Monday, November 27, 2006

Winter Tales

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind,
As man's ingratitude.

William Shakespeare

This is the onset of winters. When you live in Kashmir, every single time you see snow it is magical. Watching the snowflakes waltz their way from the heavens is surreal. It appears like a soft cross between sheer fantasmo and nature at her best. Though I am away from home, both in distance and time, I still love the chill about winters. Nothing strokes my spirits more than the nip in winter airs. In Delhi, the cold season lasts a little less than four months. It is cosy, warm and it smells of coffee wafts. And love. There is a certain slant of light about winter afternoons -- that oppresses, like the heft of cathedral tunes.

For some archaic reason, I feel alone as the frigid winds blow quietly outside. Last night, I came home and silently crept into my bed. I closed the door behind. I had no particular reason for my bareness. Sometimes in the silence of our hearts we listen to the odd mystic song of our life. I tried to listen to mine. I know no one would ever follow me; no one would come and stay. One by one, I appeared to take off my stupid desires. In my outstretched palm, they flickered for a while and then disappeared. I blew out all the candles, and the cold, calm night seemed both familiar and reassuring.

Curiously enough I had an impish dream overnight. I can only share little details here. It was like one of those many quick urgent dreams that overlap as you try to recount them next morning. My winter dream was a calm solace. Someone affectionately cuddled me. Told me that I am foolish to feel that there is no love left in the world. That I’m only enduring what is called the test of time. That I need to be cheerful. I tried to reason. Why? Why the rigorous endurance? There was a studied, elegant silence and then a tiny advisory: If you try, even you can control your emotions. But I don’t want to, I wanted to say. I didn't. They say any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.

Alexander the great was badly wounded during one of his fierce battles -- on his India conquest -- in the fourth century. The Macedonian king later recalled that he had had brief visions of everything he held sacred and beloved during his semi-conscious, mooning state: Vales with crimson flowers, a white robed Aristotle, familiar streets of Macedonia, his mom Olympias and ofcourse the countless naughty treks with Haephastion. It has occurred to kings and folks over hundres of years. The reveries almosy always transcend time.

My dream broke shortly before dawn. My World Space radio was still blaring. I got up, switched it off. I walked upto the window. I peeked out. There were no stars. A fine rain was falling. I slipped back into my feathered quilt. Trying to unbelong. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul!

Ah! The warmth of winter bed.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Why we miss?

Weekend Special:
Reproducing an updated best-of-my-blog for the weekend special.

He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.
William Shakespeare

We must not miss lest we begin to love

Why does one miss? What is that makes us miss someone? How do we miss some and not all? Frankly, the very thought befuddles me. The idea is confusing, I understand.

We miss even when we are physically surrounded. Not many can make out that these are the drab moments of absense that tickle us in our sub-conciousness. The hard pangs. When we miss like hell. Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.

All of us miss. The strong and the enfeebled. I guess we miss because we care. And because we love. It is such a exquisite human arete. I face it. That deep lump in my throat. Heart skipping doubly fast. The bizarre feeling of desperation. Of helplessness. Of trying to obliterate the distances. Efface what's between us. Can't. Strange worldly affairs. Norms. Decorum. These notions have been strifling human desires for ages.

There are times when I just want to break free. I trust Søren Kierkegaard, the maverick 19th century Danish existentialist when he says, 'It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.'

Life throws these hard snowballs at me. I hope I have the courage to hold forth and duck and throw bigger balls back at her. Last night, my eyes turned torpid reading a book. I remember, the last lines I read...If I never met you, I wouldn't like you. If I didn't like you, I wouldn't love you. If I didn't love you, I wouldn't miss you. But I did, I do, and I will.

I vegged out soon after. A lost smile swimming in my thoughts. Only I know its destination!


Thursday, November 23, 2006


I am happy, let me confess. Not exuberant perhaps but definitely cheerful. Happiness is a beautiful trait. You feel good and nice in your belly when you are happy. Yet I cannot claim to be perfect just because I am happy. Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections. A cute angel whispered in my dream a couple of nights back,” Show me that you are happy”. I had a huge grin on my face when I got up the next morning. The influential German philosopher Nietzsche, once famously wrote: "Pardon me, my friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on the wall."

I don’t want to sound cynical here. I’ve waded through a particularly rough patch recently. A freaky car accident, followed by bouts of recurring sickness and other little complicacies happened to me in quick succession. I’m glad I’ve a great support system, which I can always fall back on when I’m lying low. Then I’ve my angel. It gently chastises me – when I appear meek -- only to strengthen me as an individual. With so much love it gets easier to cut through - heavy, thick, suffocating, woeful layers of darkness.

I wonder why does it feel heavier at times. Why does life feel like a mini dream in a siesta or a prolonged nightmare? Why do my independence, tastes, indulgences, quirkiness and the “so-called” emotional intelligence seem like a threat? Why does the heart want to break free and yell, where no one can listen to the lovelorn hollering? Why does a genuine chunk of your emotions seem like the third act of a boring English play? Why do I feel like to plunge into the unknown and pray that I swim and not sink!

