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This blog is named after one of my poems. Even thought its not the best of the lot, I just fell in love with those words- The Psyche Unknown...

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Flame..

This poem contains references to some of my old ones. If you ever got those, you'll get this one too! :)


The flame of sin slowly subsides,
As truth slips beneath the mask,
That realization have I dawned upon,
All which time had cried loud about.

The macaw, I thought, was a distant dream,
The soul, I thought, was reposed as it seemed,
But alas!
The rein of sin has never been tighter,
The guilt, while I knew, has always been lighter.

A call of the unknown psyche,
From the depths of the widest hell,
A gallant shore, I thought, it had touched,
An answer heard, that seemed pure and true-,
was a cruel joke that vanity had brewed.

The cloak reminds me of its growing fondness,
The cliffs tell their tale of pride,
Have I yet to set out and conquer,
A run, that seemed to evade the mind..

Clarity flutters along the crimson band,
The will to fight, joins in hand,
Renewed vigor is the seed sown fresh,
On the lam, to flourish in flesh.

A pattern, as I see, life concocts,
That, which bonds with the lyrics of the past,
How astounding, for a human to err,
Undulating akin to a mammoth curl…

The oil of lust all dries out,
The flames of sins all die out,
The thirst to fight has never been stronger,
A crusade that now titillates the soul deeper..

I light up the milieu as the dew whistle behind,
For I know, the haze of sin will perish in time,
Engulfed is the psyche in the flame I ignite,
Peace is the pledge from this flare so bright….


Sunday, October 23, 2011


Her heart was thumping out loud.. She had waited long enough. A part of her warned her. But clouded as her sight was on the starry night, she could not stop looking out for her desire to materialize. Her young bosom heaved as she inhaled the sharp cold winds that played with her mane. There had been an urgency that day. A sensation that often surfaced but never overpowered, had finally succeeded in its try. She would go for it. The mistake she knew she was going to make, She would do it. There were a million implications that could arise from it, most which wouldn't be pleasing. And yet she had unthawed her sentiences and had gotten ready for the plunge. It hadn't seemed like a fallacious plan then. But what was she thinking?

As her obscure hope churned to reality, she felt the earth give away beneath her feet. She dreamily rose to a majestic height barely agnising it. The stars twinkled jocundly over her and the winds flirted all the more with her smile. It seemed perfect. It seemed chaste though she knew she would regret that rashness. Not all are intrepid enough to face their heart's desires out in the open. Not all can feel proud of finding and following what they long for. Because not all desires are innocent and not all of them are supposed to be sought out. There is a reason why they say Desire is the cause of all sorrows. But who is to tell a fickle mind that it needs the very thing it cannot have?
She danced a tango to the music within her. The helplessly inebriated tune of fantasies, craving and self-deception. She had succeeded in bridging her illusions and reality. She plundered around, defiled nature and tarnished milieu. Right above the place revered by millions. She flew long and far all night.. She felt light and satiated.. She crooned like the happiest macaw and glowed like the brightest lily. She had begun to feel probably she was mistaken about the repercussions. The feeling wasn't exactly yelling caution.

Only when the sun glinted on her quenched soul did she sense the air around her. It didn't smell like freshly watered grass anymore. It didn't seem to conceal her serendipity like a tree's shadow anymore. She tried to justify it then, but words failed her. She tried to make sense out of it. She, who was known for her unwavering determination, had given in to a silly heart's desire like a toddler. She didn't understand how, she of all people, was capable of such sacrilege..
What's with a human desire? A strong power that could detain the senses and evince the worst..A colossus that could upheave normalcy and play with the tender twigs of righteousness.. She searched for an answer. Nothing that evidenced, pleased her. She had never understood how an organ rendering blood could influence her decisions, but she realized it now. That, what she always said-All is in the mind, was unproved by herself. She had been twisted to the whims of her heart. And she had thought she had it all in her rein.

The guilt was stabbing her, the ignominy of running behind sweet vicious fantasies were taking a toll on her. She wouldn't blame the cosmos for leading her to her desire. She wouldn't blame her desire that manifested itself in a way she wanted.. She had none to curse for how she felt, cos it wasn't the action itself that was corroding her but how she gave into it without resistance and how she went through with it sans a thought or regret, knowing she would feel otherwise when the air changed.

