Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In fond memory of our beloved Tempo Dhar

[“..ad Hall. And the first prize goes to ..pause.. Patel Hall.” There we were. Bishnoi, Shobhit, Ankik, me and Bando. Jumping around in triumphant ecstasy. Everyone was rushing towards the stage, while me and Bando got stuck, one-leg-a-side in Netaji’s folding chairs. Then there was the tempo shout. And the high decibel victory madness. Ankik put his hand around my neck and said “ Teri kuch awaaz hai be.” And I replied “ Aur aap toh Tempo Da ho.” Then we did a chest bump before Bishnoi jumped down from the 6-foot pedestal onto a mob of joyous arms.]

That was exactly a year ago. February 13th 2009. Our choreo Ek Lau, based on the internal conflict between a bomb planting terrorist and his benign conscience won gold. And there we were. Ankik, Bish, me, Shobhit and Bando. Clad in black shirts, terrorist pants with black stripes smeared on our childishly euphoric faces.

Exactly a year later, on February 13th 2010. I was trying to cram my reluctant brain for that morning’s Gate exam, when Bose started shouting “Aggu! Come here. Aggu! Come fast.” Hoping to hear more of his random ramblings, I walked into his room casually. Mandal da was crying. Bose looked psychotic. Then came the news. “Tempo Dhar died in a bomb blast an hour ago.” I didn’t believe it. No one would. What do you mean Tempo da died? He is not some random inconsequential guy. It didn’t seem feasible or logical that Tempo Da could die. But slowly the enormous reality settled down pressing my brain till it went numb. And then it went lower to wrench my heart and gut it out. And the pain burnt my eyes. I ran hither-thither hoping that someone would contradict the news. But shattered hearts and echoing silence was all that was there to it.

And my numb brain was travelling at full blast on randomly connected paths.

But Tempo Da works in Bombay!

But it was only a few months ago that he was here knocking on Bose’s door in his trademark orange sleeveless!

But Tempo Da was in Goa with his wingies!

But this! But that!

I collided face-on to the irony: Did this terrorist have a conscience? Does it interfere with his malicious dealings? If it does, it should come back to haunt him for trying to take away a person of such rich personality away from us.

Then I went to bed. Sobbing. Dreaming virtual situations. Why did he have to kill Tempo Dhar, of all people? Could it have happened that they shared a cursory glance? Didn’t those eyes rich of full blooded tempo, that lop-sided gait, that guileless smile, seem too precious to be removed from the face of the earth? Could they have shared a casual conversation? Did he notice Tempo Da’s funny looking phone? The Bengali key pad? Then his phone started ringing.

Mikesh Udani…. Calling!

He picked up the phone. And started laughing. The Tempo-maniacal laugh. Of course, he is alive. He rubbished the news with his graceful fluency.

Suddenly, I woke up. To abandoned hope and silent realization. I thought that was the end. Then, I looked out of my door onto the footer field and the memory of Ankik’s farewell song (click here) and his inspiring speech started rolling down my cold cheeks with shuddering warmth.

And as I was signing off this mal-structured I-just-cannot-find-words-obituary, the memory of a particular incident dawned upon me. About two years ago, after our Bronze-winning English Dramatics performance, “Me against myself”, in which Ankik played the role of an impressionable young lad who kills the king after being misled by his evil mentor, and I played the role of a goon, we had a conversation. About how the judge found it unsettling that we ended the drama on a note of evil triumph. Ankik said “In short phases of time, evil always triumphs over good. We should look past these portals and hope that there will be eternal peace.” What a big heart he had.

No, Tempo Da you haven’t left us. You will not. Your zeal for life still spreads as infectiously as in those good ol’ days. “Forging eternal bonds within our community.” Just like our Hall preamble says.

"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." — Lucius Annaeus Seneca! I haven't seen many live it better than Ankik.

Rest in Peace, Tempo Da. We will love you forever.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Little Doll

There was once a little doll,
with looks so cozy.
She had a cuddly crawl,
and cheeks so rosy.

She was my little doll,
my whole life's worth.
Such was my little doll,
my whole new birth.

I was her tune,
and she was my dance.
We lived a boon,
loving the trance.

Now,I live my life,
and she loves hers.
Lost was the life,
which used to be ours.

