Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ah ! Finally...

Why is it that I feel that this makes everything right? Everything. All of that I have been through, all of those small battles which I lost and those big ones I did not win.

Why is it that I am not scared but excited about something I do not even have an iota of an idea but assured of the outcome?

And why on fucking earth do I keep on smiling for no rhyme or reason staring into blank space, thinking of nothing, just, just feeling happy? Idiotic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


What do I want and what do I need? Till I was 23, when most of the decisions of my life went by conventions, I did not have to think. Life was superb. Apart from the occasional pangs of insecurity, I was happy. Thought less. Enjoyed stupid movies which I absolutely abhor now. Played sports to my heart's content. Loafed around with friends. Could not have had a better life.

The last years have been, for the lack of a better word, weird. Every year, I have had to decide on something or the other. Which would be quite defining. Significant. In almost all of those decisions, my life could have taken two different paths, different trajectories and different expectations.

I made the choices. I am responsible for all of them. But till about three years back, I never thought about this question. The answer may lie in a single word. Peace. And how do I get it? I don't know.

The later half of the twenties has been exhausting and a test of my mental strength and a time for serious consideration of values and of facing up to some hard-hitting realities of life. At the very least, it has been quite tiresome. Hardly exhilarating. Hardly like the life I had. I am consumed with a certain degree of restlessness - an unharnessed energy. Sometimes, I think, given a conducive situation, I can simply hurtle myself headlong into something and travel at breakneck speed towards - maybe oblivion, maybe glory.

But for what?

If I was a man of limited capabilities and limited ambition, I think I would have been supremely happy. At this juncture, I need to know whether I have it in me or I am just another in the crowd who would be happy with what life has to dish out rather than trying to extract something out of life. The restlessness is palpable. My friends can feel it. So can I. They sense a bit of urgency hitherto unknown in me. I, on the other hand, sense a lack of purpose. I have to break free, but from what - is a question I cannot seem to find an answer to.

Till that time, let me continue to rust in my world of illusions and increasingly keep on pushing the accelerator till I slam into a wall. To break it or to get broken. Either of them will serve the purpose. Happy in death or ecstatic in life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Burning Fingers

I have hardly learnt from my mistakes. And I seriously doubt whether I ever will. But for some strange inexplicable reason, I cannot seem to do things otherwise.

Actually I refuse to play by the rules of the game. Specially when it comes to a woman. There are strict guidelines to adhere to. Certain things are acceptable while certain things would surely spell disaster. Naturally, I have an affinity for beckoning disaster.

The first and cardinal rule of the game is that you should never reveal your cards till you are sure of a win. Experience has taught me that this is something I should not try much to experiment with. But, as is always the case with me, I simply do not believe in conventions. So, if you let her know, that you indeed have a stake and that you might actually be thinking, then you have most likely shot yourself in the foot - or the heart. Yet, I choose not to hold myself back.

Foolish. I know. Stupid. I agree. Yet, can you find fault with either my intention or my intensity? Do those count ? I don't know. Someday, I hope it will. To the right person. If ever, there be one.

The other rule of the game is to hold the moment by the scruff and push it through. Never allow time to think. Apparently, it takes away the spontaneity and makes it a rational process rather than an instinctive one. And rational choices are hardly interesting choices. But choices nonetheless. Yet, I choose to allow time. For only if something stands the test of time, only then the exploration is worth it. Only then, would it be immenseley exciting to look at life and live.

Ridiculous. I would think so. Idiotic. Maybe. But will the wait ever be worth it ? Am I actually romanticizing something or is there an element of reality in it? For, the waits have always been long, agonizing, draining and ultimately futile.

The best part is a burnt lost finger can only heal. Otherwise it was already burnt.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fortunate But Ungrateful

Life is unfair. Life is unjust. Life also has a way of balancing out the positives and the negatives. Sometimes, it becomes so arduous a task, that living itself is a cumbersome process. But, if you are to ruminate on a leisurely evening all by yourself and try to figure out whether life has been kind to you, the answers might throw you off-balance - completely.

This post is a product of such a ruminating and illuminating evening.

I have heard this many a time that we take the very obvious things for granted in life. We do. Like having the privilege of access to a sound education. Having the resources to pursue your dreams. Having a support system in the form of our parents. Almost getting everything that we have aspired for. Maybe not in time but eventually.

We forget that the absence of any one of them might create a situation which could have hampered and altered the course of our lives beyond imagination. We are not expected to win always. We should not. Or rather we cannot.

There are 2 ways of looking at our present state. What could have been if we were born in a better situation and likewise what could have been if we were born to the opposite? Just the harrowing prospect of the negatives of one compared to the opulence and comfort of the other will lead us to the conclusion that we are not that worse off in life.