She just would had to live with her mistakes. She had followed her impulse without questioning and she was bearing the brunt of it. She would have to fix her roots to where they belong and nurture them from the start. And it was going to be a long journey. The flux of dreams and reality had cost her, her pride and dignity.
But she also realized that she wasn't a dead soul, she was only human and who is to desire a desire better than the frail human flesh? She was going to mend by embracing her mistakes. They did not make her any different a person than she used to be. She was glad she wasn't made of stone that most presumed she was. She was glad she wasn't strong for once. It was ok to take a break from being perfect and do something reckless. She was glad to know she was capable of defying her principles. Knowing that would only stop her from repeating it again.
Her foolhardiness was now making her wiser. It had cleared her sight to paint a picture of her true righteous desires. Her tangled brain had lead her in an uncertain roller coaster ride towards clarity. The guilt that nibbled her away was now leading her towards serenity. It was just one of the other million things she had to avenge wisely and she would do it.
She broke off her self embrace and looked up at the sky. The tiny whites were receding and the golden orb was warming the earth. The first of the rays lapped deep into her skin and it promised a new hope, new wisdom and a new vision. She had made peace with herself. A new day had come; that something she recognized, was not so new in her life.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Three months and not a post here... Yes, I know. Many of you are suffocating just like I am. But somehow life here is just demanding cheques that I am barely managing to cash out without losing what little sanity prevails in this nearly bankrupt brain of mine. Not that it is an excuse… or may be it is one! I have been upto a lot of things these past 3 months and I have loads to tell. I started writing several articles but finished none. But today, after 14 hours of asphyxia in my “Chamber of secrets” (I shall explain sometime), some terrible results to boost my rage hormones and mystical plots that mocked me with profound vanity, I subconsciously clicked on my blog tab for some reading therapy that probably would also inspire some energy and creativity in my tired spine..
I’m hit with the deepest pang of guilt, worse than the one when the library dome peeps into my new abode while I try to take some time off. Unattended and forlorn, with only visitors who came were in search of “white haired anime girl”, “anime girl’s eyes” and the likes. The page looked dead, literally. Not to mention the dip in the blog’s ranking. My intestines twined harder by the second and hence this post for penance.
Past three months have been action packed-more than ever. A couple of trips to Paris and Germany, moving into a new house and furnishing it from the scratch, exams, assignments, thesis experiments, understanding Indian system of law and constitution and pondering over Jan lokpal, freelance journalism, trying my vocals with a band and few other things that seem to evade my memory now, have all been the cause for this blasphemy.
I had beautiful words to describe my trips and its results.. But well, now I can’t seem to articulate most of them. Have lots more to tell, but the security guard announces in thick Dutch accent that the building closes in five minutes. I have to get out and walk back home in the getting-colder-by-the-minute winds of Holland. If not for this announcement every night, I probably would have changed my residence address to Klyuverweg.
“Mevrouw, het gebouw sluit…..” I know, Shut up! I’m going!

I will write soon. I promise.


Friday, May 27, 2011

The big fat Indian wedding 1.a (Reprise)

Disclaimer 1)I am not undergoing some marriage phase, just like most thought when I posted the prequel. Hell, I am glad to be breathing amidst all the work. So no questions or rhetorical clich├ęs about it, please.

Disclaimer 2) Please note, I am not for or against love marriages or arranged marriages. Whatever works best for an individual.  Just trying to find sense in some age old practices that is facing the altar of current gen bloggers and video makers. As mentioned in version 1 of the post, ancient Indians (like really ancient, not the sati system propagandists) did not start a tradition, study or rituals without the blend of rational and logical reasoning in it. Considering millions of years have passed, the true purpose and meaning is lost somewhere in translation and pass down.

Disclaimer 3) This post is ridiculously long. But I am almost sure it will hold your attention if you have read my previous post and/or are interested in this topic.

Disclaimer 4) I know I am not married and my mom would scorn at another wedding article brushing it aside as it has come from an inexperienced writer but one doesn’t need to be in the marital realm to observe the world and use some common sense along with some research to say what I am about to say.

It has been a little more than a year that I wrote the first part to this post. And you must understand, over time, my wisdom tooth has grown. I am not continuing this post where I left off but this one is to say few “my bad’s”, to rephrase some points and add some new ones that is intended to those who go all ballistic over arranged marriages.

What inspired me? A blog of another NRI blogger who seemed like he left India prior independence and never returned to see the current Indian arranged marriage scene. I revisited my first post and saw some points that now I disagree rather resent writing myself and thought since that was the most commented post of mine, I let those people know who actively took part in the discussion that I did have few points that were supremely foolish and self contradictory. They were from someone who hadn’t understood why Indian traditions are the way they are-like this afore mentioned individual!
You might ask, So now you think you are an expert on Indian culture? The answer is No, I surely am not. But one recent event in the near past had me searching for answers for so many deep questions. I stumbled upon answers for many more questions than I hoped to. I am still rolling on that ground and there is a lot to cover. And already I feel the wisdom tooth effects that I can’t resist sharing. :D

This doesn’t mean I don’t stick by the ranting about a girl’s age of marriage. I still hold every word of it in firm grasp. Marriage shouldn’t be thrust upon someone as a priority at 21. Women need to see the world at a young age. To explore the twists and turns of living alone, being responsible for one-self, making life-sustaining decisions on their own is something that everyone needs to experience. It only makes an individual stronger and well prepared for life. One should know life without companionship too.
Also I still think that marriage shouldn’t be treated as a responsibility of parents. Given that the parents having seen the world a lot more, their guidance and help to a certain extent is most essential in the process but in no way should they treat it as a responsibility-financially or emotionally, failing which they are deemed as bad parents either by society or themselves.
But I understand that is not possible largely. It probably was construed to be so, fearing that the children would make all the wrong choices but if there is effective upbringing in the household and a sensible kid at hand, I don’t see the reason for Indian parents to get so worked up about marriages anyway.

Coming to the topic of arranged marriages alone, my take previously on money minting dingy offices and websites may have been a little immature. I agree that it has worked for many and will continue to do so too. Although I still detest the thought especially after personally knowing many people who mess around with the contents of various profiles just for kicks! And of course I staunchly hate the make up+photoshoped photos with unnatural poses up everywhere.

I still stand by my thoughts on Astrology although I have dug up material a little more in detail. And I still would say, Indian weddings are a showcase of your ability to handle pressure in some really grueling ways.

So keeping my reprise aside, the next part is for all those who think arranged marriages are drag and senseless. Let me enlighten you my comrades, that enlightenment is a long process. Discovering truths takes an everlasting turn. So its ok if you post blogs like the one I did a year ago but keep an open mind that you may be wrong! That’s how you learn.