There was a little doll,
and my memory ain't lousy.
Now there's a subtle wall,
and my dream's so drowsy.

Well!In your well-known world,
a little doll cried.
But,in my unknown world,
a little doll died.

P.S 1: This is a poetic response to the yesteryear blockbuster The Little Doll and the goldwinner The Little Doll.

P.S 2: All characters in the poem are purely fictional. Any resemblance to any person or a doll, living or otherwise, is purely kakataliyam a k a coincidental. This is for a creative writing assignment which was supposed to a) Start with "There was once a little doll" and b) End with "A little doll cried. A little doll died"

Friday, July 03, 2009

One of those idle moments

---when you know that you are insane.

Disclaimer: All these things are based on a true life story. Or else, I made them up in this apparently true life of mine just for the heck of writing this disclaimer.

It was one of those times when I missed being in India. I was all alone amongst a group of quiet, cultured, polite, but German passengers. Nothing for stereotyping ethnicities, but most of them belong to not just a different wave length but to a different planet in a different solar system. Outside my office, till date, I could not make meaningful English conversation with them any better than I could have played carroms with a cat. The sum total of the response I could get from them is “Huh!”

So, I was trying to relax in these retractable chairs, that never tract enough to start with. My novel seemed to be in the deepest strata of my backpack, and realizing my secrets would not gel into the ambience, I refrained myself from digging into it. I was moving ahead in life at 220 kmph, falling into a trance where all those little earthy, lotta fun, sophomoric musings pretended to give me a better perspective over all facets of life including the historical, the sociological, the zoological, the psychosexual and the facet that explains why Jadeja came before Yuvraj.

I tried reading my English news paper, carefully staring at the political intricacies of the Indira regime, and making a mental note of the interesting observations (Yawn!! was my exact mental phrasing). I tried spacing my legs in the leg space and struggled to doze off unto my dreamland, in the quest of answers to why proteins irk Brahmins?And why law needs to be taught in IITs?

Just as my insomniac brain was shifting from humming impatiently to brain teaser activities like trying to convert the complete works of Albert Einstein into caribbean rap, I acted. I acted in a manner, where my finger dug itself onto my scalp and started dancing to the whims of the strongest force in the world . Having had to face the harsh realization that I was yet to bathe that month,(let's say I am kidding for all practical purposes), I decided to start being more purposeful. Then! I heard a voice from above.

No, I am not kidding. It was melodious gibberish, being delivered from an altitude in a deliberate attempt to tip me off about the future. Then, feeling blessed, I opened my eyes to follow the voice, only to find an announcement speaker, emitting amplified garbage that translated to “ Next station: M√ľnchen Hauptbahnof”. I reiterated my idea to be purposeful.

I started towards the door. In a citi-moment-of-surprise, people started following me. As I reached the final passage, I stopped ,and turned backwards. My belly flipped at the sight of all the confusion, the angst and the uncertainty they harbored about their troubled future. I smiled reassuringly at the Spanish girl behind me and nodded, as I chose the path to the right door.

For a few moments, the crowd was stunned. They were gaping at the courageous man who was going to make a difference in their future. A guy at the end could no longer remain silent. He was deeply moved. He came forward to voice it. “Boo!”, he said.(literally, whatever he said in german).

They followed me, all of them, 12 cosmopolitan citizens, looking at the poor door on the left, thinking “O poor thing! It never stood a chance!”, in their own languages. But the 13th guy was German, so he looked at the left door with a deeply troubled conscience, turned towards me and asked “Boo?” I smiled. I gave him one of those Rajni-special sinister smiles that say “I dare you to take the other path”. He raised his hands, shrugged a bit and surrendered as he joined my path, not forgetting to voice his “Boo!” again.

I stood there, taking deep breaths, feeling empowered.

Voice-in-my head: You rock! You are a keen observer of the daily human experience.

Sanity: Duh!!

Voice-in-my head: You are a chronicler of mankind’s seemingly endless trek through time.

Sanity: Aaarggh!!

German: Boo!!

Voice-in-my head: You know something that your delta-neighborhood does not! Look at yourself through their eyes! Are you not their shining beacon of hope?

Sanity: Come out of the trance, you stupid!!!

