Friday, May 9, 2014

Zehen (Memory)

This one is dedictaed to all those who suffer from Alzheimer's and the pain they have to go through along with their loved ones.

कुछ कहने की कोशिश ,

जुबां से अलफ़ाज़ निकलने को कतराते हैं ,

चेहरे पे इक उलझन नज़र आती है,

जैसे मानो आप कोई पहेली सुलझा रहे हो .

कुछ पढ़ने की कोशिश ,

किताब मानो इक अनसुनी जुबां में लिखी गयी हो ,

न लफ़्ज़ों की समझ , न कहानी का ज़हन ,

आपकी आँखों में एक धुंध सी नज़र आती है

कुछ करने की कोशिश ,

शुरू कहाँ करें , और खत्म कैसे हो ,

भटके हुए से लगते हैं अपने ही घर में ,

खिरकी से बाहर की दुनिया आपको बेहतर नज़र आती है

आप हैं यही पर हैं नहीं ,

कह दीजिये वो बातें अनकही ,

मुनासिब न होगा ये जानते हैं हम ,

एक आस से जीते हैं , ये आस ही सही


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Time to get back on track!!

Its time to channelize my thoughts and actions. The last year was great personally but professionally there seemed to be a void. Like a mid-life crisis, I think I am going through a mid-career crisis. Not that things are bad but I realize that I have reached that point where the curve needs to go up. Some things that I intend to do:

1. Focus heavily on a single area
2. Leverage on my strengths
3. Be more patient
4. Meet challenges head on
5. Respond proactively

Lets go 2013...lets go!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good Over Evil

Happy Dusherra to All of you!!!!

He looked over the heavens and he roared with delight,
He had conquered the the world with all his might,
Neither men nor gods could stop him tonight,
He would slay her to pieces in an unequal fight.

And then there was a tremor that shook him off his feet,
Such powers, such strength never had he seen,
There was fury in her eyes and a fierceness in her laughter,
Never had he fought such a powerful being.

'What the hell', he thought, she is a woman after all,
He will defeat her in no time and on his feet she would fall,
He unleashed his powers and he tried all he could,
Lion, Tiger, Buffalo, he became them all.

She fought like a soldier who never backed down,
She had to end this evil so that there was peace again,
Demons like him had to be put in place,
She would do anything to protect the human race.

The sun rose and set and rose again,
The battle went on for many nights and days,
The demon was tired, not expecting such wrath,
The lady was a fighter, she expected a blood bath.

It was when the sword came out, that he knew it was time,
She drove it into the belly and and yelled out a rhyme,
He was done and dusted as evil met its end,
Good always prevails and thats the lesson my friend.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Ratman of Mumbai

Long Pending. A tribute again to all peculiar vocations

1. Welcome to Mumbai
I woke up with a jerk but even before I could open my eyes, someone had kept his huge suitcase on my feet not noticing that I was sleeping right next to the smelly compartment door.It was dark and the train had reached its destination just 20 hours late from its scheduled time. "Get up and give some space for me to get down you rat", said the passenger and he did not bother to stop there. "Saala tum Bihari log apni aukaad dikha hi dete ho, bhar bhar ke aate ho aur phir har jagah bas jaate ho, compartment ko tho chhod de maadarchhod. Gaali tho samaj aayi naa, hat saale."All this happened in a matter of 10 seconds and I really had to push myself out onto the platform. "Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus mein aapka swagat hai", came the voice from a speaker. What a fuckin welcome!!!Ranchi was definitely a better place to be I thought and why not, it was my hometown after all. But those four walls within which I grew up all my life could not be called home anymore. Dead father, evil stepmom and a sadist sister, life could not have been worse. I had just finished school when my stepmom decided to get married again and more so she decided it was my time to banish me. I was a bastard now in a true sense and my friends did not miss an opportunity to call me that.Like a loafer I spent days and nights in the Ranchi National Park. I worked at the Chai stall for almost four days to earn just enough for a meal and thats when I met Fulwa my schoolmate who left school for almost the same reasons that I did. He told me about Mumbai, the place where everyone makes it big, well in his own way. He drove the auto there but made enough money to get married and rent a house and live life King style."Aaram ki zidagi hai bhai, haan kaam karna padhta hai par yahaan se tho bahut hi acchha hai", he said. "Bas pahunch jao, sasuri zindagi khudahi raasta dikha deti hai"Well then, Mumbai it is but I really hoped that the direction bit was true. So here I was, a nice rough welcome to Mumbai.