Firstly, Stop thinking that since 95% of arranged marriages don’t end up in divorce, it is definitely a compromise and the couples are not happy in it together. Nobody is happy all the time. Its how you adjust and adapt to the conditions that make you seem happy or sad. Doesn’t matter which way down the fork you walked-love or arranged or single, compromises and adjustments come as a package.

Secondly, the boy and girl in question aren’t forced into a small room to talk for the first time. Get over it. In the age of Mochas and Baristas, the parents know better than to lock them up in a room!

Thirdly, dowry existed in India; it does in some parts now too. But it is diminishing at a rapid rate with what, all the guys becoming more gentlemanly, educated and citizens of the world. Everybody knows what started as a voluntary action turned into an obligation, the wheel which is now spinning back home again. So a girl’s father needn’t always give car/gold/utilities to the groom! Chances these days are the guy has better collections already than the father can offer! If you still find someone taking or asking for it, well, you know he doesn’t fit the above description and/or that he is a jackass! Some parents do fall for societal pressures. You can always get them not to bother about their peers if you have good communication skills. If you can’t then it’s not the “arranged marriage concept” that is at fault, it is you! And FYI, some love marriages involve the son-of-a-dowry too!

Fourthly, why castes, religions are so important- Because in olden days, the newly wed couples had no option but to stay with the grooms parents and as always with the “previous generation” at any point of time, rituals, customs and habits have to be sworn by, by the new bride. It was and still is difficult for most to change all habits, language, traditions, food etc. when there is a cross over. So our ancestors made intra religion marriages mandatory and put a price across the heads that didn’t follow just so that it would warn the future generations from being miserable all their life. In the current world, they still follow it, for the very same reason. So unless you know you are super flexible and would welcome a complete make over with open arms for the rest of your life, just follow what is proven! In the case you think that the rule is beneath you and your parents are mad about your choice, understand that they may not be open to change as you are! Its just an individual outlook.

Fifthly, restrictions based on zodiacs, gothras and the likes are all here for a reason. Something I hadn't understood when I wrote the first part. The constellations were used to recognize the month you were born, which based on its position has an impact on a person’s personality. Why? The initial development of humans is influenced by every single atom around. Physically and emotionally. At the time of your birth (month), there are specific stellar movements which create different auras accordingly. The radiations, weather and every universal aspect just like your immediate surroundings form your deepest traits. Even as grown-ups don’t you feel gloomy when the skies are all dark and depressing during autmn? Don’t you feel happy and cherished when colors of spring entice you all around? It works on similar lines. Observations have been made for ages and comparisons and compatibilities are hence tested even today. There are tons of exceptions as with anything and if you check, most of the “loved and then married” successful couples are zodiacally compatible!

The gothras in the grand span of human life, shortly put, are here to prevent the Y chromosome from being extinct due to overlapping defective genes! Our Vedic folks weren’t kidding when they designed this system. They had the knowledge of it without microscopes and other gadgets. May be hard to believe, but its all there for real.. And it’s not trash talk but is scientifically scanned news for you! I won’t give it all away. Look it up, trust me, it will turn out to be an eye- opener.

There is more, but enough for this post.
And to those who read part one-don’t gloat that you won on some points. This is the very same self evolution I was talking about in one of my comments. I am glad I wrote what I thought then and I am glad to have written now. I am happy that I did not give in to your arguments and found out I was mistaken on some points on my own. I saw sense in it myself rather than just agreeing with you. And so will it be. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The white of sunlight reflected on the gravelly surface of her refuge.. Her empty eyes were transfixed on the shadows induced by the thick leafless branches of the tree which stood close. Random lines on the low roof of the cave seemed like an artist's conspiracy to her.. Her mind fluttered incessantly within the deeply tanned skin and what she felt like burnt flesh. She tried to figure out the engrained puzzle on the wall while a moth beholding spring flew about with full spirit over her grizzled hair.

She never dreamed of this. She never wanted it in the first place. But yet there she was, desiring something she knew she had lost, aching for something she knew she probably never would have got in the first place and hoping against hope that the reality was false.
For someone who lived mostly in an unreal world, the truth seemed harsher than she had known it to be. Illusions of mind were dangerous. Building bridges across the playful musings of her conscience and reality proved to be catastrophic. She should have understood that long ago. As endearing as her fantasies were, it was time to give them up now.

Her self-loathing had reached an unsettling level. Somehow she abhorred herself more for not being able to understand what was on the wall rather than what had happened that day. Trying to give it a meaning seemed very important at that moment. Trying to attach significance to every slope in life was important to her. She didn't mind the blinding light that encroached her cave, her senses seemed to have hidden in the darkest corners. This wasn't a first. For the second time her fort had been torn down in the most similar way and although she looked less naked than earlier, she felt more assailable than ever. Anguish appeared to tear her apart in slices.. so much that her song which never left those pale pink lips was lost somewhere in her swarthy thoughts.

The shadows began to creep on to her agonizing thoughtless air castle, ridiculing her existence and purpose. That infuriated her.. Mockery was something she couldn't tolerate. She would have to just rebuild her fort elsewhere. She would have to walk strong again. She would have to emerge armor-clad for the next battle. She wouldn't give up. It was those playful colors in her mind that had made her stronger after all.
Or so she thought..
She walked out of her cave and lurched through the rubble around to find what she had lost. She needed her imagination to survive the lonely flight of life. Her clothes were ragged and her face was distraught. Fatigue and fear pulled her back but she fought. She would continue dreaming, for that was one place she needn't fight for survival, one place where objects moved at her command. She would find solace. Probably a little late but she definitely would! She would build her fort stronger this time, may be laced with some guile. A fort that couldn't be torn apart but only conquered. And if someone cared to try and succeed she would embrace reality. A thought that she couldn't fathom for now. But that was the only way. She would search for that better place, be it atop the highest mountain or along the deepest ocean. A place that she could fantasize without seeing the end. A place which would heal her reality. She had to be patient for it would reap what she yearned for.

