is holding his mother’s finger. He stands with his head down, staring at the shadows of the passing passengers, humming a rhyme. His mother stands craning her neck in the direction from which the train will arrive. There is a glint in her eye as the sun shines on her face. Soon, we hear the rumbling sound of the approaching train. We see in the distance the smoke billowing out of the engine. Then slowly, losing pace, the train enters the platform. Mother and son take a couple of steps forward as the train slowly screeches to a halt. The man shown in Scene 3 emerges from a compartment some distance away from them. He is carrying an army trunk, which he drops at the sight of the approaching duo. The mother takes a few quick steps and hugs him. They let go after a few moments. The child, waiting patiently till now, tugs at his father leg. He lifts him in his arms, grinning widely. The father kisses the child on both cheeks. The child then takes out something from his shirt pocket, his fist clenched tightly around the object. He says to his father – “Papa, aap humara budday bhul gae the, but hum nai bhule. Hum aapke lie present laye hain”. The father asks what it is. The boy asks him to close his eyes. He obliges. The boy slowly opens his fist and puts a black thread around his father’s neck. The father looks down on his chest to find a plain black thread containing a small, yellowish pendant. The camera zooms in on the object in question. It’s a golden bullet, glistening in the shining sun. The camera moves to the father’s face as the son asks him – “Kaisa laga humara present?”. The wrinkles around his eyes are enhanced as he looks at the pendant, then at his son, in a state of utter confusion. A dark shadow crosses his face as we see a closing shot of the glistening bullet, resplendent in the warm sunlight. The sound of a gun going off is followed by darkness. THE END.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Night




When the day has run its heady sprint
In glaring sunlight your eyes burn
The winds of change distort
Age-old patterns on your skin
Innovations block evolution
Clipping the wings of desire
In honour of survival, quietly walks the songbird
Away into the sunset
For it knows there will be darkness
At the end of every shining beam
The dark night will return
Silent, cool as a shadow
Smoothening its furrowed forehead
With a soothing touch....
Its arms open unto infinity
Songbird embraced...no questions asked
No plans perceived
The darkness will restore the vanishing light
To those swollen eyelamps
And rekindle the embers of the dying fire inside
Prepare you for the many battles ahead
The many silent nights
Biding their time, behind the glare of tomorrows!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do ghante aur!





Do saal do din do ghante hi sahi
Mil jaate agar to kya kia karte ham
Kya jaan lete wo shireen raaz
Jo band aankhon ke piche chupe andheron me quaid hain?
Kya chu hi pate un andheron ki tanhaiyon ko?
Us khamoshi ki tamaamiyat ka andaz bhi laga pate ham?
Kya us pyaas ko bhujane ko kaafi hain do ghante,
Jo is rooh ki gehraiyon me ik sadi se baaki hai?
Us masoom chehre ki ek jhalak bhi dekh pate agar
Jo is shakl ke hijab ke piche se nazar aati hai aksar
thodi dhundhali, bohat azeez si zaalim
un aankho se do jam hi pi lete agar
to samajh lete ham bhi
ke do ghanton me paa liya wo
jise kho kar na jaane kitne janmo
se ye aks zaa’i hai!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another couple