So, when we think of our seeming failures or unsucessful attempts at many things in life which seem to be futile now, we curse our inability to make it happen. For we have in many cases seen people, who we think are undeserving, to have nearly got away with everything in life. The fallacy of the argument lies in the fact that we are no one to judge whether they are undeserving or deserving or whether what they have is what they wanted in life. Even if they did want and get them, it is only probabilistic that such aberrations will occur.

We should, ideally, judge by what makes us happy. More often, we judge ourselves by our peers. And even more, by the standards or parameters of success which our ever beloved society has ingrained in us. Owning a house, a car and a beautiful wife to name a few and in that order!A good life does not necessitate any of the above.

As typical humans we should try to find someone to shift the blame upon and crucify him. Once that is done and we have had our conscience satiated, we can safely go home thinking we have solved the problem, hardly realizing that we have only had a brush with the symptoms. Like all problems, the problem with aspirations, starts with the upbringing. Once you teach the child to work around the system and ask him to perform at every level, with minor considerations for what he wants, you have sown the seeds of near maniacal competitive spirit which stinks of a rat race.

The only thing we can and should teach our children would be the value of freedom and to be responsible for the consequences of the choices they make. For that, we first need to respect their choice. For that to happen, we first need to respect our own. For that, we have to have a liberal and fearless mind. And therein lies the problem. We are so sucked in, we are so self-congratulatory, we are so obsessed with being 'successful' that we are almost paranoid of failure. We do not provide for sufficient leeway for our children to fail for we know that in the final analysis it is going to hurt us more.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Question of Identity

One of the questions which haunt us all through our formative years would be "Who am I?" I have seen people do all sorts of things to establish that. It makes for amazing study of the psychology of human beings. I have always been fascinated by the people around me. Just by being with them, following every action of theirs gave me a glimpse of what they are going through, what is bothering them and what makes them.

Trying not to be judgmental, I will put forth some of them which has intrigued me and still continues to do so and of course, what I think about them.

Academic Brilliance
This is actually a disease. A typically myopic, conservative, elitist aspiration. If we cannot be judged by how we look (though in reality, we are), why should we be judged on how intelligent we are? If I had the choice, believe me, I would look like Gregory Peck and be as intelligent as Einstein or even Dawkins. Some of my friends were simply paranoid about how they fared in an exam. And if it did not meet up with their expectations, it would be a shattering experience. Not because it would close certain doors where they would have liked to knock on, but because it puts their identity in question. Now, how ridiculous could that be ?!

Professional Excellence
Excellence in any form ought to be appreciated and applauded. But the extent to which people can harp on their outstanding performance and appraisal ratings, is to be heard to be believed. Frankly, I doubt whether anyone wants to hear how good you are at what you are doing. Its of the least consequence to mankind until and unless you are researching on the next HIV drug or the next nano-bomb. You are making money, and all of your energies and focus are in ensuring that you continue to make more of it. Just don't make a marketing project out of it and prove it to the world at large that you count. You do, by just as much as you would have, if you did not have a job.

Looking Ravishing
I must confess that I am biased towards this. I mean, who does not want to look at beautiful women? I have heard people say that beauty is subjective. Which is of course, a whole load of crap. And wonder of all wonders, this line is generally taken by the ugly ducklings. Talk of self-consolatory statements and there is no better example than this. We look the way we look. We cannot do anything about it. YOU KNOW whether you are beautiful or ugly. And hardly anything can change that. Except maybe, being in love. Which in a weird sort of way, makes everyone beautiful. But for people, who base their identity on how they look and I have had the privilege to be associated with some of them, theirs is a lot to be pitied. They are visually delightful but intellectually bankrupt.

Rebel Without a Cause
The most natural method of getting yourself be known. Do things which are disapproved by all and you get instant recognition. Plus - a lot of girlfriends. Transient - Yes. But at 14, who cares ? The problem occurs if you stretch it too far or start too late. For you to sustain it, you have to be a near genius. And genius, misdirected or aimless, can wreak havoc. Read this and tell me what you make out of it. Because I still don't know if living for oneself is the best way to extract the maximum out of life.

My Take
How would I like someone to establish his identity? I don't know. But over the years people who have followed these traits listed below are the ones whom I have come to respect and admire and I guess this is what I would appreciate most:
1. Being honest to yourself
2. Respect and compassion for all human beings just because
3. Pursuit of excellence without a loudspeaker

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Will you marry me?

When it comes to waxing eloquence, chances are you won't find anyone better than the inexplicable creation called women. And exactly on similar veins, when it comes to handing out a reality check in vague,indistinct euphemistical terms there is no competition to them as well.

Harry Belafonte had a song dedicated to this "The woman is smarter than the man in every way". Wonder what made him realize that. The poor guy, I doubt, hardly had an inclination that he had stumbled upon a cosmic truth. And we think our ancient sages had all the answers.

The last two existing bachelors of our JU group has had a bagful of experiences when it comes to marriage. One has left the field in sheer exasperation while the other continues to fight as he has been doing all through his life with no signs of abatement on any front. The list of experiences listed here is definitely not exhaustive but indicative. Of what ?