The descending sun played tricks with her eyes. She thought she saw water rippling beside the cave. She collapsed on her knees when she saw the golden-white hooves of a centaur majestically strolling across the banks of the lake. The greenest of forests behind him with the twilight aura lighting up the dew drops like diamonds on leaves and the coolest of breeze brushing away her bruises. Her skin began to glisten fairy-like and her smile was returning. She knew nor cared to check if it was real, for she was in a place far blessed than the mortal world had ever delivered. Her rags disappeared and she sat high on the same branch of the same tree. She could see her fort walls towering high by the second at a distance, stronger than ever. She smiled. She would mend... in her own way.....


Friday, April 22, 2011

Colors of my land......

I clicked on the first link Google offered with much enthusiasm. It took about 2 minutes to open with an internet speed of around 60 mbps. Soon the center of my 17” monitor turned into a spectral fiesta with around 2” grey border on three sides.. Stars were twinkling on top of the page and I was so sure it was some pop up ad with zingy material. Wait no.. I could see some words like space, technology, research etc. amidst all the chromic orgy. I still refused to believe this was what I was looking for. It still looked like an advertisement, may be science-related one by a 15 year old. Looked for a close button, didn’t spot one. I refreshed. Nothing changed. Again. Again..

I conceded and I sat there in the basement of the lab with my jaw dropped down.

I tried to absorb all the material crammed into the small colorful box in the center of the screen. A black backdrop on the top housed some stars that kept going on and off, like the series bulbs that are used to decorate marriage halls. Pink, orange, blue, green, red inactive buttons adorned one side of the page while the latest news flashed on a box to the right (similar to the one all the way at the bottom of this page) in a shade of fluorescent green that reminded me of my 1st grade coloring book. The bold lemon yellow title, poorly animated Indian flag in one corner, “Our chairman” tab next to products and organization capabilities, website visitor number on the bottom and a monitor resolution and browser suggestion drained me off what little life remained at the end of a long day. I slumped on my seat trying to digest it all.

This website, ladies and gentlemen, is supposed to depict the depth of our space technology, the achievements and failures of the prestigious Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

It was the first website I had ever come across that showcased “Our Chairman” with Past and Present drop-down options tab. Why is it so important to add the Biodata of the chairman on the company website? Nobody else is up there! And the 9 digit visitor number counting from 2008 seemed like a pathetic attempt to boast of their credibility, assuming that was intended. Why else would they display it??
I ventured a little more into the website, quite apprehensively, not knowing what to expect. I clicked on the first job openings link and was aghast. It looked like a scan from the newspaper ad! Trotted a little more and found a better page for a job with a long dead deadline. Printed in red bold, size 18 was- “Do not use 'Back' and 'Forward' button of your browser while filling up online application form.” And beneath it was an Aquamarine box with Magenta links leading to the “Post name” one wishes to apply for.

A country of billion people infested with programmers every few steps, patriotic youth ready to offer their computing skills free of cost for a better image of the nation and yet, we have a website harbouring a vision of human space flight by 2025 that says “Best viewed with a resolution of 1024x768 with Internet Explorer 7.0” and has artist imagination pictures of pink and yellow artificial satellites that are almost as big as the moon itself.

But somehow, amidst all this, I wasn't surprised at the different instructions and required qualifications from different set of people. I mean required technical qualifications for a job in our country depends on the impenetrable barrier of castes. You surely know that?! A SC/ST candidate is welcome to apply with just a 60% in B.E while the rest have to be 'distinct' with 70%+. A SC/ST candidate can be 45 years of age and still apply while the rest have ten years less to make it into the esteemed place. Somehow SC/ST's have capabilities for which others have to strive very hard! I wonder what practices they adopt in their households that give them a cut above the rest. As it is rightly said, India is the only country where people fight to be backward. And why wouldn't they if it offers so many added benefits?
And all this is supposed to portray us Indians as one of the leading competitors for human space flight in the near future! I wonder what would be compromised for the BC's then. May be eyesight or fitness??

India is nation of colors. We can find infinite combinations of the world's most bizarre distorts everywhere around us. But is it necessary to evince our nation's idiosyncrasies on a website that is supposed to publicize our space program on a global scale? Could there be a probability that the rocket scientists of our country didn't happen to stumble across the website? I mean, after all they are people who are invited to attend/preside on conferences across the world and bask in world class standards in both reputation and wealth. If they had seen the page of their organization, I would like to believe they would have been flabbergasted too and saw to it that a much more respectable portal was construed for a field that has billions of dollars in the funds which is ripped from middle class family vaults.

Logic yells that its more like nonchalance brimming amongst experienced people in power that justifies the situation right now or they are truly pleased with a website that looks like a nerdy teenager's blog. I dunno which one to hope for in this case.

Why does a website bother me so much? Because a website reflects the work and people who contribute to it. And being an admirer of the Indian space program, for its come a long way in a short time splendidly, I had hoped to see a little more sophistication in something menial in comparison as a website. When I see smaller companies including other government organizations, I atleast don't feel like closing at the instant I open a page. But to keep abreast with our space program I'd rather search other articles one by one!
All they have to do is put out an ad that says “Professional Web designer needed”. Compensation or not, tons of applications would arrive at their doorstep. Pick any and they are bound to own a better one than current version!
Forget the launch vehicles and X-SATs, get a simple, pleasant website that doesn't dance in the viewer's eyes. For the love of gravity, THAT is not rocket science!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Eyes of A man....