Two hours you say. That’s 120 minutes, or 7200 seconds. Phew! That’s a fat lot of time to spend. Hmmm... Can’t deny that I’m tempted by the prospect. Half an hour of extended sleep in the morning, an extra 20 minutes socializing on Facebook and Twitter, a couple of more articles to read, another episode of my favorite sitcom. That’s a neat little package. And that is probably where the extra 2 hours will end up each day. Piling up on the already tall heap of ‘meaningless’ daily activities. When did I end up devoting 40% of my day to these vicarious pleasures? How about a little exercise for the prematurely ageing joints? Well, since it’s only a plan I am supposed to conceive, I would like to be noble, if only in thoughts. I would like to spend 1 hour teaching my maid’s child, half an hour exercising and the remaining half hour sleeping. It’s one thing being noble, but an iota of practicality is essential to make the resolve strong, necessitating the inclusion of the last activity on the list. I know one hour of tutoring the young fellow won’t change his life or anything but that is the least I can do. And the best I expect from myself. Why this sudden softness of the hard-as-a-boulder, young urban heart, you may enquire? Well, I suspect there is a selfish motive behind it. I expect to feel good by doing the deed. Yes, that is what it is all about, isn’t it? They say every good intention has a hidden motive. This is the little devil behind mine. When I send that little kid off in the evening with a toffee for doing his homework well, I expect to treat my love lusting heart to a little toffee of satisfaction. So that the next time I blow up 500 bucks on that yummy pasta at Big Chill, the guilt is a little less heavy. Plain logic. You give something, you earn something in return. Meanwhile, the young fellow might bestow upon me a few newly learned abuses, but that’s another matter. If I get that kid to sail through the treacherous waters of school, I will be tempted to invest in his college education, which will perhaps be some real philanthropy. Till then, I’ll be quite satisfied if I can make a start by doing my bit for the underprivileged. As for the rest of the plan, I am supremely confident of my abilities to rest the old body for an additional 30 minutes. Roaming around in the tranquil gardens of sleep and conjuring up a few extra dreams has never been a challenge for my lazy but imaginative mind, and I expect the devil to rise up to the occasion. Well that’s it then, except for the darn exercise bit. Let’s see how that works out, given I haven’t ran so much as 100 meters at a stretch since the end of my splendid cricketing career (spent in the most cramped of northern Indian gullies). And that glorious career was succeeded by another fine one in smoking and beer gulping, which is yet to see the sunset. So, 30 minutes of jogging will be more like climbing a mini-Everest daily. I plan to take along my Doctor friend, just in case.

This post has been written for Indiblogger's Surf Excel Matic Get Smart Contest - If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it? To Participate click on the picture below...



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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monkeys in a cage

We, Homo sapiens, are like monkeys born in a cage....At the beginning of our journey; we are full of innocent wonder. Too dumbstruck by the strange goings-on inside the cage, we feel utterly incongruous in the stifling environment. We refuse to talk to our fellow inmates, who appear to have found a reason for their existence in the cage while we are still wondering. Aboard the chariots of curiosity, we wander afar; hitting the rewind button on hazy records of lives lived yonder, smelling the faint, evaporating aroma of truth. Thus, in serious musing, we pass our days, while adults try to distract us with their silly attention grabbing tactics. They make stupid faces, funny noises and pull and pat our little body parts. Yet we persist, staring at the ceiling, trying to remember the W’s of existence, figuring out why we feel something’s amiss. But slowly we get sucked into the world around us. The lust for lost meaning loses steam as we give in to the biological need to imitate. So, we do and feel and experience what has been done and felt and experienced by the overarching majority of our kinds for millennia. We turn our inherent curiosity to things, objects, mundanities of the worst kinds, insulting our own intelligence irreparably in the process. Like kids on a beach, we build castles of sand and adorn them with our ambitions, dreams and emotions. Whenever, a strong wind blows away parts of the castle, we go about rebuilding it. The inevitability of waves drowning away our little castles never deters us. We are like veteran actors, so used to being on stage that we forget who we really are. We are so lost off the stage that we prefer spending our lives in other roles, complete with costumes and makeup. In fact, we start believing the script that we wrote for ourselves is the reality. Entire lives are lived, wars waged, empires built and destroyed, without so much as a solitary moment spared to look inside. To look at the reflections staring back from the walls of our inner sanctum sanctora – a palace of mirrors, whose key we have lost somewhere. So we ignore the truth for stories, relinquish the thrill of the unexplored forest for the comfortable cage. Running after droplets of rain, leaving untouched the sea inside.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A tiny window



There is a tiny window in a corner of the huge, hollow house that I live in
A window of my escape, beyond the boundaries of illusion
A lovely widow outlined by old, firm vines
Through it I see and feel beauty everywhere

When the clouds turn dark
And the sound of thunder pierces my weak, lost soul
I no longer run for the comfort of my bed
Instead, I stand with my hands on my favorite window

And watch the spectacle unfold outside
I feel truth dawn upon me
The serenity of little rain drops
Their soft touch on my dry skin
The gentle wind caressing me
I devour these dollops of divinity from outside
Without being drenched

It might appear small
But its mightier than the highest walls
For what vision do those solid structures offer?