Girl: You have such a charming sense of humour....
Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl: You are an awesome guy BUT you see after careful consideration of the chemistry we enjoy and I assure you that it is something which I have never enjoyed with another, I have come to the conclusion that we should not go beyond this...

Girl: You are an excellent person and you deserve all the happiness in the world. In fact if I were to sum up the collective happiness that this world has to offer, you would deserve more than that.
Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl:You are an awesome guy BUT I do not think I can be happy with you. I mean, I want someone who is chivalrous and polished and could really make me happy, you know...

Girl: You are so witty and educated and you have such an awesome career...
Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl: You are an awesome guy BUT things did not turn out the way I expected when we met. I expected sparks to fly and the sky to applaud in its resplendent glory and rainbows to add to the brilliance. But you felt sleepy and tired. Okay, you had a 14 hour bus journey, but so what ? You cannot be allowed to be tired. Not when you are with me.

Girl: You are one of the nicest persons I have met. There are lots of reasons for marrying you.
Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl: You are an awesome guy BUT when I said that there are lots of reasons for marrying you, I really meant that there are exactly that many for NOT marrying you. I wish you all the very best in life and may you find the Cinderella of your dreams with her shoes intact for life.

Girl: You talk so well. That is such an endearing quality. Women would secretly desire you but might be unnerved by your extrovert nature lest it attracts others bees to the nectar!
Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl: You are an awesome guy BUT I think I need to think a bit more. At this moment, my priority in life is to think about my career and my aspiration is to be married to someone who will pamper me, fulfil all my desires without me having to spell it out - basically someone like my Dad!

Girl: You are so funny. The conversations with you has been mindblowing to say the least. Your wife will be one of the luckiest persons.
Guy: Will you marry me?
Girl: You are an awesome guy BUT the stars foretell trouble. When I matched your horroscope with mine, they said there was an explosion. In Baghdad. Our horroscope score came out to be 28 while mine with another prospective suitor was 32! Now, it does not require mathematical genius to know that 32>28.

Girl: You are such a brilliant guy. I think we should seriously think about us.
Guy: Will you marry me?
You are an awesome guy BUT I don't think that you are sincere enough in your attitude towards me. You actually went ahead with your trip which you had planned with your friends about THREE months before meeting me?!! Of course, you should have cancelled that and danced to my tunes. You had the audacity to think that you are the Pied Piper ?!

On the basis of the statistical evidence at hand, the two bachelors individually were forced to discover another cosmic truth:
"I am an awesome guy...BUT"

Crucial Disclaimer: The bachelors in question so far has never popped the question. But the answers came nonetheless.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Three Decades On This Planet

On Childhood
One of the best times I have ever had. Partly because I was at my dominating and bullying best. Imagine. ME being a bully. Trust me, I had that power. Not physically but the lashing which I could vent out even at that age through my tongue was to be heard to be believed. Being the boss of a group of kids is a pleasure. People hate you but they are scared to stand up to you.

Today, in hindsight, I feel absolutely lousy for those actions of mine. I shudder at the thought of some other kid doing the same things to mine some day.

The 6th Birthday
I think that was the first time I celebrated my birthday. And possibly the best and most eventful one I have had in my life. It was remarkable. The first time I received so many gifts on a single day and so much attention was showered on me. I simply was transported to another planet.

Since I was 14, I have become totally indifferent to that day and now I dislike it much more than I do anything else. It makes me feel utterly idiotic and I cannot find one good reason why I should celebrate THAT day. As far as I know, the world does not seem to be better or worse off because of me.

The First Love
I have dedicated an entire post to that. Need I say more ?

Honestly speaking, I really do not know what love is. I am obsessed by it. And this obsession has continued to this day. My idea of love was shaped by two landmark movies of my generation - Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Maine Pyar Kiya. Being in love was to be catapulted to the highest pedestal of adulthood. And me being the ever flamboyant one, had to be there. Different matter that I never got there.

Possibly the most critical element in my life. I will know the significance of this possibly ten years from now. But surely in these three decades, if I could call anything an achievement, it would be to complete a MBA shocking everyone around.

day, I realized, even I can.

On Girlfriends
Mine are a unique lot. Seriously. My father is actually more proud of them than I am. He thinks what I share with them is quite extraordinary. I am not sure why I interest them - they seem to take an uncanny interest in my life but its kinda nice. Much as I wouldn't want to, I have to admit that. Ohh, the glee on their faces when they read this. Intolerable !

Aparajita was right. I doubt whether anyone else would love me simply for who I am or rather for me being me. How many are fortunate enough to have people like that in their lives. I am.

Three decades spent. Mostly wasted. Some cherished memories. Some excruciating ones. Some failures. Few successes. Some outstanding persons who have left large footprints on my life. Few who have screwed the hell out of me. Some whose actions have changed where I was headed. Some which started new journeys. No miracles. Loads of good wishes. Some true and some well - fake. Some curses, powerful ones. One sensational friend. No enemies. A young heart and a mind which still functions.