2. Vada Paav and Mirchi
It was still dark and the feeling of being a complete stranger in a new city was just too overwhelming. I broke down and I could not hold my tears and for a moment I felt like getting up and catch the next train to Ranchi and get back. But the thought of going back to a place where happiness no longer prevailed was even scarier.Just then, a few rays of the early morning sun brightened the then dark and dingy platform. It was like in the movies. Just when the protagonist is almost done and dusted, there will be a divine voice ringing in his head or a bright light shining just out of nowhere trying to motivate him.Sadly, neither was I a hero nor was this a movie. This was harsh reality. There was enough light to look around and what I saw was nothing less than a horror flick. Beggars, drunkards, dogs, passengers and of course there was I who was probably the only one awake. There was of course the constant stench of an Indian railway station which was unbearable. With just around 1000 bucks in my pocket, I had decided to come down. Now I just wanted to go back. I did'nt really understand what the fear was about.Either it was the people of this city, heartless and self-obsessed, or the comfort that Ranchi provided. As I was lost in thoughts, the inevitable happened. My stomach started to growl and I realized that the last I ate was in the afternoon the previous day. I got up. I desperately needed a cup of tea and something to eat. After a quick leak on the tracks, I looked around for a tea stall.There he was my saviour, the chaiwala. " Bhai zara ek cup chai bana de, kadak wali aur haan, khaane ko kya hai?" . He looked at me and smiled. "Ranchi kaa ho, fikar naahi karo, mumbai ki hawaa abhi abhi lagi hai, theek ho jaoge?". I was thrilled, he understood my apprehensions. "Bhaiya, will I get a job somewhere here?". He handed over the cup of tea,"Look brother, getting work is not a challenge in Mumbai but there will be struggle initially and you have to be strong. The one thing that you have to tell yourself here is that no work is less. Look boss, the railways minister is a Bihari but I had to toil hard to put up this small tea stall here. They hate us here and we need to live with it."He smiled again,"Dont worry, I know what you need and remember this will keep you going in Mumbai." From the bottom of the stall box, he removed what looked like a piece of bun, a really tine one. He cut it with a knife and placed a small ball-like patty. "This is the staple diet of Mumbai, the Vadaa paav. Have a bit and bit into the chilly with every bite." I did as he said and I do not know whether it was hungry tummy or the Vadaa paav, I felt a sense of relief. The bite into the chilly opened my eyes to my first morning of Mumbai.

3. Ab Bhaag Bose DK
When Babloo (The chaiwala) spoke about being willing to do all sorts of work, I had no idea that he could be talking about extremes. He showed me an advertisement which seemed right out of hell. It was an advertisement by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. It said, "Rat Killers Wanted" in bold and there were criteria too. "Only men aged 18 to 30 need apply. They must be able to lift a 50 kilogram (110 pound) sack and run a few kilometres (miles). They must demonstrate their ability to catch and kill a rat in the dark within ten minutes." I was a little surprised with the last criterion. Ability? How can someone have the ability to kill rats and that too in the night? What shocked me was what I read below that was written in big bold yellow letters, "Passing grade with at least 50% at high school level will be needed". "I hope you completed school", Babloo asked.The peculiarity and gruesomeness of the vocation itself had not sunk in, so enrolling for the job was far fetched."Look boss, its about filling tht tummy. The rest is your wish", Babloo had said. It was diffcult to comprehend but it made sense.So here I am, in queue to enrol for a job where I have to kill rats. I am told that I would get paid Rs. 14 for every rat I kill and I have to kill 30 rats every night. It seemed reasonable. I would get paid Rupees 12000 a month which would be slightly less than a starting bus drivers salary in Mumbai. At least that made my job sound a little respectable."Kishen Kumar hai tumhara naam aur Ranchi ke rehne waale ho", said a fat looking burly man sitting on a tattered chair. He had rested his hands on the table which hd nothing but a glass of water with a lemon isnide floating. "Bose DK, Mumbai hi mila tha aake rehne ko, aur baaki sheher dikhta nahi hai kya bhootnike. Ek kaam karo, yeh 10 kg ka bhar uthao aur woh door jo pole dikh raha hai wahan tak bhaago aur bhaag ke waapas aana. Dus seconds mein aaye tho theek warna phir se mumbai mein dikhe tho usi pole mein latka denge". I did not pay heed as Babloo adviced and was determined to run the mile. As I stood to run the man shouted loud "Ab Bhaag Bose DK" and I ran. I touched the pole and was back in a jiffy. "Hmmm paanv mein tho bahut jaan hai. Chalo ab kar hi lo kaam. Raat ko Dus baje aana idhar. Kaam sikha denge".