When the sun shines its sharp rays pass through her
And fill my heart with warmth
It shows me the gentle march of seasons outside
and informs me of the changing seasons within -
The summers of idle dreaming
My winters of frozen melancholy
Monsoons of moist desire
All pass me by as I stand by her

What remains is me and her
Her and me
Looking through each other
Outside and within

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wonderful nazm

“Main khwab khwab jisse dhoondta phira barson… woh ashq ashq meri aah mein samaya tha”

The one I searched for in all my dreams, never did I realize she was part of my every passionate exhalation.

- Farhat Shahzad

Sunday, March 6, 2011

THE MOOR’S LAST SIGH - SALMAN RUSHDIE

MY INTERPRETATION OF THE TALE

CAST

1. Aurora De Gama- Mother India (Or the Congress)
2. Moor- Bombay (the early moor), Mumbai (the later moor)
3. Abraham - The Govt. of India
4. Raman Fielding- Bal Thakray
5. Mumbai Axis- Shiv Sena
6. Uma Saraswati- The multi- faceted problems facing and killing Moor (Bombay)
7. Scarface - Haji Mastan ( Bombay Underworld's first don)
8. Nadia Wadia- Maureen Wadia (the Beauty Queen)

STORY

This is the story of the love- hate relationship between Mother India (Aurora) and the city of Bombay (Moor). Mother India, which paints Bombay in different hues and colours; as a little child in its mother's arms or as a king in his castle or as a murderous man when abandoned by its mother (India). The early refrence to the Nargis- starrer Mother India is a clever hint that the Mother doesn't always protect and care for its child. When the child turns bad, the mother shoots it dead to rid it of its evil. The protagonist, Moor is born in a cosmopolitan city (the Bombay of yore) and country - where Cochin is more British than India, where Catholics marry Jews, where wives embrace their husbands' masculine lovers with open arms and become best friends with them; in a house where art is respected more than the artists' religion or place of birth, where anyone and everyone is welcome as long as they are good at what they do, and where Hindus guard the house (Lambajan) and manage its day- to- day affairs (Jaya He). In such a house is born our Moor, but he is not the usual child, at 6 ft. 5 inches he is as huge and towering over all other people as Bombay is richer than and supreme to all other cities. Because of his size and its prosperity, both Moor and Bombay are unliked, envied, giggled at and treated as outcasts by society. In the early Moor paintings, Moor is loved and cared for by Aurora as Bombay was by India in its early history. He has a damaged and powerful right hand, the Hindu right wing of Maharashtra, which is kept hidden in his clothes, but only till the Paradise of Bombay exists. Abraham, Aurora's husband and partner in crime is India's government, the one who does its dirty business.

The twist in the tale is the entry of Uma, the schizophrenic lover who attracts, bewitches and ultimately destroys our Moor. This character is the metaphor for the hydra- headed monster of corruption, politics, the Underworld, slums and all the ills plaguing the city. Aurora tries to prevent the Moor from falling into Uma's trap, but to no avail. India tried to cleanse Bombay of its evils, but failed, gave up and ultimately turned its scorn on the city. This is what led to the total destruction of the city, the abandonment by it own mother. That is why the late moor paintings depict the fall of the empire, the betrayal of Boabdil by mother Ayxa, the breaking of the black and white diamonds while the Mother watches in the mirror. The city and the Moor, both abandoned by their mothers fall under the aegis of the Dark side, the Evil right hand comes out of the pocket and in revenge for its loss, punches and kills everything in sight.
Darkness pervades where once there was light. Hindu fanatics (the Shiv Sena) take over the once secular, democratic city. The final blow comes when Aurora dies dancing her own dance of death (the dance of Shiva, the destroyer) atop her Kailash Parbat (Malabar Hill). This is synonymous to the fall of the Congress (in the late 1980's). Now the whole country is taken over by the right wing Hindu fundamentalists, the BJP.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sometimes