Could I have asked for more ? Shouldn't I be happy and satisfied ? Then why am I not ? Maybe the next three decades would answer that.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Curse of Friendship

The lady comes back with prophecies made long time back only to prove that she was right. For all the hours and minutes spent trying to challenge age old wisdom it was a battle I was destined to lose. The only critical factor was time. At thirteen, the world is different. Realism hardly sets in at that time and vision is limited to the next 100 yards.

At that age, relationships appear to be everlasting. Love is sacred. And the pledge of friendship beyond question. The lady in a fit of exasperation at my obsession with friends had warned me of a junk investment, if you were to look at one purely in terms of return. If it was a question of riding over the next few years, about sharing some time and space together, she was fine. What she objected to was the over emphasis and the price tag I put on it.

Of all the time I have spent on this wretched planet, I think I would have been well served if I had nomadic relationships rather than the ones which continued to defy time. Old friends are like old wine. They ought to be exploited and brought out once in a while to let you remember of 'those days' where life was uncomplicated and promises were meant to be kept. More often than not friendships are based on unspoken contracts which require no law to be executed but are more sacrosanct than any other legal document you can create. It is those unspecified and unwritten clauses which when honoured make friendships beautiful. It is when those are consigned to mere corollaries and overlooked which renders it useless. And as per the lady in question, such renderings are just a day away.

Life is beautiful but the action of living it is what makes it a drudgery. It is at those times that you need the return on the incredible amount of time and energy and emotional quotient that you have invested. And it is precisely at that moment that life hits you with its greatest weapon and numbing force - reality.

The reality is startling and quite devastating. Maybe, it was always like that. Maybe I never took the sunglasses off for fear of being blinded. Or maybe, I never thought that it had the capacity to blind. In hindsight, those idiots who stunned us simply by their unapologetic superficiality, were not idiots after all. They understood that in time, friends might be there and might not be. What we do and make and what we are, are questions that is best answered by oneself. Finally when you stand and look around, you will see your friends - basking in collective glory if you have made a success out of your life or looking at you with forlorn eyes and paying lovely lip service if you have not. What would be sadly missing is the honest intent of feeling either of them or even depressingly is the intention to honour those pledges. That is when you feel the sense of wastage.

I guess that is what my mother used to warn me of.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Smartest Man

Mark and Steve did not have an illustrious father. Thankfully, the same cannot be said of us. It has taken me a pretty long time to understand that of the three men in our family, given a different time and space, he would undoubtedly be the most successful considering that he is the most talented and definitely the most intelligent.

It took me about five and a half lakhs and two years to understand credit crunch and derivatives (I still don't though!). It took him possibly a little more than half an hour to conceptually understand both. He was never a doting father but one with whom I never had a problem communicating. Contrary to my mother, with whom I can never seem to be on the same plane, he was simply outstanding. Precise, to the point, utterly pragmatic and truly objective, conversations with him would range from being enlightening to stupendously enjoyable. My girlfriends, much to my chagrin, always pointed out that I could never have the sense of humour he has. And reluctantly, I have to agree.

It is said that who you are is a function of what you have done and how. If I take that to be true, then there cannot be a better role model to emulate. Coming from a financially dire background and making it through to the IIT by winning scholarships all through an excellent academic career without the luxuries we enjoyed would surely qualify as exceptional. Add to that a mix of the ability to paint, ability to take photos, ability to radically energize a gathering by sheer wit and you have nothing except a genius who is totally oblivious of it.

As far as his effect on my life is concerned, sons are expected to be better versions of the father. Maybe not as much accomplished but surely better as human beings. Whether I make that cut or not will be a question time will answer. But the fact that I am not exactly a boring company to be with or the fact that I have seen what it is like to start from a modest beginning and make it good or to be positive about things and never lose the practical element of life can be attributed to him.

Never the one to dish out unnecessary advice but always there should you need one, never once intruding upon personal space - in fact, encouraging us to have one, never for once imposing anything or burdeninig me with his expectations and always being supportive by tacitly trusting my ability when there was no evidence that it could be - I could not have expected a better support base. I vividly remember an incident when after my pre-board exams, where I was pummelled by all subjects, I was sitting disappointed having lunch and he casually came to have a glass of water after his siesta and said "It will be alright, not to worry". And he went off. Whatever self-doubt or lack of confidence I had was put to rest. Not for that fleeting second. But for life.

The only logic to faith is love. He had that in plenty. As I try to make sense of this utterly nonsensical life today and I see the same intensity of life and passion in him I am stunned by what an incredibly outstanding human being I had the opportunity to witness in my formative years. Whether I do justice to his legacy or not and whether I finally live up to being a worthy son, the pure joy of being associated by lineage to him was worth it.