A dark auditorium on a light spring evening, the only light emanating from the big projector screen highlighted with blue and green, a hundred souls almost on the tittering edge of splitting from the bodies.. Nothing could be said about the sword hanging from the cliff. A pulse that seemed beyond humane was throbbing so hard that I was surprised it hadn't popped out yet.

And then the chieftain in the highest form steps in with such ferocity and confidence that would have had a Panthera leo wail in ignominy. That glowering eyes felt like hot ember with asperity like that of a cold sword dancing in it. I hadn't known or cared about this beast anytime in my life. All I had in mind was my pride. The pride that he could bring with his tribes to me, to my fellowmen. That, which would come off a passion that burnt in all for one reason or the other.

His authority clearly visible in the white of his eyes, took me aback for the split of the second that was shown on the screen. The danger that those eyes portrayed for the minutest second appalled the wits out of me. By the time I could recover from the power he essayed in the second, I was drowned in huge cries of joy, of pride, of faith, of persistence and of win. I barely could react to the captain's action that transformed the tottering souls into an ecstatic mob when I was downed in all the euphoria too. He had done it.. he had his mission accomplished. A serene smile with a hop was all that he let go before acknowledging the enormity. My country, needed something to be happy about. He had brought it upon us and it was a thing to look upto amidst all the muck that was happening around. I could surely imagine the heights of elation, considering I felt the pride myself, 7000 kms away from home.

I am talking about the captain of Indian cricket team that won the world cup. (Bit of reading for those who don't know about cricket ). If there is something I wouldn't forget about this world cup, it wouldn't be about Sachin Tendulkar united with “His Precious” or the wait it took to get there. It would be the skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's eyes when he hit the last ball of Indian innings on the final of the world cup match. There he was standing on the brink of victory beneath pressure enforced by a billion people that would have diffused any normal man. He had fought for it. He had uplifted an entire nation's hopes that initially were buried in shambles and through all this, he stood solid, confident. Like he knew what was going to happen. How could he? And the winning shot that made even the saddest jump with joy and admiration- How did he manage to do it? He upheld a perfect timing for that six, a perfect swing of the bat and a perfect follow up. The terror in his eyes subsided only when he put his bat down after a that's-how-its-done- full swing, affirming he had hit the ball exactly where he intended. And only when I saw that clip over and over again like another billion people had, did I realize I was stunned less by that sixer and more by the way he did it. Ultimate confidence, courage, fire and desire. It showed a desire to finish things on his terms. A conviction to act according to the title he was proffered. A burning passion to do what he was expected of and what he excelled at.

I am not a gung ho fan of cricket. I like it because of the mood that its sets in when there is a win. (Will talk in another post about it). As with every other Indian, this game runs in my veins without much effort from my end. Like million others, I know its terms even though all my life I have watched only the semi's and finals of important tournaments and that too if they had India playing in them especially, Sachin Tendulkar. And naturally until then, I had no idea about the man or his actions recorded in the past. But at that moment, he was an inspiration. A leader of sorts as I read in various other articles that were true enough considering the team spirit and the zeal to win it all in this tournament. He depicted a man with an aim and showed he was tenacious enough to achieve it in grand panache.

Hardcore Cricket enthusiasts- don't get me wrong. Of course I appreciate Gambhir's almost century and Sachin's parade on his teammates shoulders. In fact, I rooted for the world cup just for Sachin. But this man, the captain, acted just the way a terrific leader does. Ofcourse, history will find many examples in this regard but to be there and actually see a leader at work inspires you at a different level. The look in those eyes will remain in probably all my years to come for that is a reminder of grit, of passion, of ability at adversity and of the true leader within.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Returning Home-2

Continuing my vacation...

I had grossly underestimated the Euro-Rupee conversion rate. I thought I could live like a queen spending lavishly on things I didn't need with one month's living expense abroad. I was served grandly in the face right from the cab that I took from the airport to the last day when I bought milk burphies for Re.1 that once used to cost 25 paise. I had a row with the auto driver when I saw Rs. 17 on the meter and accused him of not re-setting it before starting only to be told the minimum had gone up! A 500g packet of rusks now cost Rs 35 which once used to be Rs.20 with better taste. Street food like chats that was Rs.8 when I left, is now Rs.15 and every time I heard the price, I stared at the vendor like I stared at the immigration officer only to evoke “Elladardu rate jaasti aagide Medam” template response. (“All prices have gone up Madam”). And need I talk about petrol and entertainment? Pretty much had to borrow a lot from home by the end. I had no clue about it. "Its alright dear..Its alright.."..The old man was warming up to my condition..


Of course I was eager to prove all of it otherwise and had some screw-ups there too! 22-25 degrees seemed warm and Salwars never were more comfortable before! Lots of surprising reactions..especially when I spoke Kannada. Contrary to what my tag suggested, I had my skills intact, infact improved if I may say. Being in a foreign country makes you realize how cool your own language is! Annoyed when people tried to switch to English, I still responded in Kannada and there were a few smiles and few frowns. It had skipped my mind that English was the official language in Bangalore given the number of in house “immigrants” without tags! The lady in the mall sniggered like I had come from a village when I started conversing in Kannada. Another row with a random techie-who-doesn't-belong-to-Bangalore-and-yet-complained-about-my-city. He just had chosen the wrong co-commuter to spill his woes.