4. Dhaava Bol
India seems to exist in multiple historical periods simultaneously.One side of the neighbourhood is edged by a high shining fence beyond which lies 21st century India: the Bhabha Atomic Research Center, the country's premier nuclear research facility.On this side of the fence, people live in a vaguely medieval place where need outweighs hope and there is still talk of the plague.To the south is a 50-acre slaughterhouse, one of the largest in Asia. To the north is a city dump.In other words, rat heaven.The work was quite simple minus the trash and stench all around. In the faint light of the windows you can see that the ground is alive with rats after 12 in the night. A twitching nose peeks from a crevice in the wall. A rat tail vanishes down a hole.The trick is to catch the rat's eye and shine a flashlight in its face. The rodent freezes like a deer in headlights.Thwack!If the aim is a little bad, then the rat would probably try to bounce back.Thwack!Thwack!Thwack!Thats it. The only thing you need to take care of is that you need to lift the dead rodent with your leg and not hands to avoid the risk of any infection. You lift it with a leg and chuck it in a basket.

5. Ratman of Mumbai
Its been 5 years since I have been killing rats. Its a vocation noone would be willing to take but the fact is that I am proud of myself. Its because of men like us that infections like plague and vermin. I have in fact become a master at it. Just last year the Municipal Corporation awarded me as the "Ratman of the year". I killed 24586b rats last year. I was also interviewed by CNN, BBC and NDTV. It was a great feeling.I am married and have a kid. There are times when my wife is scared about the kind of infections I would bring home but then she soon realizes that the belly always rules. I love Mumbai and I am honoured to be its Ratman.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For promised!

For someone special. Thanks for knocking on my door. I am glad I opened it :)

A loner I was, walking solitarily on paths unknown,
Trying to connect the dots in my own comfort zone,
I always searched for you on those unfrequented roads,
And you, the ever elusive, were never easy to find.

And then one fine evening, as I walked through the aisle ,
I saw you, sitting by the river, with kohl in your eyes,
I asked the hermit below the Banyan Tree, "And who would she be"?,
"The softness of the world is because of her", replied he.

I tried to look more closely and you looked back at me,
It was something that I felt, like you had set me free,
It was you, I knew, the one I yearned for always,
Your warmth I felt always around, your smile lit up my face.

Just this once, walk with me on that lonely path,
I no longer want to walk on it without you,
I know this time it shall feel different with you beside,
I know this time I shall be myself with you on my side.


Friday, July 1, 2011

The Last Few Moments

Somewhere the stars have aligned,
To create a magic beyond imagination,
And in the very life of the cosmos,
I am waiting for you like I have never before,
Come hold my hands and embrace me.

It seems like the moon waited too,
She glows so much more today in anticipation,
Brushing aside every cloud that tries to cover her,
Every wisp of air whispers your name to me,
Every leaf watches motionless of what is to come.

Dry leaves on the path rustle in restlessness,
You are there somewhere, I can feel you close,
Serenity galore, I just hear just my heartbeat,
My feet tremble, my lips quiver, my eyes twitch,
Where are thou my beloved?

And then you arrive, like a princess,
The moon bows down, the stars shine like never before,
The air fills with your divine scent,
As you come close, the drops of heaven fall on us,
Take me with you my love for I am done and dusted here.


Monday, May 23, 2011


कभी सोचता हूँ तो यूँ लगता है,
की जैसे बँध चुका हूँ मैं,
नहीं जा पाऊँगा छोड़ कर,
पर जा रहा हूँ और वो भी दूर,
शायद इस बार लौटना ना हो.

आज खाली किया सब मैने,
ले जा रहा हूँ जो अपना है,
छोड़ जा रहा हूँ सब पराया,
पर कुछ है जो ना जा पाएँगी मेरे साथ,
यादें है कुछ ऐसी, क्या करूँ मैं.

उसका चेहरा देखता हूँ,
इस आस से की ये आखरी बार ना हो,
पर सच तो ये है की यही होगी आखरी मुलाकात,
एक छोटा सा किस्सा यहीं होगा ख़त्म,
यहीं से शूरू होगी शूरूवात यादों की.