Often enough, melancholy hovers like a giddy butterfly around our left ear. Many things – visible and invisible -- conspire to make us feel gloomy, down, sick, and endlessly hapless. That is when you need angels. They kiss your tears away. They quietly take your hand. They kick your butt. They make you smile. By their little words and magical touch. They tickle your eardrums by the high pitch of their innocent voice. They make you realize that happiness is infact a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down peacefully, may alight upon you.


Monday, November 20, 2006

The Duo

Kokes and Navvy strike a pose in my room Posted by Picasa

This life

Life is a beautiful odyssey. It takes us to high seas and lowlands. Surprises us. Hurts us. Heals us. Takes our endurance to the tether and fastens it. Lets it go. We bump across with love on one of life's skewed nooks. We loathe life at its mercilessness. We thank it for our parents. Love it for our friends. We evolve as we sprint with time. Against it. We slog to meet deadlines and more dealines before life enters its dusk. We work to achieve greatness. Without realising that in reality a man's dreams are an index to his greatness. We often forget to pause and see if we miss something in this never-ending pursuit. Yet no one can be guillotined for it. Modern humans are wired that way. The footfalls continue.

Yet we dream, think, wish, miss, wonder, regret, cry, need and love.

I can’t speak for others. I know me.

I am thinking about:
promises that somehow get broken – always – by me!

I say,
Stupid. I love you. I mean the latter, never the former

I want to,
be at peace with myself, with the people around me...

I wish,
I had a cottage by the sea, so I could go for a moonlit walk every night – I swear I don’t need anything else if I have that!

I miss,
someone, who often comes in my dreams and who thinks it is an exhausting emotion!

I hear,
the music in my heart.

I wonder,
Would I ever be whole? Happy I am, but in a fragmented way! I guess it’s the wholeness that matters!

I regret,
Nothing - ever!

I am,
a person oscillating between the extreme of emotions and situations – too caring, a tad sarcastic, too supportive, a believer and a heathen. Ecstatic and Depressive. My life is made of contrasting strands, that’s where my wild energies come from!

I dance,
as in never….just tap my feet!

I cry,
Often – all artists are a little touched!

I am
not always,in the best of the moods… so I cant be a good company 24/7, but I definitely try!

I write,
what I feel, even if it gets to be too prosaic or philosophical and complex for others to decipher…but then, I am not simple

I finish,
my work or anything I commit to, whether hell comes or high winds. This explains my disregard for sluggards!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Your love keeps me going
makes me feel confident
makes me feel as if
I can make a difference to somebody
makes me feel beautiful
makes me smile

I believe in angels, the kind Heaven sends. I am surrounded by angels and I call them my friends. Friends are such priceless assets. You have got to be lucky to be able to find the genuine ones. And treasure them, safely away in that sacred coffer called heart. Even though we change in life and find our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends. I am glad I've a lovely bunch of friends to fall back on, each time my cadency slows or accelerates.

In life, we often find a special friend. Someone who changes our life just by being a part of it. Someone who makes us laugh until we can't stop. Someone who makes us believe that there really is good in the merciless world. Someone who convinces us that there actually is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. The forever friend!

When I’m down and the world seems dark and empty, my forever friend lifts me up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem fulgent and full. That is when I realize friends are Godsend. I believe mine are. They have all played a role in opening a part of me up. Of forming me into the person I am at this moment. With their quirks and wild ideas. I love them!

I have jotted it somewhere and I mean it: I reckon we all have a few loose bolts upstairs. If we did not...we would not be human. And although the terms were perhaps intended for women, don't we all really bitch, crib, cry and smile from earlobe to earlobe in the company of our august friends.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Silent tears

Love without pain
love without loss
I cannot fathom such a feeling
yet I long for it with you

And that longing is like a thousand deaths.
And as I long to be released from that pain,
I know it will never happen
because to be released from that pain
would mean being released from you,
and the pain of that is death in itself

So for the time I have left I will lie in
Your arms, hiding the pain that wells up
Inside and the pain that accompanies holding
Back the tears, and hope and pray you don't
Wake up, and catch me with those tears in my eyes...
The tears in my eyes that come from loving you.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

From Sam's stump

It hasn't been a particularly salubrious time for me. I've been lying low because a half-witted family of viruses has raided my immune system. I've got what’s commonly dubbed as common cold. My doc tells me that these little chaps responsible for my present state of unease are variously called rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, echoviruses and coxsackieviruses. My already innervated body is trying hard to fight the stupid intruders. To top it all, a bug bit me -- now I don't know which one -- under my eye, giving me a blubbery bad rash. I think the pack of viruses -- realizing that their ungrateful host did not like the surprise visit -- called for the villainous bug's help to enfeeble me completely. Whatever it is -- that is cooking up -- I am sure it is a conspiracy against me. These cretins can be a dangerous lot, I tell you.