A heartfelt suggestion that applies to all including me- If you don't like a new city, finish your job and get out of it quickly, Don't stay and whine about it in the aboriginal's ears.

I had also forgotten that by-two cup coffee was only allowed in the smallest of hotels and ended up asking for it at a place, lets say, its never been asked before and will never be in future. I had missed it all along and hence followed my starved instincts; not thinking twice that it was cold coffee that I was ordering.. "You actually asked for it!" said a scandalized friend while the rest of the group chortled. It brought me back to the reality from the past. 
By-two's are probably the best thing in Indian food culture. Saves money, gets you more quantity and actually just sharing it with someone else feels great. And the pseudo prestige that the current restaurants/outlets want to achieve by going all western is a big disappointment. Its not like people don't want to have by-two's anymore. They are just afraid of "not meeting the standards" of the place they have chosen to dine! They needn't serve everything by-two but when asked for it, the waiter can split it up rather than mocking the customer with a giggle and that can happen only when people can learn to express what they want in the out.

By this time the ghost of the officer had nothing to say.. He had almost faded seeing that he wasn't entirely right sticking the label on me.. Hope he had realized that the girl could travel beyond the extensions of her roots but she'd always carry them with her..


So many changes.. so many surprises...May be this was what Luke meant by asking if I was ready.. No Luke, I wasn't.. Guess you had known these things yourself before..
I had realized something else- they don't brand one as a NRI for no reason. But saying so doesn't belittle the 'I' any more. If anything, its made me wanna shed the label for good. And time will come for that too. Until then I will just have to accept the changes and learn to live with it.
Oh there is just one thing that hasn't changed in India- The soap operas that granny watches faithfully all day, every day. They still wear the same annoying make-up/costumes, every actor still cries irksomely through out their screen time and as expected the plot isn't going anywhere.......Glad to know some things don't change.....


By the end of the vacation, I was thinking of Holland and although I would miss every little thing of my city, it felt like going home too. May be a second home. For whatever short period of time it is, you still have a house and a daily routine to take care of. You buy groceries there, cook, struggle to live your dream and rest on your pillow at the end of the day. That's why they call it a RP.


Landed back in Europe in utter darkness. But the good thing was I could see my man, Orion shining as brightly as he did back in India. Also,Sirius, utterly luminous, was telling “Yeah this time I'm gonna be around you...And everything is gonna be okay...” Have a feeling he might hold his word......
The immigration officer in Germany asked me my purpose of visit too but then she saw the pink RP and said with a smile “Ah! OK, I absolutely don't have any questions for you.” It was home....another one with a stamp alright....



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Returning home-1

From 39000 feet above the ground, I looked down the multi-layered window on a bright Wednesday morning. It was almost blinding; the sunlight that I had missed for a long time had woken me up from a slumber position that would have split my spine in half  had it waited any longer. The pilot announced that we had begun to descend and I could see the clouds move upwards now and the mountains inching closer. Luke, the sinfully cute steward stopped by to collect the headphones. “Wait's over..almost home..Ready for it eh?” he said in a deep set voice that was a total contrast to his twinkling blue boyish eyes. Wondering how he knew it was my home, I just nodded with a groggy smile but thought “Ready? For what?? This is home!”
At that moment he handed me a pamphlet and I assumed it had something to do with the airlines and looked at him like- “Alright! If its a feedback form you unequivocally get an Outstanding” and I open it. It had nothing to do with the airlines. It was an immigration form. It did not occur that I was required to fill it in. After all, who questions you if you are returning home, right? It must be for the firangis.


I got off the plane into the almost empty Bangalore airport (literally! Except for the signboards) I saw people standing randomly across the room filling in some form. I just peeked into one of the closest ones and it was this immigration form that I thought was meant for outsiders. But no, apparently it is mandatory for all who land! One of the idiosyncrasies of India. As I took the filled out form to the immigration officer, he saw my Dutch RP, the form and my face in consecutive loops and said “You have answered the column under 'Indian'”. I looked down at my passport emblazoned with the four lions and said “Yes, I did, I am an Indian!” Ah! The pride that swelled inside me like an acrylic bubble. He curtly shoved another form to my face and asked me to fill the NRI column. A cruel needle trying to squash the bubble. I stood there and stared at him, with lot of things running in my head. Some which included the possibility of the guy being demented or drunk early in the morning! He must have recognized the look of “Are you chaffing, crazy old man?” on my face. “You are a resident of another country, you are not just an Indian anymore” he said with the evilest grin I had ever come across. The polymer just gave away. The needle had been too sharp for the bubble. I mutely filled it and handed over the form for approval. The seemingly empty baggage carousel, a bad headache that I always get after air travel and the stamped form in my hand that questioned me about the purpose and duration of visit did not help alleviate the nausea I felt towards myself and the damned Indian Immigration officer. A face that would haunt me for quite sometime.
I had always detested the term “NRI”. In its expanded form it still didn't sound that bad. May be I hated it because of the false glory that used to be associated, still is sometimes, with the people who hold the tag. Now I was deemed one of them, even though I was more Indian than ever in all the good ways after staying away for 1.5 years. It suddenly didn't feel like home, it felt like a hotel. I just had checked-in. And I had to check out sometime......