Sometimes I wish to let go
Of the strands of sanity
Keeping my feet on the ground
To run off the illuminated roads of reason
Into the infinite clamor of chaos

Maybe I’ll find it there
Hanging from a tree
Lost in the shadows of dry leaves
Hanging upside down
Dancing to the sound of blood
Blood rushing to the top of its head

To the very center
Where madness multiplies
Cancerous in its capacity
To annihilate the thin shards of wisdom
Slowly stumbling out of the cerebella

It used to be a perfect place once
Full of farcical finalities
And sweet submissions
The ground beneath my feet moist enough
To bury my cultured corpse
Mummified by that murderous mind

Now the underworld explodes
With violent struggle for escape
Arms flailing, legs lambasting
Kicking at the frail foundations
Aching for a fresh snort
Of fantasy
A dance to the unending trance
The Tingling jingle of bells
Nagging away at the neurotic walls
Of tyranny’s temple

Blood will be lost
And blood will freeze
Only to condense
In a cacophony of clarity
To set the silent night on fire
To drown the din of desire
In a stringy symphony
Of shadows surreal
Your eyes would be dazed
By the might of light
Emerging from the retinas of
My rectitude
And your ears will burst
From the sound of my solitary recital

Don’t say I didn’t warn you
Don’t plead forgiveness
On the tarmac of my take off
For trespassers will be crushed
With the demonic glee of insanity
Burning in the enigmatic engines of escape
And your screams will drown
In the fluid frenzy
Of my freedom flight!

Monday, January 24, 2011

WRITING



The seeds had been sown long ago. Hour spent alone in the school library – immersed in other lives, other thoughts, other worlds altogether. The quest for meaning in a sea of confusion. Living via those people was so much easier. Their actions could be justified, thoughts analysed, motivations understood so easily compared to my own complex mess. Moreover, it was a world I inhabited, where I could enter and exit anytime – uninhibited, unnoticed. A shadow roaming the city alone at night, watching the multitude of stories unfold. Interested by curiosity, yet insulated by my being. But the thought that I could stall the copious stream of thoughts and ideas in my mind and create an entire being – a living, breathing story or poem ; that thought I never paid heed to. It was there at the back of my mind, biding its time, maturing with every changing season. One day, I could not resist it anymore. The barrage broke and thoughts became words and words became poetry. All by itself, my mind gave structure to it. Lovingly, with great caution, like a potter making his first clay pot, I nurtured and embellished it. What pleasure I derived from looking at it, only I could experience, feel it throbbing in my pulse. It did not matter what others thought of it. The inkling that it might be influenced by others stopped bothering me. I revelled in the process and the outcome never failed to excite me. Slowly, at my own unhurried pace, I go about writing my thoughts, pouring drops of my life into the inanimate world of paper. Not too much, but enough to spew my venom, to spread my fragrance.

Friday, January 21, 2011

THE CITY




The city.....it shapes me...breaks me ...every morning I wake up to it...lying in my bed...like a reluctant lover....who has given me a glimpse of her mysterious beauty...a window to the many enigmas contained in her, then abruptly shut me off at the last moment...Sometimes, a seductress alluring the youthfulness in me with a whiff of her perfume....Sometimes, a masseur to my troubled mind....I revel in the coy joy of having lived inside her all these years...the familiarity with her anatomy lulls me into sweet sleep...Suddenly I wake up to a part of her I never knew existed...brutal, violent...yet being pumped by the same heart that so lovingly cradles my childlike existence....my city...”my muse, my whore, my beloved”....I won’t be the same man in another city....my city would be the same without me...I am just one of the many offshoots of her humungous body...my ephemeral being can’t stand up to her permanence....but it can learn from it...learn to live...live with multiple meanings inside it...carry a bouquet of multi-coloured flowers in her lap...love all conflicting, fighting parts of me as much as the whole of me...and be in complete harmony with my many restless inhabitants.