Welcome, friends...

Welcome, friends, to my place-
No matter how busy you are,
You’ve chosen to spare some time
To roll back the calendar together.
You’ll travel several miles,
Braving the heat all the way-
To make it to this place this summer,
To be together,
To re-live the moments we lived,
A year back.
Again in my room shall we meet,
Chat non-sense all night,
Pull one another’s legs,
And laugh like hell over insignificant things,
Like we did,
A year back.
I’m sure you can endure the city heat,
But the warmth in this heart-
Will you be able to stand that?

The Ship

Waiting for the vessel in the sea
To pick me up-
From where the water is shallow,
To let me embark,
And be a part of the voyage I so desired!

O Captain! Do you hear me?
Take me with you wherever you go-
Far from the shore,
Where I needn’t worry about the chores;
Where I can cry
Until my throat runs dry,
Without worrying where my tears got lost.

Here comes the ship loaded with passengers,
All to the same destination;
Mine is different, Captain,
Drop me off where the water is deep-
Into the abyss.

The Leaf

Fallen leaves on the soiled ground,
I like the only one in green, with shreds of yellow spots;
‘Cause it’s green and stands out bright-
Immature it is- a misfit in the current lot.

As I stooped to pick it up,
A gust blew it away,
As all others stayed in place.
Am I dreaming?
Did it defy the laws of nature?
As if in intoxication, I kept chasing it,
Following like a mother separated from her baby,
Pausing to convince me- it’s illusive.

There are dreams I am chasing,
Which come with laws that are dissenting.
Am I dreaming or should I keep chasing?
Or am I following a leaf from the Bodhi Tree?

What’s in the Dabba?

Last night, when we were deciding on which movie to watch, we had narrowed down our choice to Ragini MMS and Amole Gupte’s Stanley ka Dabba. The reason I shunned the former was Ekta Kapoor! It turned out to be a right decision.
Had it been just the first half, the movie would have been a waste. It was very light-hearted and portrayed all the typical elements that Bollywood is fond of showing in a children’s film, with a school as its background- except that the director took extreme care in depicting vividly and at the same time plainly, the life of a fourth-grade kid in a school. You will most certainly be reminded of your own school days- the popular guy in the class, the tiffin-break, the classrooms, the teachers, the chorus “Good Morning” and “Thank you”, the crush on the beautiful teacher, the khadoos teacher (khadoos in his/her own way in every school) and so on.
The “lunch break” reminded me of how we shared our tiffin- the joy in eating from other tiffin-boxes irrespective of whatever special dish your mother packed for you. When I look back, I realize how the nature of the tiffin we carried was determined by our family backgrounds. Thank God, kids don’t worry about all these social differences- or are they made so “mature” that they can afford to overlook them? I wasn’t particularly happy when Stanley alone was gifted a chocolate in front of the whole class- I’ve been through similar situations in school and I know kids don’t like it at all! Of course, Stanley was generous enough to share it with others.
Not everything was the same as my school-days: a notable difference was a child carrying a mobile-phone to school. Then, thankfully, if I can correctly recollect, I didn’t have to prepare a “project” when I was in standard-four. I pity the current sate of affairs!
I was reminded of Taare Zameen Par several times: the punishment scene, the caring teacher and the kid washing his face in tap-water.
I was really taken aback by the use of Tagore’s “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake” at the end of a concert Stanley participated in. These words held so much meaning in the context of the movie towards the end (I won’t spoil your movie experience by telling ‘how’). Stanley taught how to smile in difficult times. I cannot resist myself from quoting Reuters’ review: ”Stanley Ka Dabba for the most part doesn’t hammer its message home. So that when the message does hit home, it hits pretty hard.”
Hold on- I didn’t reveal the crux of the story- the message that was so playfully sent to the audience. All I wrote wasn’t a spoiler in the real sense. So, what are you waiting for?

Hindi Hai Hum

Learning a language can be difficult- and one like Hindi can be a nightmare- as has been for me for quite some time now! As far as I can remember, I wasn’t that bad in Hindi a year back- I can produce mark-sheets that bear testimony to this fact. But I know, report cards can be deceiving (I have repeatedly proved that by consistently getting high grades in subjects I feared and faring terribly in the ones I was passionate about). Today I let the secret of the trade out: I avoided, by all possible means, gender (dis)agreement while framing sentences in Hindi.

I wasn’t doing really badly until I was posted in a Hindi-speaking state. Only then did I realize that what I could avoid while writing, I could not- while conversing. The gender disagreement started getting more and more obvious in each of my conversation. To make matters worse, people around me started pointing out how miserable my Hindi was! So every time I spoke, I got more conscious; I didn’t want to make mistakes- and that only made me make more mistakes- stupider than ever!

I am grateful, though, that most people patiently corrected me; also ungrateful as none of them could successfully teach me as to what determined the gender of a non-living entity. Most people retort, “It comes naturally” and I give a confused smile- pitying the state of Hindi grammar, thinking- “Oh, you knew it the moment you were born- there are no grammar, no rules, huh?!” (I can see, all my Hindi-speaking readers are frowning- but I really can’t help unless you come up with a logical explanation). My latest achievement has been- I could incite a group of Hindi-speaking people to debate over the use of correct gender with something as simple as Dahi; they couldn’t reach a conclusion and resolutely stuck to their respective point without any logic whatsoever- let alone convincing ones!

After this episode, all I can say is-“Dimag ka Dahi mat banaa!

PS: This article shouldn’t be looked upon as my irreverence towards one of the most widely spoken and official language of this great nation; it’s only my inability to find a good Hindi teacher!

A Moaner

High-speed fan, still not enough air, is the ceiling too high?
Ahh, the warm gust-they rightly call it the loo- Boo!
Cover your faces, have shakes and juices, but get sick and weak;
I am tired…when will this summer end?

Damp and gloomy, incessant showers- will it ever stop?
Waterlogged lanes, splashing water, soiled clothes!
Carry an umbrella, wear a raincoat, but get to work all wet;
I am vexed…when will this monsoon end?

Numb with cold- blankets, sweaters, gloves- enough?
I need to get up early- Oh, please, let me sleep!
Wake up, get ready, but get pale and get late;
I am lazy…when will this winter end?

I neither like the summer nor the winter, is the monsoon any better?
Half the year is so terrible to live;
I am a moaner…when will this whining end?