No, its still home, its still home.. I chanted on my way out to find a cab. The thought of being just three-quarters of an hour to my family who wouldn't call me a NRI and an 18 deg temperature with bright sunlight put a smile on my face. Only when I couldn't recognize half the streets, malls and counted every second of almost two hours of intolerable noise and atrocious traffic that actually scared me for the first time in my life, I realized the meaning of the label I just was stuck with. But that was it. What more could be worse right? For some odd reason that old man's grin appeared in front of my eyes.


I reach home and rush to grab a glass of cold sweet Cauvery water and to my own surprise I couldn't find a glass! Mom had apparently changed all the culinary arrangements over time. There was a new giant Donald Duck sticker in my room(!!) and the books that I had treasured/ detested-but-still-refused-to-part-with were all bundled in the attic to make way for cook books, old speakers (again-!!!) and electronic manuals. There was a plastic creeper hanging in the porch and real creepers on the terrace. Mom's collection of potted plants had grown in size, variety and shape largely. Those little bluebells and hibiscus that I had seen a very long time ago were again joyfully sprouting on top of my house! The insides had been re-done and things ran much differently within too. W.O.W. "Of-course You weren't here to keep up with the changes. Definitely Not(n)-Residing." yelled that little patch of stamp from my handbag.


One of the evenings, on a walk with Mom, I held her hand while crossing the road. I was rooted to the spot when vehicles gushed in from all directions at once on a small service road! Not everyday you get to see a 23 year old girl hold her mother's hands while crossing the street! She laughed. The most beautiful laugh that somehow made me feel secure. But of course I had lost the habit of being able to navigate between moving vehicles, something I excelled at before! "Alas, one needs to reside in such places to retain confidence levels in beastly situations like this" reminded that immigration officers ghostly face.


Lots of monster like pillars erected for Metro, some of them that are half done, has changed the face of the city. One can't see what is on the other side of the road. Some of the landmarks I often used for navigation weren't visually accessible anymore. No wonder that my Aussie RP-holder buddy or I could recognize the Mysore road in the darkness and ended up reaching the actual toll gate that lead to Mysore! Of course we needn't have reached Mysore road at all had we known where to deviate from the conventional Malleswaram-Vijayanagar route that was closed due to Metro construction! We both weren't here for a long time and we had missed the small changes to the routes that were made everyday and followed without a written rule. Few days and I realized everybody were taking the smaller residential area short-cuts so that traffic could be avoided. Of course I tried doing it myself again and I was lost. "You need practice. You need to commute daily in such a web to find your way out." grimaced that evil old man..


In parts, may be I had been influenced by the western life. Sitting down on the floor for a long time turned out to be difficult. Walking bare foot on the cold tiles seemed stranger. Although using pressure pipes instead of paper, especially after Indian food, felt awesome; use of water in lavs seemed...different.... Sigh...Small things that one gets used to while consorting with the place. Survival outside demands adoption of many of THEIR ways of life that at first seems strange but generally becomes THE norm few weeks later. I had adopted and adapted in many ways too and in the process the native practices had taken the last row in my brain. It did lead to some insane moments like me telling mom to get the glowing vitrified tile floor fully carpeted and just vacuum it instead of hiring help for sweeping and swobbing. A simple “Get lost!” from her was sufficient to remind me how much trouble she had taken to select those tiles and how she prided on making the house look pretty. "How did you miss that in the first place child?" said a face in the back of my head.. I had to erase some memories....

To be continued..........


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Perfect Date....

Nothing had been planned. It just happened. I hadn't asked for it nor expected anything like it. It was just a very ordinary warm day. All I did, was to just follow something as complex as a desire.

The perfect music..
The evening was relatively cooler. It had been one and a half years since I had sung to my heart's content in the way music was supposed to be practiced. It was quite difficult to launch a full-fledged Carnatic music recitation in Holland with a busy life oneself and even busier students for neighbors. Every day I sang a piece or two and hummed along while getting some chores done. I hadn't listened deeply to the timber of the tamboora in so long. That evening I just had to. It was destined that I unfolded my voice to the fullest and got every note perfect to the last of breath I could hold. I just had to get all the gamakas right and I desperately needed to confirm the life of music in me. Every single stroke of the strings from my tamboora (even though electronic) resonated somewhere deep within me on the very silent evening. I took a while to just listen to it. I then began.. It was a deep sense of pleasure, a sense of realization of purpose, of existence. Something I was searching for, for a long time. It was like an epiphany. The same kind I experienced when I had walked the entire length of a wind tunnel two years ago. I knew what the word “happiness” truly meant. Few hours where even after trying, I couldn't remember a single thing that could possibly make me worry. Everything in the world seemed glorious. A place where there was a solution to everything. A drugged effect you may say, but you would also acknowledge that music is one of the best drugs, especially when you feel its spirit glow inside you. I started with a varna, a simple mohana raaga varna.. I never imagined it would give me answers to so many doubts of the recent past. As I went through other raagas, an intense feeling of bliss settled over me.

A long time or short, I dunno, but it had grown really dark outside. I stepped out in the most perfect of light winds which carried the scent of a certain sweetness that I just couldn't ignore like other sweet aromas. It rang a few bells in the depths of my childish memory. It smelt like fresh grass, like soil, like a garden that knew was going to be regaled.

The smell had overpowered what little control I had over myself. A moment of almost impossibility where my head was crystal clear and I wasn't thinking of anything! Absolutely nothing running in my head! I literally was in the moment. Never did that happen before. I stood by the porch leaning against the gate and staring at nothing in particular.