I was in Kashmir, this last week. It was a whirlwind tour, as my sojourns always are. Five days. Six nights. Like some Mediterranean cruise where people jostle to feed you, pamper you, fatten you. I think I have put on a little flab. It makes me feel guilty, like nothing else. Kashmir was good. Ever beautiful, serene and quiet. Every time I go to the vale of violets and violence – I see very little change. The same gossips. Same old stories, I’ve heard a thousand times and yet I listen to them. I can’t reason, why? Midwives tales. Dull, drab afternoons. The famous nip in the wind. The chill piercing your toes. The unsettling feeling. Funny Urdu accents. Occasional bombs. On the flight back to Delhi, as you see the majestic Himalayas fade in the distance, you know you can’t unbelong to the crimson land that has spawned you.

This is the onset of winters in Delhi. I don’t know how long I continue to breathe her hodgepodge airs. Right now, people in the capital are fighting street battles with the government because our courts have decided to seal a million livelihoods – in one quick order. With no rehabilitation or re-location plans in clear sight, I understand it is a desperate situation. The highest law of the land may throw law books at your face but try explaining that to a person with a family and no alternative income. No state social security. In the era of globalization. We pride to call ourselves the world’s biggest democracy yet spirit away the only means of sustenance available to an ordinary citizen of this country. Outside of our plush ac-cars and designer offices, life is but an endless struggle for the hoi polloi.

I sleep -- unconsciously fighting the virus-pack – subconsciously floating in my daffy dreams. Savoring in the delight of my heart’s sweet-ache. Yeah, Eyes. Those eyes come to say something to me. I never understand what. I never may! Yet I love them. Is it sane to dream in our times? I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can be together all the time. Even in a time of 9.5% growth.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thank you, America

For six years, this guy has traumatised an entire world. He invaded two countries. Scared many others. Continues to bully even now. Many commentrators are equating Iraq with Vietnam. All through George II was backed by both houses of the US Congress -- the House of Rep and the Senate. His party, the Republicans controlled them till Nov 6. Backed by his partymen, Bush led an American administration that has played an unprecedentedly negative and polarising role in the world's affairs. On Tuesday, in the midterm US congressional elections, American voters rebuffed Bush in spectacular style and with both instant and lasting political consequences. By large numbers and across almost every state of the union, the voters defeated Republican candidates and put the opposition Democrats back in charge of the House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years.

When the remaining recounts and legal challenges are over, the Democrats may even have narrowly won control of the Senate too. Either way, the results change the political landscape in Washington for the final two years of this now thankfully diminished presidency. They also reassert a different and better United States that can again offer hope instead of despair to the world. Donald Rumsfeld's -- of the stuff happens fame -- resignation last night was a fitting climax to the voters' verdict. Thank you, America.

In US domestic terms, the 2006 midterms bring to an end the 12 intensely divisive years of Republican House rule that began under Newt Gingrich in 1994. These have been years of zealously and confrontational conservative politics that have shocked the world and, under Bush, have sent America's global standing plummeting. That long political hurricane has now at last blown itself out for a while, but not before leaving America with a terrible legacy that includes climate-change denial, the end of biological stem-cell research, an aid programme tied to abortion bans, a shockingly permissive gun culture, an embrace of capital punishment equalled only by some of the world's worst tyrannies, a president who frighteningly carries religion on sleeve.

Polls suggest that four issues counted most in these elections - corruption scandals, the economy, terrorism and Iraq. In the end, though, it was the continuing failure of the war in Iraq that has galvanised many Americans to do what much of the rest of the world had longed for them to do much earlier. It is too soon to say whether 2006 now marks a decisive rejection of the rest of the conservative agenda as well. Only those who do not know America well will imagine that it does.

The Democratic victory was very tight in many places, but its size should not be underestimated. November 7 was a decisive nationwide win for the progressive and moderate traditions in US political life. The final majority in the House will be at least 18. The recapture of the Senate, if it happens, will involve captures from the Republicans in the north-east, the north-west, the midwest and the south. The Democrats won seven new state governorships on Tuesday, including New York and Ohio, and now control a majority nationwide. Republican governors who held on, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and Charlie Crist in Florida, only did so by distancing themselves from Mr Bush. The statewide Democratic wins in Ohio give their 2008 presidential candidate a platform for doing what John Kerry failed to do in this crucial state in 2004.

The big questions under the new Congress will be the way that Bush responds to this unfamiliar reduction in his authority and whether the Democratic win will push the president into a new Iraq policy. Curiously, the departure of the disastrous Rumsfeld has come at least three years too late. He more than anyone else is the architect of America's humiliations in Iraq. It was truly an outrage that he remained in office for so long. American voters at last made this possible. For that alone the entire world owes them a deep gratitude.

It isn't yet morning in America, but for the first time in a long time, there's a morning star. Thank you, America.

Poop-- The Guardian

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The parting shot

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, as they say. I am off for sometime. To Kashmir. Reasons, I've detailed at some length in the post, below.

This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.

I leave you with two of my fav snap-shots in recent months!