If only I had a bit more of that intelligence and talent...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wisdom or Cliche

I received a forward from one of my friends which listed down the dos and donts from a lady who is 93 years old. Here are my responses to those:

1. Life isn't fair,but it's still good.
If its not fair, then by extension, it has to be unfair. If it is unfair, then surely you have got a raw deal somewhere. Then how is it good?

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
Precisely the question. The fact that you are in DOUBT, implies that you ARE hesitant in taking the next step - big or small.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone...
Hating does not require time. Come to think of it, sometimes it can act as a trigger.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
I thought you need to pay the hospital bills ? Or are you from Cuba, where healthcare is free.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
You get angry with things which exist.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck..
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
Agreed again.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
With some, I have. And frankly, the comparison is inevitable. That is the basis of all progress.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret,you shouldn't be in it.
On the contrary, ensure you are in it. There is nothing like perverse pleasure.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
Neither does a stone.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
If only it was THAT easy!

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful,beautiful or joyful.
How about bad memories?

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
The question is what is the price you are paying for it?

19.. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
Let me finish my first!

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
I hardly do, but sometimes there are no choices.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special..
Exactly why ? Because the sun shines and I am alive ? Please...come up with a better line.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
Sounds good.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
This is what happens when you don't use the organs for which they are meant for !

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
The greatest bullshit ever given. At 90, though, I will say the same thing, I am sure.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words'In five years, will this matter?
In five years, nothing might matter. I might be dead in the next five minutes.

27. Always choose life.
Death was never a choice anyway. Are there other options ?

28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
Yes.I know.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
That, my dear Watson, is precisely the problem.

33. Believe in miracles.
I will, the day one happens to me.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
WOW !! That almost nearly made me feel ecstatic. Send me his mailing address. I will put in a letter of gratitude.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
Utterly useless statements.

37. Your children get only one childhood.
So did I. So ?

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
No, all that matters is that whether it came to something or not. Your actions is NOT independent of another.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
Where ? Where ?

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab ours back.
This I would totally agree with. Though its a bit like saying that since there is hunger in this world, I should not celebrate.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
How I wish !

42. The best is yet to come.
We all keep hoping that and spend our lives on that premise. There is nothing called 'best' really. Finally, its a relative superlative.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
I do.

44. Yield.
Only if it appeals to my rationality. Not otherwise. Not in this lifetime at least.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
From God - right ?!!!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Defining Moment

Let us for the sake of political correctness call the two women 'A' and 'B'. This was about 10 years back. It is funny how incidents such as these play a significant part in shaping the emotive traits in a character.

I was supposedly in love with B. It was a time when my infamous rationality had gone for a toss. In fact, as I think back, I hardly thought. There is this manic obsession one is consumed with when one thinks one is in love. And I was no exception. 'A' was my friend. A very dear one. Someone with whom I go back a long way. 'A' and 'B' were classmates. One fine afternoon, a very fine one indeed, considering the events to follow, I got a call. From B.

"Are you free now ? Could we meet and just go around for some time ?". For a brief moment, I thought my heart would stop. Just stop. Here was I, always waiting for such a call to go out, with HER and in the web of my dreams had pictured such an outing to near perfection and lo behold, I do get one such invitation ! Who says, miracles happen only in fairytales ? I stuttered and composed myself and asked "Yeah, sure, you alone ?". The basis of the question was my earlier experiences with 'B', wherein, she would consciously avoid being with me all by herself. This, in spite of the fact, that I was hopelessly decent with women and pathetically harmless. The answer was a cryptic "Yes, who else would be there?" to which I promptly asked her to wait wherever she was and assured her that I would get there in about 10 minutes.

During this short walk to the agreed destination, I had all sorts of questions in my mind. I was so excited that I was actually amused. Amused at the effect a ridiculous 'date' could have on me. But behind all of this, lurked a sneaky feeling - "Why on earth would she suddenly call ME?" and that too after steadfastly refusing to even walk 5 metres with me ever. I reached there on time. It would not have been even a minute when out of the blue 'A' appeared, from behind with a glorious and slightly sly interesting smile. I was shocked to see her there. Then I saw B approaching from the other side of the road with a knowing sickening smile towards A.

It took a minute for it to sink in. The first thought that struck me was "Shit, they planned it!".

I do not know whether it was at that moment that I understood what having fun at the expense of someone else meant. And whether I did start appreciating emotions much more from that point on. I have thought of it many a time and have never come to a definite answer as to why one of your closest friends would do this for the heck of it. For B, well, maybe, maybe when you know that there is one who would be there to answer to your beck and call, or rather, when you know that you have a power over another, a power so strong that it is capable of controlling the other without wielding any sort of authority over the other, possibly the human tendency is to sometimes test it out. Just for fun. Which does not make the action forgivable. But to an extent would surely justify it.

For A, it was unforgivable. It still is. Vivian Leigh has this line in "A Streetcar Named Desire" where she says "Intentional cruelty can never be forgiven". On the money, I would say. But just that with time, hurt heals and we become wiser. With time, we also come to the inescapable conclusion that it all evens out. Where and when are just matters of detail. So it best not to forget but always to forgive.