The perfect rain....
And then something distracted me from my thoughtless reverie. The softest touch...The first touch in a long time that restored my soul to what it truly is! It didn't stop. First my hand, then my shoulder, to my cheeks and my forehead. Cool droplets came down slowly at first and then picked up pace unremittingly. Accustomed to clenching tight when Holland rained over me, I cowered a little but then my mind wrenched free as the innocuous droplets began to unthaw my shell. I could literally see the overheated earth below my feet melt away when the rain gods decided to grace me with the early monsoon showers. The sweet smell had been justified now. Soft yet quick, ambient rain drops.. I blankly walked out and stood on a street so deserted that a blind man could presume it was a graveyard. Outstretching my arms in the middle of the night, I soaked in every single molecule that came my way. The stress that had rigged my soul for the last two years and especially of the last few weeks had been wiped clean. The flavor in the air intensified and I gave up. I had become a slave to the ways of nature and I let it be. It seemed like an eternity that I stood there.

And yet when mom yelled out asking me to fetch the dried-a-lil'-while-ago-but-now-wet-clothes from the terrace, I thought I had stood there just for a few seconds.. I went up. The clothes were all dripping gleefully without the slightest hint of the annoyance it would cause mom. No point rushing now I thought. I sat down in the middle of the terrace half illuminated by the street lamp post. …. for quite some time...
Somewhere along I must have laid on my back. As the incredible early monsoons stopped, I could see the cloudless skies dazzle with its stars coiffured neatly.
Holland's skies had been always oppressed with clouds. I never for once saw a constellation up there. But to the delight of the high school girl in me, Orion, the hunter, my man, had come along with his brightest belt and the shiniest knee. A little away from Betelgeuse was Sirius and it looked like he had the widest grin for me. Sirius was still the most-fairest of all and evidently the
The perfect Orion..
the star of the stars! I still couldn't figure out which star completed the Big dog's tail (there are many around) as Sirius twinkled mischievously, comprehending my confusion, as always.
It was like the ground and the sky had become one. Sirius had hypnotized me. I was lying in space, passing the stars as I floated along. The enormity of this universe seems surprising every time I see the skies. Just unimaginably big and beautiful. Highly astonishing that men fight for few square feet of land when every man could own the universe in his own way. As of that moment, it belonged to me. Everything belonged to me. The oceans, the trees, the stars, the planets and comets, the space rocks and even vacuum. I was being sucked into the black hole of a grandeur fueled by the gifts from beyond. I was a creation that knew the existence of every other thing. I did not possess many things I longed for. But it was just going to be a matter of searching and finding them...just a matter of time.......

It was a very long time before I returned back to my terrace that night- rather the next morning.

As I climbed down the stairs, I realized what a perfect evening it was. I could never come up with an answer before, when people asked about my idea of a perfect date, but today I just had one. With myself. The one I needed so desperately to keep my sinking relationship afloat.... The one that was due for a long, long time.... The best one I ever had and probably will ever do. That was my perfect date..........


Monday, February 14, 2011


Uncertainties.... They seem to keep abreast with her life.. The moment of clear elation 24 hours ago disappeared as swiftly as it had come. Thronged by failures from all sides, she stared endlessly at the most mundane of things. They had brought alongside a herculean gust of dubiousness, pain and self-disgust. How did she land herself in this position? Where was the ambitious, successful and respected woman that once embellished her psyche? She felt the ridicule showered from all sides sting her deepest vein like venom on lesions.

She tried to track her moves back to point at a single big mistake that had catapulted her into this muss only to realize that every move she had made in the recent past had been faulty. It was surprising how she even managed to stand upright till now. She looked for someone to blame, may be God, who she wasn't sure if existed, her menial brain power that had time and again embarrassed her in midst of people who knew not the meaning of the word, her stars which she never believed before and many many more quarries that she deeply knew weren't responsible for the spot she was fixed in.

Her mistakes seemed to regard her in pure parody anywhere she turned around. And like salt over raw wounds, disappointment oozed from the faces of her beloved ones. They had been hurt too. And that realization only entwined her intestines tighter. She searched for a way out, only to find all the exits had been sealed. She was drowning and only the will to survive gifted her the air she desperately needed. Her life as she had empathized whirred past her guilt-stricken eyes as one motion picture. Very dearly held moments of determination appeared ghost-like staring in the pale green of her eye. Could it be her? Could the situation be real? Her grit had been unmatchable.. her persuasions could never bend back without showing the light.. her promises and deeds had awed many-a-like and inspired most to a better living.. Where had it all gone wrong?

Her head had immersed now deep into the puddle of her fears cast like a transparent black envelope, smothering even the capability to wish for endurance. Slowly, she was losing everything that she had built, things she had so meticulously fought for and had cherished as her life's best....

Then came the greater fear, the dread of losing the same virtue that had tossed her to the top. Her eyes became shot clear at that instant and locked on the mouth of the blackness. She gagged beneath the heavy veil and groped to find something....anything.... that could reunite her with her courage. For she knew, that was the only thing, that could support her in a difficult penance she sought to embark. Indeed mistakes had been made, but there had to be a path to redeem her sins. If life could have an exit, its problems surely as hell do have one! It was going to be a long, slow journey to salvation and she knew she had to face it. A few steps in this course had already given her immense energy to plough forward amidst her failures. They had cumbered her enough, they would no more.. even if they multiplied. Uncertainties glided alongside just to remind her that they have always been there, and that she just hadn't noticed them before..She would fight.. fight till death stopped her.. cos she was a woman of power, talent, inspiration and realization. A woman as unique as uniqueness could trot in pride. Mere human coercions was never able to destroy her before and they wouldn't in future.. She would meet her fortitude.. she would meet herself again........