“Kindle”d

My black window awaits

So leave me be, my friend

Or perhaps become my enemy

For the stories will hold me afloat

My black window remains

Let me see, my dear

Or maybe you could leave

For the weight of its words will stay

My black window beckons

So you can rest, my love

Don’t nestle on my breast

For it will never leave my heart broken

My black window is full of light

So empty my room, fellow human

I don’t need a love looming

For it will keep my warm at night

My black window hurting my eyes

But I won’t sleep just yet, dear darkness

Its stories and I have just met

For plastic words feel better through watery eyes

My black window is my friend

It’s also my biggest fear, dear shadow

Should I heed what it whispers in my ears

And forever close the door till I reach my bookends? 

L’Étranger

Camus.jpg

What if I were

To not feel pain

What if I were

To not see love

 

Would I have

Lived this life in vain

Would I have

Found the eternal truth

 

What if I were

Deemed insane

What if I were

Incarcerated for the lack of tears

 

Would I have

An afterlife to gain

Would I have

Died a martyr?

 

If I were a stranger

To this unsought fame

If I weren’t a stranger

To the ways of the world

 

Would this noose

Have been my fate

Would this noose

Have meant anything at all?

 

I am now ready

To face the pain

I am now ready

For a thousand guillotines

 

For there is no greater joy

than the beauty in bane

For there is no greater joy

than the embrace of a void…

 

“I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.”- Albert Camus

Books: Part 1

Dusty-bookshelf-001

They stare at me

All hundreds of them

Awaiting my touch

Begging for a look in

Some have been around

For many years

Others walked in yesterday

Pouring into their fears

There were times when I slept

With a smile about the last word I read

There were times when there were tears

Flooding my dreamy bedspread

Now in the dark they weep

Some have lost all hope

They have locked the gates forever

And closed the windows to their souls

 book_vs_technology_6

The big bright screens

The neon lights burning

Have led me away from

The beauty of a page’s turning

Like the obscurity of a tale

Lost in the “shadow of the wind”

I need to protect their souls

From the written word’s end

My yellow one whose soul I keep

Sits like an arrogant lover

For he has been living in my heart

From since before forever

I will keep the memory alive

Of the “smell of bitter almonds”

I will keep these hundred souls safe

From the Boolean trends

books

Poetic Injustice

I have often wondered
in this land of nowhere
where do all the poets lay
No one reads what they write
no one cares if they live or die
where do they go
for their thoughts are forever astray
When would our April be
when would people walk past my words
when would they listen to the unheard
I wish for a day when I don’t have to pay
the price to be unworthy of a read
I wish for the day they read me like I write
and not just shrug and walk away
Where would a poet lie
but on his grave 
for they chose to hear him sing
Not read his written word
Not one remembers the  book that lay
on dusty shelves that held his dream
Not one to read the parts of his soul
Where would the poets go
in their mind’s relentless dark
where would the void be full
Where would the poets go
I know not
for in their rhyme and lack of reason
they are forever in hell. 

The Sunset Club

“I don’t want to grow old.” Parul said today morning. I, now sit wondering is there any truth to that. Do any of us want to be old and in the twilight of our lives and those who already are there, are they any different from us?
The Sunset Club is a story of three such men, waiting for the end and living in vain glories from yesterday. Khushwant Singh has turned this often autobiographical account into a life lesson for those waiting to live their lives out.
Boota Singh, of course, is the parallel to the author himself. An aging widower drinking to formal carnal glories often dreaming of his own daily excrement. Baig, the medicine man, living a lazy existence in a quaint corner of Old Delhi. Sharma, the virgin pandit, living with his sister and servants.

What really mixes the plot up is that Delhi, my beautiful city, actually is one of the characters of the book. Its seasons are celebrated like festivals and its political climate an oft discussed topic for the three veterans. Clearly, beyond the story lies the layers of characters and how they melt into the city’s artistic landscape. The story in itself tells of one year in the lives of these octogenarians and goes back to how their relationships came to in the first place. A light read that I romantically picked up during a journey from Delhi to Mumbai, it perhaps had greater sentimental significance to me than most readers for it tells of a Delhi I have known nothing about.

Would I ever have my own sunset club, I wonder? One where I find random strangers who turn into friends and eventually live out each other’s twilights. Or would I be at least a reminisce living in the memories of men who talk of the best and worst loves of their lives?