I felt superior to all those sages in Himalayas, who conveniently suppress the fact that they never tasted the biryani in Bawarchi, as they pitifully make the ridiculous claim of knowing the meaning of life. I had all reasons to. I tasted their biryani , AND, could guess which side the platform was going to turn up.

Then the station arrived.( OK! You smarty! The train arrived at the station) I felt divine. I felt complete. I felt like the harbinger of human hope. I felt like Sachin Tendulkar.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

I really want the title to be...

.....Erm.Straight from Uday Aghamarshan B.

Girl! Things we-now-not even think of,
will come back to haunt at the brink of,
the inevitable saturation,
of years of frustration,
Ah! Those things we'd not even think of.

Why don't you paint? Why don't you? Why?
You love your art as much as I,
But I'm a nerd,
O! That's absurd,
Concocted stories made up a lie.

Voices in heart,too loud to be ignored,
Hands of art,are really really bored,
They wanna run,
Why?Possibly stun,
and leave every lover of art floored.

And thus locked in the boredom,
of deathless assignments in tandem,
Thoughts deeply fried,
she threw Gottfried,
And started to fetch her freedom.

O! Behold my friend!Nothing serious I guess,
You're learning a lot amidst this duress,
Oh! Friend of mine,
you really are fine,
I thought I'll just pull your leg. Yes!

Updating duly,
Yours truly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

No! We can't stand it anymore!

Cornered by the vile unkindness
of people drowned in callous blindness,
A soul left,
this world bereft,
of love, solace and mother's kindness.

The diro appreciated the gathering,
while DD's smile was so baffling,
11:30||gtg||my wife,
Left Dosa,fled for life,
Buffoons with their porcine clowning.

These rockhearted chickenshits
feigning all their ugly wits,
deserved the fate,
as it's too late,
to enact their goddamned skits.

We've long waited and trembled near the door,
Now!We can't stand the stench anymore,
These convulsive shocks,
will rip hills and rocks,
No!We can't stand it anymore.

May his soul rest in peace! :'(

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flowers of destruction

2003 Aug 22 :

Kailash picked up the gear from behind the door. His son handed him a bag containing the coiled, hard braided lines, the harpoon and the shaft. Kailash started down the lane, waving to his son at the door. Then looked up at the sky. Nothing stormy (apparently!?!).

Kishore always wondered why his father looked at the sky. Today, he could see some thing. Two clouds swam past each other to leave an agglomerate that looked like a sweet crawling baby. Kailash smiled, eyes misty. There was going to be a baby in their family.

2008 July 6:

Good news on a good day. Kailash was being released from a Pakistani Jail along with some twenty other fishermen caught fishing on restricted waters. People were breathing celebration everywhere in the village of Zazilka as soon as this news hit the media. Soni was very excited. She was going to see her father for the first time. She helped her mother clean the house and decorate their hut's foreyard. It was her birthday the next day.

2008 July 8:

7:10 PM:

Kailash waved bye to the nice chap who dropped him at the market. He went into a shop.

He came out with a parcel rolled in a plastic cover and slid it into his pocket.

He turned around the corner, walked to the fourth house and knocked. He took three paces backwards to appreciate the rangoli on his foreyard. Then looked up at the sky. No storm(!?!) threatened to ruin this intricate design of his life's colours .

9:30 PM:

Soni was running around her father, being chased by Kishore. They were laughing out aloud. Nalini was making their bed.


Kailash woke up, walked to the entrance and looked up at the sky. A set of stars were brighter and formed an eagle when connected. Something was on a wait!

1:00 AM:

River beyond him…River before him…River all around flooding the village.

Water all around,covering land all over.

Wind zooming like an unaimed arrow of a skilful archer.Darkness looming all over. Desperate cries pleading for rescue being paused and played.The sound of something crashing down.Heartbroken mourning..somewhere distantly close.

Kailash was sitting,clutching his daughter tight.Pulled his son towards him by shoulder.Nalini,by his side, holding his hand close.
Five minutes of subtle silence.One more foot to the water level.The tent was tilting dangerously to it’s left.

Kaiash jumped instinctively, carrying his son and daughter with him.

“Come fast!!”.. beckoning his wife at the pitch of his voice.Voice ripped apart in the whizzing storm.The tent, tilting slowly, was being carried away with the flow, carrying lucky Nalini, who didn’t have to see the mishap to follow, with it.