The dilemma is that sometimes you hardly want things to even out - just because they are friends. Even at your own expense. Even at the expense of a dignity compromised and a loss of self-respect.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My FilmFare Acceptance Speech

I would like to thank:

Filmfare, for supporting the trashiest awards ceremony the world has ever known or will ever know - one that panders to general opinion, based on pure escapism of the highest order, where quality or excellence is measured in currency, where how much you make is more important than what you make and where crony nepotism is the sureshot way to fame.

Yash'ji' (and Pam 'Aunty'- it is fashionable to mention her name with his) for giving us timeless classics full of intensity and passion, for bringing together some of the best talent in the film world and extracting mind blowing performances from them and then thrashing everything he had created earlier to make huge money spinners without a soul, without a story and mindless cliches. Just to let us know that it is indeed possible to dive into the depths of alarming mediocrity from a plane of excellence.

Karan Johar, for showing us the talent he has and letting us know in the same breath that he will never do justice to it.

Shah Rukh Khan, for taking on roles considered to be graveyards for heroes, for defying every stereotype that was there in the industry at that time, for making a success of his marriage amidst the heaps of broken ones all around him, for breaking the shackles imposed by the burden of being a superstar and then methodically, consciously undoing each and every one of them so painstakingly built. For frittering away the opportunity of a lifetime to bring about a paradigm shift in the business of making films in India.

Abhishek Bachchan, for showing that it is possible to leverage one's career, first through one's father, then the mother and then the wife. For proving again and again, that in our nation unworthy sons make absolute fools of illustrious parents, for proving
that in the CV, the surname matters more than the matter that rests in it. For landing up with plum roles inspite of being the greatest dud ever. Well, apologies, he did beat his father to one record at least. The most number of flops before a hit.

Hrithik Roshan, for using his lineage judiciously and making it count on his own merit every time. For just showing that hard work might actually make up for a perceptible lack of talent to an extent. For showing that humility does have a wonderful charm.

Kareena Kapoor, for putting to shame the legacy left behind by Raj, Shammi, Shashi and Rishi - all very competent actors of their times simply by her expressionless acting and horrendous selection of roles. For confirming the notion that great genes do not necessarily translate to greatness in reality.

Ram Gopal Varma, for being the most maverick filmmaker of our times. For never being afraid to try out new things, most of them utterly crappy, yet never shied away from trying. For giving horror a new dimension, for gloryfying and humanising the dreaded underworld and for screwing every awards ceremony that India offers.

Aamir Khan, for never attending this awards ceremony and for calling their bluff and surviving inspite of being at loggerheads with the powers that be.

My cast, crew all other support staff for making a film which none of us should be proud of, purely because here I am on stage receiving an award from the most farcical institution, if it could be called that, through a process of selection which is anything but transparent or credible from a bunch of people whose only claim to fame is to sit on the fence and applaud greatness and never make an attempt to achieve it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Mark and Steve

To say that he was the cheese and I was the chalk would be an understatement. To say that he was Mark and I was Steve would be a closer approximation, nonetheless stretching it a bit far.

He has grace. I have grit. He was prolific. He still is. I was the typically sedate. He made it look so easy. For him, it was just a question of when. The how was clear and so were the results. I was cocky and definitely lacked the ability he had. Ironically enough, we both started from the same room. And reached different horizons in life.

It had to be this way. There was no other.

He was a mother’s delight. Unobtrusive, quiet, a boy of exceptional intelligence and concentration, obedient and a sneaking tendency to excel in everything he would touch, the indications of his success were for all to see. He was destined to be something special. Coming from an academically illustrious family, this was the norm rather than the exception. And he did not disappoint. Never did. The boy grew up to be one of the best in the family – excellent in demeanor, hard-working, handsome and professionally outstanding. The parents were blessed. Or so they thought.

Till I came into the picture.

I was everything he was not. I was mischievous, deliberately non-conformist, utterly vain and supremely confident in the idea that I was an equal if not better than him. I never was. Contrary to the general fortunes in my life, in academics, luck did smile on me when it was most needed. I barely scraped through otherwise. Statistically, I hardly had an average academic career. I never listened to the soundest advice of my parents even when I knew that they were right. My desire to learn everything through experience was unshakeable even after persistent, recurring setbacks. In short, I did nothing in my excellent useless life so far to deserve the tag of a worthy sibling. I could not have cared any less.

If it were not for my mother.

When he was felicitated as one of the beacons of hope, after he stood in top 20 in our final board examinations, only one could accompany him to the ceremony. My father went and my mother missed out. I promised to her that on my day it would even out. Much as I pride myself on keeping promises, I was not able to. She never mentioned it and I am quite sure she would not even recollect this incident.

But promises in childhood are more than just promises. Particularly those made to parents.