The Sunset Club makes you want to grow old and live out a life that is worthy of a remembrance.  It scores in its sarcasm and wit and in parts even makes you sentimental. A must read for the Delhi fans, it will either give you a future to dream of in the city or make you sit down with a glass of your favorite scotch and remember the good times!

Random Rumblings

I never really sought to become a good writer, I think that explains the mediocrity of this blog, until, that is, last month, when some random publishers in Allahbad agreed to publish me for some minimal amount of money (I had sent my work to them as a joke!). Now suddenly a book is looming large on my horizon and I’m subsequently sending my work to other, ahem, KNOWN publishers (with the hope that it wasn’t just some foolish act of god or perhaps the internet!)
The idea of a book of poetry has been so alien to me in India that for large part of my life I pictured myself mailing all of my life’s work to Adam Foulds (a poet who wasn’t known until he won his Man Booker for his novel) and subsequently kill myself (for that’d just be more romantic) and have him publish it (for he’d probably have no other work to do). My idea of a poem too was just rhymes that generally just contain no real meaning (like say that song “Smelly Cat” by Phoebe in Friends). People often told me how they never really understood what I wrote (truth be told neither did I). All of it changed that fateful night. There are publishers, actual PUBLISHERS who publish poetry in India and they were willing to take a chance, provided I took that chance with them.
I just realized, this is going to be a rather self depreciating rumbling (because I know little else to do in life), but having had ummm…single-digit number of followers of my blog (who by the way I LOVE) to have gotten a call from a man in Allahbad who is ready to shift the date of my publication by months just so that I have the BOOK (weird sentence) ready by then. It really did help the tiny little voice in me who told me I wasn’t half as bad. I used to tell myself that if Chetan Bhagat can get pulished anybody can. But I recently concluded (after a lot of primary survey), he writes what people want to read. And I write what they don’t really understand. Now under these circumstances do I actually go ahead with the publication? Only to force the 177 classmates of my batch to buy my book, so that many years later, they point at it and go, “Some weirdo in our class used to write shit loads of poems. I never really understood it but you know how it is, you buy it coz the mob does. There is 100 Rs gone down the drain.” Or I spare myself and them the torture and leave these 100-odd vain moments of glory unpublished.

Solitude in Silence

I dream of a voice
in a blissful thought
an endless noise
in a place unsought

seek pleasures in small silences
in unending embraces
I run through life
hoping for more spaces

Weaving through a ridiculous story
a pure and guarded glee
I protect my dreams from the world
as they are what making me…me

Silences are louder
than a thousand screams
I sit alone in thought
but they’re all there in my dreams….

My friends of past
the ghosts that last
the voices I hear
the life I endear

Of Rage and Anger

Empty pages beckon
empty words
and I think I’d reckon
writing my devil

He lurks in the shadows
my demon, he smiles
he knows he knows
the turning of the shoe

The clenched fists
and the pounding head
the tied up wrists
the red mist

He knows of the pain
of locking the doors
he knows the restrain
of each glass stained

When finally the world
goes its own way
he gives me these words
to put my rage away

In peace he lurks, the crying ghoul
a wounded beast, every day
gnawing at my soul
Where do I go now?
Where do I go?

Three Cups of Tea

The idea that appealed  most to me when I saw this book was the subtitle : “One man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time” Here comes a story I have never heard of before. In fact had somebody narrated it to me I wouldn’t even believe it. It breaks past stereotypes of all kinds and makes you realize that if you want to help anyone at any part of the world all it takes is one good heart!
Greg Mortenson is ahead of his time always. He is a new picture of America, a picture I’d like to keep. One of humanity and kindness. And one of humility.

This story is far away from the images we have of Pakistan: The “madrassas”, where maulvis “train” children to become terrorists and how every village has a Kasab born in them.

We, Indians, are generally very shallow. We take everything exactly the way it is served and forget that there exists a world where such battles exist, where a walk to school could maim you or even kill you. Greg Mortenson goes to such a world and comes back victorious. He talks of a tangible permanent solution which we could use against all forms of terrorism (and god knows we have fought our demons too many times!) He answers the question everyone is now asking regarding the Maoist “situation” in our country. He answers it with one word : education.