Confusion….Fear…..Grief.Children gripping him even more firmly,crying. “Mummy!!!Mummy!!!”. Waistdeep water…reached his shoulders .They were three now.He wanted to cry.He didn’t have the energy.There was no one to console.

There should be land somewhere.Where!??He didn’t even know if he was treading along in the right direction.

Wave after wave.Thorns piercing into his legs,children on the shoulders.Storm from beyond.Mouthful of salt water everytime a wave threw itself over.



“Hold me tight”..voice drenched in the cacophony of the storm.

They forgot their mother. Fear. Fear all around. Each time a lighting struck, he could see corpses floating scarily all around.Corpses. Of people,of snakes,of cattle. He hated the view. But if it didn’t strike,he was not able to see one foot ahead in this pitch darkness.

His shoulders were unable to bear the pain. More so on the right side, where his son was.He treaded along.

Kailash stopped and jolted his leg. The snake that was around his leg,went with the flow. Wait!He could hear what was coming from beyond. Before he could react,it was all over him. He was suffocated. Salt Water. He held his children firm. Along with the wave,the horn of a floating dead buffalo pierced into his right shoulder. He lost control of his son.

Cruel fate hit him again with a strong wave of water and carried his son along with it.

He really wanted to cry. But, his head was reeling and his body was numb. He couldn't figure out how to cry.

His daughter didn't speak a word. Till then. Now, she looked at his father and said " Papa! I am not as heavy as Bhaiya right?."

5:00 PM:

A nurse was attending to the wounds on Kailash's body. He woke up to the pinching iodine. He looked around for minutes and then silently, tears started rolling down his cheeks.

The nurse said. " I am very sorry for your loss. God is never kind ."

Kailash muttered." It is not about fate or God. I could have saved at least my daughter. Three hours of confused wading through the river drained me of all my energy, when I unfortunately spotted rescue lights far ahead."

Mutters turning into anguished shouting, he continued with a heaving breath "While death was looming all around and laughing at me in that neck deep water, I didn't think. I ... I threw my daughter down and swam to the rescue."

Saying this, he banged his head on the wall, ran to the window at the end of the corridor and jumped out of it. He landed with a thud.

In his left hand was a parcel. A bunch of flowers with a note.

" Happy Birthday Sweetheart! With love, Daddy"

Flowers of destruction.

Flowers that witnessed the destruction.

Flowers that survived the destruction.

PS: This piece is my article for some english creative writing thing for the on-the-spot topic "Flowers of Destruction".

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Old Man And The Sea

This post is dedicated to ma dear Pranay...just for shaking me out of my holiday slumber...but other guyzz here...don't blame me if I sound like one bachelor of social service...the book I am talking about is a must read.The summary might be a bit overboard,but thazzz me.

The old man and the sea is a Nobel-prize winning novel written by ERNEST HEMINGWAY. It is a story of a strange old fisherman whose hard-earned fish gets ruthlessly eaten by sharks.

The storyline of the novel is so deceptively simple that an amateur reader cannot resist but doubt the wisdom behind awarding it a Nobel-prize.It is only when we deeply turn on our much needed critical faculties that we get to explore the finesse of the novel.

The author, as I opine, portrayed a very serious social holocaust in the most simplest of the styles.The responsibility of probing into the inner spheres of the immensely metaphorical novel is cleverly left to the wisdom of the reader.

My version of the summary is, that the old man actually ,represents a influentially weak but potentially able section of the society.The old man is described as strange because of the immense mental stability he displays in times which seem to be the epitomes of hard luck and hostility.This virtue unwittingly plonks itself into the armour of the aforementioned class of people during their fight for self-upheaval. The cramping of his left hand portrays the economical cramping pretty archetypal of their daily lives.

The giant fish he baits refers to the result of their hardwork, the very thing they deserve, had life been a fair dice. But just as the food in the hand of a poor guy,is often looted horridly on its way to his mouth,the fish gets eaten by the sharks.The sharks bank upon the inability of the old man to resist the attacks causal of his physical weakness,just as the blacker sections of the society bank upon the economical weakness of the other sections.The skeleton of the giant fish is the novel counterpart of the horrible truth that always stares right in the face of a poor lad.The inevitable truth that there will be nothing but the carcass of his hardwork that’ll remain till the end.