Today, we have both made something out of our lives. He – expectedly and I, contrary to popular belief quite unexpectedly. He – seamlessly, effortlessly and I scrambling and scraping. As I think today, given an option, whom would I like my offspring to emulate? The one who gave joy and made them proud or the one who hardly ever could? The one who grew up to be everything his parents hoped for or the one whose only connection to his parents would be the same genetic constitution?

This time, the answer definitely does not blow in the wind.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Romantics or The Stupids ?

The demarcation between a romantic and a stupid is so fine, that in my opinion all of my existing bachelor friends have surely thought that they belonged to both with equal ease at varying points of time. As with everything what we finally would be classified as, would entirely be a matter of perspective.

The entire process of getting married
is quite cumbersome to say the least, particularly, if you have not already found a woman who can sustain your interest and wonder of all wonders be capable of holding a fairly intelligent conversation and miraculously enough also like you sufficiently well enough to say "I Do".

Its not that such women do not exist. I am sure they do, but they are an endangered species. Which begets a very significant and distinctly uncomfortable question. If they were there, then where were we ? And if we were also there amongst them, then the conclusion is not a flattering one for us !

So, how did those of our friends who were not bitten by the cupid bug managed to get married ? They, mind you, did not look for so many things. Which makes me question our parameters for qualifying someone as interesting and worthy of a second look.

Are we looking for the right things ?

Since all of my friends are 'apparently' happily married does it matter whether the person is knowledgeable or intelligent or has a definite perspective in life or finally does it only boil down to getting a good person ? I have no idea what it takes to share a life. But the idea of a shared life I have is something that I cannot possibly explain.

What we can explain is our undying relentless pursuit of trying to find the one with whom there can be no boundaries in thought, who would have a way of looking at things which might not be mine, who would have an identity of her own, who would have a vision which would challenge and stretch the horizon.

And that is where our stupidity lies. That we will not give up even though the prospect of a harrowing defeat is evident. Is it then a coincidence that we we be labelled the crazy romantics who would hardly ever want to conform to reality but would want to write a sonata of our own ? For now, however, only the discordant notes are our only companion and time our only refuge.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maya Banerjee

We have always been at loggerheads. It started about 20 years back and since then it has become progressively worse. Now, however, we have achieved near total perfection in communication. She does not understand a single word I say and I refuse to accept what she says.

Yet, for some quite inexplicable reasons, I cannot help but admire her. I cannot help but be thankful to her for what she has done for me all of these years. To construe it as a discharge of responsibility would be to trivialize the intent, effort and an almost uncompromising love.

If, at times, it appeared to be too harsh, it appeared to push me more than what was required, those chidings which appeared to be unsubstantiated and unnecessary, it was just to instill in me the spirit to stand and fight, not to lose till I have lost and to be humble in victory, possibly to teach me that what might win you the day might be responsible for losing you another.

That courage is not just in muscles and more to do with a heart, that being honest is tough yet advisable, that being a good human being meant much more than accumulated material achievements were consciously and subconsciously drilled more through actions, and much less through dictums. I distinctly remember, my friend and I, 10 years old, playing one evening and being the object of quite a brutal verbal assault from a security guard at our locality. Defenseless, we hardly had the ammunition to hit back. She happened to pass by at that moment and stopped by to confront the inebrieted guard. It did not matter that he was physically more intimidating and it did not matter as well that, in the event of an unsavoury incident, she would also be quite defenseless.
What mattered was, she did what she had to and ten years later those two children understood what it was all about.

If not for anything, I have to salute her incredible strength of mind. It takes a lot of courage to tell your offsprings that they are not exactly good looking. And to do it without sounding offensive, without hurting the most precious thing you have ever possessed is worthy of unparalleled praise. Remarkable.

To stand against practically all of who claim to be far more rational than her, maybe justifiably so, to pursue something with a zeal purely to extract the best for me and nothing but the best, inspite of my objections to her thoughts requires a motivation and affection which cannot be replicated.

There will be many and there are, who love me and would want me to be happy in life. But none as purely and as much, as the woman I call 'ma'.

As I look back on the woman, who brought me up, nurtured my thoughts, thought me to think and love and fight and keep fighting, I am filled with a sense of amazement and wonder that whom I thought to be quite 'ordinary', is actually, in reality, an exceptional person. Much more that what she gets credit for. Much more than I could ever be. Much more than I could ever ask off any other I would come to know.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The First Love?

I met her for the first time when I was eight. She called. To say 'hello'.And she had me at hello. Every morning after that for the next seven years, I would meet her and wonder in awe and amazement.How could someone be so pristine and so beautiful ? My days would be made by her smile, her attention. I was smitten.

I don't know whether it was love or infatuation or a crush. But I so wanted to be with her all the time. Coming to think of it, till today, I think she was the only person who had some degree of control over me without acting pricey. We were great friends, we still are and we will be. But I could never tell her in all those years what she meant to me - the stakes were very very high. I did finally tell her, of course. And I knew it would be quite useless. Or so I thought.