A part of a team of mountaineers, scaling the difficult terrain of K2, Greg was lost and spent a terrible time surviving the grueling cold mountains of Karakoram till he was found and taken care of by Haji Ali a local village chieftain. There is a sweet moment in the book when Haji Ali shows him the local school, or the place they call a school. The village has no teacher who’d come this far everyday so on the days without a teacher, the little boys and girls sit in an open ground writing on the sand with sticks. Haji Ali says, the one thing I wish for is a school for this village and Greg overcome by the desperation of the kids to learn puts his hand on Haji Ali’s shoulder and says “I’ll build you a school”.

What starts with one school goes on to become a revolution. The one thing the author writes about is that the moment you meet Greg Mortenson you start thinking “What should I do? How could I help?” and this emotion is not just on the meeting. I found myself going through the Three Cups of Tea website and clicking on the How To Help section, the moment I finished the book. The story is simple enough. The man had no money, no job and just had a simple dream to build a school for a bunch of Pakistani kids he had only met once.
The best part of the story would probably be Mortenson’s humility. He’s bad with compliments the author says, he just blushes and mumbles I just got lucky. And he did, the story has a lot of other heroes as well. But for Mortenson’s desire and relentless will, these people would have never known how exactly to help.

For the first time I saw the Kargil War from the other side and actually went ahead to apologize to my counterparts across the borders. We all really do have the same problems : corrupt governments, uncontrollable armies and social issues. I wish Mortenson would realize that none of the Indians knew about the injustice done in Pakistan during the war.

The book is a must read for inspiration, kindness and most of all for humanness. I think we are innately human and want to help, we just have to believe in our convictions and take that first step and make the resolve. With you all the way Dr. Greg 🙂

P.S: The next book has been published and talks about the next piece in the struggle and is called “Stones into Schools”. Mortenson has now moved on to Afghanistan with the resolve of building schools for the war ravaged country.

Micheal Crichton’s Last GoodBye : Pirate Latitudes

On November 5, 2008, while I was sipping my morning cup of coffee, my friend dutifully sent me a message that Micheal Crichton, the man who was the one of the reasons I loved Science had passed away, I stopped my life for a moment and thought of a world without Crichton.


When Pirate Latitudes hit the stands, I decided not to go to the second hand Moor Market, because I wanted to pay my final respects to the man. But I had read the reviews, New York Times had said :”The Crichton reputation and legacy are based on works far heartier than this.”  True Enough. But they don’t get it, I would just read it because it didn’t matter, for it was Crichton once again and that was enough for me!


Pirate Latitudes starts in a typical period novel fashion describing the morning abulations of a certain Jamaican governor Sir James Almont.  The book gives an interesting insight on what Piracy and Privateering meant in 1665 Jamaica when the Governor hangs a pirate and offers a deal to a privateer in the same morning. This particular Privateer is the famous Captain Charles Hunter, our quintessential protagonist, he’s hot, adventurous, brave and is (as is the case with all heroes) a Ladies’ Man. He’s introduced in the book in a truly Jack Sparrow moment when he is peeing out into the streets. 


The Story is simple, England is surrounded by Spain in the Carribean and the only island colony left to them is the tiny Jamaica, to save some grace and make some money for themselves, the crown cuts deals with “Privateers”. So when a Spanish ship loaded with cash is stuck deserted on a fortified island it’s upto Captain Charles Hunter and his crew to get the gold, kill the wicked Spanish General, save a certain damsel in distress. It has everything that we saw in Pirates of the Carribean. Even words like, “And my mistress shall dine on your testicles,”  (I mean come on!)  Crichton even went on to incorporate Sea Monsters!(Did he by any chance give ideas to the Pirates of the Carribean Team?) 


But there is one thing that has always set Crichton apart, the attention he pays to the crew, Charles Hunter is just a part of the story, the description of each member of Hunter’s crew is rather interesting(the Jew and Lazue take the awards for the weirdest pirates ever!) and so is the character of the damsel in distress Lady Sarah Almont and the Mrs-Robinson like character of Mrs. Robert Hacklett. Crichton did loose his touch with the precious slave girl Anne Sharp could’ve been better there. 
But who cares! It’s Crichton! come on! I lived through the pages of sea storms and gun battles and ultra cool navigational manoeuvres. I even believed him when he talked about Sea Monsters. But essentially, I sailed the Spanish Main and back with Micheal Crichton and well…the journey was worth it!