Eventually when the moment came, and it did, I, true to the trend of my life, let it go, opening up a plethora of 'what-ifs' and 'maybes'. At a later point of time, I guess, we both realized what we missed.

What we have for each other today can never be counted as love. I am not sure whether there exists in English a word that could describe it. And we do not even feel the need to. Its pure, its honest and its beautiful.

She never knew it and neither did I for a very long time that our dreams were the same and so were our aspirations and so were our feelings for each other. Today, it does not matter. We will, in all likelihood, live those dreams individually with different people without regret, without remorse, with love and with an assurance that we did exist for each other many years back.

Maybe just for a fleeting second. But we did.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

25 Things You Are Better Off Not Knowing About Me

1. I sulk, a lot.

2. If I were ever to meet someone like myself, I would not even turn and say 'hello'.

3. I think I am smart. Rather, I KNOW I am smart. But I have hardly done anything in my life to prove that.

4. I am surely born at the wrong time in the wrong country. Temperamentally, I was suited to be born in France or maybe in Ireland.

5. I think people who love shopping are weird.

6. For me, whatever I eat HAS TO taste good. No point eating something only because it is good for health.

7. I have an unsubstantiated confidence that I am good at making desserts.

8. There are times when I can be quite...err...mushy?

9. I am a horrible dancer. And an equally bad singer. (I guess we all know this?)

10.I am frantically scared of dogs. Would anyday prefer a tiger to a dog in a battle.

11.I love anything which makes me think. Can't decide whether that makes me boring or an intellectual or a boring intellectual.

12.Cricket was my love. And like all love stories, this one has also gone wrong. I hate it now.

13.SRK was my favourite hero. Now, I think that guy is detrimental to Indian cinema.

14.Sushmita Sen is the only beautiful woman I have seen. Ok - Ingrid Bergman as well.

15.I love politics.

16.Kolkata is the stupidest place on earth. Yet, I cannot be anywhere else.

17.I suffer from commitment phobia.

18.I cannot handle women when they cry. It makes me fall in love with them !

19.I almost always will support an underdog.

20.I have some of the best people as my friends. I think they can walk into any hall of fame anyday. I am hopelessly proud of them and on most days, when I think, I cannot understand why they chose me as one.

21.I have been accused of everything except dishonesty. That is something I cannot tolerate.

22.I LOVE kids. If I could support it financially, I would not stop reproducing. Yeah, I know, you will say, 'start first' !

23.I love my country more than anything else. Really.

24.Nowadays, only two things make me cry - the last scene of Cinderella Man. I just cannot hold back the tears. Its ridiculous ! And the memories of my school - particularly the staircase at the back.

25.Barring 3 exceptions, I have always kept my word. And on those occasions I have not - I still feel guilty. For me, a word given is a word kept.
(This is a repeat post - the credit for this post goes to Paromita, who wanted me to write and post this in stupid Facebook)

Friday, January 09, 2009


(This post is in response to questions posed by friends on one of my earlier posts)

Celebrate life. Not events. Events are mere milestones and if you ask any traveller, they would have hardly noticed them. To them not even the destination is important. What counts is only the journey. If you are living life to achieve targets, then you are losing out on the very essence of life - its spontaneity and its vibrancy.

Celebrate love. Not by counting the number of years you stayed together. But by that one glance, she gave you when you nearly lost it, by that one touch you gave her when she had nowhere to look. The greatest and the fondest moments of your life will always be personal and fifty other people can never be a part of it.

Celebrate friendship. Not by counting how many called on your birthday or how many made it to your marriage. But by giving what you have, by being a better person for them, by incorporating their best in yourself. By providing one lasting impression which will see you through.

Celebrate excellence. By being relentless. By never giving up. On yourself. On others. And most importantly, on your capability. You and ONLY you have the power to refine yourself. Being good is great, being better is even better, being excellent is the best.

Celebrate youth. Not by dancing yourself to glory on a disco floor. But by watching your children grow, by being hurt once again when love fails them, by allowing or rather encouraging them to make the same mistakes you have made.

Celebrate silence. Our gestures do not need words. When minds meet, words are consigned to the dustbins of frivolity. Proclaiming love a hundred times does not make it stronger. One gesture could be so powerful that those hundred would fade into oblivion.

The fact that you have stayed together for 30 years, brought up three kids who are millionaires counts for shit. What counts is that you hardly felt it was 30 and if you lost track of time, you would think it has just started.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Words Learnt in 2008

Cynicism: Calling a spade a spade

Reality: Dreams

Illusion: Reality

Beautiful: You to me and me to you

Success: What I have and what you do not. Come to think of it, if all of us were to have everything we wished for, we would hardly survive. That is why envy and aspirations are time tested virtues !

Failure: Being educated without wisdom or being knowledgeable without education

Love: The idea of being controlled but never knowing that you are

Marriage: Expensive

: Horoscope

Sin: Virtues